As a small business owner you probably get pitched SEO services constantly. The phone rings off the hook with yet another sales person trying to sell you on how they will take your site to the first page of Google. You need to be extremely careful when choosing SEO services but how to choose genuine professional SEO services when there are so many pitching you services?
Like any company you do business with always check their reputation. With the internet that is fairly easy. You can always check in Google and Yelp to see if they have any reviews. You want to look at both the positive and the negative. Ask for references or to speak with other clients to make sure that they can deliver. Remember a good SEO company is in demand, the return on investment for SEO is huge.
SEO has a pretty steep learning curve and some SEO agencies stay current with what is going on in the industry while others don’t. You need to know if they are current with SEO trends. What got your site to the first page in 2008 will get you penalized today. You also should find out if they outsource their service or if everything is done in house. Most SEO agencies will do a combination of the two, there are some tasks that are easily outsourced and it is cost effective to do so.
If your agency doesn’t have up to date knowledge the only one it will hurt will be you. The wrong SEO practices can negatively impact your business. You need to know what their strategy is for ranking your site or generating you leads. This will help you determine whether they are a good fit for your business goals whether they use white hat techniques or not. If they claim their methods are some proprietary secret then it is time to move on. Here is a video explaining white hat techniques and Google best practices.
Get a Proposal
Allow any prospective SEO agency to put together a proposal for you, it should include things like strategies, competitor research, target markets and keyword research. Does is work for your business goals? SEO needs to be an investment and not an expense. That being said SEO will not happen overnight and a good SEO company will set realistic goals and expectations and not promise you everything under the sun just to get you to sign on the dotted line.