No matter how enthused you are about SEO, at some point, you may find yourself bowing to the fact that there are only so many hours in the day. If you’re a small business on a budget, time is one of your most precious resources. Even medium-sized companies will find themselves short on time as expansion demands and business concerns claim a sizeable chunk of the day.
When you find yourself with more plans than time to implement them, it could be that you need to call in a professional SEO consultant. Entrusting the optimization of your site to a third party can be as much of a minefield as undertaking the work yourself. Not only do you need to find a service that comes in on budget, but you also need to be assured that the agency you task with the job is on the same wavelength.
One of the most common laments of those who have made the wrong SEO service choice is the long term damage caused to their site and search visibility by unscrupulous firms out to make a fast buck. There are also countless tales from those who got carried away with the first flush of enthusiasm and raced into a long term agreement without reading the small print. Cue services that don’t deliver the required results and unproductive client-agency relationships.
Choosing an SEO agency should be approached in the same manner as you choose friends and life partners. Don’t be fooled by those who promise the earth but can’t provide any substance to back up their ambitious claims. Spend time digging beneath the service rather than taking everything you’re told at face value. Even before requesting proposals and scheduling face to face meetings with potential SEO consultants make the following sentence your mantra “It is impossible and unethical to promise a number 1 ranking.”
Dawdle on the Details
Having disregarded all emails, calls, and promises of world domination, you can begin to whittle down the list of potential agencies. From your shortlist, you can now request full details of the service being offered. Ask how the agency plans to improve your search engine rankings and get specifics. Will they look at on-page optimization? Do they get involved in updating the site content and changing code? Will they devise a link building campaign? The actions of the optimization specialist will determine the course of your search marketing presence for months and possibly even years to come so don’t be afraid to seek clarification if you’re unsure about any of the points raised. You also need to be confident that all bases are being covered. If the agency doesn’t offer certain optimization activities such as article marketing or social networking, can they recommend anyone who can?
Ask for Examples
The beauty of the organic rankings is that they are not a bidding battleground. Space cannot be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Keep that in mind while shopping around – it’s fine to ask for general timelines and set scales for improvement but no ethical SEO specialist will set in stone dates for achieving specific positions for specific keywords.
As a company, you must get a return on your optimization investment, so balancing this subjective performance prediction against the very real financial commitment can be difficult. It can often help to request case studies and phone numbers of satisfied clients from anyone you’re considering contracting. If your would-be SEO guru can’t provide keywords and company names along with samples of on-page work, links they have built, and client contact details for verification, walk away.
Any SEO agency worth their salt will go out of their way to allay your fears. Creating proposals, offering free site reviews, arranging testimonials, and providing relevant examples all take time. Like begets like so being professional in return and be honest about the amount of work you’re intending to put in. While you may dream of allocating at least four or five hours a week to overseeing activity and envisage monthly meetings to discuss progress, is this a realistic reflection of your workload? If there is a possibility that web site updates won’t be a priority or if it is only possible to schedule changes once per month, being upfront about these restrictions from the start will help the agency you choose work within these constraints and create a campaign better suited to your situation.
Seek Structure, Be Fine with Flexibility Search engines are not dormant creatures – they change their algorithms and good practice guidelines frequently to keep in touch with the needs of their consumers. A good SEO service will recognize this and allow for the unexpected. Request an outline of the amount of contact and quantity of work you can expect per invoice, but double-check that there will be the time in the schedule for unforeseen changes to search engine requirements.