If you have an online business, you probably know how important SEO is for your success. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of improving your website’s visibility and relevance on search engines like Google and Bing. SEO can help you attract more organic traffic, leads, and customers to your website, as well as enhance your brand awareness and credibility.
But SEO is not a one-time thing. It requires constant monitoring, updating, and tweaking to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and trends of search engines. That’s why many online businesses choose to hire an SEO company to handle their SEO needs.
However, not all SEO companies are created equal. Some may offer low-quality services, use unethical tactics, or overcharge you for their work. Choosing the wrong SEO company can harm your online reputation, waste your money and time, and even get you penalized by search engines.
So how do you choose the best SEO company for your online business? In this article, we will share with you some tips and factors to consider when choosing an SEO company. By following these tips, you can find an SEO company that suits your budget, goals, and expectations.
You will learn:
- How to define your SEO goals and expectations
- How to do your research and find potential SEO companies
- How to ask for a consultation and compare prices and packages
- How to check references and results and verify their claims
- How to monitor and evaluate their performance and communication
By the end of this article, you will be able to choose the best SEO company for your online business and achieve your desired results. Let’s get started!
article, you will be able to choose the best SEO company for your online business and achieve your desired results. Let’s get started!
Definition of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of improving your website’s visibility and relevance on search engines like Google and Bing. SEO can help you attract more organic traffic, leads, and customers to your website, as well as enhance your brand awareness and credibility.
The role of SEO in digital marketing
SEO is an essential part of digital marketing in 2023, as more and more people use search engines to find information, products, and services online. According to Statista, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide as of October 2020, and this number is expected to grow further in the coming years. Moreover, according to BrightEdge, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search.
Therefore, if you want to reach your target audience online and grow your business, you need to optimize your website for search engines and provide the best user experience possible. SEO can help you achieve this by:
- Increasing your website’s visibility and ranking for relevant keywords and queries
- Driving more qualified and targeted traffic to your website
- Improving your website’s usability, speed, security, and mobile-friendliness
- Building your website’s authority and trustworthiness
- Enhancing your website’s content quality and value
- Generating more leads, conversions, and sales for your business
- Measuring and analyzing your website’s performance and ROI
Types of SEO Services
SEO services are the activities and strategies that an SEO company or professional provides to help you achieve your SEO goals. There are different types of SEO services in 2023, depending on your needs and objectives. Some of the most common types of SEO services are:
- Technical SEO: This involves optimizing your website’s structure, code, speed, security, navigation, and other technical aspects that affect how search engines crawl and index your website.
- On-page SEO: This involves optimizing your website’s content, title tags, meta descriptions, headings, images, URLs, internal links, and other on-page elements that affect how search engines understand and rank your website.
- Off-page SEO: This involves building your website’s reputation and authority by acquiring backlinks from other relevant and trustworthy websites, as well as promoting your website on social media platforms, forums, blogs, and other online channels.
- Local SEO: This involves optimizing your website for local searches by claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile, adding local citations and reviews,
Identifying Your SEO Needs
Before you hire an SEO company or professional to help you with your website’s optimization, you need to do some homework on your own. Here are some steps you should take to prepare for SEO services:
Analyzing your website’s current SEO status
The first step is to analyze your website’s current SEO status and identify its strengths and weaknesses. You need to know where you stand in terms of your website’s visibility, ranking, traffic, conversions, and performance. You also need to know what issues and errors are affecting your website’s SEO and user experience.
To analyze your website’s current SEO status, you can use various tools and methods, such as:
- Google Analytics: This is a free tool that helps you measure and analyze your website’s traffic, behavior, conversions, and other metrics. You can use Google Analytics to see how many visitors your website gets, where they come from, what pages they visit, how long they stay, what actions they take, and more.
- Google Search Console: This is a free tool that helps you monitor and improve your website’s presence and performance on Google search. You can use Google Search Console to see how your website appears on Google search results, what keywords and queries drive traffic to your website, what issues and errors affect your website’s crawling and indexing, and more.
