SEO has emerged as a de-facto technique to improve an online business’s competitive edge. It helps your business to rank well on the first page of Google search results.
This leads to better discoverability of the website. As a result, you will see better-qualified traffic in higher volume. When they stay on the site for a long time, the chances of them converting to loyal customers from casual strangers goes up significantly.
Therefore, SEO is considered an important weapon in the digital marketing arsenal. Since it is far more cost-effective than paid ads, many businesses opt for SEO services to gain the upper hand and rank over and above their competition.
SEO companies will undertake a range of activities in a comprehensive SEO campaign. All these will be implemented to propel the site’s visibility and attract high-quality traffic in larger numbers than before.
All elements like the blogs, the on-site content keywords, the meta tags, and the images will be optimized to get rankings to boost. Such targeted activities are sure to yield the below outcomes.
SEO companies help the business to improve their visibility online by providing the services of Search Engine Optimization. To re-design your site for SEO optimization, navigation, and aesthetics, the process of SEO might conduct updates to the designing of your website and content.
Your site is more likely to land on the first page of search engine results pages (SERP) when it is optimized to succeed.
1- Why opt for an SEO company?
An online business thrives on the principles of inbound marketing. Unlike outbound, pushy marketing tactics of the traditional world, digital marketing must be subtle. For this, the company needs to enlist the services of an SEO expert.
With their proven strategies and high impact services, you will see the difference when you land with more business inquiries from the right set of people in your target audience, and you also acquire more customers online.
Since no two industries and no two types of businesses are the same, an SEO company will not offer an off the shelf solution. Instead, first, it will try to understand the business objective and the segment of the audience being targeted.
This will help the SEO companies to roll out bespoke and highly customized campaigns in an effective way.
Here are some of the key advantages of using an SEO Company:
1.1- Higher rankings on SERPs
By utilizing advanced tools and tactics, the SEO company may work hard for boosting your site’s rankings for specific keywords. This will ensure that it gets a competitive advantage by coming up on the first page of Google SERP.
1.2- Ensures qualified site traffic
Imagine if you are a gardening company and people send inquiries for mobile repairs! An SEO company will ensure that if you are a gardening company, only those people will be attracted to your site who have a need for the nursery, plants, garden upkeep and helpful tips for the same.
An SEO company ensures this to deliver a better level of conversions, which can increase your business.
1.3- Provides results that are measurable
A good SEO company will always keep you in the loop about the performance of the SEO campaigns. They will inform you if all key metrics being monitored are on track and that there is no deviation from the expected outcomes.
This will help you understand the value provided to your business.
2- What should you look for in an SEO Company?
If you are looking for an SEO company to help accelerate your growth, then you may need to tread carefully. Other than budgets and timing expectations, there are other factors that come into play when you finalize a capable SEO company.
You need to look at some of the key factors as mentioned below before you go ahead and finalize your selection.
2.1- Past results
The SEO companies must be able to showcase why they are a good fit for your digital marketing needs. Their experience will shed some light on how successful and experienced they are.
Their past case studies will give you a glimpse of what problems they tackled and how they overcame those problems.
You can determine if their clients are indeed ranking on the first page for specific keyword phrases or terms, to arrive at a decision.
2.2- Custom or off-the-shelf services?
A good pick for SEO services needs to provide tailored services as per your specific business needs. What may have worked for one business may not deliver the same outcomes for another business.
They need to take the time to know your business and target audience.
They also need to be on the same page as your organization on the goals and budgets. When you go for off the shelf solution, you may get it at a great deal, but the results may not match your business goals.
Therefore, it is recommended to go with an SEO expert that first studies your business requirement and then suggests the right SEO campaign to help accomplish those needs.
2.3- Are you working in-house or outsourced?
Some companies try to pass on the project to other SEO companies and simply act as a postman between the two parties. This type of arrangement is a strict no-no.
Keeping everything in-house will ensure that the SEO company has better control over the different optimization activities.
