Choosing to handle your website’s on-site optimization or hiring an SEO company to do so is an important decision. Many small business owners have enough to worry about as it is. But marketing your business is an important investment to make, whichever method(s) you choose to work with. Online marketing is relatively new compared with other more traditional types of marketing. So how can you choose a reputable company to hire without wasting your time and money? Check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide for more tips.
Ask for testimonials, previous work and recommendations – Word of mouth is one of the most telling signs that you’re working with a reputable company. Whether it’s a friend, family member, neighbor or client, it helps to choose a company that has been vetted by someone you know and trust. Looking at a company’s portfolio is also important as you can see their different range of work and options that are available for your budget range.
Although it’s most convenient to choose an internet marketing that a good friend has vouched for, you might not be so lucky. This is where it pays to do some investigative work and look for real customer reviews on sites like Yelp, CitySearch, Google+, Yahoo, BBB and more. I’ve also had some luck Googling the company’s name + “scam” and/or “fraud”. Even a simple search of their phone number will show you if they’re a real company or have scammed people in the past.
Communication and availability – Try calling or sending a message/email and see how long it takes the prospective company to get back to you. If you never hear back, get a canned response or a bounced email, that tells you a whole lot about the company. Nowadays, many companies are open to giving a short consultation, site review or proposal of what they can do for your business before they ask you to seal the deal. Don’t be shy and ask questions. This is the lifeblood you call your website that we’re talking about here!
Avoid cold calls and promises that sound too good to be true – Ever get an automated call or generic email claiming that your site can be #1? First of all, straight from Google’s guidelines, “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” No one! Anyone making those kinds of vague promises deserve some deep explanation and questioning. Remember, some SEO companies have sales people who are only concerned with hitting a quota per week/month. They might not even understand the basic principles of search engine optimization while they are trying to sell and upgrade you with unnecessary services.
Your future SEO company should be one that doesn’t need to mass solicit other businesses in order to stay in business!
Ask for transparency about methods – There is no magic pill or definitive plan for SEO. It’s not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. If a company is too vague or doesn’t ask you enough questions about your business or industry, you should definitely be concerned. If they’re promising X amount of content per month, you have to ask questions like where is the content coming from, who is writing it, is it unique, and is it mine to own and keep? You’ll be surprised that there are still companies out there that own everything they do for your business. Meaning that if you ever decide to leave, you leave with nothing!
Monthly reports and calls or meetings should be arranged so that you can be updated on the progress that’s made. During this time, you should ask about the work completed, benchmarks that still need to be met. Don’t forget to ask about short term as well as long term goals. Technically speaking, the company you hire should be able to account for every minute that they spend doing work on your website. If you get anything less than that, it’s worth looking elsewhere for an SEO. There are plenty of fish in the sea but it’s just the matter of choosing the right one!
Remember, you also have other hands-on options, such as: SEO training and implementing a search engine friendly CMS. Emarketed is a Bing Ads Accredited and a Google Certified Partner. Contact us for more info on optimizing your website.