How To Choose an SEO Firm
As SEO marketing and content development have become more important, the number of SEO firms has grown exponentially. This is simply a result of market forces at work; as demand grows, supply fills in to meet that demand.
Unfortunately, the more SEO firms come out, the more divergence in ability levels you will find. Everyone says they can do the job for you, and do so better than the competition. Of course, even if every SEO firm believes this, not every one can be the best—or be the best for you. So how do you find what firm will give you the service that works for your company?
The answer will of course vary depending on your business and communication style, as well as what you expect from the firm. Still, there are steps that will work for everyone in determining whom to work with for your SEO advertising. These steps should lead to different selections for different companies, but there are specific questions you can ask that will help you choose an SEO firm that will work best for you.
Look at Their Website
First of all, you should look at the SEO firm’s website. This means different things for different needs; if you are looking for a firm to do graphic design as well as content creation, the style of the site will be relevant. If you want the firm to focus on your writing, though, that is where you should look to evaluate them.
An immediate impulse will be to look at the SEO firm’s site rankings in the major search engines, and that has an intuitive appeal. However, those rankings can be influenced by how long the firm has been around and how long its domain name has been in place. In other words, site rankings depend in part on who is the oldest, rather than exclusively on who is the best.
When you look, then, you should focus on how good the writing is, and how well the writing style fits with what you are doing. If the writing style is winding and depends on flourishes, that may work better for an artistically-oriented business than it would for an auto parts dealer. If the style is sparse, it may be more effective for someone who sees his or her customers as no-nonsense, busy working individuals than for retirees looking to travel the world.
In all of this, the key is finding a company whose writing you enjoy reading. If you hate the way an SEO firm writes, you will not enjoy working with that firm. Conversely, if you love the way the firm writes, it is likely that writing style will mesh well with what you want for your website.
They Should Ask Questions
When you sit with an SEO firm, you undoubtedly will have many questions: about pricing, about process, about other customer successes, and about why they feel they will deliver what you need. In answering these questions, though, pay attention to what the firm’s leaders are asking of you. A one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work for writers, particularly if those writers are working across different industries with different customer bases.
Some questions that any good SEO firm should ask include what you want, who your customers are, what kind of traffic you hope to achieve, whether you want your focus to be local or broader, and what kind of budget you want to use. There will be many more questions, drilling into the specifics of your business and business needs. If the SEO firm does not make an effort to understand your needs, that firm is less likely to deliver focused solutions to your marketing needs.
Some Benefits of a Local SEO Firm
If your business is primarily local, you may find that a local SEO firm makes sense. There are good writers to be found almost anywhere in the world, but someone writing from far away may not be as plugged in to your needs as someone down the street. A local SEO firm may already understand your business, and almost certainly will have a better sense of your customers and the local neighborhoods than someone in another state or country.
In addition, a local SEO firm has the advantage of being able to sit down with you. A phone, Skype, or chat conversation has value, but when you are choosing an SEO firm, there is a tangible benefit to being able to look at the person with whom you are working. Mannerisms, gestures, and eye contact can help put you at ease, even in this shrinking electronic world.
Find Your Comfort Level
Above all, you need to be comfortable with the SEO firm you choose. This comfort level manifests itself in different ways: your ability to trust that the content the firm provides will be excellent, your comfort with their ability to deliver increased traffic and sales, and your mutual comfort in being able to discuss writing to improve and direct the focus of the marketing. SEO marketing is a means to an end, a process that you use to increase your sales and revenue. You want to work with a firm that makes you comfortable enough that you can work smoothly through the process to reach that bottom line.