Search engine optimization, the collection of strategies and tactics to improve search rankings, has built an industry based on no clear guidelines.
Major search engines such as Google and, to lesser degrees, Bing and Yahoo do not disclose the factors that affect search ranking.
This is why the industry can only provide suggestions and test tactics rather than have a set blueprint to their work. Everything, too, progresses on-the-fly due to algorithm updates, so what works today may not be effective tomorrow.
Due to these wild swings and uncertainty of definitive ranking factors we have seen a growth in low-quality services since businesses owners fail to see warning signs of bad SEO. Likewise, a company that charges a great amount of money may provide the same low-quality service disguised by the notion of premium services.
The SEO industry isn’t doom and gloom, though.
The evolving strategies and tactics have proven to be effective when they’re applied in a logical, ethical manner. It’s very easy to find great SEO companies when you do due diligence and research.
The Five Questions You Need to Ask.
First, let’s outline the questions:
1. What is the reputation of this company?
2. What data can they provide me to prove their work is quality?
3. What are these services going to cost me?
4. What tactics and strategies will be implemented?
5. How are they going to report to my business?
Now let’s expand on them:
The reputation of a company matters when doing research. A company that has multiple reviews, testimonials, recognition from business partners, and high rankings of their own can tell you they’re reputable and get the job done. Compare reputations using a site like SEOCompanyReviews.com and carefully assess the different metrics and tactics.
A company should be willing to provide data of their work. They may not be able to disclose client specifics but if what they claim is true then they have data and reports in-house. Knowing and seeing their results in hard-copy will prove they will deliver upon their promises.
Costs are always a factor when it comes to SEO. Too low of a price should raise red flags because it means they’re likely using programs and tactics that are frowned upon. Too high of a price could mean they’re gouging. Find the right balance by comparing multiple SEO companies for a median price.
You may not completely understand them but knowing the tactics and strategies will help you avoid costly SEO mistakes. If a company fails to disclose how they will conduct SEO, back away because they could be doing black hat tactics that can harm your overall search rankings in the long-run. Ask what they offer, how they will conduct their strategies, and take the time to learn about the tactics so you can properly discuss projects.
Finally, make sure that the company can provide reports to your business. Do not let them go off on their own and contact sporadically every few months. Ask for details about current rankings for keywords, search traffic, social engagement, and what tasks they are completing. Treat their services as how you’d want an employee to report.
Education is your weapon to combat bad SEO and find a company that will provide you with real results.
Take the time for due diligence, ask the right questions, read reviews, and compare all the offers before you hand over the money. Great SEO is worth paying for if you know what you’re getting yourself into.