If you are considering using a SEO Services company for your website, we think its important for you to know that the methods and techniques that will be used to optimize your website are safe and can deliver sustainable rankings.
SEO can be an extremely cost-effective and valuable tool in helping you grow your business and generate leads and enquiries on a much lower Cost per Acquisition than other online marketing channels such as Pay Per Click or Facebook ads.
However, the very effectiveness and popularity of SEO resulted in many companies who deploy unsafe, aka “black-hat” SEO Techniques to deliver results. This results in short term gains at the expense of long-term risk to the credibility of your domain and indeed, its visibility within the search engines.
Here are some questions you should consider knowing the answers to before you commission a SEO company:
What techniques are being used to carry out SEO?
Most SEO companies use a variety of tools and techniques to carry out the optimization process. Link building, content generation, Social Media to name a few of the popular ones.
There are however, other, SEO “tricks” such as using hidden text, door way pages that may produce short term results but are seen as an attempt to manipulate the search engines and using these will almost certainly risk your website being hit with a penalty. We strongly recommend that you make sure that black hat SEO won’t be used to optimize your website. Get this in writing as any professional SEO firm should be happy to do this.
Ask to see a few examples of their previous results
Needless to say, the company should be able to show you examples of their clients who are currently on page 1.
Examine the sites both, in terms of rankings as well as the content. Are there any hidden text areas? Has the design been compromised by heavy use of keyword-rich text for benefit of traffic (not that this technique works anymore, this also compromises the user experience for the benefit of rankings which will limit the potential Return on Investment). Does the site load fast enough? You can check page load times at http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/.
What will be the mechanism to convert traffic into leads, enquiries and customers?
Real SEO should include strategies to convert the website traffic and to encourage them to take action. This can increase the possible return from the SEO efforts.
Not all companies do this, which is fine. However, you should consider discussing this before and taking the necessary steps to ensure that your website has the required conversion tools to get the best possible return.
What happens if my site does not appear within the page that you say it will?
This question is extremely important in determining the potential risks with your investment. Although it is close to impossible to predict the exact ranking that the company can deliver and in what time frame, a company with a proven track-record should have the experience to give you a good indication of the timelines and perhaps, a guarantee that covers you at least partially.
Is there a minimum term contract? If yes, for how long?
Most SEO Companies operate on a 6 or 12 month minimum term with an initial payment payable upon start of campaign and a reduced monthly payment, thereafter. This makes sense since producing SEO results take time and requires patience. However, make sure you understand the payment terms and whether the first monthly payment is payable after a certain no. of days once your campaign begins. This is important because you shouldn’t be paying the monthly charges until nearer the time once your rankings are expected to start improving.
It is important to carry out your own due-diligence before making your choice. When carried out effectively, SEO can be extremely beneficial in helping your business grow and reducing your marketing costs.
Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.