13 Apr How to choose a SEO company ?
Choosing the right SEO company
With hundreds of SEO companies all over the internet I can tell you its one of the most daunting tasks to choose the right one. I have lot of experiences where in I selected a company and kept paying their hefty fees with the expectation of a higher ranking over time. Now the average price of a SEO company can be anywhere between $200 – $400/month. Lets say for the sake of argument you selected the one with $200/month.
What happens next ?
Any Search Engine Optimization(SEO) company will tell you it can take anywhere between 6 – 8 months to get your rankings improved. And to be honest this is true !! Now after 6 months where you have already spent $1200 you rankings are still the same. So that’s a really messy situation you are in if every dollar counts for your small business. You have lost 6 months of critical time, no rankings improvement and $1200 gone.
What can you do now ?
There’s nothing really you can do about the SEO company since they already told you it will take 6 – 8 months. And you have no clue whether they were actually working or playing cards all this time.
So choosing the right SEO company from the very beginning is more important than you think.
But how do you do that ?
My tips towards choosing the right SEO companies
Look for Pay for performance companies
– Lot of companies these days have started charging the clients only when their website reaches a certain rank lets say top 30. The advantage with this approach is first you know they actually will work towards getting your site ranked or else they don’t get paid. Secondly, you can get some free work done from them before they will actually charge you.
Keep track of your rankings yourself
– If you don’t see any change in rankings in 3 months then there is something wrong and you should check with your SEO company as to what’s going on. Even if they are not charging you but you are losing time which in effect means losing business and eventually affects the bottom line.
Ask for monthly reporting
– Always ask for monthly reports from your SEO company as to what your rankings are each month and keep on top of it. At the end of the day its your website and for the SEO company you might be just another client among several others. Plus the companies also pay more attention to clients who keep on top of things.
Choosing Small or Big Company ?
– As far as I am concerned it doesn’t matter as long as they are getting the work done in the right manner. I have seen some small companies doing great work since they are more dedicated than the red tape based big companies. Also, at the end of the day you can change the company based on the results.
– No contract company is ideal since you are not burdened by the 6 month or more contract and you might have to shell out money without seeing the actual results. With this type of company you know they are working for you or else they might lose you as there is no contract.
– Off course this is the most important thing. But then you get what you pay for. So its a catch 22 situation especially for small businesses who want to find the fine balance between money and services. But I would say anything between $200 – $400/month should be ideal for small businesses to invest in SEO.
Do I need SEO ?
– Absolutely, since this is one thing that has a great return on investment(ROI). The only problem is time and it could be 6 months before you could even see it start to pay off. So unless you choose the right SEO company you might end up paying for something which never gave you any result. Today 94% of consumers and businesses search the internet before buying a new product or services. They submit their keywords for search and get a list of relevant website in return, people tend to visit the websites which are at the top of this list because they appeared to be more relevant to their search. Most find their competitors at the top of this list.
Confused enough ? haha … I know but SEO is not a guarantee and no one can predict how the search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing will index your site and display in results. So it’s kind of a calculated risk with a good reward if it works out at the end.
What I have found is that most clients that switch companies were not generally given bad services from previous vendors. Instead, they just didn’t understand what was going on and how it was helping them in the organic search engine results. For the most part the main cause of frustration was a lack of communication about what was going on. The main reason for this lack of understanding is that companies don’t set clear expectations, and they don’t educate the client. They also tend to not report what is happening and don’t explain to the client how their services are helping them. If you don’t have solid reporting, then from your client’s perspective you aren’t doing very good work. It is critical that you communicate the SEO work that you are doing because that is going to be the only way that they will know.
When Do You Need an SEO Company?
According to Google and I would suggest you trust every word they say: If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.
Some useful questions to ask an SEO company are:
- Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
- What’s your experience in my industry?
- What’s your experience in my country/city?
- What’s your experience developing international sites?
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
- How long have you been in business?
- How can I expect to communicate with you?
While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:
One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.
Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.
If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580
If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at http://www.econsumer.gov/
No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.
Good Luck with your SEO needs.