- Semrush or Ahrefs: These are paid tools that help you conduct comprehensive SEO audits and research on your website and competitors. You can use Semrush or Ahrefs to see how your website ranks for various keywords and queries, what backlinks your website has, what content gaps and opportunities exist on your website, what technical issues and errors affect your website’s SEO, and more.
By analyzing your website’s current SEO status, you can get a clear picture of where you are and what you need to improve.
Setting SEO Goals for Your Business
The next step is to set SEO goals for your business. You need to know what you want to achieve with SEO and how it aligns with your overall business objectives. You also need to set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Some examples of SEO goals for your business are:
- Increase organic traffic by 50% in six months
- Improve conversion rate by 10% in three months
- Enhance brand awareness by ranking for 20 relevant keywords in one year
By setting SEO goals for your business, you can communicate them clearly to the SEO company or professional and see if they can help you achieve them.
Determining Your Budget for SEO Services
The final step is to determine your budget for SEO services. You need to know how much you can afford to spend on SEO services and what kind of return on investment (ROI) you expect from them. You also need to compare the prices and packages offered by different SEO companies or professionals and see which one offers the best value for money.
To determine your budget for SEO services, you can use various factors and methods, such as:
- Your SEO goals: Your budget should match your SEO goals. The more ambitious and competitive your SEO goals are, the more money you will need to spend on SEO services. For example, if you want to rank for highly competitive keywords or target a large market
Researching Potential SEO Companies
If you are looking for an SEO company to help you with your website’s optimization, you need to do some research and find the best one for your needs and expectations. Here are some ways you can research and find potential SEO companies:
Conducting a Google search
One of the simplest and most common ways to find an SEO company is to conduct a Google search. You can use various keywords and queries to find SEO companies that offer services in your niche or location. For example, if you are looking for an SEO company in New York that specializes in dental marketing, you can search for “SEO company New York dental marketing” or something similar. You can also check the rankings and reviews of the SEO companies that appear in the search results.
However, conducting a Google search alone is not enough to find the best SEO company. You need to dig deeper and evaluate the SEO companies that interest you. You can visit their websites, check their portfolio, testimonials, case studies, awards, certifications, etc. You can also contact them and ask for a consultation and a proposal.
Asking for Recommendations from Peers
Another way to find an SEO company is to ask for recommendations from your peers. You can reach out to your friends, colleagues, partners, or other business owners who have used or are using SEO services. You can ask them about their experience, satisfaction, results, and feedback on the SEO company they hired or are working with.
Asking for recommendations from peers can help you find trustworthy and reliable SEO companies that have proven their expertise and quality. However, you need to be careful and not rely solely on recommendations. You need to verify the recommendations and do your own research on the SEO company. You also need to make sure that the SEO company can meet your specific needs and expectations.
Reviewing Industry Publications and Directories
Another way to find an SEO company is to review industry publications and directories. You can look for reputable and authoritative sources that publish articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, webinars, etc. on SEO topics and trends. You can also look for sources that feature or rank the best SEO companies in your niche or location.
Reviewing industry publications and directories can help you find credible and reputable SEO companies that have established their name and reputation in the industry. However, you need to be cautious and not trust everything you read or see online. You need to check the credibility and validity of the sources and the criteria they use to feature or rank the SEO companies. You also need to do your own research and evaluation on the SEO company.
Identifying Red Flags When Researching SEO Companies
When researching SEO companies, you also need to be aware of some red flags that indicate low-quality or unethical services. Some of these red flags are:
- Unrealistic or vague promises: If an SEO company promises you guaranteed or instant results, such as ranking on the first page of Google within a week or month, or increasing your traffic or sales by a certain percentage, you should be skeptical. SEO is a long-term and ongoing process that depends on many factors and variables. No SEO company can guarantee or predict the exact outcome of their work. Moreover, if an SEO company does not provide you with clear and specific goals, expectations, and deliverables, you should be wary. A good SEO company will set realistic and measurable goals and explain how they will achieve them.
