On LinkedIn, the owner at Travel Cruise and Tour, Peter Himmelberger, posed the question: How do I evaluate SEO firms to select a reputable firm? I thought this was a very relevant question since SEO has become such a huge buzzword you just can’t ignore it. Now, it is not difficult to achieve top rank for certain keywords or your company’s name nor is it a sign that the company you hire for SEO is effective.
A reputable SEO company should perform a competitive analysis and develop a strategy for you to achieve high ranking across the specific keyword terms being searched. There are a few ways you can determine whether a company is reputable or not. CEO of Urban Interact, Beverly Garvin offers 3 things you should be doing:
1. Ask for references from 3 clients who have worked with them for a year or more. This will show you whether they are good and, more importantly, experienced in what they do. Happy long term clients are a great indicator that you are working with a credible provider.
2. SEO is a long term strategy and if you want your website to be competitive you’ll need to understand that this is an ongoing effort. A reputable SEO provider will work with you during the contract period and will consult with you being transparent in their activities, even going so far as to train you on how to help continue those efforts when the contract period expires. “If they hide behind “proprietary processes, software, blah blah blah” they are not someone you should work with” says Beverly.
3. Understand that you get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that if you spend more you will get better results, but keep in mind that if someone promises a deal that sounds way too cheap and the results way too good to be true – they probably are. These people are taking your for a ride. Go do a little shopping around and get a general idea of how much this should cost you. Don’t go bargain hunting! The company you decide on should include a monthly consulting session where they will meet with you to review the reports (not just an emailed report) explaining the efforts made from last month, what the results were and what they will focus on in the upcoming month.
Beverly wrote a very helpful post on how hiring an SEO company is similar to hiring a Personal Trainer which should also help you put things in perspective. Thanks Beverly for such great advice!