SEO, or search engine optimization should be the most important component of your internet marketing strategy. While email marketing and internet advertising (Pay-per-click) can usually be handled in-house, SEO can be technical and is best outsourced to a SEO services company. Unsolicited emails and PPC Ads are ‘interruption marketing’ : you are interrupting your prospects attention with an unsolicited message. Such ads or messages can be annoying and tend to be ignored. In contrast, SEO is ‘permission marketing’ because the consumer is actively seeking information while typing keywords in search engine, and if your website is positioned at the top, it will get attention. Thus SEO has a lasting and profound impact on your business, while email marketing and internet advertising have short term impact.
It follows that selecting the right SEO agency becomes very important. The task can be daunting since prices for SEO services vary widely, and you will meet vendors who promise top rankings within even a month, and other such claims. SEO can be quite technical and evaluating SEO providers is challenging.
Here are some tips to evaluate and choose the right SEO company.
- The first step is to review your internet marketing activities and assess where you stand. You need to set up objectives or what you would like to be achieved by the SEO consultant.
- Learn the very basics of SEO before investing in SEO. If you have no clue about SEO, you may work at cross purposes with your SEO provider, or risk being taken for a ride (more on this below)
- Ask the vendors to share success stories or case studies. If you ask for client list, then look at client sites, you may across poorly optimized sites or sites with basic SEO mistakes. This could be because the client did not implement the on-page SEO recommendations, and so you cannot fault the SEO consultant. This happens more often than you would imagine.
- Make sure you meet the SEO company people and ask them to evaluate your site and give broad suggestions. It builds trust in the SEO firm’s expertise and gives you insight into how they solve problems and what the roles and responsibilities of both parties would be after contract is signed. You should meet the person who will be working directly on your site’s SEO, and not just the smooth talking sales person or the expert SEO team lead who in turn delegates to a junior.
- Check that the SEO agency follows only ‘white hat’ or ethical SEO practices.
- Get at least three quotes. You will get to know the scope of services, what is covered. It helps to uncover SEO activities that the vendor you prefer may not have included.
- Do not select based on pricing. If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys. It is better to pay top dollar and get great results. You will recover your money through sales conversions soon enough.
- Trust your gut feel. Sign up with the agency you feel most confident will bring results and feel comfortable interacting with.