Seeing as I have been around the SEO business for some years now and I am not touting business for my own company I feel qualified to drop a few pointers on things to do and look for when looking to a hiring an SEO company or contractor.
Things to do
1) Get a Personal Recommendation
Most of the good SEO operatives I know don’t need to tout for work, they will have people referred to them by contented customers. I know that not all of us know people who have had successful Search campaigns implemented, but if you know someone who has, I would suggest use the people they recommend.
However double check what work they have done, what changes they have made to the results, how difficult the two markets compare to each other, but a personal recommendation is the way to go.
2) Talk to a Current Client
When talking with a contractor or agency as to talk with one of their current clients, be aware you will be given the ‘pet client’ to talk to, and not the run of the mill client. But this will still allow you to get a feel for how the company works and operates and what relationship they have with their clients.
Take this step with a pinch of salt, but if an Search Agency does not have a happy client you can to its time to look elsewhere. If you are aware of the SEO companies client list you try to pick the client you want to talk to, or talk to the client they claim they have done great work for.
3) Ask for Client Case Studies
Ask for case studies of what change the Search Agency have made to a client, ask in terms of sales and profit not positions and visitors. A big mistake is to look at one of their client’s current positions. What you need to know is where the client started? What is the change? What was the effect of the change? How long it took? What was the budget?
Without that kind of information knowing that client A ranks in position B for term C is very limited information, with value to you or anyone else.
4) Get to meet the people who will do the campaign.
Companies that only allow customers to interact with salesmen and account managers probably don’t have many quality SEO staff. In my experience in agencies SEO deals sold or managed exclusively by none SEO staff (read account managers or salesmen) usually screw up. SEO is a technical business and if decisions about sales and campaign direction are not decided according to technical knowledge things go often badly very quickly.
Too many big SEO agencies are smart officers, gifted salesman, clever account management without the technically capable staff to make things really work for the client. Make sure there are articulate, gifted technicians you can speak to.
5) Get a clear explanation on what a company will do for you
A good SEO company will be willing to tell you what they intend to do for you, why they intend to do it and what effect this expect it to have (ball park). They also should have the capability to do this.
I am not talking about work done I am talking about probable benefit received by you and time-scales A company that either will not or is not capable of clearly explaining what is does for its money should be avoided.
If you do these 5 things and you will remove some of the risk factor from choosing an SEO company. Next article I will look at 5 things not to do when employing an SEO company.