Today’s online landscape makes SEO a necessity, not just a marketing supplement. If there’s an online presence, then SEO is needed. So, the real question is how to find the best SEO.
SEO Accomplishes Three Main Objectives
All SEO isn’t easy. Many entities, especially those in highly competitive markets, find that their DIY SEO strategies, even when performed by highly skilled marketers, often fail to consistently outperform their top competitors. This is where SEO firms come into play.
All SEO is not the same. The difference between a mediocre and superb SEO firm is often the difference between crickets chirping around a website slowly falling into the oblivion of Google rankings and a website booming with organic traffic on the first page of Google.
The immediacy and importance of choosing the right SEO firm is something many entities struggle with on a daily basis. After all, most firms claim to have experts churning out the best SEO ever. The right SEO partnership accomplishes three main objectives:
Decreased advertising budget
Increased sale volume
Improved customer experience
Traits Found Amongst The Best Of The Best SEO
How does an entity know that they’ll get those three main objectives accomplished? This isn’t a quick and easy task, but a little due diligence now will save a lot of disappointment and frustration later. Objectively research potential firms for the following five positive traits and red flags:
- The Firm Doesn’t Present SEO As A Special Ingredient
Any provider claiming to have a special ingredient or insight into Google’s algorithms or hyping up a mystery potion to organic traffic will likely yield little more than an expensive contract. The same goes for presentations full of jargon and obscure technical terms.
Avoid black hat SEO firms. There aren’t shortcuts, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, and link buying, in today’s SEO. Implementing such is a violation of search engine rules, and it will be noticed by Google’s bots and inevitably get the website demoted.
Look for a firm offering a deep understanding of search engine operations, including the fact that they change almost weekly and need constant modification. Firms need to have strong attention to detail and clear and comprehensive answers as to how their tactics can help boost organic traffic. There’s no one certain ingredient that makes a firm’s SEO offerings unique. Instead, it’s about best practices within a cumulative, business-specific strategy.
- The Firm Wants To Know Goals And Offers A Strategy To Achieve Them
Avoid firms with one-size-fits-all offerings, such as increased organic traffic. That can translate to various types of traffic and doesn’t necessarily fuel a sales funnel. In other words, if the firm gets a financial services website ranked first for men’s razors, then what’s really been accomplished is nothing.
Create an outline of specific goals, such as bounce rate reduction, social media following creation, or ranking for specific keywords. Create an outline of the expected results. The best SEO company will offer very concise services and strategy plan for such goals to reach expected results.
- Look For Credibility
Their own website rank and listicles for “top SEO companies” isn’t a reliable credibility check. In many cases, these are bought and paid for positions, and the best SEO agencies don’t necessarily care about such when they have a solid customer base referring their services out to the masses.
Ask business associates for recommendations. Look at the firm’s portfolio, reviews, and testimonials. Look to see if the firm has specific expertise in the applicable industry.
- They Offer Monthly Reports Without A Guaranteed Success
Clients want to ensure that the SEO firm offers a robust way to track progress, including key performance indicators, ranking success, crawling mistakes, page load time, organic traffic, lead trends, and other business-specific metrics. Don’t settle for anything less than monthly reports with readable, tailored information.
Be leery of any firm offering guaranteed results. Online volatility moots the ability of any firm to promise specific results. However, what the top SEO companies do offer is a timeline on what can be expected in terms of website audits, content delivery dates, meetings/check-ins, and progress updates.
By the way, it’s a huge red flag when a firm either denies its clients access to Google Analytics or doesn’t request access to the client’s Google Console.
- Communication And Availability
From presenting a strategy to providing easy access to reports, effective communication is what enables an SEO firm to not just yield the best results but the best results that are specifically meaningful to each client’s industry, business size, direction, goals, and overall needs.
There’s a tremendous amount of data that goes into determining if those results are truly yielding what a client needs and wants out of SEO. This is where communication becomes the make or break factor in hiring an SEO firm.
Clients need to understand the why, how, and when of each and every phase, implementation, assessment, and redirection. Such a constructive working relationship comes from having a specific SEO specialist assigned to each client, not being shifted around to any available agent. It also comes from having that agent be accessible beyond just scheduled meetings and check-ins.
In closing, selecting the right SEO provider is just as imperative as SEO itself. Neglecting either facet can significantly hurt a business’s ability to be seen by the 90 percent of users only interested in Google’s first page offerings. Use the above five best practices and red flag warnings as a guide to help ensure the selected firm is offering the best. Always choose among the top SEO companies available within your budget, location is no longer a condition.