Hiring a SEO company is in this digital age a must for any business intent on being found on Google and other Search Engines. This can seem like a daunting task as how do you know who is good and who is not?
SEO is like any other industry and like in any other industry there are cowboys. But if you use the following five questions in your search you will quickly be able to sort out who is who and make your decision on who to hire.
What are your past successes?
The best SEO company will be able to tell you of an abundance of top results and companies they have worked with. Many will be able to offer you case studies and client testimonials to back up what they claim. It is important to go through their case studies to make sure that they are correct and that the companies are in good positions.
What will you do for me?
SEO is an on page and off page process and should involve the optimisation of your website and link building to be effective. You should also consider if you would like the right SEO company to make all website changes for you or whether you or your web team will be making the changes. If you are expecting them to make the changes make sure that the SEO company you choose can make the changes and is skilled to work with the technology your website is built on. You should also make sure is that they have adequate insurance to cover them in the very unlikely invent of a problem.
Can you guarantee results?
This question is a split question and there are actually TWO answers. The first is that no one can guarantee you top results or 1st place listings. If any SEO company promises to do so, then I would question their integrity
“Search Engine Optimization is about visibility, ensuring that with any industry related keyword, that your brand is shown on the first page, re-affirming the message.” Martin Jeffrey, Skellig
If a SEO company says they guarantee first position results run a mile and move onto the next prospect. The likelihood is that they will be using un-ethical techniques “Black Hat” SEO services, social media spamming or they simply will not deliver on their promises. A good SEO company will be able to guarantee that they will be able to increase your current online presence with no false promises or “Black Hat” SEO services.
Ask what reports will I receive?
This will differ from one consultant to the next but you should expect a visibility baseline report to start with, proposing the keywords and phrases to target along with why and the search volume (this will ensure that the keywords you are targeting will actually yield traffic).Once you agree on the keywords and your website has been optimised you should receive a complete report detailing what has been done so you can sign off the project.
What happens next?
SEO is an ongoing process of testing, measuring and optimising. It is not something that can be done once and left alone. You should expect to have a monthly campaign from your SEO company where they are optimising and reporting on a monthly basis. This is crucial for long term growth and success so be wary of anyone telling you they will do it once and that is all you need.
The bottom line is if you have any reservations or you something doesn’t sound right with your potential SEO company don’t use them and keep on looking.
“Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.” – Phil Frost
Outsourcing SEO or In-house SEO?
There are many reasons your website needs a SEO company to help your website achieve more.
Many businesses will try and go it alone in the SEO process and in the majority of cases this is an erroneous decision and does not yield the results for your website that the right SEO Agency could get you.
If you are seriously looking at doing your websites optimisation yourself you need to ask yourself the following questions:
How precious is your time?
As a business owner your time is very precious and is not normally best spent trying to optimise your website, it is normally better spent running your business.
Many website owners believe that they will save money by optimising their own website but this rarely turns out to be the case. SEO is a time consuming and complex process and should not be underestimated, and after all if you are investing all of this time trying to be a SEO consultant and optimising your website, ask your self, who’s running your business?
Do you have the same skills of SEO agencies?
Optimising a website is a complicated process and not something that can just be picked up and learnt in five minutes. There are hundreds of criteria that the search algorithms will use to analyse websites and a good SEO company will be familiar with all of them.
Can you get it right like SEO companies?
This is where most diy’ers get is wrong and getting it wrong when it comes to SEO is a big problem. Every good SEO agency knows that there are certain pitfalls that must be avoided at all costs. If you do not know what you are doing and make the mistake of falling foul to one of those may pitfalls then your website can go from hero to zero and then your website ends up banned or penalised.
Aren’t you biased?
Most website owners are biased and believe they know best when it comes to their website, but this often leads to many problems including the age old problem of not being able to see the wood for the trees. One of the main problems comes when choosing keywords as the keywords people search for are normally not the keywords website owners believe them to be. A SEO agency knows this and will ensure the right keywords are used and not ignored.
Can you keep it up?
A SEO campaign is an ongoing process of testing, measuring and optimising. It is not something that can be done once and left alone so you need to ensure you are in it for the long term.
The bottom line is if you are serious about your business and your search marketing campaign then you need to find an experienced SEO company.
Hiring an SEO Agency
SEO is becoming increasingly important to all who look to do business and use the Internet as a marketing tool. It is the path in which your market finds your offering. It has become almost a necessity for businesses to incorporate SEO in to their marketing plan.
Many companies struggle with the decision on whether to hire a firm or conduct their SEO in-house. Unfortunately many companies lack the knowledge about SEO and assume it will be cheaper for them in the long run to hire someone “in-house”. For some companies this may be efficient, while others overlooking the hiring of a SEO company can be costly. It is as critical to your business’ health as if you were to feel that you could heal a fatal disease yourself because you have access to the internet and books instead of going to a highly trained physician. Now you laugh and say that would be absurd, but is the growth of your company worth the risk.
Knowledge Versus Cost Versus Time = Your Success
SEO is an ever changing business. Search engines change their algorithm frequently and new rules are put into place. One has to have the resources to find this information and understand how to implement the changes.
The best SEO agencies make sure they are aware of changes to search engine optimisation protocols than an in-house individual. Many in-house individuals will focus on developing and implementing your SEO strategies but typically remain in the dark about what goes on outside your organisation due to they do not work with other scenarios. An outsourced SEO firm must perform these same functions while constantly studying the industry, staying current with changing trends and familiarising themselves with the latest SEO techniques. It is a part of their day to day business and necessary if they intend to compete in the marketplace and wish to survive.
What about cost? Surely the cost of hiring an individual is substantially less than the cost of hiring a SEO firm, right?
This is a common misconception.
Let’s look at it this way. You hire a Digital Marketing Executive whose job is to develop and implements the strategic online marketing plan for an organisation. Staying abreast of changes in the online marketing environment to best serve the objectives of the organisation and adjusts plans accordingly. They may even be responsible for overseeing other aspects of the website such as the advertising and content components or even social media. In most cases the individual will be wearing many hats spreading themselves thin. His or her base salary would be on average £35,000, which will cost you as an employer £39,000 with National Insurance and Pension. That is £3250 a month. This is for one individual with hopes that they bear positive results. Let’s say they do not. It will take 3 to 6 months to start to truly see if the individual is an asset or not. That is £19,000 if you decide to let the individual go in just the sixth month.
At Skellig, we charge anywhere from £500 to £3000 to perform the same task with a staff of highly trained professionals in the area of content marketing, link building, writing, optimising, marketing strategy etc. Even on the high-end you are getting a team for the entire year for around what it cost you to hire an individual in-house for a quarter.
Would you agree that having one individual do the job of five is rarely a good idea? Would you feel it cost effective?
Time is another concern with in-house SEO. Will one individual be able to optimise multiple pages, write content, tags, build links, run reports and perform other SEO tasks in a timely fashion? One person can only do so much. Would you agree that time is money? Most SEO companies can do in a matter of days what might take an individual weeks to do. Many companies who use in-house SEO personnel spend more than necessary to get the same amount of work done in a longer amount of time. Once again you have one individual doing many task versus many individuals doing one task effectively.
In any case, is outsourcing the right move for you or your company? Whether you choose to outsource or not, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do your research by performing a simple cost/benefit analysis on what outsourcing versus in-house SEO will cost. It cost twice as much when you do it wrong the first time. So becareful in how you choose an seo company.