If you need to hire a search engine optimization firm to enhance your company’s online marketing power, the amount of hits you’ll get from a single search can be overwhelming. If you start at the top of your list and work your way down, you may find yourself listening to the same promises over and over. But how can you tell which companies will deliver?
You’re right to be cautious in your search. There are plenty of scam operations out there that make it difficult to find the good firms. However, a few people working out of a basement might serve you better than a firm with hundreds of employees, so don’t count out the little guys just because you’re suspicious.
Decide what you need out of your SEO service early on. Having a vague objective like “becoming more searchable” will only lengthen your search. Do you want a one time SEO audit? PPC campaign management? Content marketing? Are you looking for additional services like graphic or web design?
A nice website might seem like an indicator of quality, but it really only tells you how good the company is at web design. If that’s a service you’re looking for, that’s great, but just because they have the best web designers doesn’t mean they’re the best SEO company. Likewise, if you’re looking for an edge in social media, it might not be a good idea to go with a company that doesn’t have a twitter account.
Get more than one consultation, but be subtle about it. Many SEO services will offer consultations for free hoping to win your business. You have some time to shop around after you receive a proposal, but don’t let them know that’s what you’re doing in the hopes they’ll work harder to win you over. Often, the opposite is true, and they’ll shift their focus to clients they have a better chance with.
Check out references and reviews for each company you’re looking at, with the goal of finding out if they’ve gotten good results for other people. It’s especially useful to see if they’ve succeeded with other businesses in your field. Ask the client themselves what they plan to do with your account and how they’ve succeeded with others.
Do you have any tips for hiring a great SEO service? Share them in the comments!