Choosing the right website optimization service
Never before has Search engine optimization (SEO) been such a powerful and critical component of every marketing plan. With the increasing costs of other forms of online marketing strategies, it has become a necessity for all companies to include SEO in their overall marketing mix.
Hence, it’s definitely no surprise to know that professional SEO today is huge business and that this industry is growing by leaps and bounds. There are however, many different types of SEO firms out there, and finding a reliable service that’s value for money can be an extremely daunting task, especially with each company’s strategies being uniquely different.
All website optimization services employ varying methods to get improved search engine rankings for websites, but not all of these techniques are considered ethical. In fact, some of these unethical strategies (black hat strategies) might even harm your company! With the ever-increasing number of black hat SEO agencies, (companies using unethical and unfair methods and techniques to manipulate search engines), and the thinning line between black hat and white hat SEO practices, it is crucial that you are well-informed of the methodology and strategies that the company plans to use for your website before you decide to hire them.
To help you with choosing the right website optimization service, we have prepared this article for you! Written below are 8 simple tips that will help you in your evaluation and selection of a trustworthy, professional search engine optimization service:
1. Educate yourself with the basics
Make sure that you do your homework meticulously before you decide to hire a SEO agency. It’s imperative you already understand in advance, what a firm can and will do for you to enable you to evaluate them. There are numberous resources online that are dedicated to search engine marketing and search engine optimization, and if you take the time to understand and learn the basics, you will go a long way to hiring a good SEO agency.
2. Fee structures and your budget
Trustworthy firms will likely have no standardized fee structures, instead offering a range of packages. An even better agency will not even have their prices stated upfront, and will only give you a quote after careful analysis of the current market and your competition. A package will usually include a variety of services like keyword research, on-page optimization, directory submissions etc. Selecting an agency should not be only about cost and savings. An agency that charges more may not necessarily be better at SEO, and likewise an agency that charges less may not be providing you the same services.
Always use prudence while understanding pricing models and the risks behind them. Of course, one way to go about deciding what your budget should be is to first identify your website’s and business’ unique needs, and then tailor a package to meet these requirements, and compare different firms’ pricing models to decide a realistic baseline budget.
This is highly important. Many clients nowadays set an unrealistically low budget and expect good results. Firms that claim to be able to do this are simply lying and unethical. There are no shortcuts to effective SEO. You should avoid firms that offer low prices while promising good results. This is one point that we at Mighty.Sg always try to push across. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately!), these companies simply do not understand that SEO should be taken carefully.
3. Size and specialty of the firm
Depending on your website size and requirements of your business, it would be a good idea to check out whether the firm is specializes in SEO, or are a company that dabbles in everything. I have seen many companies that try to do everything – SEO, web design, event management, tax consulting, just to name a few. It is important to remember that a smaller company that specializes in one niche will provide better results than big firms that try to cover everything.
Another important thing to take note is to ensure that the company you’re engaging specializes in all areas of SEO, with a team that’s experienced and accomplished in each of the areas including design, development and actual coding.
The location of the firm largely depends on your comfort level. Usually, companies favor a local agency. Others prefer to outsource completely to another country to benefit from their lower costs. There are also few companies that outsource their marketing and client services offices in one region, with the actual design and development work being done in another.
What I recommend is a company that’s local and doesn’t outsource their work. Capable Search Engine Strategists are hard to find and so it’s easier to hire someone that you can meet to discuss your progress. At Mighty.Sg, we do all our work ourselves as we have an extremely capable team who has a proven track record of helping clients get better rankings.
5. Client testimonials and references
While you may be tempted to ask for references or companies that the agency has worked with, a good agency will keep their client’s data confidential. As SEO is an extremely delicate practice, it is very important that companies keep their SEO practices secret, so that their rankings will not be sabotaged. It would be best if you’re referred to an SEO agency by a friend, for example.
Ethical firms will not guarantee top position results and shouldn’t. It is however, justifiable for a company to guarantee an increase in traffic or rankings from its current positions. If any SEO service is guaranteeing you a specific position/ranking in any search engine, make sure you read the fine print of the agreement.
This is an important point to take note. Only unethical firms will guarantee first page rankings or a specific position. They are also lying – it is imposibble to guarantee this and any firm that claims otherwise is trying to trick you into hiring them. Choosing the right website optimization service will be guaranteed to help, but it is impossible to be exact.
7. Ethics / Spam
Ethics is of paramount importance when it comes to engaging the right website optimization service. There are a variety of unethical practices a firm can attempt to sell you (keyword stuffing, cloaking, blog spamming, to name a few). They might these unethical methods seem normal but the truth is that only unethical firms use these methods.
Make sure to ask as many questions as possible and specifically about the methodology they use. If the firm does not or is unable to offer you proper explanations of the process they undertake to optimize websites, they are probably trying to scam. In this instance, make sure you look someplace else.
8. Reports and indicators of success
Some of the key questions to ask are: How long will it take to see results? What type of reports will the SEO firm offer and how often? How will SEO success be measured? Will a maintenance plan be included?
It is mostly up to you to define the sucess level and aim of your SEO campaign. It might be increased traffic to your website, potential client leads from a mailing list subscription, or even an increase in sales. Always make it a point to discuss and clarify your goals with the SEO ahency while coming to an agreement before you hire them.
Taking all that in mind, it is of utmost importance to set realistic expectations. Unlike PPC and other forms of paid advertising like Google Adwords or Youtube advertisements, SEO is a time consuming process, both in terms of implementation as well as results. If expectations are unrealistic, only unethical or black hat firms will take on the job. This may also be a way to weed out these bad agencies. Remember that if the firm promises you the moon, you should look elsewhere.
To conclude, choosing the right website optimization service will definitely have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. However, the decision to partner with a particular SEO firm should only occur after careful evaluation of the firm and also only after you have done the research necessary to help you decide your own goals for the program.
Of course, what better agency to hire than the one that’s writing this article?
If you’d like to hire us, Mighty.Sg to be your Search Engine Strategist, you can contact us at +65 9159 7771, or simply click here!