Finding an SEO firm is a necessary task for any business that wants to improve their visibility online. However, doing it is easier said than done. Because of the nature of the industry (everything is sold and made online) and also due to the fact that there are no laws governing it, a sea of bogus online marketers have started to provide subpar SEO services. That means the good SEOs are mixed with the bad ones.
It is, therefore, the business owners’ duty to find the best SEO company for themselves. But how? Fake “experts” are out there trying their best to dupe people into paying for their low-quality services.
Well, here are 5 actionable tips to follow in searching for the perfect SEO firm:
1. They should be found in search engines
The main job of search optimization firms is to make their clients’ businesses more visible online. And if they practice what they preach, they should be visible online too. It’s definitely alarming if those claiming to be “top companies” have zero online presence. If their company is based in say, New York, they should be found for terms like “seo services New York”. Another trick is to search for their website using their company name. Their website should come up if it is at least a bit optimized. If they don’t rank for their own company name, maybe it is a good idea to turn tail and run.
2. Top lists should be ignored
Oftentimes, when people search for the best SEO company, so-called “top lists” will pop up in the search results.
People should never trust these lists because they are rigged. These are basically sponsored posts where search optimization firms who can’t make themselves visible even if their life depended on it pays to get included or mentioned. In fact, websites, even the big ones, email many of these companies asking them if they want to be included in the list…for a fee of course.
In relation to this, “Top SEO of 2015” banners and badges should be ignored as well. These are mere company-made statements and hold no real value.
3. Watch out for alarming signals
These so-called “alarming signals” are typical red flags that people should watch out for. These signals are so common among incompetent or fake companies that generalizations can easily be made! Some examples to watch out for:
Weird guarantees or no guarantee at all – Weird guarantees are often hyperbolic in nature like “first page in 3 weeks!” On the flip side, black hat firms try to escape responsibility by saying that there are no guarantees in SEO and they are only building links. This is not how a professional SEO company operates. True pros give their clients reasonable time frames as well as realistic expectations.
They don’t have an online reputation – It has been already mentioned earlier that a professional SEO company should at least be able to create a good reputation online by interacting with the SEO community. The worst thing that can be used to describe an online marketing agency is that they have “zero online presence”.
One thing to watch out for are rip-off reports or even regular blog posts that show disappointment in the agency.
Their backlink profile is off – A company’s backlink profile will often be a reflection of how they do SEO. A good backlink profile should have a majority of brand and naked URL anchors as well as long tail keywords. Keyword-rich anchors does no good to a backlink profile and may even result to unnatural link-building penalties.
Ahrefs, Majestic, and Open Site Explorer are free tools (with limits) to check for a website’s backlink profile.
4. There is no secret sauce
Fake SEOs are often found in black hat forums and other internet marketing communities where they prey on newbies. Here, their services often include untold “powerful” techniques. What they often say is that they have a proprietary technique – a secret sauce if you will – that no other agencies have found yet.
The truth is, there is no secret sauce to ranking. The only way up the search results is to create compelling content that people will share, creating legitimate backlinks to a website. Bogus companies only say they have a secret sauce to either entice people to avail of their services or they are doing something black hat behind that scenes.
5. Quality over quantity
It does not matter how big or small the company is – quality is what matters in search engine optimization. Those searching should look more into quantifiable and verifiable aspects of the agency. Do they publish case studies on a regular basis? To they have a list of satisfied clients that can be called for feedback? Is their website well-designed and are the information presented organized and easily understood? These are some questions that must be considered.
Without a doubt, finding a company that will bring a business to further success is hard. However, these tips are easy enough to remember and can be used as effective tools to filter the rotten seeds from the good ones.