SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a popular service offered by online marketing companies, but it is not always understood. If a business is looking for help to improve the quality and quantity of Website traffic via organic (non-paid) search, it is important to have a clear idea of what SEO is and how it can help your business so you can adequately communicate your goals to an online marketing company or SEO consultant. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and “…refers to the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines” according to Search Engine Land.
An SEO company can help your business generate leads and increase sales. Finding the best SEO company involves a mix of interviewing several SEO companies and having a basic understanding of SEO fundamentals. The following are some best practices from SEO experts on finding the right SEO company:
- Understand your SEO needs so that you may communicate your goals to the SEO vendor. The first step is to recognizing your SEO goals is to better understand SEO in general. Below are some ways to get “SEO smart”:
- First, you should request your proposed SEO company perform some in-house training so you can learn the fundamentals of SEO. For example, you should learn: What is SEO? Why it matters?
- You may also want to watch some training videos on YouTube or Vimeo where experts explain the art and science of SEO.
- Find the Experts. Once you can articulate your SEO goals and understand what SEO is, the search for the right SEO company will become easier. Moz.com recommends familiarizing yourself with forums, blogs and sites related to SEO in order to find experts (many of whom are contributing to these forums). “As a rule, SEOs are incredibly friendly about referring business to good companies and good people, and if your network has already given you a few names running these by the professionals can get you valuable insight on potential winners vs. lemons,” according to Moz.com.
- Get a quote: Moz.com also recommends that before signing on with an SEO vendor/consultant, get an overview of what the vendor can do for you and the cost. Many SEO vendors will be able to provide only a brief consultation regarding your business until a contract is signed, but most can provide an overview of their capabilities and how that translates into costs.
- One quote is not enough. Choose carefully and interview several companies: Don’t choose an SEO company based on one quote. Like the search for any service provider, choosing the right one comes from research and speaking to people directly. Experts recommend to get proposals from at least three SEO companies before choosing. Remember to compare “apples to apples”. An offshore SEO company may be able to offer a lower price, but the quality of the work and the communication challenges may create ongoing issues that outweigh the expense.
- Ask the right questions: Experts suggest the following questions as a good start and a way to better understand what the SEO company is thinking and how they may help your SEO needs.
- What type of techniques do you use to achieve SEO rankings?
- Can you show me examples of past work?
- What type of volume increase in traffic is reasonable to expect?
- How long until I start to see results?
- What would you expect from us to help achieve our goals?
- Do you offer any other internet marketing services to supplement your SEO offerings?