Just like there are many factors that go into seo, there are several factors that go into how to choose an seo company. They are not all the same. The key is finding someone that is honest, trust worthy and has proven results. Here are a few questions and factors that will help when a business owner decides it's time for seo (search engine optimization).
Questions to Ask
Are they local? Now this is not the end all be all, but simply picking up the phone and calling a few seo companies is not going to cut it. Being able to sit down and discuss your business and what kind of client/traffic is best for you to make a profit is key. It's tough to dig in over the phone and develop a relationship. An in-person meeting is also ideal so that the seo company can explain their strategy and what keywords would fit your niche best. After all, you need to be able to trust this person/company with your most precious online real estate...your website.
How will they do it? A reputable seo company should be able to explain their strategy in a way that the business owner can understand what they are getting for their investment. If I hire a plumber, I don't necessarily need to know step by step what the procedure is, but it's good to have an idea where my money is going. This being said, seo is VERY competitive and there may be certain aspects of the process that they will not share with you, but they should be able to paint a clear picture of how they plan to get your website up in the rankings.
Do They Have Clients on Page 1? When hiring anyone to do anything, wouldn't make sense to see some of their work? Of course right? Well choosing an seo company is no different. A fair request is to ask to see some keyword phrases that they have ranking in a good position (top 3) on page 1 of Google. For instance, Dallas Seo Team has several clients ranking at the top of page 1:
Type the keywords that are in quotes into Google:
"Mckinney dwi lawyer"- Underwood Law (yourcriminaldefenseattorney.com)
"Albuquerque gym"-The Open Gym
"Tenant background search"- Tenant Background Search
"defensive driving richardson tx"-Comedy Guys
"Plano Personal Trainer"-Neff Fitness
Now that is a company worth hiring because they have proven results.
Questions that sound good, but are not really relevant (don't need to ask these):
How long have you been doing this? Sounds crazy right? Think about it for a second though. Seo is a relatively new practice. If a company has been in business for 20 years, but the latest algorithm change by Google took place last month, what good is all that "experience" if they don't know about the change. Seo is ever-changing and a good company is only as good as how well they keep up with constant change. A marketing degree today is worth more now than 10 years ago (Facebook didn't even exist).
Have you ever worked with a _________(fill in your industry/profession)? The reason why this question doesn't matter is because ranking in the search engines is all about quality links to your website regardless of the industry. If you are a pest control company and you ask an seo company if they've ever worked with someone in your industry, it's the same as him/her asking you if you have ever dealt with bugs in an seo webmaster's house. Same bugs regardless of the owner. Well, you still have to create good links and content regardless of the industry. A quality seo company will only rank 1 industry per city anyway. It should make you uncomfortable if, in the same example, the seo company has 10 pest control companies under contract. Then where will they find room on page 1 to rank you?
Signs of a quality seo company:
No long term contracts (more than 1 year): Quite simply there is no vested interest to rank you high in the search engines if the seo company is getting guaranteed money over a long period of time.
Does not offer Guarantees: This is another tough one to swallow, but with Google changing their algorithms (what helps websites rank) constantly there are no guarantees in seo.
Upfront about length of time: It takes at least 3 months (sometimes longer for more competitive keyword terms) to get a really good ranking in the search engines. A good seo company should set that expectation up in the beginning. Good, clean (white hat) seo takes time (like getting into shape the correct way).
Carefully picks out keywords: Keyword research is vital in getting a return on investment with seo. If no one is searching for your keyword phrase, you will not get business from searches. Your seo company should help guide you in picking keywords that actually have search volume.
I hope this helps in your decision making process when choosing an seo company for your business. The best part about ranking organically in the search engines is you no longer have to pay for each click! Please feel free to comment below if you have any other advice or questions I did not include.