To guarantee successful results for your company, you’ll need to take some specific preliminary steps to make sure you have the right people working on your website to drive qualified leads and implement a strategic marketing plan.
Consider an SEO company as an extension of your own team. You’ll want to make sure they’re a good fit not only based on experience, but also consider you’ll be communicating with them on a regular basis and you’ll want to find a team that you get along well with, too.
How to choose an SEO company
Here are 7 things you should review before deciding on your next SEO company.
- Specialties and services
- Reviews and references
- Portfolio and case studies
- Experience and ethics
- Follow and subscribe
- Contracts and pricing
- Schedule a consultation
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into each of these items and equip you with questions to ask during your initial conversations with the SEO company candidates.
1. Look at the company’s specialities and services
When hiring an SEO company, look at their website and see if they tend to specialize in any one industry, location or service line. They may share what you can expect with each service and case studies.
Also take a look at their awards and certifications that can back up their expertise.
Questions to ask:
- Do you specialize in any service, location or industry?
- Do you offer more than just SEO?
2. Check references and reviews
It’s important to look into what an SEO company has done in the past, because, as it’s a fairly subjective service, a customer might otherwise be disappointed when everything is said and done.
You can look at review websites like Google and Facebook, and portfolios of digital agencies websites like Design Rush, Clutch and UpCity to find reviews and more details on the SEO companies you’re considering. You might even find another contender!
Another critical step in the research process when shopping for an SEO company is to collect references. Ask about the websites that they have worked for in the past, and make a record of them. Do your homework and make a few calls to previous clients to make sure that you are being given accurate information.
Don’t forget to ask these clients for first-hand testimonials of past SEO services. This due diligence will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind when hiring an SEO company to work for your business.
Questions to ask current clients:
- What do you love most about this SEO company?
- What is one thing you think this SEO company could improve on?
- Have you worked with other SEO companies in the past?
3. Dive into their portfolio and case studies
When hiring an SEO company, look at the specifics of what they’ve done for other customers. By taking a look at their portfolio and case studies, you can generally get a sense of their style and what types of results their clients receive. You can also learn how they integrate other services with their SEO, such as pay-per-click (PPC), social media and web design.
In order to get access to the samples of past work, you might consider asking the SEO company for a portfolio if it isn’t readily available on their website. This allows you to page through and look at a real-life example of what you’re being offered. It will give you a concrete and visual idea of what you can expect from an SEO campaign.
Questions to ask:
- Can you send a few case studies that highlight your services, particularly with a business like ours?
- What if I want to add in PPC or social media services in a few months?
4. Research the team and the company’s ethics
This may be one of the most important factors when it comes time to choose an SEO company.
LinkedIn may be your one-stop-shop to gather this information, but it’s a good idea to look at their leadership team and members of the SEO team to learn more about their individual backgrounds. Chances are you might be connected to someone who works there and can reach out to them for more information on the company.
Ethics and integrity are paramount when selecting your digital marketing team. If the employees on the front lines don’t have a strong grasp of company spirit, or if they are disconnected from the company’s vision, it’s unlikely they will be dedicated to exemplary client service.
Note that SEO companies can be structured differently. For example at Thrive, we assign one SEO specialist to each client and that person acts as the project manager and SEO specialist to avoid any miscommunication and confusion with having more than one primary contact within the company.
And depending on your core values, you may be more inclined to work with a team that is active in the community and gives back. Or, you may appreciate a leadership team that encourages a healthy work-life balance for its employees. Whatever it is, it’s important that the people at this SEO company are a good fit for you and your business.
SEO is also a service that can be handled many ways. You may have heard the terms “white hat” and “black hat” before?
Well, make sure your SEO company follows a strong code of ethics because if they’re taking shortcuts to rank your website higher, your website and online reputation could be at risk.
Questions to ask:
- Who will be working on my account?
- What are your core values as a company?
- Do you follow an SEO code of ethics?
5. Follow them on social media and read their blog
Take some time to follow them on Facebook and LinkedIn. Maybe read a few blog posts and subscribe to their email newsletter. This will give you a sense of their tone, because blogs and social media typically bring out the less formal tone of the business.
You can also learn their knowledge and priorities by reviewing the content they’re putting out.
One thing to note is the audience or followers of an agency tend to be others in the advertising and marketing industry. So, don’t be taken aback if you don’t feel like the content is written for you.
6. Ask about their fees and contracts
Agencies are structured differently and some may work on an hourly fee while others may lock you into a 6-month contract.
Just like other types contractors, ask about their fees and what the expected deliverables will be for said price. You can compare prices of multiple SEO companies to ensure they are offering a competitive rate.
If you were getting landscaping done for your home or buying some kind of new technology device, you would want to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money, right?
Similarly, you should have some comparisons when searching for digital marketing services. Pricing is an important part of your decision-making process, so it should probably be one of the first questions you ask during the initial conversation.
However, you usually get what you pay for, so going for the cheapest option may not be in your best interest. Also look at companies that are going to be attentive and listen to your goals and objectives. This is the type of information you will probably gather during your conversations with other clients and employees.
Invest in an SEO company that is going to give you a personalized experience.
Questions to ask:
- What are your fees?
- Do I pay month-to-month or do I have to commit to a certain number of months?
- What is the process for canceling services?
7. Schedule A Consultation
Before you sign the deal, it’s important to schedule a meeting with the SEO company in consideration. You may even ask if an SEO specialist can be on the call to learn more about the process and maybe even meet the person you’d be working with on a daily basis.
Some agencies will even offer up a free website audit or share initial keyword and competitive research before you agree to partner up with them. This can be helpful if you haven’t done the research yet yourself or don’t have access to the premium tools.
If you are in the market for the best SEO company to help you work toward your online marketing goals, be sure to contact Thrive Internet Marketing Agency.
We offer a comprehensive array of professional SEO services to get your business to the top of the search engine results listings using only trustworthy, future-proof, white-hat SEO techniques.