Since SEO companies still aren’t being regulated, and might never be, it’s hard to separate the experts from the self-proclaimed experts. It’s common for SEO companies to be founded by someone who read an eBook on the subject (a book which may or may not have been written by an expert) and who has no real world experience in online marketing. In many cases, they don’t even do the work themselves. They just manage their relationship with you and outsource all the work to someone else.
In some cases, this outsourcing can be a good arrangement. It can save you lot of money and get out of the confusion and chaos which comes from communicating with an entire team. In other cases, it can be a disaster. It all depends on how adept your SEO consultant is. Here are four things you can look for when hiring an SEO company to make sure you make a smart decision with your outsourcing…
- Ask About their Outsourcing Practices
Outsourcing isn’t a bad arrangement, a lot of SEO companies use it quite effectively and it can save you, as the customer, a lot of money. But it’s important to ask about an SEO company’s outsourcing practices before hiring them. Are they going to have someone in the Philippines writing your blogs and articles for $2 per piece? Are they going to outsource your link building to an overseas provider who is building your links using automated software? If so, you don’t want to do business with this company as they could hurt your reputation.
- Ask How they Gauge Results
Results are all that matter when you’re hiring an SEO company. Don’t hire someone who is just going to fulfill a list of deliverables and perform tasks every month. Instead, find out how they measure results and how they plan on reporting those results to you. Make sure they’re focused not just on rankings but on gaining leads and revenue. There are some companies who can get you ranking high for keywords, but only for a short time. But if your site isn’t getting conversions and repeat visits, it will be impossible to hold rankings for long.
- Be Careful for Laundry Lists
When you get a proposal from an SEO company, you want to look for someone who is results focused, not activity focused. Long laundry lists of services which they plan on providing for you won’t always get results. Many times, these are services which the company has been using for years and they might even be out of date. For example, you might find a company who is offering something that looks like this:
• 100 back links
• 5 monthly articles
• 2 monthly press releases
• 5 guest blog postings on our network
• blah, blah...
This is an activity focused service, but will it get results? What will the company be accountable for, simply delivering the work every month? Or will they be accountable for making sure that you get rankings? Don’t hire an SEO firm that’s just going through the motions. Find someone who is willing to do what it takes on a monthly basis to make sure that you get results.
- Ask for References
If an SEO company is getting decent results, they should be able to provide you with references. If they can’t, you’re either dealing with a brand new company or a company who has NO past (or present) clients who are willing to vouch for their services. That’s a clear give away that they’re not getting results. When asking for references, make sure you get a few of them and that you can get in touch with the person and ask them about their experience in working with the SEO company.
While you may spend a bit more time and resources finding the right SEO firm, the best for your business will be able to create a longterm partnership. Isn't a bit of research worth that kind of return?