“How many times have you spoken to an SEO Expert who has been immediately able to outline a vast array of downfalls for your web site?”

To those of you reading this articles with a mind to employ an SEO company, warning! You may find the following information a little refreshing.

Too often it is found that SEO companies are either unwilling to divulge useful information or in fact don’t posses any in the first place. Do you know exactly what you are paying for? Has your SEO company illustrated clearly or audited your site setting out a structured plan for the future? Where on that plan do your sit currently? If you are struggling to answer and of these first few questions then do yourself a favour – get yourself a nice big cup of tea and read on.

1. First impressions and research.

In the first instance, a good SEO company will take the time to ensure the prospective client has an appreciation of their target market/audience. This conversation will establish that everyone is reading off the same page. It should inspire the client that a sound optimising knowledge is apparent but also that the optimiser has taken time to understand the clients market. A keen optimising firm will see fit to make a quick start on research and will continually take the time to maintain their knowledge.

2. Falling foul of a “quick and free web site assessment”.

Too many search engine specialists actually specialse in sales rather than how to improve the rank of your web site. Many will attempt to bamboozle or railroad you into a quick sale. You needn’t run a mile but you must be cautious of free and quickly generated reports and site audits. The truth is that many so-called experts rely entirely on automated software to assess your web site and produce reports. How many times have you spoken to an SEO Expert who has been immediately able to outline a vast array of downfalls for your web site?  Have a think about that one… ;)

I strongly believe that the best practices still involve humanising the audit process entirely. Free programs and those seemingly instantly available and highly critical reports offered to you, are only as good as the man who programmed them…and he may have been in a rush. If you are offered an experts eye/time personally on your web site then you are likely onto a winner. However, you have the right to ask how much time this will involve. Don’t rest at being told the person or company is going to take a look. Ask a few questions and get a few answers as reassurance.

3. Be aware of credentials and reputation.

You would be wise to do some of your own research. Reading this article is a good start but more specifically, take time to look at the credentials and background of the company managing your search engine optimisation. Allow the very entity this entire topic revolves around to help you…Google. In some cases you may find that a companies with particularly bad reputations, show up from a quick googleling.

4. Don’t base your decision purely on the cost of the service!

In at number 4 is a point which probably deserves to be a little high in the ranking, pardon the pun. Before many clients are even out of the starting blocks they have decided for themselves what work needs to be done and how much it should cost. Only when a company, good or bad, comes along that fits the budget perfectly will they bite the bullet. Please don’t make this common mistake. Certainly you should seek a few quotations and sound out more than one company representative but if you base everything on the price then you will likely be disappointed.

A good SEO Company will be able to explain and justify the cost of the work they plan to carry out. Don’t get me wrong here, nobody is advocating the most expensive as being the best by default but lets face it, similarly, the best isn’t likely to be among the cheapest either. You should bare this in mind and make yourself open to the points previously made in this article.

5. No Good SEO Company will make absolute guarantees.

That fact is this – Nobody knows exactly what Google is going to do next. With billions of new web pages to index every year, Google is incessantly finding new ways to sort the wheat from the chaff. In essence the goal posts are moving all the time and so the way in which your web site is judged and ranked is also.

As we have discussed, many SEO Companies pride themselves foremost on their sales abilities. Some of them are even arrogant enough to tell you this. So… don’t fall for the oldest tricks in the book:

“We can guarantee page one results”

“The more you spend with us the further up the rankings you will go”

“Nannas don’t like grandmas”

Ignore the third point above. I am simply checking to see that you are still paying attention. Is it time for another cup of tea?

6. What should you expect from their plans of action?

If you are content and appreciate the ground we have covered so far then you are almost armed and ready. The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to spotting the best of the SEO Companies is the details of their action plan. Again, the company should be more than willing to run through their plan of attack. Hopefully a good site assessment (as discussed in point 2) has now been achieved, providing the foundations of where your web site can be optimised further. What issues where highlighted and how does the SEO company plan to address them? How long will each task take them? If you have got the answers you need then all that is left to say is good luck.