Companies are realizing the importance of SEO and how an effective campaign can really boost revenue. However, what they are also starting to realize is the price included with it. SEO is a very time-consuming process, especially if you want to achieve and maintain those #1 rankings. What we have seen throughout the industry is a lot of affordable SEO firms claim to provide top-notch services, but in reality, don’t do so at all. With the prices of SEO being what they are, it is extremely important that you are getting the best bang for your buck. There are a few dead giveaways that will help steer you in the right direction when choosing an affordable SEO company that actually drives results.
- Do they dominate the search rankings for their own keywords?
- Do they outsource?
- How many Facebook fans or Twitter followers do they have?
- Do they guarantee first page rankings in the first month of service?
- Last but not least, do they have any success stories?
How can a company claim to get you to the first page of Google for your keywords when they can’t even rank their own page? One way to check is to find out what city their company resides in, and type that along with “seo” in Google – then check to see if their website ranks well. So for instance, if Joe’s SEO company was in Atlanta, you would search for Atlanta SEO, and see if Joe’s SEO company is near the top. If so, they might be alright. If not, don’t even bother with them. However, ask them how long they have been in business. It is very possible they are a new company, but have brought with them the knowledge to do some serious damage. This is where you’d have to use your own judgement based on the techniques they use to accomplish their tasks.
This can be a hard question to answer, as many SEO firms will tell you they have a “team,” which very well could mean they have a team on staff, or it could also mean they have a team in the Philippines who build links. With the Panda update, a lot of directories and content farms have been devalued, and are no longer very useful. If they promise to build you 1000 links per month, I would be very weary, as quantitative links can still be useful, but more emphasis is now being placed on qualitative links, and building too many links too quickly may get you penalized by Google.
Now, this is the biggest giveaway, in my opinion, in determining whether an SEO company truly generates genuine fans and traffic. Check out their Facebook page and Twitter page and take a peek at how many fans/followers they have. Initially, it may look like an impressive Facebook marketing campaign with 3000+ users, however, when you dive deeper and actually look at WHO these people are, you will find something interesting. Majority of their “fans” are auto-generated accounts, or accounts created by spammers, and you will notice this based on the names associated with their accounts. If the names don’t look natural, they probably aren’t. There are many sites out there that allow you to “buy” fans, or exchange a “like” for a “like.” While it is quick and easy to get these fans, these people will never be anyone who is actually going to purchase your product or service, therefore their “loyalty” is pointless. The whole point of using social media networks is to build an audience who are actually interested in what you provide. Don’t be fooled, get REAL fans and followers.
If any SEO firm tells you that they can have you ranked on the first page of Google for any and all of your keywords in the first month of service, well, RUN FOR THE HILLS! While it is possible for this to happen, there are just too many factors at play to guarantee any time table in this industry. The industry average for seeing ranking results is approximately 3 months. This is because SEO has to be done slowly over time so it is deemed natural, rather than building a million links in a week and getting flagged. A lot of firms will try and tie you into a contract, which can be good and bad, depending on the terms. If a firm tries to tie you into a 6-month contract, again run for the hills. They simply just want you to obligate your money to them, regardless of their performance. However, if the company requests you sign a 3-month contract, don’t be scared. You would only be shooting yourself in the foot if you did one month’s worth of SEO and then stopped. All the work done for the month would be wasted, along with the money you spent. You should always give your SEO firm 3 months to deliver.
A lot of sales reps for SEO companies will bombard you with questions in order to divert your attention away from any questions you might ask them – questions they may not be able to answer. Ask them for some example successes, projects they have done in the past that proves they can rank websites at the top. After they tell you, double check. Search the keyword they claimed to rank and see if that website shows up. It is possible they ranked someone very quickly, but got flagged just as quickly. A simple screen shot on their website showing “#1 rankings” isn’t enough. Ranking for one day is a lot different than maintaining that rank over time.
Some other things you want to make sure your SEO firm provides is top-quality keyword research. Just because you think you know which keyword you want to rank for doesn’t mean it is the best one, or the most profitable one. You SEO company needs to think like the average user as to pinpoint the keywords they are searching for. This research should be done for free before you start a campaign to see where your website stands based on keywords and competition. What is determined by the preliminary research will dictate the price of your campaign, so make sure you don’t start a campaign without this being done first.
Graceful Penguin’s Atlanta SEO experts provide solid campaigns using the most innovative and up-to-date techniques that are unique to your company’s needs. Give us a call today!