How to Buy Professional SEO Services
If you are in the market for professional search engine optimization (SEO) services, you want to make an informed choice. Here are the common pitfalls to avoid and the best way to go about choosing the best agency or consultant.
What Are SEO Services?
If you have an online presence, your website must rank on the first page of search engine results for prospects and clients to find you. Professional SEO services include the proven techniques, strategies, and tactics that an expert employs to help your website rank more highly in search engine results. Done right, search engine optimization can be one of the most important marketing strategies to help your online presence. Done poorly, however, SEO can have a catastrophic effect on your marketing and lead generation.
What Should I Look for in an SEO Agency?
The best SEO agencies rank highly in related Google searches and are able to explain how SEO works in plain English. Top SEO agencies have excellent client retention rates, and are able to share references of clients who have experienced great results.
Most people looking for SEO agencies search for “best SEO in (city name) “ and expect the first 2 or 3 to be their best option. It is important to thoroughly vet these agencies to make sure that their client service matches their search engine results.
In addition, generally do not trust aggregated lists of “top SEO agencies” from websites like “best SEO.com” or “top SEO.com.” Most companies on those lists pay for the privilege of being listed. It rarely has anything to do with quality of service or results.
Finally, beware of companies that claim to know the “secret” SEO strategies or tactics. Be wary of SEO agencies that refuse to share their “proprietary methodology” with you. SEO is an open field that experts have dedicated time and effort to learning. They should be happy to share their knowledge and expertise to help you understand SEO.
In addition to the web, your best place to find an SEO agency is through referrals and recommendations from colleagues and peers. Spend time in business meet-ups and other events talking to people about their SEO experiences.
How to Choose an SEO Agency
First, sit down with your team and other stakeholders to decide the objectives you want to achieve with your website and SEO. Perhaps one goal is to rank organically for your chosen long-tail keywords. Once you have your objectives listed, decide how you will measure if they are successful.
You want to pay attention to these types of goals:
- Valuable objectives. Traffic from a specific group that you know searches for your product or services is best. Use SEO to help with brand visibility and lead generation to drive sales and boost revenue. Or perhaps you want to boost downloads of a particular content resource or sign-ups for a demo. These are all valuable objectives for your SEO practice.
- Harmful objectives. Driving traffic for the sake of more traffic is not a goal. You want to drive traffic in ways that help your strategic initiatives. Another harmful goal is striving for rankings alone; it can lead to short term methods of attaining the number one ranking that can get you into trouble later. It will not drive more revenue, so do not waste your efforts.
Next, get referrals and recommendations from peers and colleagues on SEO agencies. Local rankings, like the Phoenix Business Journal ranking of top SEO agencies can help.
Once you have a list of agencies, ask them the following questions:
- Experience: Tell me about your experience in helping companies with SEO. Make sure they can describe in detail, the white hat (best practice) vs black hat (harmful) aspects of their methodology. Ask them how their SEO process has changed in the last year given that Google has released more than 500 algorithm updates.
- Process: What is your process for helping us achieve our goals?
- Communication & Reporting: What is your communication and reporting process? Find out how often they communicate and what metrics they collect.
- Resources: What resources will you commit to our project? You want to know who will be working on your project. You also want to understand if they have the people in place to provide everything you need and what you will need to handle internally.
- Issues: What happens when strategies don’t work? Ask for specific examples of when a project did not go right and how they fixed it.
- Referrals: Can you provide us a list of referrals? Make sure you call each referral and ask what they liked and what they did not.
Make your final choice based on these four elements:
- Trust. Spending time with SEO agencies whether in person or on the phone in the evaluation process, you most likely established trust better with some agencies than others.
- Referrals. If you hear great recommendations for an agency, and you trust those sources, put that agency at the top.
- Communication. Another element you probably established during evaluation is a communication style match. Choose an agency with whom you feel comfortable communicating and who understands you.
- Price. Do not let price sway your choice too much. Cheaper does not mean better SEO results. You do not want to risk your website ranking because one agency was cheaper than the rest.
If you are ready to transform your website’s SEO into a powerful marketing tool in 2018, contact KEO Marketing to get started with a free consultation.