Are you looking to expand the reach of your business? Looking to rank higher in Internet searches and score a greater degree of conversion from clicks to customers? If the answer is “Yes”, then you are most likely already considering an all-encompassing campaign for your whole company, which would optimize your content and your web pages to make them truly stand out.
Unless you are an SEO wizard in disguise, or you have some undiscovered keyword geniuses among your current staff, chances are high that you will end up hiring an independent SEO agency to do that tricky adjustment work for you. You can learn more about what an SEO agency does and why that matters at this link.
But how can you know for sure with whom to sign? Choosing an SEO agency is a long-term investment, and as such you have to weigh it carefully. This is especially true considering the massive potential of the web to deliver unsuspecting users right into the grubby hands of scammers. To help your business avoid that sorry fate, we put together a list of four things to check out when you are considering an SEO company.
Do they have available case studies and do they readily provide them?
When you go to check out the web page of an SEO agency, case studies are the very first staple item you should look for. They will typically be nested under tabs like “our experience”, “users’ testimonials”, or just outright “our case studies” – or you can skip all that and simply use the web site’s search feature. Failing that, it should be easy to request them from the agency’s representatives, and they should be perfectly happy to provide them at once. After all, a case study is the best testament to the agency’s skill and experience and directly demonstrates that they are indeed able to deliver the quality of results that you need.
A good case study is easy to recognize: it will be written comprehensively so that the average person can easily understand it, it will highlight the company’s representative work, and provide specific examples of how they perform in real-life situations – including those where they have to overcome some unexpected adversities. Click here to check the case study if you are still a little fuzzy on the entire concept.
Beware the companies which outright refuse to share them or try to worm their way out of it. Also look out for overly “fluffy” case studies which only present easy fixes to minor situations and overflow with ecstatic praise – there is a fair chance that those are falsified.
Are they being realistic with what they are offering their clients?
If an SEO agency is promising you the proverbial ivory towers with pearly gates, that is a major red flag. You know how it is: things that sound too good to be true tend to be exactly that. There is no way to guarantee any ranking with 100% certainty, since the world of SEO is constantly developing and no agency can keep the algorithms on a leash.
A legit expert will understand this and give you realistic estimates in accordance with the current situation in the field. They will likely underpromise and overdeliver, and should have no problem with explaining why they provided the estimates they did. Avoid anyone who over-enthusiastically claims they will “definitely rank you at [some value]” or “make your rankings skyrocket overnight.”
Do they have the experience and track record to back up their marketing?
All flash and no fury makes a company the worst possible choice. In other words, it all comes down to whether these people can back up their claims with recorded, tried and tested experience in their field. Luckily for everyone who is finding themselves in this kind of a situation for the first time, there is a fairly simple way to go about checking this out.
Go to the official web site of the SEO agency which you are considering and look for the section titled “about us” or something along those lines. There should be some information about when the agency was founded, when it branched off into SEO (if it is a scion of another business entity), or otherwise some indication of how long they have been in the business. This lengths of time directly indicates their level of experience, and coupled with a few reliable user reviews web sites, it can give you a pretty realistic picture.
Do they have the relevant documentation that confirms their competency?
Unlike many services out there, people dealing in SEO will typically not receive any “Certificate of Competency in Search Engine Optimization” or such. As we already mentioned above, the algorithms that dictate SEO trends are constantly changing, which makes that kind of hypothetical certificate unavoidably useless.
However, there is an equivalent to look out for: standard certifications for analytics competency, as well as for PPC. This term refers to the advertising model of “pay-per-click”, which you can learn more about at this link. Major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. each have their own PPC certifications, and serious SEO agencies will make an effort to obtain one or more and Can also ensure you that how much time your SEO ranking will take. These documents verify that the holder has quality knowledge of the given search engine’s advertising platform, meaning that your content rank that much higher in their search results.