How To Choose A SEO Company
How To Choose a SEO Company
With so many SEO companies online claiming to be the best, how do you find the one that is right for you? It's a big decision, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly; after all, you are contemplating putting the long term success of your online business into the hands of a third party.
Before you start looking for an SEO you need to know what you want to achieve, more visitors, better conversion rates or more opt-ins for example. You also need to know where you are at the present (current benchmark) and where you want to be in the future (goal) this then becomes a magor key performance incicator (KPI) and a means to measure relative success at any time throughout the seo campaign. By providing a clear and measurable outcome to aim for also lets the SEO Company better understand your needs and define a strategy.
Creating a short list
Use Google to create an initial list of SEO companies; if your goal is to enter foreign markets, construct your initial searches around this theme, for example:
The object is to find SEO companies who have experience providing a service the matches your requirements. The size of this list is up to you but I would suggest aiming for around 20-30 possible candidates at this point.
Refining the List
- Remove any company from the list that guarantees positions. No SEO company can do this and you should be very skeptical of any company that does.
- Now look for client portfolio pages and talk to existing and past clients of the companies left in the amended list. Remove companies that get unfavorable references.
- Finally search the company name online (and the names of the company owners and principles if you can find them) to see if any unfavorable comments that have been posted on blogs or social media websites.
You should now have a list of SEO Companies that are worthy of an initial approach. If refining the list removed to many companies, simply repeat the process.
The Initial Approach
Now it's time to make the initial approach, this is where the selection process works both ways. Very few SEO companies will work with every company that shows interest in their services. From an ethical point of view an SEO company may choose not to work with you because they already represent a company in the same industry and will reject your approach because it represents a conflict of interest. Some companies also request an exclusivity agreement between themselves and the SEO Company to ensure this does not happen.
Prepare an email that contains your contact details, website address and clearly outline your goals. Here is a further list of information that an SEO company will find helpful when analyzing your site and preparing a marketing strategy and quote.
- The keywords you would like to rank for
- Your major competitors, online and offline
- The age of your URL?
- Do you use a Content Management System to update your web pages?
- Details of any SEO work that has been undertaken in the past
- To what extent you are using Pay-per-click advertising (number of keyphrases and monthly spend etc.)
- What you expect in return for your SEO investment
- Do you have a timeframe; are you looking to achieve a certain goal in order to benefit from a seasonal trend that is important to your business, Christmas or Valentine's Day for example?
- Do you have web analytics and can you provide access?
- Do you have any other URL's or websites? (IP address, content and how they link to one another can create problems.)
- What future marketing initiatives do you have planed, online and offline?
N.B.If you don't have web analytics installed some SEO companies may request that you install analytics for at least two months before the can work with you.
Ask the SEO Company to quote for a program of work based on the above information that clerarly outlines, expected time scales, prices, deliverables, and ask them what type of ongoing reporting they provide.
Don't be surprised if less than half of the SEO companies you approach actually get back to you, remember this is a two way selection process.
Comparing SEO Quotes
It's very tempting to flip to the last page of the quote and let price guide your decision, however what you are looking for is transparency. You are looking for the quotes that clearly outline what is required and how it will be achieved. Any Company that is unclear or secretive about their techniques and strategies should be disqualified. Your website is an invaluable business asset and as such it is important that you protect it by fully understanding what the proposed SEO strategy involves.
Visit Their Offices
So far you have managed to create a list of SEO providers that appear to fit the bill. If possible, set up an appointment to visit their offices so you can get a feel for the company. How many employees do they have? Are they working out of a bedroom? Do they really look capable of doing the business for you?
What you should be left with are a handful of quotes that meet your criteria, it is difficult to give guidance on the final selection, you might prefer the most detailed quote because it installs greater confidence or you may prefer the cheapest quote because its more affordable. In truth, if you have been diligent in your selection process, any of the companies who have made it through to the final set should be capable of the task at hand.
SEO Scotland: Promoting business online with professionalism and integrity.