When it comes to selecting the best possible provider of search-engine optimization (SEO), what's a business to do? What truly matters when it comes to SEO, and how can you even begin to identify it?
Well, here are a few surefire signs of a trustworthy SEO agency to ensure you’re not taken for a ride with your optimization efforts.
1. They Can Explain Their Process
We get it – SEO can be confusing. Many business leaders know that their end game is to move higher in Google's or Bing's search rankings, but they don't understand how that ranking system works.
Unfortunately, disreputable companies can take advantage of this lack of knowledge by using big words to sell over-priced, ineffective services.
The best way to tell qualified SEO professionals from unqualified ones is simple: Can they explain their process? An agency should clearly and succinctly explain how it plans to help your company.
2. They Make a Variety of Recommendations
Everyone who works in marketing knows that keywords correlate to SEO. But most SEO experts estimate that there are more than 200 factors that determine your place in the search engine results!
The agency you work with should mention multiple tactics, including content creation, linking, technical SEO, social media and others.
Google spokesperson Matt Cutts has said that the company changes its algorithm more than once every day. Not all of those changes are drastic. But your agency should be multi-faceted and agile enough to respond to the big changes when they come along.
3. They Give You Realistic Expectations
One of the biggest indicators of SEO knowledge is the type of results that are promised.
Many businesses are duped into believing that agencies that make huge promises will generate huge profits.
Gigantic promises can sometimes create results - in the short-term, that is. These kinds of agencies are likely using spammy or suspicious techniques that will get your website penalized in the long-term. Look for an agency that sets realistic expectations of what can be achieved in a long-term timeframe.
4. They Focus on What's Really Important
There are a lot of SEO agencies that will point to one spike in web analytics data and proudly announce, "Our services worked!" Then they will pat each other on the back, aggressively high-five their neighbor and immediately cease work on your account.
Your dream SEO agency should know that one particular metric is not the end game.
Driving more traffic to your website or rising in the search engine rankings are great goals. But did those visits to your website actually convert into qualified leads? And have your leads resulted in more customers? If those next steps are not happening, your SEO agency should determine why not.
Don't neglect SEO.
Some businesses may be tempted to throw up their hands and decide that with all the disreputable SEO agencies out there, its not worth it. But SEO should be a key tenet of your marketing strategy. And if you find the right agency to focus on long-term gains, you can gain amazing results.