For business owners, it can often feel as if you are balancing the weight of the world precariously on you shoulders. No business of any size can afford to ignore the importance of search engine optimization, even if it feels like just one more weight to add. Employing an SEO company is one way to help lighten the load, but you shouldn’t rush headlong into contracting the services of the first company you find.
The right SEO company will be able to:
1. Explain why you need them
It is important to ask prospective companies what they can do for you and why you need their specific services. What can they do that you or an existing member of your team can’t? Always contact more than one company so that you can judge the range of responses and weed out those who cannot give you specific, defined reasons.
2. Fill gaps in your skills and experience
You have spent time building your team and developing both their and your skills sets. Any SEO company that you hire must be able to fit into the gaps in these skills and offer something you don’t already have. Don’t settle for just their word about their skills; ask for solid examples of campaigns they have worked on and what exactly they achieved.
3. Be cost effective
This is very different to being cheap. The company you hire must be worth the money you are paying. They need to improve your ROI at the end of the day.
4. Explain what you get for your money
Never take “all inclusive” at face value. Check what you are expected to pay, and for what result. If the price is per task, per improved placement on Google, or per hour, you need to know exactly what you are getting.
5. Value your input
You are hiring a company to take the pressure off of you and to fill in skills gaps in your team, but that does not mean you are no longer obsessed with your search engine rankings. In fact, the opposite is true: you are taking the step of hiring an SEO company because you realize how important it is. Therefore, you need to be involved and for your input to be taken seriously. Just remember that having input and being listened to are completely different to interfering and micro-managing.
6. Reach and understand your customers
When you work with an SEO company, yours will be one of many optimization campaigns they are involved in (at least it should be if they are doing a good job). Despite this, you need to know that your optimization will be given adequate time and attention. If the company can’t explain what information and data they need from you then back away.
7. Understand the importance of testing
The importance of testing cannot be underestimated. It is not enough for the company to say that their specific tactic has worked for your segment previously. Find out exactly how and what they will test, how regularly, and how they implement the feedback they receive.
8. Collect and analyze data
Just as important as testing is analyzing the impact your optimized search result have on your business. How will they show that their work is having a positive effect on your ROI? Find out how they collect and interpret data and, again, what they do with the results of these analyses.
9. Understand mobile technology
Not really a secret, but still very important. Your SEO company should be able to explain their mobile SEO strategy as its own component to your overall success.
10. Comply with rules and regulations
If during your negotiations you get the feeling that the company doesn’t understand that rules and regulations apply to the Internet world, don’t walk away; run. Rules exist, whether we like them or not, and any reputable SEO company will work within them.