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How to Choose a Good SEO Company for Your Business Website?

 

When it comes to selecting a reputable company to manage your SEO, there is both a right way and a wrong way to set about the hiring process. In today's blog, I have explained common pitfalls to avoid and recommendation to take when it comes to selecting an agency or advisor to optimize your website for search engines. SEOs, take note: there are great concepts here for how to promote yourselves to clients, as well!

If SEO is vital to your business, then the selection of which company or person to use goes to have a large impact, most likely one of the biggest impacts on whether you get great results. There are a bunch of mistakes that individuals make when they go down this choosing an SEO company path.

Don't make these mistakes

Mistake #1: Using Google as your filter

The logic makes a lot of sense here if you think about it simplistically. simplistic thinking is a good SEO company will do an excellent job ranking for SEO company or SEO consultant or SEO consultant plus my city name. So if I am looking for the best SEO in city, I have only to Google "best SEO Seattle" and for sure the number-one company will show up at the top. But, unfortunately, what happens is most of the very good companies, the ones that are in high demand, the ones that do consistently great work and get great referrals, they do not really need to rank here. They are overwhelmed with clients all the time because their clients refer them to people and plenty of people in their network refer people to them. They have a high retention of clients. Lots of people are very satisfied. They are making lots of money and they are improbably busy, so they don't spend any work optimizing their own website to get new clients.

As a result, you're often left with a number of the dregs here. Many of the companies that rank well for best SEO plus city name or best SEO plus a region or plus a specific specialty, like best ecommerce SEO, are not the best. They are, in fact, the folks who are merely without any client work so they are concentrating all their energy on trying to get new clients. Sometimes, maybe, you can find some smart people in there. It's just not an excellent filter.

Mistake #2: Trusting "Top SEO" lists

Many people will search for "best SEOs" or "best SEO consultants" or "best SEO companies," "best SEO companies united states." They will get to a website like, i don't know, bestSEOs.com or topSEOs.com. There are variety of these types of websites that are essentially simply aggregators. Their business model is that they try to rank for terms like this, then they sell those listings, the listings on their page, to SEO companies and firms.

Mistake #3: Believing there is a "secret sauce"

Mistake number 3 is believing the sales pitch that unfortunately several i'm going to say low-quality SEO consultants use, which is there's a secret sauce. There are no secret sauces in SEO. If you hear like, "This is how Google works blah, blah, blah, and then here's how we do our secret optimization techniques. i can't tell you what those are. It is a proprietary methodology, however it works very well," that is nonsense. You should reject that. If you ask, "How do you do it," and they say, "I'm sorry i am unable to tell you, it is a secret or it's proprietary," That is a very, very bad sign. Nobody has a secret proprietary process. SEO is a very, very open field. It's well understood. It has origins in a lot of secrecy, however that's not the way it is today and you must never settle for that as a solution. that's a red flag.

My suggested method for selecting an SEO company:

Step 1

Establish, sit down together with your team, with your CEO, with your executive team, your board, whoever you have, and figure out the goals you are trying to achieve with SEO. Why do you wish to do SEO? Why do you wish to rank organically for keywords? Then, figure out how you are going to evaluate success versus failure. During this process, there are good goals and bad goals.

Good goals:

We want to get in front of a lot of people who are researching this, so we want traffic from these specific groups. I know that they perform searches for this. Great.

We're trying to boost revenue, and we're trying to boost it through new sales and SEO is a sales driving channel. Fine, great.

We're trying to boost downloads or free sign-ups or free trials. also a fine goal.

We're trying to boost sentiment for our brand. Maybe if you Googled some of our branded terms today, there are some poor reviews, there's lots of good reviews that rank below them, and that we need to push the good reviews up and the bad reviews down. Fine. Sentiment, that could be something you are driving as well. You recognize a lot of people are researching your brand or branded terms. Those are all good goals.

Bad goals:

We simply want traffic, more traffic. Why? Well, because we want it. Terrible, terrible goal. Traffic is not a goal in and of itself. If you say, "Well, we want more traffic because we know search traffic converts well for us and here are the statistics on that," fine, terrific. Now it is a revenue driving factor.

Rankings alone, unfortunately this is a vanity factor that several individuals have where they want to rank for something simply because they need to rank for it. Usually a bad sign for SEO companies considering clients. You should'nt have that on your goals list. that's not a positive goal.

Beating a particular competitor out for specific keywords or phrases. Again, not a great goal. does not drive on to revenue. Does not drive on to organizational goals.

Vanity metrics. I still see people who are saying, "Hey, does anyone know a great SEO company which will help bring our domain authority up or our Majestic trust flow up or, worst of all, our Google PageRank up?" Google dropped PageRank years ago. It's terrible. Vanity metrics, bad ideas too.

