Search engine optimization (SEO) is the method of increasing your brand visibility online. SEO has numerous benefits for a business but not every business can afford to maintain an in-house SEO expert. Then in that case, such business is left with the option of outsourcing part or all of its SEO efforts.
The ability to choose a reliable SEO company to work with is fundamental to the success of your SEO Campaign. You might decide to approach it using any of the following methods:
- You open Google, type SEO Company in the search bar and place a call out to the first company on the list;
- You might decide to pick an SEO company using TopSEOpick.com (Though I would not recommend this method);
- You might decide to outsource your SEO to a company recommended by a friend.
Right? No! Wrong. While any of the above method will give you a list of companies you might eventually work with, that should not be the best method to choosing an SEO company to work with. After you might have come up with one to five list of companies that you think you can work with, here are some salient questions you should ask to enable you make an informed decision.
Questions to ask your SEO Company before signing that contract
Do you outsource?
Many SEO companies focus on a particular niche market but there are some who generally work for all type of industry. As a result, at one point or the other, they might want to outsource certain part of the SEO campaign. This is critically important. If they are going to outsource, you need to have an idea of which part of the search engine optimization they will be outsourcing and which part they will be doing in-house. If they outsourcing, you might want to check out the other company’s profile. I have seen situation where an SEO company outsource link building to an agent and the agent ended up building links from questionable website back to the client’s website. This resulted in Google slamming a penalty on the website.
Is there a guarantee?
Beware of empty promises. No one can guarantee instant search engine result page position on any search engine for that matter. What is obtainable is that if the process is followed, you will definitely see your ranking improve gradually over time but this will not happen overnight or within one month. So avoid SEO companies that promise you first position with a certainty.
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Which is most important to you –Google ranking or Conversion?
This is what I consider as the most important question you should ask before giving away your SEO campaign to a company. If all your SEO Company is doing is focusing on is how to increase your ranking without it actually translating to a rich user experience for your web users, then you might as well not optimize your website. Search Engine Optimization’s focus is on how to increase sales and generate leads for your business. Therefore it implies that your SEO Company should be able to advise you on certain part of your website that needs overhauling. If all they want to do is just focus on getting you higher ranking, then all the effort is in vain.
How long will it take?
A good SEO effort will start showing result after a minimum of 6 months especially if you just are starting up, but you will immediately start seeing some few rewards from about 4 weeks. Therefore any company that will readily tell you that they can complete your SEO within 3 months or tell you it’s an open ended contract, then, you need to be wary of them.
What method are you going to use or what are your procedure?
As a result of different updates to the Google algorithms, how your SEO is done is as important as who does it. A good SEO company will refrain from using any black hat or grey hat technique (grey hats are methods that Google has not publicly renounced) that will hurt a client down the line. While they might not tell you all their methods, if they are so sure of what they are doing, they will definitely explain what they intend to do and how they intend to go about optimizing your website. Avoid any SEO company that tells you about software they use that can submit your website to 100 directories at once. It is a sure sign of Google Penalty down the line
How do we measure results?
Your SEO Company should be ready to give you a monthly report at minimum outlining what they have done and what milestone they have covered. Having a report enables you to understand how they work and will give you an idea if they are living up to expectation or not.
The ability of your SEO Company to successfully answer all of these questions will give you good background information into their activities and procedure which will in turn enable you to decide if they are the right person for you. The most expensive SEO Company or your cousin who knows a little about website more than you do might not really be the best choice to use. Search Engine Optimization is a long term project and if properly outsourced has the potential to grow your business.
What other important questions do you think one should ask before outsourcing to an SEO Company?
Image credit: Kai Schreiber via flickr