- Lack of transparency or communication: If an SEO company does not communicate with you regularly or effectively, or does not provide you with reports or updates on their work and progress, you should be concerned. A good SEO company will keep you informed and involved in every step of their work and provide you with data and evidence to support their claims and results. They will also be responsive and available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- Unethical or black-hat tactics: If an SEO company uses unethical or black-hat tactics to manipulate or deceive search engines or users, you should avoid them. These tactics include keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden text, link schemes, duplicate content, spamming, etc. These tactics may seem to work in the short term, but they can harm your website’s reputation and ranking in the long term. They can also get you penalized or banned by search engines. A good SEO company will use ethical or white-hat tactics that follow the best practices and guidelines of search engines and provide value to users.
- Low prices or packages: If an SEO company offers you low prices or packages that seem too good to be true, you should be careful. SEO is a complex and labor-intensive process that requires time, effort, and expertise. A low price or package may indicate that the SEO company is cutting corners, outsourcing their work to low-quality providers, using automated tools or software, or delivering subpar services. A good SEO company will charge you a fair and reasonable price that reflects the quality and scope of their work.
Evaluating SEO Companies
After you have done your research and found some potential SEO companies for your business, you need to evaluate them and see which one is the best fit for your needs and expectations. Here are some factors and methods you can use to evaluate SEO companies:
Assessing The Company’s Experience
One of the first things you should look at when evaluating an SEO company is their experience. You want to work with an SEO company that has been in the industry for a long time and has worked with clients in your niche or market. Experience shows that the SEO company has the knowledge and skills to handle various SEO challenges and scenarios. It also shows that the SEO company has a track record of delivering results and satisfying clients.
To assess the company’s experience, you can ask them questions such as:
- How long have you been in the SEO industry?
- How many clients have you worked with in my niche or market?
- What are some of the SEO projects or campaigns that you are most proud of?
- How do you keep up with the latest SEO trends and updates?
Reviewing Case Studies and Testimonials
Another thing you should look at when evaluating an SEO company is their case studies and testimonials. Case studies and testimonials provide you with evidence and proof of the SEO company’s work and results. They also give you an insight into the SEO company’s process, strategy, methods, and tools. They also show you how the SEO company handles different situations, challenges, and goals.
To review the company’s case studies and testimonials, you can ask them to provide you with examples of their previous or current clients that are similar to your business or goals. You can also check their website, portfolio, social media platforms, or third-party review sites for more case studies and testimonials. You can also contact their previous or current clients directly and ask them about their experience and satisfaction with the SEO company.
Checking For Industry Certifications and Partnerships
Another thing you should look at when evaluating an SEO company is their industry certifications and partnerships. Industry certifications and partnerships show that the SEO company has met certain standards and criteria of quality and professionalism in the SEO industry. They also show that the SEO company has access to exclusive resources, tools, training, and support from reputable organizations and platforms in the SEO industry.
To check for the company’s industry certifications and partnerships, you can ask them to provide you with proof or verification of their credentials. You can also check their website, social media platforms, or third-party review sites for more information. Some of the most common and reputable industry certifications and partnerships for SEO companies are:
Google Partner: This shows that the SEO company has passed Google’s exams and requirements for Google Ads
Understanding SEO Pricing Models
Types of SEO pricing models
Types of SEO pricing models: According to Forbes, there are three main pricing models for SEO services: input pricing, output pricing, and value pricing. Input pricing is based on the amount of time or resources spent on SEO tasks, such as hourly billing. Output pricing is based on the deliverables or results achieved by SEO activities, such as blog posts or backlinks. Value pricing is based on the value or impact that SEO has on the client’s business goals, such as revenue or conversions.
The Pros and Cons of Each Pricing Model
The pros and cons of each pricing model: Each pricing model has its advantages and disadvantages for both SEO providers and clients. Input pricing allows for flexibility and transparency in billing, but it can also lead to inefficiencies and scope creep. Output pricing allows for clear expectations and accountability, but it can also lead to quality issues and misalignment of incentives. Value pricing allows for alignment of goals and rewards, but it can also be difficult to measure and justify.
