Gone are the days when the repetitive use of target keywords will help you rank higher in search engines. Today, even SEO specialists themselves will say there’s no hard and fast rule to optimizing your website pages. Sure, the process takes time. But done the proper way, search engine optimization can help your small business generate more leads.
If you’re thinking of finally incorporating SEO into your online marketing strategy, you need to be smart when picking a partner. It’s easy to claim expertise about SEO so much so it’s possible you’ll encounter someone that will promise you results in no time. Don’t fall victim to unscrupulous methods.
Here are tips to help you choose an SEO services for your small business.
1. Set goals.
Before starting your search for a good SEO services provider, look into your goals first. An SEO company will be able to help you better if you’ll also be open about your needs and expectations. Sit down with your team members and be more specific about your goals.
Look at where your small business is at right now and what you want to achieve with the help of SEO. As experienced as they are, SEO professionals are not mind-readers. Walk them through your business goals.
Do you want to focus on growing your email list? Are you hoping to attract specific groups of people to your website? In case you’ve previously worked with another SEO company and it didn’t turn out well, list down concerns or challenges you had to or haven’t had the chance to overcome.
2. Decide on a budget.
Not everyone feels comfortable talking about money. However, this is crucial when you’re looking for a professional services provider for your company. You need to be realistic about the price you can spend for your SEO initiatives.
SEO experts that focus on helping small businesses can help ensure you’re getting results you want without going beyond your budget. That said, look past the big and premium SEO companies. Avoid wasting your time exchanging emails only to realize in the end you can’t afford to hire them.
SEO agencies, big or small, can accommodate businesses from various industries. Rather than setting your mind on a huge SEO company, look for a team that has experience working and delivering results for businesses related to yours.
3. Gather recommendations.
Do you have people in your network that recently hired an SEO company for their small business? Start looking for referrals from people you personally know.
While it’s hard to resist checking top SEO lists you’ll find online, don’t base your decision on these sources alone. Your business has its unique needs and what worked for others may not work the same way for you.
Consider contacting industry experts you know as well. They may have great recommendations for you. The good thing about tapping into your own network is that you get to ask questions comfortably. And in turn, people you’re talking to will also feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences with you.
You’ll hear about the good and the bad. And you might even gather tips on how to save on SEO costs without cutting corners on services you need.
4. Conduct a background check.
Not finding an SEO company at the top spot of search engine results pages does not automatically mean they’re not good. This process, to a certain extent, helps you assess skills of an SEO services provider. But you’ll also want to dig deeper.
Look into their website, check if they’re doing SEO right. Read through their meta descriptions and see if you feel they’re compelling enough to attract clickthroughs (source: Edge Marketing in Australia). Do you find their website content engaging, delightful, or useful?
Don’t forget to read reviews as well. Get to know more the people behind the team. What do their clients have to say to them?
5. Discuss your goals with SEO companies.
Once you have narrowed down your list of SEO companies, it’s time to proceed to contact them. Take advantage of free consultations with the SEO team. Let them know what you want to achieve. Ask them about methods they’ll use to help you get there.
Talk to them as well about their reporting process. You know you can’t be on the guard round the clock so it help s a lot having an SEO team that updates you on a regular basis. After all, you need to know the progress they’re making or be advised about issues they’re encountering.
If they need anything from you such as website credentials, you’ll want to be informed ahead of time. While you’re at it, you might want to ask about the biggest challenges they’ve faced helping their clients and how they managed through it. This will help you get to know the team better, beyond their technical know-how.
6. Evaluate candidates.
How do you feel when talking to the SEO specialist? Do they encourage you to speak your mind or ask questions? Do you feel comfortable sharing your business concerns? And do you feel that the team listens and understands where you’re coming from?
Just as how you want a new hire to share similar values with the rest of your team, you want your SEO company to also fit into your company culture. This will make working with them a lot easier. You might want to test their customer service too – how easy it is to contact them should you have urgent needs.
Your choice of an SEO services provider is something you’ll have to live with, give or take several months or years. While you can always back out, you want to save yourself, as much as possible, from the tedious process of finding another SEO specialist over again. Take your homework seriously. Don’t be afraid to say no.