Hiring an SEO company is one of todays’ essential requirements for business owners and their marketing strategies, with a clear need to ensure that they utilise this service to get great rankings and exposure in search engines.
The problem is that a carefully thought-out SEO strategy that yields good results can take a long time to achieve – sometimes with more time than your company, or you as an individual, may be willing to invest. And this is where it helps to have to have the best SEO company work with you to achieve this.
There are many SEO companies out there that claim to be able to offer leading search engine optimisation services to help you achieve great rankings. Unfortunately, SEO agencies are not all as they seem. This guide will take a look at some of the basic principles of engaging an SEO agency, and why it is so important to get it right.
It’s not enough just to look for the “number one” SEO company with a “perfect” track record of ranking in the search engines – as this doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the same for you. To choose the best company to do your website’s search engine optimisation, you need to know precisely what you are paying for and why.
Simply put, a good SEO company helps your website climb higher in rankings in search engines – with Google being the most common example. In fact here is an excellent article: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List which talks all about Google’s ranking factors. The better a page scores in terms of the keywords, LSI text and other factors, the more visible it becomes to search engine users.
The top websites on the page tend to be PPC (Google paid ads), and then the local listing websites, followed by organic listing websites. You may think that that most websites are at a disadvantage compared to the ones with the paid ads, but research shows that most search engine users tend to skip over anything with that blatant ad icon and head to the more “trustworthy” results below. If you want to learn more about this then have a read of Google’s Learn how Google Search works article.
It is clearly important to rank as highly as possible because search engine users aren’t going to trawl through endless pages of results. The question is, why do you need to put so much effort into getting your website ranking at the top?
This increased visibility for your business or brand is one reason to go down the route of hiring the best SEO company you can find. Other reasons are to bring more web traffic to your website to increase enquires, to make more sales or simply to get an edge on your nearest competitor.
If you are sick of your nearest rival constantly reaching the top spot of the search engines for your niche target market, good SEO could tip the balance in your favour and show readers that there is another, more authoritative business out there.
There are many SEO companies that claim to offer great services for a cheap fee, but you need to decide if this cheaper option is the best option for your business in the long run.
You can outsource to a company overseas, or bring in a freelancer for help, or even do it in-house, but the greater benefits in the long run are to be had from hiring a professional SEO company with the best track record of growing businesses.
The latter has its clear advantages when it comes to achieving better results, but that also comes with a greater cost than the former options.
An SEO company, like any other business, is out to make as much money as possible by selling their services – in this case it is their apparent knowledge and the skills of their team that is the most expensive – i.e. their labour charges.
It is easy for these companies to oversell and promise more than they can honestly deliver for most people’s SEO budgets in the hope of getting more clients through the door with high expectations.
These are some key tips to look out for when considering a SEO agency and should be seen as red flags for any company you’re considering.
What this statement implies is that by paying more fees to the SEO company, they will ensure that a bigger spend will bring higher organic rankings. The problem here is that organic listings are just that, they are organically created through Google’s algorithm, and a ranking at the top cannot be bought in the same way as a paid ad can.
The only elements that a SEO company can charge you for with transparency are their services that lead to the content, promotion and link building that may (or may not) result in improved rankings. If a company is not being honest about what it is your are paying for, look elsewhere.
Again, it is very misleading for any company that doesn’t fully explain how website rankings work. Yes, a number 1 ranking website on Google Australia for an Australian business is perhaps the ultimate goal, as it gives your site greatest visibility and will place it ahead of your competition, but it is wrong to give the impression that anything lower than this is not a success.
There are hundreds upon thousands of search engine results that can appear in relation to any given search term – depending on how specific the search was – and it is a massive achievement to reach the first page.
Many searchers will skim the front page to get an idea of the sites that come up and there is no guarantee that they will only access the first website if a more trustworthy, better looking looking website appears further down the results.
Focus on creating a website that attracts the eye and you will get better conversions – you can still beat your nearest competitors, even if they are in the number one spot and their website’s look worse than yours.
If an SEO company you are speaking to guarantees the number spot in Google, or any other specific form of success with their services, this is another red flag.
There are no guarantees about where a website will rank after. They can promise to put in the hard work and provide you with the best SEO strategies and reports, but they cannot say that their work will definitely achieve a specific result.
The simple reason for this is that the rankings are based on algorithms so complex that no SEO companies know how to beat them or manipulate them. You can put lots of effort into the best practice SEO and the perfect ranking strategy, but once the work is done, it is up to Google.
A good thing to do before hiring an SEO company is to take a look at some of the online reviews that are available for the company you are considering. This way you can have some assurance that the business is legitimate and you can see what other customer experiences have been.
Try to get a better idea of their reputation, their service and their experience in the field, so that you can feel more comfortable with your decision. Read through their company website to see if their claims there match their sales pitch to you.
Once you have narrowed things down to a list of the best SEO company to consider, there are a number of further questions that you can ask to get a better idea of their knowledge and strategies.
This is part of the background check in a way, but it opens up the dialogue and lets them give examples of their work that you can then evaluate. This can be a list of sites and a list of clients that can provide references.
The best approach for new companies, especially those still getting their website up and running, is to find a provider that can do both – on-page SEO for website coding and off-page SEO for link building and social media. Some providers may specialise in one area, which could leave you vulnerable.
The phrase more or less applies to SEO and backlink generation. A new company may think that they can win more business by saying that they can create hundreds of backlinks in a month, because it seems like a lot of hard work and value for money, but you don’t want to bombard Google with a ton of unnatural backlinks – they will see through it. A small number of high quality, natural links is a better approach.
Automation software are tools that an SEO company uses for fast, efficient link building to cut time. The problem is that Google isn’t too keen on automised link building and it is better to go for manually-made links that are more natural. Find a company that knows when to use each approach appropriately.
Keywords are an essential part of building a website’s authority and they need to be targetted carefully. Ask the SEO company upfront what keywords they would use for your campaign. They may have a list of carefully considered high “money” keywords that relate to your content and meet Google’s requirements, or they may have a list of low volume and long tail keywords.
Even worse, they could say that they don’t have any at all, which suggests they have no knowledge of what you do or how to deliver you any results. We would also suggest that any website owner learn about the types of keywords they would like to rank for using the Google Keyword Planner as it’s an excellent and free-to-use tool.
This is important when determining whether or not you are simply paying for the service or if you get advice from a knowledgeable Account Manager who will be reporting on your campaign. If it is service, without the account management, this will end up being costly and detrimental down the track.
Your new SEO company could create a host of new sites including social media accounts, accounts for business listing sites and review sites or a Google Webmaster Tools account. It helps to have access to all of them in case another staff member or company needs to get involved.
Determine whether they will charge hourly, monthly or on a quarterly basis and whether there are any variables or if there is any room for negotiation where that price may alter dependent on link generation and results. Again, compare their answer to their claims on their website to get a good deal.
Working with an SEO company is not for everyone, and an established SEO company with a proven track record of success with clients is your best bet.
As long as you watch out for the tips in this guide and ask the right questions, you can ensure that you find the best SEO company. Be cautious of those that over-promise on high rankings and success, and make sure you get a strong idea of precisely what you are paying for and stay on the same page when it comes to the SEO strategy and long-term progression of your campaign.