10 Tips on How to Choose the Right SEO Services For Your Business
So you’ve got the online part of your business up and running, your webmaster has built a slick, attractive site for you, and you’re aiming to generate a stack of eCommerce purchases followed by a merry trip to the bank. But wait! Your web marketing strategy director pokes her head round your office door and tells you that you need to buy some good SEO services for your business. But, how to choose the right SEO services for your business. That is the big question.
You Google ‘SEO services’ and note the eye-popping 18,000,000 results. How are you going to select the right one for you? It’s like looking for a nanoneedle in a haystack the size of Ohio.
Here at www.seorw.com we feel you. So here are our top ten tips on choosing the right SEO company.
1. Be flirtatious and play the field
Remember: this is a very crowded market. It’s full of snake-oil salespeople and fly-by-night operators. Current estimates of the number of SEO companies out there range from 400,000 to 10,000,000 and no, they can’t all be good. SEO is like sex. If you want to go dating, you don’t ask out the first woman you meet in Walmart’s dry goods section. She may be a buck-toothed librarian who needs help washing her mother (thanks, Frasier).
The first thing a legitimate search engine optimizer will do is provide you with a ‘site analysis report’. The report will assess how well optimized your site is right now and suggest key areas for improving your search engine ranking.
Just like getting a second (and third) doctor’s opinion, you shouldn’t take your first report at face value. In fact, some of them are no mare that a simple automated script that does a generic cursory look at your website using outdated technology. Don’t fall for this lead generating tactic!
A good SEO company’s site analysis report is often sold as an introductory standalone with no obligation to take your relationship further. You can also buy, or rent, software that will automatically produce a report for you. Other reports may be free (what economists call a ‘complementary good’) with the aim of drawing you into a paid service (be careful with these). Don’t forget that in the latter case, the cost of the ‘free’ good will be priced in should you pay for the associated service.
The key point is that with relatively minimal initial outlay, you can gather two or three quality reports that are useful comparators enabling you to make a judgment on the quality of a service. What are you looking for? Three words: detail, detail, and detail. An SEO company whose report provides fine-grained detail is likely to come up with a more effective strategy for optimizing your site.
2. Check the pricing structure of SEO Services for you Business
This ain’t a one-size-fits-all sector. Some companies’ websites have 1000 pages, some have 20. Any optimizer who does not reflect this in their price structure isn’t being realistic. You’re looking for a tailored offer cut to your cloth, not some off-the-shelf product. If your site equates to a studio apartment rather than the sprawling palace of Versailles, your optimization bill should be commensurate.
3. How to Choose the Right SEO Services; A little research goes a long way
This might seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering anyway. In a very real sense, the Web is a hall of mirrors in which it’s hard to navigate your way to trustworthy providers. So look around. Read a couple of blogs (such as the one you’re reading right now), weed out the ‘fake news’. Lots of sites, such as http://www.localseoguide.com/best-local-business-directories-seo/, provide comparative rankings with a useful breakdown of the services provided, including incorporation dates, client retention rates, and pricing. You may not want to hire a top-ranked SEO company; your budget may be more constrained, but a brief survey of these rankings will give you a better feel for the market.
Also, if your business is a local brick-and-mortar company, you may want to look for an SEO expert whose expertise is ‘local SEO.’ It doesn’t make sense to hire someone who targets international Search Engine Optimization if your target market is in your back yard. Make sure you target SEO services for your business that fit your specific needs.
4. Ignore references and take personal recommendations with a grain of salt
No company will show you a bad reference, and they’re so easy to falsify you might as well ignore them. If your partner at the squash club raves about their SEO solution don’t assume he or she is knowledgeable on the subject (few company directors have the time to really get to know the field). However, not all recommendations are worthless (see Tip 5).
5. Show me the money!
Let’s not forget what it’s all about: the bottom line. Good SEO should show up in online B2C (direct business-to-consumer) sales figures. Relative to Tip 4 above, it’s worth tuning in if a personal recommendation reflects this. If your squash partner tells you SEO made her an extra $130,000 in the last quarter, prick up your ears.
6. Ask the right questions
Be an active participant rather than a passive consumer. If you’re in a face-to-face pitch meeting or Web conference call, an SEO rep should be able to answer some basic questions. For example: ‘How should I judge your success? How much do you think my traffic will increase? How long before I see some results? What’s your assessment of my site’s technical structure? How to choose the right SEO services and why should we choose you? Be sure to ask questions specific to the SEO service for your business. A decent SEO operator should be able to respond in detail to these queries and more.
7. Answer the right questions
You shouldn’t just be asking questions but answering them too. If an SEO operator doesn’t ask you some key questions, they’re probably not on top of their game. Listen for the following, and be prepared to answer them: ‘Can you outline your current marketing strategy?’ ‘Do you use a content management system to edit your site content?’ ‘Who are your major competitors, online and offline?’ ‘What return are you expecting from SEO, and for what investment?’
8. Share the load and canvas opinion
You’re an entrepreneur, not a white hat geek. Include key personnel in the process. If you have a marketing department, or especially a Web/online/social marketing team, get them involved. Seek feedback. Pull them into pitch meetings with potential SEO providers. See what they think. In other words, use any expertise that’s lying around. You could even delegate the process to them and see what they come up with. They may be better placed than you to find the right answers to the question, “How to Choose the Right SEO Services.”
9. Bone up
Live like you’re going to die tomorrow but learn like you’ll live forever (Erasmus, not Frasier). Take an interest in this key area of your business. SEO services for your business are extremely important for the long-term success of your online presence. You can bet it’s going to become an ever more important aspect of what you do. You don’t have to become an expert, but you’ll find that even a passing knowledge can be worth a lot. If you’re looking for an edge, take in the latest information straight from the horse’s mouth, for example at Google’s own webmaster blog: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/. You never know what you might come across, or what new ideas your new knowledge will generate. My posts here at www.seorw.com can help get the ball rolling. A good place to start is our SEO Glossary.
10. Get the nuts and bolts in place
Before you even look at SEO services for your business, make sure your company is correctly calibrated for B2C eCommerce. Is your site properly certificated? Is it secure? Do you have a reliable payments system? Are there any obvious improvements you could make to your site, such as better images or clearer navigation? How does your site look on a mobile phone? Pick the low-hanging fruit before some SEO wonk charges you for advice you can easily find on your own, at places like our site, seorw.com.
How to Choose the Right SEO Services for Your Business? That was the original question and I hope these 10 tips have helped answer it! For more information on SEO and how you can do some of it yourself, check out some of our other articles.
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