How to Choose an SEO Company

There are a number of very specific questions that you must ask any SEO company before they begin work. The answers to these questions will help you determine whether the company can really assist you or not.

I’ll explain how you can assess the answers to each of these questions. But first, understand this. A great company or consultant will never give you low prices. Ever.

However, on the flip side of that, high prices don’t mean quality work. The problem is this. Since most people have no idea how to evaluate the effectiveness of SEO work, it’s easy to drastically mark up prices.

It’s a call you’ll have to make. But in this life, it’s clear that you get what you pay for. So be aware of that. And understand that technical skills must be combined with creative writing for optimal results.

  1. What SEO strategy will you implement and how?
  2. How will you track the metrics for your work?
  3. What type of work do they do?
  4. How often will you create content and on what schedule?
  5. How much of your work is done in-house vs outsourced?
  6. What type of time commitment is required?
  7. What type of ranking guarantee can you provide?

1. What SEO Strategy Will You Implement And How?

The goal of this question is to understand the process. The answer will give you insight into how the company or consultant will go about doing their work.

But understand that they likely won’t tell you what websites they’re going to get links from. But they should be able to provide an explanation of the process they’ll go through.

The most important things you should look for in the answer is to ensure that there is some type of audit that’s initially done. This includes all technical factors on the site that impact SEO:

By addressing these issues, you get some quick wins. Remember, Google is obsessed with the user’s experience. Anything you can do to improve that will make dramatic results.

Other things to look for in an SEO strategy will be their approach to both content and link building. These are two cornerstones in the SEO world and there absolutely has to be a strategy in place for both.

So, what, in particular should you look for as a response?

2. How Will You Track The Metrics For Your Work?

Another thing you’ll want to know is precisely how the work will be tracked. Will they share reports? Log changes? Conduct audits? Share weekly organic ranking improvements? What will it be, precisely?

Any good SEO agency is going to ask for access to your site. That’s how they’ll make changes. But keep in mind that there needs to be a log of the work being performed in real-time.

This way, if anything does go wrong, you’ll know what it potentially was that led to the problem. You’ll also want to ensure there’s a system for tracking ranking fluctuations.

You can usually do this through external platforms like SEMRush, Ahrefs and Google Search Console. The point is that there needs to be a system in place for periodic reporting.

3. What Type Of Work Do They Do?

When it comes to SEO, there are three particular areas of work. Some companies will only focus on one of these areas, or potentially even two. But what you want is a company that focuses on all three.

Without addressing all three areas, it’s impossible to generate serious results. It’s like trying to build a house without having all the trades working together. It will likely be faulty at best.

Here are the 3 areas:

You’ll want a company that can help you with all of the above. However, the effectiveness of your SEO is largely going to rest in the success of your Off-Page SEO strategies. The truth is that this is the most time-consuming aspect of SEO.

What you’ll want to know is whether they’ll do all of this work or not. Are they doing it in-house? Or are they outsourcing it? Outsourcing is a slippery slope. You’ll want to ensure that they do all this work in-house and not try to pawn it off on others.

4. How Often Will They Create Content And On What Schedule?

Good content is a primary pillar for SEO. Any good SEO company will have a content strategy in place. What’s their content schedule look like? How often will they publish and what topics will they focus on?

Since you’ll be focusing on ranking for a particular keyword, you want to create as much great content for that keyword as possible. And, that content should be long-form content.

Ensure that there’s a weekly schedule for content publication in place. You’ll want at least 2 to 3 pieces of high-value content created every single week in the neighborhood of 2,000 words per piece of content.

That’s just for anchor content . Meaning, content on your site. There also needs to be a strategy for content done away from the site. Find out how much and how often they intend to create off-page content.

This can include things like video marketing on YouTube, articles done on Medium.com, questions answered on sites like Quora.com, and so on and so forth.

As you can imagine, planning and creating content takes time and it takes creativity. That doesn’t come cheap. But understand that it’s central to your ability to rank for any keyword.

You’ll want a mixture of great content created both on your site and away from it. This combined strategy is called content marketing. First, you build great content on your site. Then, you create equally great content away from your site.

5. How Much Of Your Work Is Done In-House vs Outsourced?

This is an important question. You want to ensure the company or consultant is taking ownership over the work. Are they doing the work themselves or are they outsourcing it?

When they’re doing the work, you can hold them accountable. That’s what you want. If they’re outsourcing, you need to know. And it should be baked into the agreement if they are outsourcing.

Why? Because, after all, this is your website here. If you release duplicate content or they use automated link-building systems to generate low-quality links in the thousands, they need to be held liable.

If they outsource to a third-party in another country and don’t bother to do any quality checks, it’s still your neck on the line. Sure, you can fire them or sue them. But what difference will it make? By that time, the damage is done.

If they do the work in-house, check it. Review the quality. How good is the writing? How effective is the content they produce? These are crucial questions.How Much Of Your Work Is Done In-House vs Outsourced?

6. What Type Of Time Commitment Is Required?

SEO takes time. So don’t expect results overnight. For that reason, there will be a lengthy time commitment involved. We’re talking many months here. Not weeks.

Think about it this way. Would you propose to get married on the first date? I suppose it could happen. But would you rush into a marriage with someone you barely knew?

The answer, of course, is no. You just can’t trust a person that quickly. But over time, you can. That’s why SEO is a lengthy process. It takes time to build trust. And in that time, you need to work hard to deepen that trust.

But let’s just say you’re looking for a new doctor. Would you trust a random stranger more than you would someone referred by your best friend? When someone you trust refers you, an instant trust-bridge is formed.

The same thing applies with Google. When someone Google already trusts links to you, a trust-bridge is formed. It’s not different in the digital world than it is in the real world.

Still, trust takes time to build. And it takes hard work. Yet, it can be destroyed in a matter of minutes if you attempt to violate Google’s many rules.

For that reason, any SEO agency that’s any good will not promise you fast results. This is especially true if you have a brand-new domain. Google is suspect of any new domains (i.e. less than 2-years old).

Your goal? Understand the length of work required. Often, for real rankings to occur, you’ll need at least 3 to 6 months of solid effort. And longer for more competitive domains.

7. What Type Of Ranking Guarantee Can You Provide?

This is a trick question. They can’t provide you with any guarantee. There are simply too many factors involved. If you ask and they give you a guarantee for a number one spot, then you should be suspicious.

What you want is to see a drastic improvement over time. You want effective SEO services that increase rank. Not a guarantee for a number one spot. It’s simply not possible.

I know what you’re thinking. What a waste of money if you can’t guarantee me a number one spot. But I assure you that it’s not. You’re laying a foundation here. And number one rankings do follow.

The issue is that there is no real schedule for how quickly it happens. It happens slowly over time. You can’t predict it. But you can track the effectiveness of their efforts over time.

In the SEO world, you can’t get discouraged if you don’t see results quickly. Most people do understand that. But not everyone does.