There is a lot of easy money to be made selling SEO (search engine optimization) services, that’s obvious from all the snake oil salesmen that are hawking SEO these days. Not that I don’t recommend search engine optimization as an important step in creating a successful website, I definitely do, but if you’re going to spend your hard earned money on SEO you need to make sure you’re getting your moneys worth. If you are in the process of choosing an SEO company you need to be aware of what to watch for. Unfortunately because the average person has a limited understanding of what goes into SEO they are easy targets for dishonest businesses.
If you are planning on paying for search engine optimization services you should get answers to the following 5 questions before choosing an SEO company.
- Are they eating their own dog food?
Many SEO companies talk a lot about what they can do for your website through SEO, but the proof is in the pudding. Unlike web design where the results are more subjective, successful SEO is easily measured. If the company in question is so good at SEO they will apply it to their own website, how does their own website rank? You should do your own research. If a company can’t get their own site on the first page, do you want to trust them to get yours there?
- Are they obeying the rules?
There are certain sneaky practices used by some, not-so-respectable SEO firms, that can get your site banned from Google or other search engines. Once your site has been banned it can be very difficult to get reinstated and can take months or even years. Make sure whoever is working on your site is following the rules.
- Are they hanging out in bad neighborhoods?
Inbound links, links pointing to your site from other sites, are a major component of your website’s search ranking, and a large part of SEO. If you have links on your site that point to disreputable or spammy websites you can be penalized. You can even be penalized for links on other websites! If spammy sites have links to your site it can be detrimental to your search engine ranking. So make sure the SEO company you choose will be careful who they link to or get links from.
- Do they promise the moon?
Nobody can guarantee you a certain search engine ranking. If somebody makes outrageous claims like promises to get you on the first page of Google this should be a red flag alerting you that this company is not reputable. Beware of choosing an SEO company that makes outrageous promises.
- What century are they living in?The web is still rather new, and the way search engines work has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. At one time not too many years ago, SEO was all about meta tags. Today meta tags are of very little value. Make sure the SEO company you choose is using up to date SEO practices.
You need to be careful when choosing an SEO company because the wrong choice can do very little for your website, or worse, even damage it’s reputation to search engines. These five questions are a good place to start when determining what company should be doing search engine optimization for your website.