There have been plenty of articles out there about choosing or hiring the right SEO company, but I am going to offer 5 different suggestions based on my personal experience with clients.
There are always things to ask SEO companies to see if they are qualified, but the big question is:
Do they care or take an interest in what is best for the client?
If they do the following 3 things will be important to them.
When Hiring an SEO Company: 3 Things
Strategies Based on Goals, Not Traffic Numbers
All SEO and Internet marketing strategies should start with the goals a business has for improving branding, sales, traffic and/or anything else.
An SEO company that doesn’t even ask what your goals are or what you are hoping to achieve is not focused on the right things. Their goals might not match your goals and if they are not asking about your goals, they are most likely focused on their own (which to me means they have little experience).
Increased traffic cannot be the only goal an SEO company works towards. I know I can get people traffic all day long, but is it quality traffic? Quality traffic buys, invests, shares, begins the trust process and/or meets one or more of your goals. The strategies put into place must be focused on goals.
Take away: If a SEO company doesn’t bring up goals, they are not the company for you. You should not have to point out that goals are a priority.
Educating the Client as Part of the Process
Every so often I hear people tell me that their SEO company cannot tell them what the company is doing because it is “secret.” Okay. . .well, let’s analyze this. I educate my clients, but I don’t tell them everything. Nor do I tell things or answer detailed questions to people that are not paying me. However, if I have a potential client in front of me, I often educate them enough to understand what the issues are with their SEO and/or website. These are not secrets, but the basics of what an SEO company does.
I tell a lot and I educate a lot. But even with the knowledge I give away, the client would still need my services. Even if I told a “secret” the person most likely wouldn’t have the knowledge or experience to use the “secret” effectively. I can say a lot without rendering myself useless.
Educated clients know they are not wasting their money with me and they know what to look for in regards to traffic, leads and goals. By educating, we become a “team” and long-lasting working relationships are formed.
Take away: I think an SEO company that wants their clients to be educated (to a point) on the services they are offering is a good sign. Those that refuse to truly educate make me nervous.
Understanding of User Experience
An SEO company has to understand how critical the user experience (UX) is for visitors to a website. SEO and great rankings are wonderful, but if a visitor comes in to a site and cannot find what they are looking for or the site is difficult to use then sales are lost.
A good SEO company should be focused on everything from the beginning to the end: goal-oriented traffic that results in a conversion. When they are talking to you about your website, they should be able to point out things that could cause a problem or discuss things that could be improved to help meet the goals of the SEO strategies.
Take away: If a company only discusses changes to meta tags and has nothing else to offer, then they are not the company you should be working with. They should be focused on the usability of the website, the user experience start to finish and most importantly, page content and features supporting SEO strategies and goals.
Do They Want What is Best for YOU?
There are lots of little questions to ask SEO companies, but I am encouraging you to look a bit further. A good SEO company will want what is best for you and what is best for you includes:
- SEO strategies based on your goals: SEO should meet a need for you. If the company is not focused on your needs, they are not focused on what is best for you, period.
- Educating you: You are the client and you should be educated on the services you are paying for and what they will offer you. You should have at least a basic understanding that allows you to monitor what is working and what isn’t. Without this knowledge, you could be paying for services that do nothing for you. Is this what is best for you?
- An understanding of user experience: If an SEO company isn’t concerned with the UX (user experience) of your website then they are not thinking about what is best for your company. UX is a critical part of what real SEO companies do. Real SEO companies are not focused on just meta tags and traffic. They are focused on how each and every single thing will impact your SEO, your UX, your sales and your goals.
There are a lot of other factors to look at when hiring an SEO company, but as someone that owns their own SEO company, I encourage you to remember the three things I mentioned above.
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