Published on March 25th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan0
How to Find the Best SEO Company for Your Business
SEO is a vital ingredient to the success of any digital marketing strategy but without a good SEO company or partner to help you deliver this, even the best websites will languish in search engine results pages.
Finding the right partner to help you achieve greater visibility through search engines like Google is not an easy task and there are plenty of pitfalls that could prevent you from getting this selection process right.
So, what should you be asking yourself when considering an SEO company to help with your digital marketing strategy?
Do They Wear a ‘White Hat’?
Given the vast array of SEO companies out there, finding the right partner is critical. The first thing to think about is the tactics they will employ to boost your online presence.
There are two main methods of marketing online; ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’. There is also an area in the middle often referred to as ‘grey hat’.
White hat marketing is a catch-all term used to describe ethical practices for optimising your content to boost online visibility. Importantly, white hat SEO techniques abide by the rules and policies laid down by search engines.
Common white hat techniques include:
- Mobile first website development
- Keyword research and analysis
- Quality content creation and marketing
- Technical SEO, including using Schema for Rich Snippets
- Local SEO and optimisation
In short, white hat marketing tactics are above board and focus on the user experience as well as optimising your website for performance; they adopt a user first approach and are not geared simply for search engines.
By contrast, black hat marketing covers those practices which try to intentionally manipulate the algorithms used by search engines to return results from search queries. Common black hat techniques used by some SEO companies include:
- Paying for links
- Keyword stuffing
- Article spinning and duplicate content
- Creating invisible ‘gateway’ pages
- Meta keyword spamming
- Invisible or hidden text
- Spam comments
You may ask why anybody would adopt these techniques. Well achieving results quickly in the world of SEO simply isn’t possible when implementing what hat tactics. SEO companies that promise quick results are most likely using black hat techniques. While these may work in the short-term and look impressive, search engines always catch up. Often explicitly banned by search engines, black hat techniques can negatively affect the user experience and can result in penalties, including being demoted or removed from search listings.
None of these methods should be employed by an SEO company to try and help promote your business online. If they are suggested to you, you should seriously re-consider the agency’s professionalism.
Are They Multi-Disciplined?
An effective SEO company should be offering a range of integrated digital marketing techniques to bring breadth to your online sales strategies.
As well as covering content marketing (blogging, engaging media, infographics etc), on-page SEO technical optimization, try to find an agency who also offer a wide range of other services.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to utilise SEO to drive traffic to your site, increase sales and improve your customer experience.
Planned and delivered effectively, SEO content writing should attract new customers and engage existing visitors as well as inform search engines about what your company is offering. Get it right and you could earn yourself important backlinks from other websites and increase your domain authority. Get it wrong and you could earn yourself penalties from the likes of Google and Bing.
Bloggers, once widely disregarded as crack-pot tub-thumpers, are now some of the most influential and trusted sources of information online. Harnessing the power of this level of authority is a key component to a powerful and effective SEO strategy. Make sure your SEO partner has a good blogger outreach network.
PPC & Paid Advertising
A quick and simple way to achieve a fast boost to your rankings with specific keyword, paid advertising can be a powerful, if temporary, way to gain prominence. Combined with an organic approach to achieving long-term SEO goals, this can be a very effective way to complement your online marketing campaigns.
Social Media Management
Without doubt, integration with social media is one of the most critical aspects of any digital marketing campaign but did you know that it can also deliver some very powerful results for SEO?
A good SEO company will understand the differences between each of the most commonly used platforms and be able to harness their unique ability to help boost your digital market strategy.
Can They Demonstrate Their Performance?
Any good SEO company will be able to show prospective clients a portfolio of case studies which demonstrates their performance.
A testament to their skills and abilities, a proven track record of satisfied clients is an excellent way to assess how well they can deliver on their promises.
Ask to see recent examples of their work and, if possible, get contact details of the customers they have worked for.
You can also use review sites like Trust Pilot, Google, Facebook and others to find independent opinions on the services offered by the agency.
It is worth looking specifically at customers who operate in a similar sector to your own as each industry has different challenges when it comes to SEO. If your partner agency has demonstrated their expertise in one area then they should be familiar with creative solutions to common problems.
Are They Being Realistic?
Search engines design their rankings algorithms specifically to prevent manipulation and SEO is an ongoing process that takes time to achieve good results in. Any company that promises you overnight success in your SERP performance should be given a wide berth.
Instead, look for a company that commits to the long term with achievable and measurable goals to boost your online presence.
Remember, no-one can guarantee instant success with your rankings performance and anyone who purports to offer this could be using black hat techniques or expensive PPC and paid advertising. Whilst the former can result in your website being penalized by search engines, the latter is only a temporary way to achieve good rankings.
Do They Have The Right Knowledge &Experience?
Partnering with the right SEO company is all about selecting an agency who has the right technical knowledge with the practical know-how of how to apply this.
Check how long they have been in business and what kinds of clients they have worked with.
In terms of knowledge base, there is no standard certification to prove ability with SEO. The best way to assess a company’s understanding and application of SEO practices is to see how they are utilizing it with their own business.
Hit the search engines and try a few queries on the core services listed above for those areas covered by the prospective agency. If they aren’t featuring in the search results or have no visibility on Google My Business, social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn or other directories then it should raise a few alarm bells.
What Approach Do They Take to Planning?
Careful keyword planning and assessing the target market are critical ingredients to creating an SEO strategy that stand any chance of success.
A good SEO company must first understand your business and, critically, that of your competitors in order to prepare a well-researched and targeted strategy.
As well as assessing what works well for others in your industry and what doesn’t, they should
- Understand the importance of the longtail keyword.
- Thoroughly research all related terms.
- Use keyword planning tools to target the most effective keywords.
- Check how well the competition is ranking for the same terms and keywords.
As well as delivering a strategy for on-page SEO which includes URLs, meta-data, tagging and images, they should also be able to produce a proposal for off-page SEO including:
- Local SEO and Google My Business
- Authority directories
- Video and image marketing
- Regular blogging
- Social media and PR campaigns
How Do They Monitor Performance?
Lastly, your SEO company should be able to produce regular reports to be able to monitor the progress and performance of your SEO strategy. Though your goals may be long term, the nature of SEO means that your actions may need to be tweaked and adjusted for optimum performance.
Find out exactly what tools and methods your agency will use to measure the success of their strategy and how often this will be monitored.
There are some powerful analytical platforms available which can produce insights into how well your strategy is being implemented but not all offer a comprehensive overview.
The Take Home
Finding a good SEO company is not about selecting the agency who can guarantee you fast results but one who is prepared to put in the initial time and effort to plan a long-term strategy for SEO success.
They should be able to demonstrate their knowledge and experience with case studies in an industry like your own and with clients of a similar size.
They should be willing to report on their performance regularly and be flexible enough to adapt their approach in a changing landscape.
A good SEO company will also offer you additional services that can complement your digital marketing ambitions.
Lastly, whilst budget may well be important, it is key that you opt for a company that is creative, innovative and responsive. Failure to tick all these boxes could mean you are partnering with an agency that is slow to capitalize on opportunities and only provides you with a service that is second best to the competition.