There are a ton of companies out there that are constantly tying up your phone lines, sending spam to your business e-mail, and asking for money in exchange to get you ranked on Google and online. How do you know which Search Engine Optimization companies are legit? Here are 3 surefire ways not to get screwed over:
1. What Do They Call Themselves?
SEO, Search Engine Marketers, online marketers, social media marketers, “I work for Google” is my favorite. Google makes very few phone calls directly to businesses and chances are it is a person that is not affiliated with Google. If you want to check, ask for their Google e-mail address so that you can contact them and they will start to explain that they don’t have one and who they actually work for – yes they will use the word “affiliated”. Chances are you probably have received a call from one of these people or they have been bold enough to walk right into your business and demand payment every month with nothing to show for it. They make promises to get you #1 on Google, get hundreds of “likes” for your Facebook page, tons of guaranteed traffic to your site or all with no game plan behind it.
2. What Should You Expect from a Good SEO Company?
You should expect to see accountability for the money you are forking over. In general, SEO services usually charge a monthly fee rather than paying for each individual item which should include any requests or updates you would like to make. Great questions to ask in the beginning to test if they know what they are talking about are:
- How are you different from other Search Engine Companies?
- How can you get me ranked above my competitors online?
- What is your typical e-mail response time?
- How many years have you been doing SEO? Do you have referrals I can talk to?
- What programs and resources do you use to evaluate my website against Google penalties?
If they cannot answer these simple questions, then they are probably not legitimate. They can take your money and leave you in a worse online position than when you started or get you banned from Google if they use black hat techniques. You also want to find a company that looks at the whole picture behind technical SEO issues and takes into account your specific business. At a bare minimum, you should be getting these items from your SEO company on a regular basis or at least by request:
- Rank Tracking Report – showing what words you are ranking for and at what position on search engines with improvement over time
- Citation Tracking Report – A citation is an instance of your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). A legit company will find your current citations, correct them for consistency across the internet, and add new citations.
- Review Tracking – A real SEO company should be able to let you know your reviews and how to create accounts to respond to them
3. Free Small Business Tools & Resources
Try out these free Google tools for your local business:
- Google Analytics: google.com/analytics – Track detailed information like how many visitors come to your site, peak times, what are your most popular pages, what towns people are visiting you from, and much more. Set this up today.
- Google Webmaster Tools: google.com/webmaster/tools – See what penalties are keeping you from ranking higher on search engines
- Google Page Speed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ – Get a grade from Google on how good your website is
If you need assistance in your small business SEO or do not have the time to do it all, contact Paul at AwesomeDynamic.com or 847-220-7285.