Understanding The Value of Investing in SEO
Understanding the value of investing in SEO: SEO is not a one-time expense, but a long-term investment that can generate significant returns for a business. According to Backlinko, SEO can help a business improve its online visibility, traffic, leads, conversions, and revenue. However, the cost and benefits of SEO depend on various factors, such as the industry, competition, goals, budget, and strategy. Therefore, it is important to understand the value proposition of SEO and choose a pricing model that suits the business needs and expectations.
Questions to Ask with SEO Company on Different Stages –
Hiring an SEO company can be a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the technical aspects and best practices of search engine optimization. However, choosing the right SEO partner can make a huge difference in your online visibility, traffic, and conversions. To help you make an informed decision,
Key Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company:
- What is their online experience and reputation? You want to work with an SEO company that has a proven track record of delivering results for their clients. Ask them how long they have been in business, who are their SEO experts, what are their credentials and certifications, and what are some of their success stories and case studies. You can also check their online reviews, testimonials, and ratings on sites like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and Trustpilot.
- What is their SEO process and methodology? You want to work with an SEO company that follows a clear and transparent process for optimizing your website. Ask them how they conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, technical audit, content creation, link building, and performance monitoring. You also want to know what tools and software they use, how they communicate with you, and how they handle changes and updates.
- What are their expectations and guarantees? You want to work with an SEO company that sets realistic and measurable goals for your campaign. Ask them what key performance indicators (KPIs) they use to track your progress, such as rankings, traffic, leads, conversions, and revenue. You also want to know how long it will take to see results, what are the risks and challenges involved, and what are their contingency plans. Be wary of any SEO company that promises instant or guaranteed results, as SEO is a long-term and dynamic process that depends on many factors.
- How do they align their strategy with your business goals? You want to work with an SEO company that understands your business needs and objectives. Ask them how they conduct a thorough analysis of your target audience, industry, competitors, and unique selling proposition. You also want to know how they customize their SEO strategy to fit your brand identity, voice, tone, and style. You also want to know how they integrate their SEO efforts with your other marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, or paid advertising.
- How do they report on their work and results? You want to work with an SEO company that provides you with regular and comprehensive reports on their activities and outcomes. Ask them how often they send you reports, what metrics and data they include, how they interpret the results, and what recommendations they make for improvement. You also want to know how they handle feedback and suggestions from you, and how they measure your return on investment (ROI).
Questions to Ask During the Onboarding Process
The onboarding process is a crucial stage in establishing a successful and long-lasting relationship with your SEO company. It is the time when you share important information, set expectations, and align your goals and strategies. To make sure you get the most out of this process, here are some questions to ask your SEO company during the onboarding:
- What are the roles and responsibilities of each party? You want to have a clear understanding of who is doing what, how often, and how they communicate. Ask your SEO company to provide you with a detailed breakdown of their team members, their expertise, their tasks, and their contact details. You also want to know who your main point of contact is, how they prefer to communicate, and how they handle feedback and requests.
- What are the deliverables and timelines for each phase of the project? You want to have a clear roadmap of what your SEO company will deliver, when, and how they will measure success. Ask your SEO company to provide you with a project plan that outlines the scope, objectives, milestones, deliverables, timelines, and KPIs for each phase of the project. You also want to know how they will report on their progress, what tools and platforms they use, and how they handle changes and updates.
- What are the expectations and guarantees for the project? You want to have a realistic and mutually agreed-upon set of expectations and guarantees for the project. Ask your SEO company what results they expect to achieve, how long it will take, what are the risks and challenges involved, and what are their contingency plans. You also want to know what guarantees they offer, such as performance-based contracts or money-back guarantees. Be wary of any SEO company that promises unrealistic or guaranteed results, as SEO is a complex and dynamic process that depends on many factors.
