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How to Choose an SEO Company

Friday, Jan 17th, 2014.

Have you ever done a search for top SEO companies? If you have, you know just how frustrating that search can be.

When we first started researching this article, we were going to title it “The Top 5 SEO Companies.” But… after a little research and a few Google searches, it became quickly apparent that this would be a difficult list to create.

SEO companies are not all alike, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. During our search, we discovered that the search term “Top SEO companies” is full of spam websites and SEO companies that have made so called “review” sites to promote themselves. We found a number of reports of companies being fined and forced to take down such sites as well.

SEO has become known as a sketchy business to be involved in, and there is a reason for that—primarily because there are a lot of sketchy people using shady practices within the field. However, not all companies are like this.

So instead of writing a “Top 5” list, we’re presenting a buyer’s guide to SEO. Hopefully this guide will help those of you searching to improve your web presence with the resources to locate an SEO firm that will be a good fit for your company.

Questions you should ask a potential SEO provider:

How will your SEO firm determine which keywords to target during optimization?

Research is tremendously important to any SEO campaigns success. It is important that you understand the firm’s research methodology and ensure that it is reasonable.

Does your SEO program include onsite analysis of design, navigation, content and inbound links?

Good SEO firms will be able to provide recommendations on how to improve your website so that search engines and users can more easily find and navigate your site.

Do you perform competitor research?

If the prospective firm does not understand the space you are competing in for business, how will they ever help you target your customers online?

Do you have a link strategy and if so, what is it?

If the firm does not have a link strategy they will not be any good. It is also important that they value white hat techniques rather than black hat techniques, which will ultimately hurt the websites they are working on.

How do you plan to optimize the website? What are the on-page and off-page techniques you will be using?

The SEO firm will not know this unless they have done their homework and done proper analysis of your site. They will likely not be able to answer this until after the initial strategy session.

Other things to ask for from an SEO company:

  • References or client lists (and check them)

  • Samples or case studies for the major search engines

  • How long they have been in business

  • How many pages they will be optimizing for the price quoted

  • How they will optimize your company for Google location

  • List of other services they offer

Things to avoid in an SEO company:

  • Any company that promises a #1 position on the first page of Google

  • Any company that offers a quick fix, which usually seems too good to be true (because it is)

  • Companies that will develop your site entirely in Flash

  • Firms that use hidden links or link farms

  • Any company that uses paid link strategies

  • Any company that makes unrealistic promises or doesn’t deliver results on a deadline