Hiring an SEO Company is not an easy task. The abundance of spammers and blackhatters out there simply outnumber the legitimate companies that do business in good faith. As such, finding a competent company often feels like navigating a ship in the dark. Interested business owners need not worry though, because there is a way to separate the good seeds from the rotten ones. This is simply done by asking candidates 10 smart questions.
1. Would it be alright to get a list of your current and previous clients?
Even if an SEO firm is only operating for a year they should have at least a couple of satisfied clients in their portfolio, because if there is none, what are they even doing?
A reputable company is open and definitely willing to share their list of current and previous clients so prospects can contact them and ask for feedback or testimonials. These can then be used to gauge how competent their candidate is, or at least get an inkling to their level of professionalism and business ethics.
2. How will you increase my rankings?
As they say, the journey is the reward. Same goes for search engine optimization too.
There are many ways to increase rankings but how safe the techniques are is a matter of concern. People should stay away from an SEO firm that do not want to divulge their link building strategy (or strategies) or those that claim to have developed an exclusive technique – a secret sauce – to boost rankings quickly.
As a matter of fact, there is no secret or proprietary technology in SEO. The only recipe is great content and legitimate backlinks from good sources.
In a sense, companies should be able to explain what link building strategies they use, why do they use it, and how does it help paint the bigger picture of helping a client’s business succeed.
People should make sure that the SEO proposal (if a company gives out one) contains a technical website review to identify existing problems such as broken links or bad anchor text ratios. An on-page recommendation should there be as well to optimize internal linking and keyword targeting, or to avoid over-optimization penalties.
3. Do you follow webmaster guidelines?
Google has released an article that defines webmaster best practices and all SEO firms must adhere to this guideline or suffer the wrath of the biggest search engine on the planet. Basically, these are strategies that Google loves and will therefore aid in ranking websites. There are also 12 prohibited link building tactics included in the guideline. Tactics such as use of ultra-small or white-colored text are mentioned in the guideline.
If an SEO company does not follow the guidelines and instead tries to create spammy, frowned-upon links, the website will probably be relegated to the bottom of the search results (i.e, page two where no one goes to). There is even a saying that if somebody wants to hide a dead body, he or she should hide it on the second page of Google.
Worse, the website can be outright banned!
4. How do you measure your campaign’s success?
Different types of SEO firms define success in different ways.
The incompetent ones will create backlinks to a website, have its rank increased in a matter of weeks, and call it a day. Aside from the fact that what they did is totally wrong and may even get the site penalized in the coming weeks, there are some questions that come up as well. Did the increase in rankings bring new customers? Did it bring sustainable traffic to the website? An increase in rankings is merely one outcome of a proper SEO campaign. Indeed, true success comes from the increase in traffic as well as revenue.
The experienced agency has plenty of knowledge with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools that it can help businesses track where and what type of traffic comes to a website.
5. What are your available modes of communication?
Communication is key to any type of business transaction. SEOs do vary in their preferred mode of communication, but one thing must be certain – they should be able to talk to their clients regularly.
People should ask what communication mode they prefer so that it can be in-line with what they like. Also asking them if they want to talk through chat, in person, or via the phone is recommended and will give insight to the level of involvement a company prefers.
Asking these 5 questions is a surefire way to get the perfect search optimization agency and will save hours of searching.
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