So you build a website, it looks nice and you are totally satisfied with it but…a while later, you’re asking yourself… Why don’t I have a lot of sales? Why is my website not showing on the first page of Google Search?
That’s where SEO comes into play. A set of techniques and tools to help make websites more popular and more profitable. Adapting and changing the website in such a way that it would be more attractive for both users and search robots.
SEO services are expensive, take a long time, and give the first results in a few months. And so the choice of a company is the riskiest moment; an unsuccessful decision is not immediately noticeable, the budget is drained and time is running out. Therefore, today is about how to choose an SEO company, so as not to become a failure. There can be a lot of selection criteria, so we advise you to assess the situation comprehensively, and then make conclusions.
1. What to look for when choosing an SEO agency?
Here’s a list of criteria from the most to the least significant:
a. Speed of Communication
The manager disappears at the stage of negotiations for 2 days or more, communication is interrupted, and you cannot get through to someone during working hours. Probably, the company does not have well-defined lead processing procedures. Perhaps there will be no processes for SEO services to clients. Similar to other stages of negotiations: discussion of a commercial offer, the speed of completing tasks, and so on.
b. Experience in Your Industry
An SEO company can successfully promote dozens of projects from different market segments; however, this does not mean that it will handle yours just as easily. Each industry has its subtleties and experience. You don’t want to be a “test sample” do you?
If the company refers to the Non-disclosure agreement (NDA), ask for screenshots from Analytics / Metrics with reports on search queries and traffic. The name of the company and the website are not visible there, but you will get proof. If not, well, you tried.
c. Individual Strategy
Of course, all projects need an “individual approach to customers”, but how can it be useful in your case?
Didn’t get it – ask for it. And make your conclusions. If the answers take into account the specifics of the business and industry and rely on the actual state of your site, this is a plus. Everything else is a minus.
d. Team & Office
This is a conditional indicator, which sometimes saves you from risks, but sometimes it may not justify itself; often excellent specialists work without an office. And the point is not that everyone is sitting at the office. The essence of the reality of business. After all, you probably want your project to be led by a real team, and not beginner SEO specialists from the exchange for $10/project.
e. Expertise, Professional Recognition, & Regalia
Not all companies want to “share the experience” and “help colleagues in the field”, but many use it to advertise and prove their expertise. And certificates in the specialty are the basis, without them, you can’t go anywhere.
By the way, if you are looking for a PPC contractor, ask for Google AdWords certificates – they look the same – and this is the official Google certification.
As for public recognition, this is a good indicator of expertise if employees are invited to speak at conferences. And companies never hide information about this.
Reviews are not to be trusted blindly, but in general, they are a great way to learn about the work of the company and adjust your expectations.
Remember two things: reviews become outdated and are mostly written not about the company, but about the team/specialist who led the project. However, you can almost certainly trust the reviews that are signed by well-known specialists and companies.
In each industry, there are average prices for typical services.
First, there is no “express SEO” that can be done 5 times faster than the competition and cost 5 times less money. Therefore, the cheaper the service, the less the specialist receives. So, a beginner with little experience can be a specialist. Or one specialist can lead eleven projects at once – usually in such situations, there is not enough time for full-fledged work, a deep understanding of the business, and a serious approach.
Secondly, the price includes the work of the entire team and administrative staff: account manager, training specialist, and so on. If the price is low, it is possible that the company simply does not have these employees, and your project will be run by one “jack of all trades”. Usually, this does not lead to good results.
2. What questions to ask an SEO company?
Question: “What is an SEO strategy? What SEO strategy will you use for my site?”
A: There is no universally correct answer, but make sure that there are no inconsistencies and that in general everything looks adequate.
Question: “How long does it take for a site to start ranking in the TOP 10?”
A: The general results of optimization will be noticeable a month or two later; the strategy is then adjusted and the exact scope of work is clear. It’s impossible to predict in advance.
Question: “How do you get backlinks?”
A: Beware of the abstract “Let’s put rental links in large numbers” – this is an evasion of the answer. Put a mental plus for a company that plans to choose sites similar in subject matter and agree on posting articles.
Question: “Do you do internal website optimization? What does it include?”
A: Without it, you’re going nowhere; it’s a mandatory service. Specialists should check the site for duplicate pages/meta tags/content; remove errors and create a sitemap and robots.txt; the specific list of tasks depends on the state of the site.
Question: “How will work be tracked? Do you send any reports? In any form? How often? What will be in them?”
A: Reports must be available with key data (depending on the task, but usually these are traffic and key positions) in dynamics. Analytics normally come with a list of already closed tasks and a list of tasks for the period until the next report. You should not request daily reports, but a monthly frequency is enough to see the dynamics and evaluate the work.