The term “SEO” is an acronym for “search engine optimization.” Choosing to hire an SEO firm or contractor is a big decision for any company, big or small. It can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk some damage to your site and reputation. Always research the Pro’s as well as the Con’s that an irresponsible SEO firm or contractor can do to your site. Many independent SEO firms or contractors provide useful services for website owners, including but not limited to:
- Review of your site content or structure.
- Keyword research.
- SEO training.
- Good content development.
- Online marketing development & campaigns.
- Expertise in internet market specific and geo-location targeting.
Google Search Results
Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and usually pay per click advertisements (“Sponsored Links” – Companies will spend as little or as much as they want to on PPC ads) as well. Advertising with Google will not have any effect on your site’s Google search presence in results. Google will never accept or take money to include or rank sites in their organic search results.
Free reading material resources to utilize are Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and my favorite – Google Forums; which can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search. Please keep in mind people cannot respond to questions on there immediately as there are literally thousands of questions posted in them on a daily basis. Many of these free sources, as well as information on paid search, can be found on Google Webmaster Central. The best part is that these things are free. Now I know some business owners do not have the hours, days, weeks, and years to devote to learning all the tips of SEO. This might be the point of why you are reading this post, to find the best SEO firm or contractor you can hire.
Finding A Reputable SEO Firm Or Contractor
Before beginning your search for a reputable SEO firm or contractor, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how the search engines work. You would research a car, home, or employee before you hire them the same should be said for SEO. I recommend starting with the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO firm or contractor, the sooner the better. The best time to hire is when you’re considering a website redesign, or planning to launch a brand new website. Your SEO can help you ensure that your website is designed to be SEO friendly from the beginning. A good SEO firm or contractor can also help improve an existing site.
Questions To Ask Any SEO Firm Or Contractor
- Where do you have examples of your work and case studies?
- Do you practice and understand Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any pay per click marketing services or advice to balance the organic search?
- What kind of results can I expect to see, and in what time?
- How do you measure my success?
- What’s your basic knowledge in my business?
- What’s your experience level with local SEO on the country/city level?
- What are the most vital SEO techniques that you use?
- How long have you been in business?
- Where are you located? US, foreign?
- How we communicate with you?
- Will I be dealing with you or will I be shuffled around?
- Will I have to make changes to my site? Will you do them or will I?
- Will you provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
What To Watch For In SEO Firms And Contractors
While ethical SEO’s can provide clients with amazing services, some unethical SEO’s have given the industry a bad reputation through aggressive marketing and attempts to manipulate search engine results through dishonest means. Practices that defy Google’s guidelines may result in a negative ranking of your site’s presence in Google, and even the deletion of your site from the Google Index. Some things to consider:
- Be wary of SEO firms and web specialists or organizations that send you email out of the blue.
- No one can guarantee reaching a #1 ranking on Google.
- Be careful if a company is secretive and will not clearly explain what they intend to do.
- You should never have to link to an SEO, or to whoever builds your website either.
- Choose wisely, just like buying a home or a car.
- Be sure to understand where the money goes. Ask Questions, be as informed as possible.
What are some other things to look out for when dealing with SEO firms or independent contractors?
SEO Warning Signs
There are a few cautionary signs that you may be dealing with a scoundrel SEO firm. Below is a far from a complete list, so if you have any doubts, you should always trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO does any of the following:
- Operates shadow sites to build traffic to sites.
- Puts links to their other clients on your site.
- Cannot distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages.
- Achieves ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases.
- Runs multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info for the SEO company
- Builds traffic to your site from “fake” search engines, or spyware.
- Had domains removed from Google’s index or is not listed in Google at all.
If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you should to report it to the Better Business Bureau and any other website that allows the reporting of scams, ripoffs, or just ill treatment of clients.
What Boostability Does
At Boostability we are very transparent. Boostability is one of the very few SEO firms that show our clients everything we do. We have a program that lets you log into at your leisure from anywhere and check the work Boostability has done for you. Boostability is a very open company that wants to help your site grow. When your site and company web presence grows we know that is a direct result from the work that we are doing. If you decide to leave us for any reason, we do not take your work down – we leave it up. We care about your company and we want it to grow. Give us a call today at 800-261-1537.