Making the decision that you want to hire an SEO company is an exciting one, but unfortunately it only gets more complicated from there. Not only do SEO companies come in all types and sizes, but there are also many companies out there that claim to be something they’re not. Between false ranking promises and outdated practices, saying that you have to be careful when choosing an SEO company is an understatement.
The moral of the story: It’s important to understand how an SEO company provides value so that you are able to separate the contenders from the pretenders and hire the right company to help you achieve your goals.
Why Selecting the Right SEO Company is so Important and so Difficult
Below are a few reasons that hiring the right company can really have an affect, either positive or negative, on your business’s long-term and short-term goals:
1. Organic traffic, even when you take the cost of SEO services into account, returns a much greater ROI that any other form of paid traffic
It’s true. With great SEO you can not only drive traffic to your website, but you can actually make sure that the correct, targeted traffic is being directed toward specific pages. This means that with good SEO you can make sure those that are at the beginning of the buying cycle are seeing your blog content for research, and those that are ready to buy are naturally led to your high conversion pages. This will help ensure that all of the traffic coming to your website is actually significant because you’re doing something meaningful with that traffic.
Pay-per-click campaigns (PPC) can also be much more expensive in the long term versus an SEO campaign. PPC is designed to give you instant gratification and results, so it’s great if you’re testing new pages and headlines or need a quick boost for a promotion or to get your company started, but SEO is the strategy you want for the long term. I highly recommend checking out this article that tells the story of a small business owner who profited much more from organic results than paid. Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Hiring a reputable SEO Company is a long-term strategy
SEO is a slow process at first, but the nature of SEO is fluid. In practice, it works much like a domino effect. With the right foundations in place, your visibility and page views will only continue to grow. The more content you have out there on authoritative sources, the better chance you have of earning natural links, the better chance you have of improving in organic rankings, and so on and so forth. It’s all about creating that perfect marketing plan with the future in mind, which you can learn more about here. In the end, a reputable SEO company will help you lay this foundation so that their work transcends across the web to consistently bring you SEO success.
3. More and more people are shopping and researching online
Some business sink or swim depending on how many customers they receive from Internet searches (and if you’re an e-commerce site and you haven’t felt this sense of urgency yet, it’s safe to say it’s probably coming). This trend will only continue in the future, and your website has to be prepared for the influx of traffic and the needs of Internet users. According to Retail Research, US online spending was $268 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $306 billion in 2014, which is a 14.5% increase in Internet retail sales.
It’s also important to mention that it’s not just shopping online that has increased and it isn’t just retailers that should care. Small businesses also depend on the Internet as consumers begin to shied away from the yellow pages and complete all of their research online. Check out some cool graphics that show how search has become more popular here.
4. Best practices in SEO are constantly changing, so it takes regular effort to amend different strategies and stay effective
This is a huge reason why hiring an SEO company can make a big difference. SEO isn’t simply creating a strategy and then sticking with the practices. Google is constantly making announcements and algorithm updates that change SEO best practices, and if you don’t keep up you could find yourself falling behind with no idea why. It’s the job of an SEO company to keep up with these changes and make sure that your methods are current. In the end, websites with poor or outdated SEO strategies will fall behind their competition and could risk being penalized, even unknowingly. Read about the JCPenney penalization debacle here for a real-world example.
Local SEO is also a huge topic where we see best practices being updated. Google My Business and other local initiatives from search engines can help make the world of search smaller for your company, but you need someone to manage this to ensure you don’t fall behind. Learn more about local SEO strategies here so you know what questions to ask when looking for that perfect agency.
5. If you make any mistakes in SEO or are on the wrong path, it could take even more time and money to dig yourself out of the hole that’s been created
Last but not least, the biggest reason that an SEO company can make or break your company is because SEO is a long and slow process. It’s incredibly easy for new Webmasters and businesses to make SEO mistakes, which is why hiring an SEO company is such a great idea. Unfortunately, because there are so many poor agencies out there, this fact can cause things to go very, very wrong if you make the wrong decision about your company.
We talked with Scott Langdon, managing partner of SEO Company HigherVisibility, who explained why this makes hiring the right agency so important. He said,
Unfortunately, hiring an SEO agency doesn’t work like other agencies that you may have hired in the past. For most, the process is simple if you made a hiring mistake — you hire them, you don’t like them, you fire them, you move on. Because it takes months to see any results in the SEO industry, you will be working with the SEO Company you hire for quite some time. Oftentimes “quick” results are gained through SEO tactics that will get you penalized, so a poor SEO company will take advantage of these tactics until they’ve kept you around long enough to dig you into a hole.
In the end, you could end up spending a lot more money and resources digging yourself out of this hole than you would have had to before you hired a company in the first place. Visit this article for a great checklist of ways to evaluate and compare SEO firms so you don’t make the wrong choice.
A Quick Tip: Choosing the Right SEO Company Is About More than Just Cost
After understanding the benefits of a great SEO company it may seem obvious, but we know that cost can be tempting. It’s worth reiterating that selecting an SEO company needs to be about more than just cost.
Just because a company may be offering a really cheap price to do the work, does not mean they can do the work well, or even more importantly, within the search engine guidelines. Once again, this could lead to penalties and a loss in traffic that could be devastating to a business. It makes evaluating what a company can offer you that much more important. The age-old phrase is true in the SEO world: Sometimes, you get what you pay for.
Do you have any tips for finding the right SEO Company? Any stories about hiring the wrong one? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.