They will be able to monitor the situation better and jump in whenever any deviation happens. Therefore, choose only the company that works in-house.
3- How to choose an SEO company
To guarantee successful results for your company, you’ll need to take some specific preliminary steps to make sure you have the right people working on your website to drive qualified leads and implement a strategic marketing plan.
Consider an SEO company as an extension of your own team. You’ll want to make sure they’re a good fit not only based on experience but also consider you’ll be communicating with them on a regular basis and you’ll want to find a team that you get along well with, too.
3.1- Look at the company’s specialities and services
When hiring an SEO company, look at their website and see if they tend to specialize in any one industry, location or service line.
They may share what you can expect with each service and case studies. Also take a look at their awards and certifications that can back up their expertise.
3.2- Check references and reviews
It’s important to look into what an SEO company has done in the past, because, as it’s a fairly subjective service, a customer might otherwise be disappointed when everything is said and done.
You can look at review websites like Google and Facebook, and portfolios of digital agencies websites like Design Rush, Clutch and UpCity to find reviews and more details on the SEO companies you’re considering. You might even find another contender!
Another critical step in the research process when shopping for an SEO company is to collect references. Ask about the websites that they have worked for in the past, and make a record of them.
Do your homework and make a few calls to previous clients to make sure that you are being given accurate information.
Don’t forget to ask these clients for first-hand testimonials of past SEO services. This due diligence will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind when hiring an SEO company to work for your business.
3.3- Dive into their portfolio and case studies
When hiring an SEO company, look at the specifics of what they’ve done for other customers. By taking a look at their portfolio and case studies, you can generally get a sense of their style and what types of results their clients receive.
You can also learn how they integrate other services with their SEO, such as pay-per
-click (PPC), social media and web design.
In order to get access to the samples of past work, you might consider asking the SEO company for a portfolio if it isn’t readily available on their website.
This allows you to page through and look at a real-life example of what you’re being offered. It will give you a concrete and visual idea of what you can expect from an SEO campaign.
3.4- Research the team and the company’s ethics
This may be one of the most important factors when it comes time to choose an SEO company. LinkedIn may be your one-stop-shop to gather this information, but it’s a good idea to look at their leadership team and members of the SEO team to learn more about their individual backgrounds.
Chances are you might be connected to someone who works there and can reach out to them for more information on the company.
Ethics and integrity are paramount when selecting your digital marketing team.
If the employees on the front lines don’t have a strong grasp of company spirit, or if they are disconnected from the company’s vision, it’s unlikely they will be dedicated to exemplary client service.
Note that SEO companies can be structured differently. For example, we assign one SEO specialist to each client, and that person acts as the project manager and SEO specialist to avoid any miscommunication and confusion with having more than one primary contact within the company.
And depending on your core values, you may be more inclined to work with a team that is active in the community and gives back. Or, you may appreciate a leadership team that encourages a healthy work-life balance for its employees.
Whatever it is, it’s important that the people at this SEO company are a good fit for you and your business.
SEO is also a service that can be handled in many ways. Do you know about “white hat” and “black hat” before? Well, make sure your SEO company follows a strong code of ethics because if they’re taking shortcuts to rank your website higher, your website and online reputation could be at risk.
3.5- Follow them on social media and read their blog
Take some time to follow them on Facebook and LinkedIn. Maybe read a few blog posts and subscribe to their email newsletter.
This will give you a sense of their tone because blogs and social media typically bring out the less formal tone of the business.
You can also learn their knowledge and priorities by reviewing the content they’re putting out.
One thing to note is the audience or followers of an agency tend to be others in the advertising and marketing industry. So, don’t be taken aback if you don’t feel like the content is written for you.
3.6- Ask about their fees and contracts
Agencies are structured differently, and some may work on an hourly fee while others may lock you into a 6-month contract. Just like other types of contractors, ask about their fees and what the expected deliverables will be for said price.
You can compare prices of multiple SEO companies to ensure they are offering a competitive rate.
