How many of these statements resonate with you?
- Your website is getting minimal traffic.
- The conversion rate has a lot of room for improvement.
- Your website doesn’t show up in search results, even if your keywords are used.
- Your website isn’t responsive.
- You haven’t secured your website with HTTPs.
- Your site has a poor user experience.
- You site isn’t ranking like your competition.
If even a few of these statements sound familiar, then it may be time to secure the services of a competent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team. But how do you know who to hire? With just a quick web search, a myriad of consults show up- all claiming to take your website to the first page of results.
Just because someone took a free online course and set up an office, it doesn’t mean that they are a competent SEO consultant. Being effective in search engine optimization requires more than the ability to write and an understanding of the web. There are specific practices that should be followed to ensure that a SEO plan brings the desired results -in the correct manner.
What to Look for in an SEO Consultant
As with any professional you consider hiring, it is important to do your due diligence. Look into any SEO candidates and talk to as many of their clients as you can. Ask specific questions and weigh the answers carefully against your specific needs and desired outcome(s). Some of these questions include:
- How will you improve my SEO ranking?
- Can you show your clientele and the results you generated?
- How long have you been doing this?
- How up to date are you with algorithm changes?
- Will you keep me posted on any changes you make to my website?
- Will I receive reports that show tracking, rankings, web traffic, and conversions?
- How do you measure SEO success?
- Have you ever dealt with and corrected penalized sites?
- Do you outsource SEO work?
- What is your pricing structure?
- What is my recourse if unhappy with your services?
If you are unhappy with the responses to any of these questions, you may want to keep looking.
Listen Versus Hearing
When you speak with a potential SEO consultant, do they listen to what you are asking, and what you hope to accomplish or are they more interested in just responding with what they can offer? When meeting with an SEO team you want them to come alongside you and work with you to take your company to the next level. Take time to discuss their plan and be sure it meets your expectations.
Uses White Hat Practices
Unfortunately, SEO experts have no say in the guidelines and updates of search engines. This means that they must be proactive and endeavor to anticipate the changes. However, actions such as keyword stuffing, paid or hidden links, hidden texts, and other unscrupulous habits should not be used. Rather you want to work with an SEO pro who will use proper practices such as doing keyword research, keywords in the title tags, a positive user experience, and quality links – to name a few.
A reputable and successful company will not mind sharing their strategy. They should be able to present you with a clear plan for how they will accomplish your goal. Be sure that you are treated as a partner, not simply a paycheck. Also, as a part of being open, you should be guaranteed status reports at regular intervals.
Customize the Strategy
No two companies are alike- even if they are in the same industry. When you work with an SEO company, they need to craft an approach specific to your needs. If you feel you are being offered a cookie cutter strategy rather than a custom approach to boosting your SEO’s effectiveness, then find another company.
While content is king, quality supersedes everything. The best SEO providers recognize the value of every part of the process.
- Publications – Does the SEO pro have connections with reputable publishers? Whether it is respected news outlets and magazines, or nationally recognized sites like Forbes, Business Insider, or others the higher the quality of the publisher the better.
- Design – If the SEO company’s portfolio has websites that unattractive or not user friendly, then you may want to give extra thought to the quality of their work. If a company promotes a website that is subpar in content, usage, appearance, etc. then many top SEO companies would shy away from working with them.
- People – How were you treated? How does the team interact with each other? Do they have good online reviews? You want a company that prioritizes content, publishers, and people.
Be wary of the SEO company that says they have inside information about Google works. Even the longest standing SEO companies know that it is impossible to know exactly what is coming from Google. They may have suspicions and can make a good educated “guesses” but the only people who can truly claim to know what is coming next from Google are the people who work for Google, and the people who fill your inbox with scary SEO warning emails and say they want to help and are from Google…aren’t.
If you are looking for a reputable SEO company, then making time to do your homework so you invest your resources wisely. If you have questions regarding SEO or would like to learn how take your website to the next level, reach out to the Page Progressive team today. We would love to meet with you and answer your questions.