How to Choose the Right SEO Company for Your Website?

Choosing an SEO provider is not an easy task. When my company needed one, I spoke to over 30 SEO companies. Some were big (over 40 employees) and some were small (2-3 employees).

I found it a bit frustrating when each one tries to tell you that they are legitimate and use only “white hat” techniques but then show you how they purchase links on sites that link to everything in the world.

Ok … below is a list of things I think will help you in your quest to find the right SEO provider.

1. Write down your approximate budget

Before you start looking for SEO make sure you have some sort of an idea of how much you can spend for the SEO campaign.

2. Visit their offices (if you can)

It’s always great to meet with people who work for you. If you can, visit the SEO company. See their environment and how they work.

3. Ask to see how their current clients rank on the web

An SEO provider can promise you the world and can be a great salesperson, but you do need proof. Ask them to show you examples of how their customers rank. Ask for a keyword you can go and type now and see how their clients rank.

4. Ask them about the strategies they use

If an SEO provider does not want to tell you how they get your site ranked well, do not deal with them. SEO is not a secret science. A company should be able to tell you what methods they use. For example … I look for a company to focus on building content, creating popular articles and syndicating them. Distribution, site architecture, accurate keyword analysis, a bit of link purchasing maybe.

I stay away from companies that put links on the news sites where they bought space. Also stay away from those that focus on getting you 2,000 links a month.

5. How big is their team and will you have a person you can speak to?

I found that it’s much better to deal with a smaller SEO company (3-10 people) than with the big ones. Smaller SEOs will usually provide better results in less time. You won’t be one of their 60 accounts and thus you can expect to get more attention and better service.

6. Is there a guarantee on the services they provide?

If an SEO even mentions “we guarantee” … run! No SEO can guarantee anything. I recently spoke to an SEO company and they guaranteed that 30% out of our 40 keywords will rank in top 10. Firs of all … this is a bad guarantee. Second … HOW CAN YOU PROMISE THAT? If those 30% are a 6 word keywords, then yes, you might deliver on that, but who needs that?

7. Google them Stupid

You heard me right. Just Google their company name. You’ll be amazed at how many things you can find about a company this way. See if anyone has been complaining about the company.

9. Common sense

Look. Let’s use common sense here. When you speak with an SEO company ask questions, ask for proof, do not get ripped off. I know that SEO is a service worth the cost but sometimes companies go overboard. (Example: $6,000 / mo for life, for a not so competitive keyword company) It’s easy to get ripped off and thus you should look for signs that will tell you when someone is trying to take advantage of you.

Final crucial info:

Do not believe SEO guys who tell you that they are friends with Google engineers. Don’t believe when someone tells you that they know the algorithm that search engines use. Do not believe when they say that Google allows PAID SUBMITION for natural search (I heard this before).

Believe what you see. Ask for a track record. Ask for a preliminary SEO plan. I think an SEO company that wants to charge $4,000+ for a project SHOULD spend 1-2 hours doing a little of research on the prospects’ industry before quoting or making suggestions. Let them do their homework.

IMPOIRTANT: If an SEO company is giving you quotes within just a few minutes of the conversation WITHOUT doing some research on your industry and competitiveness of it, just hang up the phone!

7 Comment(s)

  1. Igor, excellent points made all the way thru. The only part where I might disagree slightly is the last paragraph. I have found it FAR better from a sales perspective to be able to ball-park a quote for a prospective client right away. Most people want to know “how much” and if you can’t give them that then you’re in trouble. Of course, for this reason I’m a believer in the whole Package thing. Lay out several packages and let the client choose their poison. I know many disagree with the package approach but it’s worked for us quite successfully.

    PS. I was going to post my full-hearted agreement to your post BEFORE I found something I disagree with. 😉

    Stoney deGeyter | Aug 15, 2006 | Reply

  2. :-) I appreciate the P.S.

    Stoney you’re right about people wanting to know the cost and if they don’t hear the straight answer they run. To solve this problem what I would do is give examples OR better yet tell them that you’ll devote an hour of your time without any obligations to provide an accurate number instead of coming up with numbers.

    Stoney, if you say this right, your prospect will appreciate this approach.

    Regarding “package approach” … I am not a fan of it but I am sure for novice companies who just started learning SEO and what it can do for them will definitely feel more comfortable with the “packages”. This is how it works in the “corporate” environment.

    Igor Mordkovich | Aug 15, 2006 | Reply

  3. Well, we’re not novices by any means and we’ve been successfully using the package approach since the late 90’s. 1) We basically know whats involved in any SEO campaign. Not much really changes except the number of keywords being targeted and the difficulty of the keywords. This is all factored. 2) I don’t like to be put in a position where I say “this is all you need” and then after digging in you find a whole mess of stuff that you didn’t know about and the client didn’t tell you. You’re now presented with two options, a) tell them that they now need more than you thought (clients don’t like this) or b) risk being unsuccessful (client’s don’t like this either.)

    Of course, I don’t have anything against those that can develop a “custom” package on the fly, but I suspect there is not much custom about it. I let potential clients know where our pricing starts and then give them a few options. Too many options and you get the “deer in the headlights” response. They simply don’t know what to do.

    Stoney deGeyter | Aug 16, 2006 | Reply

  4. Stoney … when I said “novice companies” I didn’t mean a novice SEO company.

    I was referring to the clients of SEO companies. Those clients who don’t know about the intermediate or advanced SEO tactics.

    Thank you for mentioning this post on your blog.

    Igor Mordkovich | Aug 16, 2006 | Reply

  5. You’re right, for most people just venturing into SEO they want/need the package. Anything else is just too much information and too much to choose from. I’ve found that people do great when you provide a few options and a few options only. They can handle that. Get too many options in there and you can blow the whole deal.

    Stoney deGeyter | Aug 17, 2006 | Reply

  6. Very good reading. Peace until next time.

    WaltDe | Sep 1, 2006 | Reply

  7. Thanks for commenting WaltDe.

    Igor Mordkovich | Sep 1, 2006 | Reply

2 Trackback(s)

  1. Aug 16, 2006: from (EMP) E-Marketing Performance » : » Choosing Your SEO Firm
  2. Dec 5, 2006: from Clear Signs of an Unqualified SEO Consultant--BizMord Search and Marketing Blog

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