If you own a small business, it’s no secret that one of the most difficult tasks is finding a steady stream of new customers or clients. It’s not as simple as in the “good old days” ñ that long gone era when you could simply place an ad in the Yellow Pages or the newspaper and have a steady stream of traffic through your front door.
No, now the holy grail of new client acquisition is the Internet ñ specifically, search engines. However, the mysterious waters of the World Wide Web are much more difficult to navigate than simply having a conversation with an advertising salesperson for the phone book.
So, when you need your business to show up at the top of search engines and you don’t know how to do it yourself, what are the options? You need to hire professional. However, you need to be careful to hire the best SEO company available in order to protect your business.
So, how do you go about choosing the best SEO Company? Here are seven tips that should help you decide between the many prospects that will be available to you.
1 – Set a budget and ensure that the company you are interviewing is comfortable working within that budget before you even take a meeting. After all, the person that will come to your initial meeting whether that person is actually a salesman or whether they are the owner of a small consultancy will be there for one purpose and one purpose alone: to get you to sign as extensive and expensive a contract as possible. Unless you start the meeting with a hard and fast figure in mind, it will be all too easy to keep on adding “extras” until the total cost is unreasonable.
2 – Ask for realistic goals from each company that you meet with, both short-term and long-term, to determine if the scenarios they envision match up with your company’s needs. After all, the idea that your business will be able to dominate the search results the very next week after hiring a search engine optimization consultant is unrealistic. Make sure that you come away with a strong idea of what the consultant thinks is realistic so that you are operating with definite parameters.
3 – Don’t be afraid to question them when it comes to details about their company. If they are a large firm, you need to ensure that they have procedures in place which will guarantee that your company gets the kind of individualized attention it deserves. On the flip side of that coin, if they are a boutique SEO firm, you need to ensure that they have a plan in place to make sure that your company is taking care of even if things get busy. You don’t want to go to the back of the line behind other work from larger or more lucrative clients.
Ask For Explanations
4 – Ask them to explain their theory of search engine optimization in broad, philosophical terms. It is no longer the case that “bad” (or black hat) search engine optimization techniques won’t hurt your website, even if they don’t help it. They can very much count against your business, even going so far as to get your website buried or banned from the search engine listings altogether. The most important thing that you can do when choosing the best SEO company is to make sure that the consultant you are interviewing is on the up and up.
How Does It Work?
5 – Ask them point-blank what kinds of techniques they use to achieve rankings for their clients. Don’t just take their word for the fact that they follow the rules ñ make them get specific and see if you are satisfied with the answers.
Can You See Rankings?
6 – Ask to see some live examples of rankings in real time on search engines. These don’t have to be for other clients. You certainly don’t want to hire an SEO firm that will be casual about client privacy. These could even be search engine rankings for their own website, or for side projects that their company engages in. Regardless, if their claim is that they can achieve strong rankings, you should be able to see some proof of that in real time, not just screenshots ñ there in the meeting.
7 – Get real-world references. These should be companies that they are currently working with, or have worked with in the past, who have agreed to talk with prospective clients about the experiences that they have had with this search engine optimization company.
Of course, the task of choosing the best SEO company to consult for your local business is a giant responsibility. Not only does that company or consultant have the power to bring a lot more traffic through your front door, which can then be converted into customers or clients and therefore cash for your business, but they also have the potential to do a lot of harm if their methods are not on the up and up.
The main thing to take away from this article before starting this undertaking is that you need to come away from any meeting with a prospective search engine optimization consultant with a strong feeling that they know what they are doing and will do a good job for your company.