Things To Consider When Picking An SEO Firm

toomanyoptionsLooking to hire an SEO Firm but not sure how to evaluate them? It’s tough! There are so many different ways to tackle SEO and there are so many different pricing structures and models.  You are rarely comparing apples to apples and it can be really confusing, not to mention frustrating when you are trying to make a decision.

Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Go with your gut.  How do you feel about your contact at the firm?  Are they friendly, helpful, forthcoming with information?  Are they responsive?  Can you imagine yourself working with them?  No one is perfect and I am not saying the person has to be someone you would choose to spend your life with.  However the person selling the services to you is the person they chose to be the first point of contact for their company.  They know you are forming your impressions based on this first interaction.  Did they make a good choice in that person?  Does the person represent the company well and inspire faith in them and their abilities?
  2. Ask for testimonials, references and proof of results. This is important.  They should be proud of their results and you shouldn’t need to twist their arm to get this information.
  3. Do they claim to have special connections with Google or insider information or proprietary information?  Run the other way if this is the case.
  4. Do they publish content on a regular basis?  Are they active on social media?  Do they have a strong presence?  All of those are indicators of how serious they are about walking the talk.
  5. Do their terms of service make sense to you and make you feel comfortable?
  6. Have they said anything that rings alarm bells, like promising first place rankings quickly for any and all keywords?  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  7. Find out what you can expect in terms of on-going support and communications.  Ask what their policy is for returning phone calls or emails.  You want to feel comfortable with the level of support you are going to get going forward.
  8. Are they open, honest and willing to tell you if/when they disagree with you?  This is a good thing! You don’t want a “yes man” working for you.  You want someone that will tell you what’s what honestly and someone that will do what is best for you and not just what you want to hear.
  9. Have they been around for a long time and do they have a solid reputation online?
  10. Do they have a quality control process and are they willing to share the details of the service and the QC?

There are so many other factors and some of them depend on your level of knowledge about SEO.  If you hear things that cause alarm bells to go off, that’s something you need to address.

There is no one regulating body for this industry and there is no one accepted strategy for SEO, there are so many opinions and factors and strategies.  It does make it hard for you, the buyer, to make your decisions because of that.  The best advice I can truly offer you is to go with your gut and do spend some time doing research and validating things you are told.

 

About Jennifer Horowitz

With over 13 years in the industry, Jennifer Horowitz, Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet, has amassed much knowledge and experience and has much to say about all things SEO (marketing, copywriting & social media). Always happy to share with an audience, Jenn is now a regular contributor at Level343.

Comments

  1. Thank you for mentioning Quality Control. Some SEO companies just get links from all over the place and once receiving payment, they just disappear. Quality is what it’s all about these day. Thanks for sharing Jennifer.

  2. In case you’re tracking such matters and I suspect you are, I found your article via my Scoopit panel. These tips for finding a skillful SEO firm are all good issues to consider. Forthcoming with results driven metrics (on their webpages) is one way we try to stand out in offering our SEO services. I mean after all, of the SEO firm isn’t ranked on page 1 of Google for their top competitive keywords, how can you expect them to be able to perform for your small business operation? Glad I found this article. Nicely done!

  3. I think the best way to choose any SEO firm, by looking their client list and ask for proof for their work. This will give you solid proof that the firm is valuable and is able to deliver results. You can also ask what techniques they use to achieve rankings and my personal opinion is to stay away from seo companies which ask for fixed price for fixed task.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more Aahna. But unfortunately, 90% of our clients have us sign an NDA which, makes it next to impossible to share information with potential new clients. But what we’ve done to resolve this situation is found 4 clients that are willing to give us phone recommendations when and if asked. It’s not numbers/data or proof of our work per say, but it does show our commitment to the privacy of the client and the great relationships we have built throughout the years!

  5. Majority of people after spending big amount on SEO process, complain that they can’t get top position on search engines due to getting poor SEO services. There are some important thing which you must check before picking an SEO agency for your website. I am happy to read your tips for choosing the right agency and definitely I’ll share this with all bloggers and small business concerns’ owners :)

  6. Good list thanks, I’m just about to start looking for an SEO company for a project, I wouldn’t have thought to ask some of these questions. Cheers

  7. Hey James, another thing comes to mind when working with an SEO company, make sure your best interest are served. It’s not about what they have done for others or the cookie cutter they spew in those spam emails…it’s about you. Good luck, and let me know how that works out for you!

  8. Thanks Stephanie, another thing I would add is, making the client just as responsible when things go south. Basically, when you partner with an SEO company, they are not the only ones that have a certain job to do. The client has just as much responsibility as we do. Especially, if all we are doing is advising, recommending with no capacity to make those changes. We’ve had a few of those clients… YOU give them a roadmap of what must be done, and they do nothing. ~meh

  9. Hey Neil, thanks for the click through foot step history… I love Scoop.it ;)
    In defense of some SEO companies, (us included) while I agree they should rank for their specific keywords, sometimes they are too busy to deal with the health of their own sites. That’s not to say they can’t hire someone to do the work, which is what we are doing as I type this.

    As a matter of fact I’m working on the weekend with an outside developer on our new site/blog. But we still rank for our branded key terms. Too bad I can’t tell you what they are… I would have to kill you! :P

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