SEO is a critical aspect of Internet Marketing. If you have a website or a business that is looking to start a website, it is a good idea to do SEO on it. While I’m sure some of you have had tons of emails come in from SEO “consultants” guaranteeing that they can get you a top spot on Google. What you may not be aware of is that it’s almost impossible to guarantee anything – especially SEO results. In the end, Google makes the decisions who is ranked and how they are ranked, depending on factors such as inbound links, quality of a website’s content, the structure of the site and so much more. If you are looking for a good SEO consultant/company here are a few things to consider during your search:
1. Have you received a cold call? – If you have a consultant cold calling you trying to get you to use their service, you need to stop and think. If they were really good at online marketing, don’t you think it would have been YOU who found them? Not the other way around. This, right away, should be a huge Uh-Oh and red flag to stay away.
2. Was that an email blast? - This again is another Uh-Oh red flag – the same as cold calling. You should be the one finding your SEO consultant, not the other way around. If they are emailing you trying to get you to use their services, they obviously aren’t doing there job. So why would you hire them?
3. Do they have their own website? – Sometimes people claim that they can work wonders and get you to the top of search engine results. They may even have examples to share with you. The story is though, unless you have spoken to their past clients there’s no real way to tell if they are legitimately telling the truth. If the SEO Consultant doesn’t have a website with past work and examples, those examples could be fraud. There are people in the world who actually lie. So beware!
4. Are the prices too good to be true? If you have a consultant that will do SEO for less then $200.00 per month, I don’t think they are are going to do what you really need. A good SEO Consultant will need at least 15-20 hours a month to write great content and work their magic. Someone who comes to you saying they will get you 100 links for $30.00 might get you 100 links, but they are going to get you horrible easy low-pr links. Even if they say they are going to get you high quality links, it’s impossible to get you that many links for that cheap. Remember, you get what you pay for, so watch carefully what you’re spending (even if it sounds like a great deal).
5. Do they have negative online reviews? If you search a company and on the first page you see a bunch of bad reviews, that’s a big No-No. First off, if your good at SEO, you would know how to push bad reputation to the back burner so no one can find it (unless they really dig). Every company will most likely have a hater. There are an endless amount of people in this world, all with significantly different opinions about how to do business, especially when it comes to their business. So having one or two negative comments isn’t the end of the world. Just compare them to the positive feedback to make sure that they have less than 5% negativity. If you think of it on a larger scale – companies like Apple and Google have their haters who blog and post negative reviews and rants all the time; but we still use them, right? Why? Because they are also mostly known for the great work and service they put out into the world.
6. How good is their website? Anyone can throw a website up. Above, I said to make sure that they HAVE a website, but don’t just use that as a gauge by itself. Make sure to consider the quality of their website along with the rest of the items on this list. You want to work with a company who shows that they know the web. Having a website that is pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate and memorable for users are all indicators that the SEO company has somewhat of an idea of the website industry and those they are working for.
7. Are they available now? If an SEO consultant is really good, there will be a bit of a wait. If you call at 9:00 AM on a Monday and the company says they can start at 9:30 AM that day, that leaves some room for concern regarding where their time is being spent and how busy they actually are. Try to figure out how big of a company they are, how many staff members they have and the number of current clients they might be working for at the time.
8. Do they write original/unique content? This is a really important one. If you go to a company that asks you to write the articles, that’s a huge No-No. Unless you have someone who specializes in SEO content writing, they should be writing it. Now, coming up with ideas, or telling you to come up with a concept before they complete the task isn’t that bad. But if a SEO company asks you to put your content together from start to finish and don’t revise what you wrote – that right there should tell you to run. Original content is everything in the world of SEO right now. Just like you, Google doesn’t want to read the same thing over and over again.
9. Do they understand SEO? The science of SEO changes every day. So SEO consultants have to be able to adapt and read up on all the new trends. In order for SEO experts to understand what they are doing, they need to stay up to date on the latest trends. In order to get a better read on how much of an expert your potential SEO specialist is, act dumb and pretend like you do not know anything about SEO at all. Ask the company to send you a sample report that they send their customers every month. Doesn’t have to be fancy, but needs to have the information that you need. If your not sure what you should be looking for here’s what we suggest:
- Reviewing all of the data from all of the months they have worked on a site. Meaning: Traffic Analysis, Social Media Analysis (if they are doing social media as well), PR Ranking, Domain Authority, etc. You want to analyze this data and make sure the general number is up. Now it’s common that it may NOT go up every single month but if you were to make a chart, the average look should be inclining. If it’s horizontal or declining, you need to avoid the company or fire them pronto.
- Look for the keywords they are targeting with the average number of searches of the keyword, it’s difficulty (either out of 10 or 100) to obtain number 1 spot on the search engines, The rankings of the keywords each and every month, and the URL/URL’s that they are targeting for these keywords.
10. What’s their Rank? You know that old saying – “Do as I say, not as I do”? Well, that doesn’t apply to SEO at all. If you’re going to be hiring a company to help you improve your SEO rankings and move up on the scale in terms of Google, Yahoo or Bing search results – you want to work with a company who practices what they preach. So make sure you check out where they stand in terms of search results. If an SEO company isn’t putting in the effort to maintain their own rankings, why would they put the effort in to truly help you? Do as many searches as you can for the SEO companies you are looking into. If they don’t come up on the first page of at least a couple types of searches, this is a huge No-No, so move on to the next search for a new SEO company.
SEO is like any other type of service on the market today – as a buyer you need to beware! You need to be aware of when you might be getting duped into making the wrong decision about going with an SEO company. So the next time you’re looking for some SEO help, make sure to help yourself first, by making some detailed assessments/evaluations about your options. A couple questions and a little bit of research go a long way.