Step 2

Once you have a list of these good goals that you are trying to optimize for, my suggestion is that you should assemble a list of usually 3 to 5 is I feel sort of the right comfort zone. You can do more if you have the bandwidth to evaluate more, but 3 to 5, at least, consultants or agencies. Those could be by a bunch of criteria. you may say, "Hey, look we really need somebody in our region so that we {can|we will|we are able to} meet with them personally or at least someone who can fly to us on a regular basis." perhaps that's a requirement for you. or you might say, "That's not important. Remote is great." Fine, wonderful. you might say something like, "Our price range or our budget is this specific thing."

You want to find whatever those criteria are and make sure you've a listing of 3 to 5 people that you just will consider against each other. Have some conversations with them and dig into references.

Good sources:

Your friends and personal networks and professional networks as well.

Similar non-competitive companies. you will find that if you are, for example, in a B2B area or in an ecommerce area and there's a non-competitive ecommerce company whom you are friendly with, you'll be able to build those relationships. You should definitely already have those relationships. Talking to those people about who they use and whether they were successful, great way to find some smart people.

Industry insiders. Follow some great SEO folks on Twitter, which may be extremely popular network for SEOs, or that you simply browse SEO blogs. Yo will reach out to some of those influential insiders with whom you have a relationship or whose opinion you really like and care about and ask them who they'd suggest.

Good questions to ask:

By the way, i would ask: What method are you going to use to accomplish our goals, and why do you use those specific processes? That is a really smart one to begin with.

Ask them about their communication and reporting method. How often? What is their cadence like? What metrics do they report on? What do they need you to collect? Why do they collect those metrics? How do those match up to your goals and how do they align?

What work and resources will you have to commit internally? You must know that before you go into any arrangement, because it could get terribly complex. If your SEO company says, "Great here's a list of recommendations," and you say, "Fine, we do not have the development bandwidth, or we do not have the content creation bandwidth, or we do not have the visual or UI or ux exchange bandwidth to make any of those. So what do we do?" Well, now you are road blocked. You should've had that conversation much earlier in time. *By the way, SEO typically needs some intensive resource allotment. So you must plan for that before time.

What do you do when things aren't working? I like asking that question, and that I like asking for specific examples of when things haven't gone right and what they've done to fix that in the past and work around it.

I like asking broadly. Especially when you open a conversation, especially if you are feeling like, hey i want to get to know this company's approach to SEO and their understanding of Google, you can ask them something like, "Hey, tell me how will Google rank results, and how do you as a company influence them?" You should hear sensible answers about, yes, this is how Google does things, and here's how we know that and here's how we do our process of influencing those results. that's great.

Step 3

I like to suggest that people choose on these four things:

The trust that you have established with an organization. that's through references, through the conversation, through people that you have talked to in your network.

Through referrals. If you hear great referrals and you trust those referral sources, that is a wonderful signal.

Through communication style match. If your communication style, even if everything else is good, but when you have conversations, you walk away from them feeling a little annoyed, perhaps you got the things you needed, but it did not flow smoothly, i'd suggest that perhaps that is a cultural mismatch and you should look for another provider.
Price and contract structure. Many SEO firms have a contract structure that's month-to-month and that has a certain length of time. You should expect to pay some direct payment then some ongoing monthly fee. There is usually a time at which the payment will recur and the contract will renew. It's pretty almost like a lot of other services, consulting types of agreements, so you must expect that. If you're seeing very non-standard stuff, that can be a bad thing sometimes, but not always. A lot of times SEOs have more artistic pricing, and that's alright.

Pro tips

Three pro tips:

If SEO needs to be a core competency at your company, bring it in-house. An agency or consultant can never do as much with as much resources, with as much communication, as someone in-house can do. Starting with a consultant externally and then bringing someone in-house is a fine way to go.

If the quality SEO people that you're considering are too costly, my suggestion would be to just get advise on the work, and you can hire an in-house person, maybe who's more beginner-level and you coach that person. That can work well, again only if you have that budget to bring that person in-house.

Remember that SEO is not for everyone. SEO is extremely competitive. Page 1 gets 95% plus of the clicks. The top 3 or 4 results are getting more than 70% of those clicks. So a lot of the time, if you can't afford yet to do SEO or to engage in it seriously, it may not be all that valuable to go from ranking on page five for a lot of your key terms to page two or the bottom of page one. Unless you have the budget and the energy to really commit yourself to SEO, it might be something that you can consider later down the road.

All right, everyone, I hope you've liked the blog. We would love to hear your thoughts on how you've picked good SEO companies in the past and the experiences you've had there.