Choosing the right SEO company can have major implications for your company.
Pick the right one, and your ROI is massive. Pick the wrong one, and you lose your initial investment plus the revenue from declining organic traffic.
And this all comes down to choosing the right SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist.
Businesses in all sectors can increase their sales and reduce their advertising budget with the right SEO partnership.
A great SEO will also improve the user experience.
Here are five points for entrepreneurs to understand before signing a contract with a new SEO company.
1. SEO is not rocket science, so don't work with people who try to make it seem that way
SEO is the process of optimizing your website for organic traffic.
It can be difficult and is often misunderstood. But it’s not as complicated as agencies like to make it out to be.
People who claim to have special knowledge of Google's algorithms or treat SEO like some ancient mystical magic are usually lying.
Good SEO is about having a deep understanding of search engines and the ability to make adjustments as Google's algorithms change nearly every week.
Abusing shortcuts like keyword stuffing, buying links, and cloaking can lead to Google penalizing your website.
These methods are known as Black Hat Search Engine Optimization because they break search engine rules.
Google's bots will degrade your site's ranking in their search results, which will result in a decrease in organic traffic.
Those SEOs who claim to have insider techniques are more than likely using these Black Hat methods. And while they may work for a bit, the penalty is not worth the temporary success in organic results.
2. Find a firm that will help you achieve your goals
No matter what you do, don't hire an SEO company with the vague goal to "increase organic traffic".
First, there are many types of organic traffic.
This means that increasing traffic doesn't automatically mean increased revenue.
For example, ranking first in Google for Italian men's shoes doesn't do any good for your CBD company.
You and your team need to clearly define what you want from SEO in order to avoid confusion.
Do you want to increase product sales by ranking for specific keywords?
Do you struggle to decrease your website's bounce rates or increase your conversion rate and need optimization there?
Would you rather have a large audience to increase your ad revenue or a smaller one that spends less time on your site on average?
Do you need help with social media, creating sponsored content, or other services beyond SEO?
These are all critical answers to find before you sign a contract with any SEO freelancer or agency.
Whatever SEO company you choose, be clear about the results you want and what services are required.
This will make life easier for everyone involved.
3. Check Google for great SEOs and also use your network
If an SEO agency or freelancer is ranking at the top of the results, it's clear that they know what they're doing. The reverse is also true.
Would you trust an "SEO expert" who couldn't even get their site onto page one?
With that being said, use some discretion when trying to find someone to work with.
Maybe it's the case that a small SEO team can't afford the time to get their own website onto page one because they're booked 4-5 months in advance with clients.
Another route is to leverage your network. Clients who find success with a particular agency are likely to promote that agency to their friends.
So reach out to people who own companies and see who they're using for SEO.
And when you find articles named something like "Best SEO agencies in Dallas", don't assume that list is impartial.
The majority of companies that appear on a list pay a premium to be on it.
It's the same kind of pay-for-play setup you see for random people you've never heard of appearing on Forbes' lists.
Good SEO companies already have too much business to bother paying for a spot on a "bestseocompanies.com" or "topseos.com" list.
However, this does not mean there aren't reputable lists. Use your judgment here.
The best method of locating a qualified SEO company is whatever method gets you results. And that can be from word-of-mouth recommendations or Google searches.
Ask people within your professional network who they would recommend, but be careful soliciting advice from your competitors.
4. Look for an SEO company that uses metrics that work
After you have defined your goals and narrowed your choices to a few companies you can now make sure you and your company have a clear plan for tracking your progress.
What is your ultimate goal for ranking for certain keywords?
It is important that you and your consultant agree on key performance indicators or KPIs before you hire a new SEO company.
KPIs can be applied to any aspect of a company and can also refer to SEO.
A company that has a new product may have different goals than a company that has an established clientele.
KPIs can go far beyond this.
We have so many data sources that it is easy to lose track of the right KPIs or get lost in them.
You need an SEO company that can help you understand which metrics are most important for your business and condense them into something you can easily digest.
These are some of the most important KPIs you should consider:
Organic sessions: How many people have visited your website via organic search? This KPI is the most fundamental and important in SEO. You can also look at other factors such as page views per day, time spent on each page, bounce rate, and the number of unique visitors.
Conversion rate: How many visitors sign up for your newsletter, buy your product or interact with your content?
Keyword rankings: What keywords are you ranking for? And, in general, how have your keyword rankings improved since you hired an SEO company?
Google crawling errors: Google crawling refers to the process whereby a Googlebot systematically indexes your site's content. Google cannot index your website if it is not able to read it properly, which can negatively impact organic traffic.
Page loading time: How quickly someone leaves your website directly correlates with how long it takes to load a page. Think with Google says that the bounce rate, which is how quickly people leave your website, increases by 90% when page load time increases from one up to five seconds.
5. Look for an SEO company that communicates effectively
Although you should have access to the tools they use to measure your KPIs (SEMRush, Google Search Console), you likely don't have the time or the resources to analyze the data.
You need an SEO team that is able to communicate with you and foster trust.
SEO is a long-term process, so it's possible to work with the firm for many years.
Even if you are only looking to work with an outside company for a short time, achieving your goals in organic website traffic takes patience, persistence, and a good working relationship.
SEO is essential for your business. It is also crucial to choose the right SEO company.
Around 90% of internet users today only view results from Google's first webpage. So it is possible to transform your business by finding an SEO company that gets you results.
It can be more difficult than you think to find the right company.
Many companies make promises they can't keep or violate Google's guidelines through poor SEO.
This could ultimately lead to your company being hurt.
Instead of relying on "best of" lists to help you find the best SEO company, search Google for more natural rankings for individual companies, and talk to your friends and business associates.
After narrowing down your search, be sure you and your company are clear about your goals.
Next, create KPIs to measure your goals.
You should also choose a company that communicates well to foster a lasting and productive working relationship.
SEO is not just a buzzword.
Search Engine Optimization can be a powerful tool to help you build a brand if you choose the right SEO company.