As the importance of search engine optimisation becomes ever more apparent, there are more and more SEO companies to choose from, and all of them are claiming to be SEO experts.
For people who know that they need search engine optimisation, that makes it difficult to choose the best SEO company. And with some companies locking clients into contracts as long as 12 months, you could find yourself stuck with a company that looked good, but doesn’t deliver.
Spotting The SEO Experts
It’s not always easy to spot the real SEO experts. It’s a complex field, and unless you’ve got a good idea of what’s happening anyway, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.
There are a few things that you should look at when you’re considering an SEO company, to help you make the right decisions.
The first thing you should do is look carefully at their website.
Website Warning Signs
Did you find your potential SEO company on a search engine? Did they have a first page ranking? Whether they do or not, you should check their website carefully and look at the following indicators:
* Does their website have title tags with their primary keywords in? (Title tags control the text in the title bar of your browser. A good SEO practice is to ensure that there are relevant title tags.
* Is their site overloaded with the keywords that they want to appear for? If every third or fifth word on their site is a keyword, to the extent that it looks like the keyword was fired from a shotgun into a page of content, that’s probably a bad sign. Websites need to be easily and comfortably readable.
* Is their site content natural and readable? Does it flow? Writing is a crucial part of SEO, and if it looks like their site was written by somebody who never passed high school English, that probably doesn’t bode well for what they’ll do to your site.
It’s very difficult to quiz a potential SEO company about their knowledge and their techniques. If you know a lot about SEO, you might not need an SEO firm to do your optimisation. And if you don’t, it might be difficult to spot their flaws.
Here are a few questions you can ask them. If you don’t know the answers, pay attention to the _way_ they answer. If they’re unsure or not confident in their replies, it might be a bad sign. And don’t let them brush you off by claiming your questions aren’t about important stuff either. They are.
Questions For Your SEO Company
1. How do you determine which keywords I should optimise for?
2. What is PageRank, and how important is it?
3. Can you tell me how many searches are made monthly for my keyword?
4. How do you measure the effectiveness of your SEO?
5. How do you monitor your SEO campaign?
6. What is your policy with the title tags for a site? [They should contain keywords relevant to the page.]
7. Do the “keyword” and “description” tags have any value? [They have value. It’s just not strictly SEO value.]
8. Which is more important for SEO? Good keywords tag, or standards compliant code? [It’s the code.]
9. How does page load speed affect my SEO? [The faster your page loads, the better.]
10. How does Google treat plural and singular versions of the same word? [As the same word.]
11. What are the most important on-page elements?
12. What are the most important off-page elements? [Links. Links. Links.]
13. What’s the best way to route traffic from an old site to a new one? [A 301 redirect.]
14. Can you show me what you’ve done for other clients?
15. Do you offer any guarantees? (If they guarantee you first place organic placements, run like hell. They’re either cheats, liars or incompetent. We might guarantee you first page, but nobody can guarantee 1st place. )
A lot of people claim to be SEO experts. But having a robots.txt file, or knowing how to build a link doesn’t make you an expert. Tying your client into a 12 month contract doesn’t make you an expert either.
What does make you an expert is getting results. If they can’t show you the kind of results they’re getting, and how, then you should probably reconsider using them as your SEO company.