“We can get your website on page one of Google, Yahoo, and Bing.”
Every day I get an unsolicited email from someone making that promise. If you’re in marketing, you probably do, too.
The problem is—no SEO company can guarantee specific search results.
There are hundreds of factors that affect your search engine rankings. And nobody knows the exact algorithm search engines use.
So if there are no guarantees, how do you choose the right SEO company?
Here are key questions to ask potential suitors:
- What results have you gotten in the past? Ask to see before-and-after results for their clients. For instance, search engine rankings for key industry terms before a vendor optimized a particular site and after they optimized the same site.
- What kind of changes will need to be made to my site? Usually small meta changes can make a big difference. However, sometimes larger changes are needed. Make sure you understand the necessary changes and the cost.
- Does my site’s structure need to change? If your site’s URLs or site hierarchy needs to change, ask the vendor if they will set up the proper redirects.
- Which pages will be optimized? Make sure you know which pages will and won’t be optimized. It’s important to know what you are and aren’t paying for.
- How will you measure effectiveness? SEO takes time and ongoing maintenance to be done well. Make sure you know how the effectiveness will be tracked over time.
- How will you decide which keywords and phrases to optimize for? Do you need to provide a list you want optimized? Do they have tools or a method for choosing them, or are they pulled out of thin air? You want to make sure the keywords and phrases being optimized are actually ones people search for.
- What off-site SEO techniques are options? Social media, guest blogging, and backlinks can boost SEO. Which, if any, will be used?
- How often do you report on SEO? In addition to understanding how progress will be tracked, you’ll want to know how often you’ll get updates and what they will include.
No SEO company has all the answers. But if you ask them the right questions, you’ll find the right fit for you.