Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has opened up doors for small and medium-sized businesses time and again. Now, more than ever, consumers and businesses are using Google as their go-to resource to find products and services that will suit their needs. Naturally, the competition to rank higher for the relevant keywords to your business is on the rise.
The right company can work wonders to strengthen a company’s presence on the web and ultimately take it to the next level. But choosing an SEO expert for your company is a daunting task. Ironically, it’s a lot tougher than simply typing in “Best small business SEO in Mumbai” or “Reliable SEO company in Delhi”. With no shortage of businesses offering SEO services in every corner of the globe (all of which offer mostly similar strategies), it comes down to finding the right fit; a company that understands the vision for your brand and who can infer the right execution.
So what qualities should you be looking for when choosing an SEO for your business? We’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 key aspects that will give you the insight and perspective you need to choose the right SEO company for your brand.
Keep These 5 things in mind when hiring a local SEO company
- Reputation and track record
You need to know exactly who you’re getting into business with when hiring an SEO company. Besides the obvious skills, they need to have high integrity and good intentions. Given that SEO services can be so easily manipulated, you need to be sure that the strategy and approach they adopt are as per the regulations and standards of Google.
A company’s testimonial page is a great place to see exactly what their existing clients are saying about their work. It will give you early insight into whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your business. Besides this, you might also want to consider checking out a few review sites, external blogs, and any complaints and feedback left on forums.
The things you learn from existing clients will also give you an understanding of the company’s work ethic and professionalism, while their website can show you how long they’ve been in the business. With experience and professionalism being two of the strongest pillars towards building a strong and binding business partnership, checking out the local SEO company’s backstory is absolutely needed when deciding who to hire.
- Success stories and case studies
Fresh statistics and numbers are integral to most professional situations. The importance is only amplified in a field that changes as rampantly as SEO. What may have worked a couple months ago may no longer bring effective results.
This is why an SEO company’s capabilities strongly depend on their willingness to continually learn and adapt to the ever-changing algorithms.
Experience is one thing, but it counts for very little unless they’ve worked out a winning strategy that has shown results. Everybody wants to see those zero to 100,000 visitor results, but a strong local SEO company would have a step by step strategy that would have shown their existing clients success. Reviewing these before you choose the team that is destined to work for you is an absolute must.
- Services and bundles offered
An SEO bundle package is more often than not, more effective. Both when it comes to time and money. But with so many different SEO companies offering so many different packages and deals, which one is primed to service your SEO needs and optimize your website. From out of the box solutions to tailor-made creations, here’s what you need to look for when choosing an SEO bundle:
- Technical Audits
Your site architecture and the Content Management System (CMS) you use is pivotal to a successful SEO strategy. Before the SEO company even begins to think about optimizing your website, you need to make sure they conduct an SEO audit that covers all technical aspects, including on-page as well as off-page elements.
- Keyword Research
Proper research when it comes to choosing the right keywords to target in an equally important aspect to the success of an SEO campaign. In an ideal situation, the number of keywords targeted would depend on the SEO package you’ve selected. From analyzing Google Analytics and competitor keywords to surveying clients/customers and the language used on Social Media, the SEO company would formulate a strategy around how to leverage these to drive more traffic to your site.
- Link Building
Another critical tactic in SEO is off-page optimization, and as such, it is included in most standard SEO packages. Search engines see backlinks and citations (references from other authoritative websites) as validation of your own site and choose to place it in more favorable light.
- SEO content writing
An expert SEO company may also recommend certain pages to be rewritten or added to your website to tie the optimization process together. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. The right SEO expert will be able to seamlessly integrate the right keywords into your website content, thereby creating a strategic balance between engaging readers and telling the web crawlers what your site is about.
- Reporting parameters
An SEO company will often handle several clients, but it all comes down to the numbers they show you at the end of the month that should ideally justify your investment. They should be in prime position to make it easy for you to access all relevant information. Rather than overwhelming you with the several ways to slice and dice data, here’s what you need to make sure they showcase:
- Year-over-Year and Month-over-Month Traffic Growth
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that several businesses choose to allocate an annual budget to SEO. This makes the Year-over-Year (YOY) parameter key in any reporting style. As much as we’d all like think it does, SEO can’t work magic overnight and will take time. Comparing numbers over the year will show you just how well the efforts and monies invested have translated to results.
As important as YOY growth is important, Month-over-Month (MOM) growth should not be discounted. Because, you know… we humans are an impatient lot! A great way to give into instant gratification is to see the kind of progress the team has made over the last month and the steps covered to reach the annual goal.
- Increased ranking for top terms and overall keyword growth
If you’ve chosen to task the SEO expert to rank a particular search term, say “XYZ Tools” and that started off on page 9 of Google, a monthly update on how far that search term has improved is a key element of proper SEO reporting. A good progress report would show a jump to Page 5 by April if it was on Page 9 in January.
Besides this, any SEO expert worth their salt would know that if you’ve asked them to work on a certain keyword, any related keywords (in terms of competitiveness or number of searches in general) would also be a good investment of their time. A comprehensive report of all keywords worked on would give you a fair idea of the effort and time invested in your brand.
- High-quality links earned
Links back to high rated authoritative sites can give any site a jump in rankings. Although everyone may want a link on Wikipedia, not everyone is going to get them. Even still, the SEO team should highlight the links they did manage to get through.
- Mobile growth
Focusing efforts on mobile optimization can give you a competitive edge in the SEO game. Given that mobile searches, not to mention voice searches are only going up, there’s no question that if you’re not paying attention to mobile means you’ve already lost half the battle. The SEO company’s efforts and reports should reflect the time invested in optimizing your website for use on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
- Tools and techniques used
SEO is a finicky business. Just when you’ve toiled and slogged to get your ducks in a row, along comes Google with another algorithm update, seemingly washing away all the hard work put in. Although it’s understandable that each new update brings us closer to more relevant search results, the right tools can help you get your website looking just the way Google wants it.
The SEO team you choose should be well versed with the latest tech available out there to help get your site to the very top.
And there you have it! As long as you have these parameters in check when hiring a local SEO company for your brand, you’re probably going to have a winner on your hands real soon. Remember, just one partnership with the right team can have a tremendous impact on any business.