- How do you align your strategy with our business goals and brand guidelines? You want to make sure that your SEO company understands your business needs and objectives, and that their strategy is tailored to fit them. Ask your SEO company how they conduct a thorough analysis of your target audience, industry, competitors, and unique selling proposition. You also want to know how they customize their SEO strategy to fit your brand identity, voice, tone, and style. You also want to know how they integrate their SEO efforts with your other marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, or paid advertising.
- How do you handle communication and collaboration with us? You want to have a smooth and effective communication and collaboration process with your SEO company. Ask your SEO company how often they communicate with you, what channels they use, what information they share, and what feedback they expect from you. You also want to know how they handle communication and collaboration with other stakeholders involved in the project, such as your web developers, content writers, or designers. You also want to know how they handle conflicts or disagreements that may arise during the project.
Signing the Contract with SEO Company
Signing a contract with an SEO company is a big step in your online marketing journey. It means that you are entrusting them with your website, your brand, and your business goals. However, before you sign on the dotted line, you need to make sure that you understand the terms and conditions, finalize the scope of work, and protect your business’s interests in the contract. Here are some points to consider:
Understanding The Terms and Conditions:
A contract is a legally binding document that outlines the rights and obligations of both parties. You need to read it carefully and make sure that you agree with everything that is stated. Some of the key terms and conditions to look for are: the duration of the contract, the payment terms and schedule, the deliverables and timelines, the expectations and guarantees, the termination clause, the dispute resolution mechanism, and the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your SEO company for clarification or negotiation.
Finalizing The Scope of Work:
A contract should also include a detailed description of the scope of work that your SEO company will perform for you. This should include the specific services, tasks, strategies, and methods that they will use to optimize your website and achieve your goals. The scope of work should also specify what is included and what is not included in the contract, as well as any additional fees or charges that may apply for extra work or changes. You need to make sure that the scope of work matches your needs and expectations, and that there are no hidden or vague clauses that could lead to misunderstandings or conflicts later on.
Protecting Your Business’s Interests in The Contract:
A contract should also protect your business’s interests and rights in case something goes wrong or unexpected. You need to make sure that the contract has clauses that cover issues such as: ownership and access to your website and data, liability and indemnification for any damages or losses caused by your SEO company’s actions or negligence, intellectual property rights and ownership of any content or materials created by your SEO company for your website, exclusivity and non-compete agreements to prevent your SEO company from working with your competitors or using your confidential information for their own benefit, and force majeure events that may affect the performance of the contract due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. You also need to make sure that you have a copy of the signed contract and keep it in a safe place for future reference.
Monitoring Progress and Results
One of the most important aspects of SEO is monitoring progress and results. You need to track and measure how your website is performing in terms of rankings, traffic, conversions, and other relevant metrics. This will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your SEO services, identify areas of improvement, and report on your achievements. Here are some points to consider:
Setting up Tracking and Analytics:
Before you start any SEO campaign, you need to set up proper tracking and analytics tools that can capture and report on your website’s data. Some of the essential tools you need are: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, and Google Data Studio. These tools will help you track your website’s performance, such as organic search traffic, organic keywords, bounce rate, time on page, pages per visit, conversions, and more. You can also use third-party tools to track keyword rankings, backlinks, site speed, technical issues, and more, such as Moz Pro, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Screaming Frog, etc.
Regular Reporting and Updates:
Once you have your tracking and analytics tools set up, you need to create regular reports and updates that show your progress and results. You can use Google Data Studio or other reporting tools to create dashboards and visualizations that display your key metrics and KPIs.
You should also communicate with your client or stakeholder regularly to share your findings, insights, recommendations, and action plans. Depending on your agreement, you may need to provide weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual reports and updates.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of SEO Services:
The ultimate goal of monitoring progress and results is to evaluate the effectiveness of your SEO services. You need to compare your actual performance with your expected performance based on your goals and objectives. You also need to analyze the impact of your SEO efforts on your client’s business outcomes, such as revenue or ROI.
You should also identify what worked well and what didn’t work well in your SEO strategy, and what are the opportunities and challenges for improvement. You should also benchmark your performance against your competitors and industry standards.
