For most companies, SEO is of the utmost importance to the business' digital marketing program. As a result, the need to hire a legitimate SEO company is inevitable.
However with the ever escalating demand for SEO services most companies are masquerading weak (and potentially hazardous) SEO services that are far from legit. And since Google is also evolving its standards and cracking-down on sketchy SEO services, most SEO companies need to respect Google's SEO guidelines. As a business seeking SEO services, you should too.
Below we share a few questions to ask a potential SEO service provider (as outlined by Google.)
Do you have any previous work portfolio and what is your performance track record?
Your chosen SEO company should have an incredible work portfolio. They should provide you with details of clients they have previously served and the feedback as well. In fact you can as well get in touch with some of these past clients and ask them if they were satisfied with the services offered.
Do you understand and even follow Google Webmaster guidelines?
Ask them if they are aware of Google webmaster guidelines that relate to SEO. Such guidelines include design, content technical and quality guidelines. These guidelines provide a benchmark through which SEO practices are conducted.
Do you offer any complimentary services such as online marketing services?
A good and well-grounded SEO company should offer complimentary services. SEO strategies cannot yield results if other factors are not put in place. For example things like an online marketing strategy and quality web design have to be available to make SEO more effective.
What is your work time line and what results should I expect to see?
Depending on the state of your website, the SEO service provider should be able to gauge the time frame required to make things work out. This timeline should be supported by valid and realistic reasons. Also the company should let you know how they normally measure results. How do they get to know if the SEO strategy is working or not?
What is your level of experience or expertise?
Experience and expertise can be measured based on either specialization or location of operation. Does the company only serve local clients or it has international customers as well? In terms of specialization get to know how well they serve a given industry. The level of expertise can also be determined by how long the company has been in business.
What SEO techniques do you consider important?
How will I reach you? Will you always be available to update me on the changes you implement on my website? You need to know how you will be communicating with them.
Do they have a specific person handling different client accounts? If so these people should be available via phone, email or online chat services whenever you need them. Also the company should inform you of the changes made to your website and give you reasons supporting such changes.
Below are a few indicators that represent solid SEO companies that you can trust, or warning signals of sketchy SEO companies that you should avoid. At the first glance, the SEO company should provide a free audit, like that of ClickCentricSEO.com.
Will never just send you emails from nowhere
Fake SEO companies tend to bombard you with spam emails from all corners. They will always send you unnecessary emails on what they think you need and can offer you. Be wary of such companies.
Will not guarantee you top ranking on Google
If a company does this, then they are probably just sweet talking you into hiring them. A good company will tell you the situation as it is. They will never promise something like number one ranking and be 100% sure of it.
Should be honest and transparent
Illegitimate SEO companies tend to be very secretive. A good one openly discusses with you what they plan to do with your website. Such an organization provides you with concrete evidence on the ongoing work.
Common scams to look out for when working with SEO companies:
Use of shadow domains
These domains are created by unethical SEO companies. Such domains can later be redirected to a completely different site. As such you may end up paying the SEO to develop a competitor’s site.
Use of doorway pages
The SEO will load a doorway page with keywords on your site. They will assure you that this is very important. The worst is that such pages link to other client’s websites. This is not beneficial to you since the links may redirect your users to bad websites.
As much as SEO is crucial to your ranking, make sure you choose wisely. Make sure the company itself is listed on Google’s index. Hire a legitimate company that will serve your interest and not their own.