If you were getting landscaping done for your home or buying some kind of new technology device, you would want to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money, right?
Similarly, you should have some comparisons when searching for digital marketing services. Pricing is an important part of your decision-making process, so it should probably be one of the first questions you ask during the initial conversation.
However, you usually get what you pay for, so going for the cheapest option may not be in your best interest. Also, look at companies that are going to be attentive and listen to your goals and objectives.
This is the type of information you will probably gather during your conversations with other clients and employees. Invest in an SEO company that is going to give you a personalized experience.
3.7- Schedule a consultation
Before you sign the deal, you should schedule a meeting with the SEO company. You may even ask if an SEO specialist can be on the call to learn more about the process and maybe even meet the person you’d be working with on a daily basis.
Some agencies will even offer up a free website audit or share initial keyword and competitive research before you agree to partner up with them. This can be helpful if you haven’t done the research yet yourself or don’t have access to the premium tools.
4- The 3 mistakes to avoid when choosing an SEO company
Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes the best businesses. That’s why, before you start choosing an SEO company, you should review the common and big mistakes that organizations often make when finding an SEO agency. These three mistakes include:
4.1- Choosing a “cheap” SEO agency
Price does matter when it comes to SEO services and agencies. You want to set a budget and find an SEO company within that budget. The mistake, however, is that many businesses set unrealistic budgets. They see agencies offering SEO for $100 per month, for instance, and think that’s a reasonable amount.
The truth, however, is that the SEO companies promoting those ultra-low rates often under-deliver. They underdeliver when it comes to your strategy, for example, using copy-and-paste approaches to deliver nonexistent returns.
Or, they fail to communicate with your team. Again, this lack of service results in terrible customer experience and return.
With SEO, you get what you pay for, which is why you need a realistic budget. Educate your company about SEO pricing. Then, you can set a feasible monthly budget for SEO services.
For reference, businesses spend an average of $750 to $2000 per month, though this number can fluctuate based on your strategy, company size, and more.
4.2- Browsing only local SEO companies
Getting to work with a local SEO agency is a bonus when choosing a good SEO company. When it comes to what to look for in an SEO company, however, the location of your agency shouldn’t be your top factor.
You want to prioritize experience, performance, and client experience over location because that will impact the quality of your service the most.
Limiting yourself to a small area can stop your business from achieving the kind of results you want. If your competitor, for example, partners with an experienced agency several states away and you settle with a local, but inexperienced agency, it can prevent your company and website from ranking at the top of valuable search results.
That means less revenue, sales, and leads for you and more for your competitor. Even if you choose an SEO company that isn’t local, they will often try to bridge the gap. For example, they may travel on occasion to meet your team in-person. Or, they may use video conferencing or phone calls to chat with your team in a more personable way.
4.3- Selecting a black-hat SEO agency
Your company (and its business leaders) want results. SEO doesn’t deliver immediate results, though. In most cases, it requires three to six months to start providing a return. This feature can lead to frustration, as well as smart companies falling for black-hat SEO strategies.
Black-hat SEO describes unethical (and ineffective) long-term SEO tactics. While you can use black-hat approaches to rank in search results quickly, you will fall from page one fast. Worse, Google may even ban your website from ever appearing in its search results again.
That means people wouldn’t be able to find your business’s site via the world’s biggest search engine. You don’t want that, which is why you need to focus on established, white-hat SEO agencies.
These companies use best practice and ethical strategies that help your company rank in search results. In most cases, low-cost SEO services and black-hat SEO agencies go hand-in-hand.
5- Bottom line
An SEO company holds the key to your digital growth. A company picked in haste may not be able to align its expertise to your vision. You would want to avoid such miscalculations.
You need to give it deep thought and consider these above- mentioned factors before you sign up any SEO company to look after your digital marketing needs.
Treading carefully will help you make a judicious decision and pick the best SEO company out of the different options available in your region.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 18, 2019, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.