SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It is the process of making your website more findable on search engines like Google. Search engines scan through content on a site to check for its relevance to a search. Search engine optimized websites are designed to fit the criterion required by these algorithms and are more likely to show up higher on a search.
SEO can be used as a great alternative to advertisements for driving more traffic through a website. Because of its proven success in this regard, SEO is widely used as a marketing technique by online businesses.
There are many SEO agencies that businesses have the option to choose from today. It is imperative to pick one that fits your requirements and knows what it’s doing. Indeed, one should be wary because there are more than a few scammers out there. So here are a few tips to determine if the SEO agency you hire will produce the results you want:
Do Your Research
It is estimated that about 90% of people read online reviews before visiting a business – and for a good reason too. Online reviews from sources like Facebook, Google or Yelp, are a key indicator of a business’ standing. This includes the reputations of SEO service companies.
You could also ask a colleague if they know of any reliable SEO agency. Conversely, if you are considering a particular agency, you could always ask them to provide a few clients who they have worked for in the past. You could then contact these businesses and find out more about that service. What work did they do for you? Was it helpful and useful? Were they professional and easy to work with? Was there any shortcoming worth mentioning? How highly would you rate them? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking.
If you generally hear positive reviews, you could consider the company further and add them to a shortlist of candidates. However, if you hear mixed to a negative review, it’s best to steer clear.
The next step is to arrange one on one meetings with the list of candidates you are considering for your business. These meeting should be a two-way interview. You should make your goals and objectives clear to the SEO company. Eliminate any communication gap between you and the service. This ensures that they understand precisely what you expect from them and how. After all, how can they produce the results you want without understanding them fully?
On the other hand, any competent SEO will enquire about several details of your business. What services do you offer? What makes you stand out in this space? Where do you think you lack when compared to the competition? What is your target audience? What is your business model? And so on. The point of these questions is to determine how to frame your marketing and how your business could improve.
A decent SEO services agency is thorough in its analysis. If you do not receive such questions you can assume one of two things: either the agency is incompetent, or it’s not interested in your business. In both cases they aren’t going to be a good fit for you and you should keep looking.
Understand SEOs Practices
One major thing to consider is the type of SEO practices an agency follows. As mentioned before there are quite a few SEO businesses that support shady methods collectively known as “black hat SEO.”
Black hat SEO practices such as ‘spamdexing’ may produce abnormally fast and seemingly astounding results. But do not be fooled! Search engine algorithms are quick to identify websites using such practices and may even ban them from their platform. Not to mention, using such methods to cheat the system is highly unethical.
Any right SEO agency will have no problem discussing their methods. If the SEO you are looking to hire refuses to share details about how it plans to drive more traffic to your website, consider this a huge red flag.
Legitimate SEO practices may seem more expensive and often take much longer to get you the results you expect. It may take up to a year to get near your goals. However, these tried and tested methods are much more elaborate and thorough. They are designed to keep your site at the top once it gets there. So if you are looking to build a sustainable business rather than trying to make a quick buck, it’s well worth the wait.
A good SEO will not only look to drive traffic to your website; instead, it will aim to create sustainable viewership. And how can it do this you may ask? In two words: user experience. Improving the user experience on the website is half of an SEO’s job. If they do not attempt to do this, they are not fit for the work.
Improving user experience may include making the site’s architecture simpler and less cluttered. This makes navigating on the site much more comfortable. You could also be asked to create more relevant page titles. Another approach they may suggest is making your website mobile friendly. Most users now browse the web using their smartphones. If scrolling your site on the phone is an enjoyable experience, your visitors will stay onsite for longer.
Improving navigation through the website also makes it quicker for a search engine to crawl and index it, thus increasing the site’s position on web results.
It is important to note that SEO is not a replacement for a good website. For example, search engine optimizing your site may drive traffic to an online store. However, if the products the store sells are sub-par, viewers won’t keep coming back. Similarly, SEO could be used to drive traffic to an online blog, but if the blog is uninteresting or poorly written, you won’t see any long-term improvement.
A business may need reform from the ground up to take it to the next level, and SEO is a critical part of that process.
About Ashley Rosa: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. Writing is her passion, and she loves to write about to the latest trends in technology and health-tech. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her on Twitter @ashrosa2.