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How To Hire An SEO Company

If you're going to hire an SEO company, you’re going to want to make sure you’ll get what you need for the money you’re spending. Here’s our guide for how to hire an SEO company.

What An SEO Company Does

An SEO company’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or its website. Here’s what they can do.

  • Successful SEO helps your website put your best foot forward so that it ranks appropriately in the spot where a customer would expect to see it.
  • Successful SEO tries to improve the entire searcher experience (search results, clicking on your website, potentially converting).
  • A good SEO will recommend best practices for a search-friendly site (descriptive page titles, language markup, etc.).
  • SEOs ensure that you’re giving your online customers a good experience, especially the ones coming from a search engine and that your site is useful no matter what type of device they’re using.

How To Work With An SEO

Generally, it takes an SEO four months to a year to implement improvements and for you to see results. Here are some things you should do when working with an SEO company.

  • Request that they corroborate their recommendations with a documented statement from Google found in an article, video, or forum response. The statement should support the SEO’s description of the issue and the approach they’re recommending you take.
  • Doing what’s good for SEO is doing what’s good for online customers, such as having a mobile-friendly website, good navigation, and building a great brand. 
  • If you have complicated legacy systems, SEO can involve updating infrastructure so that your site is agile and able to implement features faster. 

How To Hire An SEO Company

Here’s the process you’ll want to follow when you’re ready to hire an SEO company.

Conduct a 2-way interview with potential SEOs. Make sure that they’re genuinely interested in you and your business. Some things to look for include:

  • An interest in helping your business beyond search engine ranking. The SEO should want to know:
    • What makes your business, content, and service unique and valuable to customers?
    • What does your typical customer look like and how do they find your website?
    • How does your business make money and how can search help?
    • What other channels are you using (offline advertising, social media, etc.)?
    • Who are your competitors? What do they do well online (and offline)?
  • Check their references.
    • If they provide prior clients, check their references.
      • Make sure SEO was able to provide useful guidance and worked effectively with developers, designers, UX researchers, and marketers.
      • A good SEO should be someone you can work with, learn from, experiment with, and who cares about you and your business, not just getting the highest search rank.
    • Ask for a technical and search audit (you’ll probably have to pay for these). A technical audit reviews your site for issues related to internal linking, crawlability, URL parameters, server connectivity, and response codes. A search audit will break down your search queries into categories such as branded terms (those with your business or website’s name) and unbranded/general keyword (possible suggestions for improvement include updating obsolete content, improving internal linking, generating buzz, and learning from your competition).
      • If you trust an SEO candidate, give them restricted view, not full or right access to your Google Search Console data and analytics data.
      • Before they change anything on your website, have them conduct a technical and search audit to give you a prioritized list of what they think should be improved for SEO.
      • In the audit, the SEO should prioritize improvements with a structure like:
        • The issue
        • The suggested improvement
        • An estimate of the overall investment
        • Estimated positive business impact (ranking improvement, greater agility, etc.)
        • Plan of how to iterate and improve on the implementation or how to experiment and quickly recover if results aren’t as expected
  • Decide if you want to hire them.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. A good SEO will try to prioritize what ideas can bring your business the most improvement for the least investment and what improvements will take more time but help growth in the long term. One of the biggest holdups improving a website has nothing to do with the recommendations of the SEO, it’s the business making time to implement the SEO’s ideas. 

If you want to know more about SEO, read our article, “Understanding SEO: 10 Reasons Why SEO Can Help Your Business” or contact us.


Tags: seo, hiring

Geoff Strauss

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