Figuring out why you need search engine optimization is easy in a day and age where people search for anything and everything on Google; actually going about doing that optimization is a bit more complicated, which is why it’s so important to find the right SEO company to handle your efforts. But finding an effective yet affordable SEO company presents its own challenges. At minimum, you should know these five good and bad signs to look for as you start conducting interviews:
- GOOD: A Robust Content Strategy
SEO is almost synonymous with content marketing these days, which means a good SEO firm will offer you a package that includes a wide variety of on- and off-site content. This unique content will drive your rankings, so it’s worth paying more to have that content created by qualified, U.S.-based writers.
- BAD: Shady Link-Building Schemes
Old-school SEO involved creating a bunch of links all pointing to the website that you wanted to optimize. But this is now considered a “black-hat,” or illegitimate, technique. If a company can’t explain how it earns legitimate links for your website through content placement, it may be buying links that will get you penalized in the long run.
- GOOD: A Local Search Optimization Plan
Local SEO is related to general SEO, but requires some specialized strategies. If you have a brick-and-mortar business you want local searchers to find, it’s very important to have a separate local plan in place.
- BAD: A Number-One Ranking Guarantee
You’d think that a guarantee would be a good thing. But it’s actually a sign that a company isn’t completely on the up-and-up. Rankings are inherently unpredictable (remember, your competitors are probably working just as hard as you are to climb to the top of the rankings), so a company that makes that kind of promise must be planning to manipulate things along the way or slip a sneaky caveat into your contract.
- GOOD: Transparent Reporting Practices
One of the major things that sets excellent SEO consultants apart is their willingness to transparently report their progress, whether they always have good news or not. You should be offered regular updates automatically, as well as access to on-demand data.
Do you have any more tips to share on choosing an SEO company? Join the discussion in the comments.