Choosing a person or an entity to manage your SEO is pretty similar to deciding on a home contractor. This is because the primary goal of SEO is building and sustaining a good relationship with search engines in order for your website to be deemed a reliable source. If you are about to trust someone with introducing you to Google, Bing, and others, we recommend that you get to know them a little first.
Here is a rundown on some of the key points to consider before hiring an SEO services company.
Prior to contacting any of the SEO provider’s staff, you can conduct a little investigation on your own. Whether someone has referred you to an SEO company by name or it has just popped up in your search results, you need to do some more research on them.
Check Their Own Website(s)
A significant portion of SEO has to do with usability. Go to a company's website to see how they do in their own backyard. Pay attention to their navigation, pop-ups, online forms, contact information, loading speed, and the overall website design. Make sure to access their website via both your desktop and mobile devices to see how it renders.
Another important characteristic to consider is the type of communication protocol a website uses: HTTP or HTTPS. Aside from being not secure, an HTTP protocol can stand in the way of displaying proper content within the Google Chrome browser. On October 3, 2019, Google announced a gradual transition towards blocking content that loads over an HTTP connection even if it's found on an HTTPS page. If an SEO company doesn’t know about it and still uses a non-secure protocol, it’s better to look elsewhere.
Look for Google and Bing Partner Certification
A badge indicating that a given SEO services company is a certified Google and/or Bing partner can tip the scale in their favor. In terms of Internet marketing, these badges are far more important than many other awards. Google and Bing Partner badges indicate that a company has been recognized as a pro in managing ads, has passed extensive product certification exams, has managed a significant amount of ads investment and that it has proven its ability to really thrive and help businesses to succeed online. Working with an SEO services provider that is a Google and/or Bing Partner can become a competitive advantage over your rivals that also run ad campaigns online.
Check Their Blog
The SEO industry is a very fast-paced space with lots of updates, news, changes, and announcements. Moreover, if a company is immersing itself into the world of search engines’ algorithms daily by reinforcing the online positions of its customers, they definitely have something to share.
If a company’s blog is nothing but a sales pitch with no educational value, it can mean at least three things. First is that they are blissfully unaware of SEO-related news and updates that can cause buzz in the community, second, this SEO services company has little hands-on experience with managing websites, and third is that they are simply understaffed.
While checking a company’s blog posts, pay attention to the content quality and keep in mind that the very same person who manages their blog could be later producing texts for your website.
Ask a Few Questions
Once the company has passed your initial check, it’s time to reach out to them and ask a set of questions that will further help you narrow down your search.
Do They Have Any Previous Experience with Your Business Vertical?
It may seem that SEO uses a one-size-fits-all approach but actually it’s not the case. At least if we are talking about good SEO. Every business vertical has its own challenges that have to be acknowledged and addressed accordingly. For example, search engines have very specific requirements for medical websites starting with the content that you are allowed to publish online and then to ad copying that could be banned due to an advertising policy violation.
It’s very important for an SEO services provider to be familiar with the peculiarities of managing the online presence of your business.
Are They a Team?
Doing SEO requires teamwork. Ask the person that you will be talking to about how many people are in their team and how the activities are distributed among them. Of course, they can refuse to reveal this information but make sure it’s not a single SEO maniac who will be doing all of the work single-handedly. There should be at least five full-time employees that are involved in improving your online positions, otherwise, it’s practically impossible.
What Tools Do They Use?
The next step is finding out how well this SEO company is armed for the battle. What tools do they use to audit technical and onsite SEO and crawl URLs, images, CSS, script, content, etc. How do they perform keyword research and competitor analysis? And, of course, what do they use to measure website performance improvements?
All of these questions will provide you with insights into their SEO tools arsenal as well as whether they are up-to-speed with the latest software.
Is Their Hat White or Black?
Last but not least, the legitimacy of their SEO tactics and activities that this company practices. Black hat SEO is an umbrella term for unethical approaches to boosting your online visibility and positions. Search engines have gotten a lot smarter compared to 10 years ago when black hat techniques were thriving. In 2020, you will most likely get nothing but a penalty for paid links, keyword stuffing, spammy comments, cloaking, and other black hat SEO approaches.
Listen Closely To Their Answers
After you've asked your set of questions, it’s time to carefully listen to their sales pitch.
What Are Their Deliverables To a Customer?
No self-respecting SEO services company will make promises that are simply undeliverable: fast results, a jump from the tenth to the first page of Google in one month, 50% increase in traffic, etc. Not only is search engine optimization a long-term and ongoing process itself, but considering how often Google rolls out algorithm updates, predicting the positions of your website within an exact time frame into the future is not possible.
Flamboyant promises should always be a red flag for you.
To Wrap Up
At the end of the day, SEO is crucial. It can significantly increase your brand awareness and bring more eyeballs to your products and services. Choosing an SEO services provider is an important step towards a gradual bottom line improvement so it has to be thought out and planned properly. Webxloo is fully versed in optimizing websites of different types and sizes. Contact us if you need a reliable and experienced SEO services company to build your online presence.
Last updated on February 13th, 2020