Top 5 SEO Company
Here are some of the best SEO companies in the world with some information about them:
- WebFX: A digital marketing agency based in Pennsylvania, USA, that offers SEO services for national, local, ecommerce, and enterprise clients. They have over 250 employees and have been in business since 19961.
- Ignite Visibility: A digital marketing agency based in San Diego, USA, that specializes in SEO and PPC. They have over 150 clients and have been featured in Forbes, Inc., and Entrepreneur1.
- Straight North: An internet marketing agency based in Chicago, USA, that provides SEO, PPC, social media marketing, and web design services. They have over 100 employees and serve B2B and B2C clients worldwide2.
- The SEO Works: An SEO agency based in Sheffield, UK, that offers national and local SEO services. They have over 10 years of experience and have won multiple awards for their work1.
- KOCHI: An SEO agency based in Chiba, Japan, that provides international SEO services. They have over 10 years of experience and have worked with clients from various industries1.
Choosing the right SEO company is a crucial decision for any business that wants to succeed online. A good SEO company can help you improve your website’s visibility, traffic, conversions, and revenue. However, a bad SEO company can harm your website’s reputation, waste your money, and deliver poor results. Therefore, you need to be careful and diligent when selecting an SEO company for your business. You need to ask the right questions, check their credentials and reputation, understand their pricing and contract terms, and monitor their progress and results. By doing so, you can ensure that you are working with a reliable and professional SEO company that can help you achieve your online marketing goals.
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as SEO results depend on various factors, such as the industry, competition, goals, budget, strategy, and quality of work. However, a general rule of thumb is that it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more to see noticeable improvements in rankings, traffic, and conversions. SEO is a long-term and ongoing process that requires patience and consistency.
What factors impact the cost of SEO services?
The cost of SEO services can vary widely depending on the type, scope, and quality of the services offered. Some of the factors that can impact the cost of SEO services are: the size and complexity of your website, the number and competitiveness of your target keywords, the current state of your website’s SEO performance, the level of expertise and experience of your SEO provider, the type of pricing model (hourly, project-based, retainer, etc.) and contract terms (duration, guarantees, etc.) that you agree on with your SEO provider.
Can I do SEO myself or do I need to hire an SEO company?
The answer to this question depends on your level of knowledge, skills, time, and resources. SEO is a complex and dynamic field that requires constant learning and adaptation. If you have a basic understanding of SEO principles and best practices, you may be able to do some basic SEO tasks yourself, such as keyword research, content creation, on-page optimization, etc. However, if you want to achieve more advanced and competitive SEO results, you may need to hire an SEO company that can provide you with professional guidance, expertise, tools, and resources. An SEO company can help you save time and money, avoid mistakes and penalties, and achieve your online marketing goals faster and more effectively.
How do I know if an SEO company is using ethical tactics?
Unfortunately, there are some SEO companies that use unethical or black-hat tactics to manipulate search engine rankings and deceive their clients. These tactics can harm your website’s reputation, performance, and rankings in the long run. To avoid hiring such an SEO company, you need to do your due diligence and research before signing a contract. Some of the signs that an SEO company is using ethical or white-hat tactics are: they have a good online reputation and reviews from previous clients; they provide clear and transparent communication and reporting; they follow Google’s guidelines and best practices; they set realistic and measurable goals and expectations; they use proven and data-driven strategies and methods; they provide quality work and results; they do not promise instant or guaranteed results.
What happens if I’m not satisfied with the results of my SEO services?
If you’re not satisfied with the results of your SEO services, you need to communicate with your SEO provider and try to resolve the issue amicably. You need to review your contract terms and see what options you have in case of dissatisfaction or dispute. You may be able to request a refund, cancel the contract, renegotiate the terms, or seek arbitration or mediation. However, before you take any drastic action, you need to make sure that you have given enough time for your SEO services to show results (at least 3 to 6 months) and that you have realistic expectations based on your goals and budget. You also need to consider other factors that may affect your SEO results beyond your SEO provider’s control, such as algorithm changes, competition changes, market changes, etc.