The online market is a highly competitive arena. Businesses from all niches vie for the top spot to place their products and services before a target audience doing search. With their techno savvy, competitors could easily swallow you up.
If you’re running a business that operates only online, you need to master effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Time is probably not on your side, especially if you don’t have the necessary resources to run a team of Internet marketing specialists. If that’s the case, you would probably benefit from professional SEO services.
Hiring an SEO will save you time and money, and will ensure you compete well in the cutthroat world of digital marketing.
This is definitely a time to proceed with caution, however. Plenty of entities out there claim to be “experts in the field” of digital marketing or SEO. With hundreds of SEO companies on the market, how do you choose the right one?
To simplify your search for the right SEO service, you need to ask the right questions. That will enable you to zero in on the company that can help you achieve your marketing goals — without bogging you down in the details and possibly breaking the bank.
But first: What is SEO?
SEO is the process of improving the online visibility of a website in a search engine’s organic section. It costs nothing to get listed, but to get to the top requires a thorough understanding of the process.
SEO requires significant chunks of time and consistent labor to achieve first-page ranking on Google. With the rise of Social SEO — the inclusion of Social Media Signals in SEO calculations — there’s even more work to do now, just to be able to compete in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing.
Can companies simply ignore SEO? Certainly not!
Tests have shown that users pretty much depend only on the information that appears on the first page of Google and Bing searches. The rest usually go unregarded.
So if web searchers don’t see you on Google’s first page, they’ll go to your competitors instead. That’s why you need to hire the right SEO company.
Let’s look at some of the key questions you need to ask an SEO provider before you choose to hire them.
Does your SEO experience extend to my industry?
It’s crucial to learn not only how much experience a prospective SEO firm has; it’s at least as important to determine the depth of their experience in your particular industry. In addition, try to determine their rate of success in achieving their clients’ goals.
Do you provide customized services based on the type of business we do and on our budget?
No one size fits all. It’s important to note that every business has very specific goals and needs. If you’re just starting out, you may need to construct a web presence from the ground up. On the other hand, perhaps you simply need to have an existing website optimized. It’s important to remember this, so the type of service an SEO provider has to offer stays within your budget.
Can you provide examples of your work?
Try to get specific examples that show how the prospective marketer helped clients achieve their SEO goals. If you have solid examples, you can proceed with the confidence that the people you will work with can provide you with the right services, and that they will align with your business goals.
Also, make sure the figures they provide are recent. This gives you a sense of how well the company has kept abreast of changes in SEO.
Could you provide referrals?
This obviously can be a bit tricky, because some clients won’t want any information disclosed. But a good number of clients do allow their SEO companies to furnish certain information for referrals. Ask for the contact information for clients they’ve worked with, and get in touch with them. Find out as much as you can regarding how they feel about the services of your prospective SEO provider.
Could you describe the techniques you will use to achieve our business goals?
Although you are not an SEO expert, a good provider should be able to give you a general sense of the techniques to be used for your business. Ask them to explain and provide a clear picture of how SEO techniques work. Ask them to include in their proposal all the techniques they intend to use. Armed with this information, you should be able to make a better decision when you choose the SEO provider for your business.
How long should it take to realize my business goals with the services you provide?
There are no shortcuts to improved, substantive results in SEO. If you are in a highly competitive industry, it could take several months or more to achieve first-page ranking on Google. Keep this in mind. SEOs that “guarantee” results in weeks, even for competitive keywords, are more likely to get your business into trouble and cost you dearly.
Try to get in touch with at least five SEO companies and put these questions to them. Remember, the cheapest will not necessarily be the best. But plenty of SEO companies out there can provide affordable services and have served their clients well by delivering real results.
For ease of communication, you may be tempted to work only with SEO providers based in your area. But with the availability of email, instant messaging, and other forms long-distance communication, it shouldn’t matter what part of the country the SEO provider is from. As long as you’ve done ample research and are satisfied that this outfit can help you achieve online profitability, you should be fine.
The questions you need to ask a potential SEO provider all depend on your business’s needs. The more you ask the right questions, the more likely you’ll end up with the right company.
Of course, we are in the business of providing affordable SEO. If you would like to get to know us, please contact us. We would love to have a chat with you about how to grow your business online.