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You have a business but there just aren’t as many calls and leads as you would like. You need help and you know it, but who do you turn to? Who is going to give you the results you are looking for? You’ve heard that SEO is costly and can take time. Well, that can be true as well, especially if you hire the wrong company! You want to be sure that you take your time to fully understand the company that you are about to hire. You need to ask for some references and case studies. They should be able to show you proven results that their agency has done.
Most SEO agencies will have some websites that they use to ensure they have skills. These websites are typically their own entities and show clients that they, in fact, do have the skills needed to rank websites in the search engines. These sorts of sites are called case studies.
Some SEOs will show you a simple case study that they did and then let go. It is hard to work and keep working on your own stuff, while you have to pay clients that need work. So, many times they will document their progress and keep records so they can show their upcoming clients that they, in fact, do have the skills that it takes to rank a website.
SEO takes time
SEO takes time, it isn’t the silver bullet that is going to happen overnight. In fact, SEO can take months or even years, depending on your market. You will need to discuss this with the SEO agency on their thoughts. How long it should take is based on a number of factors such as how good your website SEO is, what the market is for your niche, and how big the area is that you want to rank for. For example, it is far easier to rank a local business than to rank an Ecom shop. What you sell can also affect how long and how hard it is going to be to rank. A large ticket item will probably have far more competition than a smaller ticket item. Companies want those large ticket sales and will go after those keywords.
Find some easy keywords to start with.
However, those keywords might take longer to rank. It is important to understand that some keywords will act differently than some others. These we call long-tail keywords and they can start ranking more quickly, to get some leads coming in while the others take more time to rank. This should be discussed with your SEO consulting team as well.
Another great way to see how the SEO consulting team is doing, take a look at their reviews. Reviews are from companies and business owners that have been working with that company already. If they have a lot of great reviews, it might be worth looking into further. Lots of positive reviews are a good sign. However, if they have any negative reviews, see if they have responded. Remember, that there are always two sides to the story, as well as SEO agencies can get a bit ruthless to each other at times and they could be from a competitor as well.
Look at the Online Reviews
Online reviews are something you should be requested from your clients. They are a great way for others looking for your service to know that you are a reputable company. Some SEO agencies can help you grow your reviews by setting up software to send out reminder emails to your clients. This will further help you grow your reputation in your industry. It doesn’t necessarily help with your ranking in the search engines, but it helps with decision making for those that find you.
If you are a local company, you should have a Google My Business (GMB). However, if you don’t have a GMB or don’t even know what it is, this is certainly something to bring up to the SEO consultant to ensure that they are not only quoting your search engine rankings but also your GMB or maps listing rankings. These are two separate entities that need to be discussed and fully understood. Your GMB is quite often easier to rank than the search engines, which will allow you to get leads in more quickly, while you wait for your SEO to kick in.
Find an SEO consultant that can show you examples.
There are many SEO consultants out there today. And, their pricing can be all over the place. However, it is important that you find someone that can stay within your budget and show you results. By taking your time to fully get to know that agency, hopefully, you will avoid a pitfall. Be sure to ask questions and listen to what they have to say. Question if it makes sense and if they are being open and honest to you. The moment that “secret sauce” comes out of their mouth, you might want to find another agency. There are proven methods that help websites rank.
A little about SEO, so you are familiar with the terms when calling agencies. On-Page SEO is what is done on the website itself. Now, you might think your website is beautiful and it just maybe. However, there are things that need to be done to the website, in order to send the right signals for ranking. So, things might have to be changed around a bit. You may need to add more content to the pages, meaning more pages that speak about exactly what it is that you do. Content can be website pages or a blog, optimizing images, and page speed to name a few things that will be done. Page speed is how long it takes for your pages to load. It is important to the user experience and is important to search engines as well.
Find an SEO Consultant that is up to date on the latest SEO techniques.
Experience is important when looking for an SEO consultant. While many years might look good in some professions, that isn’t always the case in SEO. SEO is forever changing and if that person doesn’t keep up to date on all the changes, then their skills can fall behind. Be sure when you are speaking to an SEO consultant and see case studies that they are within a few years. People get into SEO all the time and it only takes a few wins to prove they know what they are doing. SEOs that have been around for a few years could be as good as someone that has been around for 20.
In fact, some might even be better as they are up to date on the latest techniques. So, the years of experience isn’t as important in this profession as it can be in others. Typically there aren’t problems that aren’t easily understood and solved, unlike say fixing a car without a reason as to why it clicks for example. There are many tools out there that will analyze your websites for you too and find potential problems.
Learn about SEO yourself – just the basics will do.
Take a minute to learn a bit about SEO yourself. Now, you don’t have to take a full-on course in it, but learn a bit about the terminology and what the terms mean. Be sure that you understand at least the basic concepts. Things such as On-Page we have explained above, however, there is off-page as well. This means that you will need backlinks. Backlinks come from all kinds of different sources.
Backlinks are not simply links that magically appear. They are blog and website content that points back to your site. Having various links will help build up your brand and improve your rankings. However, getting the wrong kind of links can do the opposite. Your backlinks should come from websites that are within your niche for more relevance when possible. Of course, you will want all the citations and directories you can get into.
These are those places where you will find the name, address, and phone number for the business as well as typically some images and a paragraph or so about the company. It is very important that when you are filling out citations that you keep your name, phone number, and address very consistent as this is similar to your social security number with the search engines. If you don’t do this, you won’t get the link juice that you are looking for.
Technical SEO is another part of SEO. Most technical SEO is done during the On-Page portion of the SEO. These are things such as schema, site structure, and site layout to name a few.
Stay clear of black hat methods
You also want to avoid SEO agencies that use black hat methods or methods they aren’t willing to share. Now, you don’t need the step by step detailed instructions, however, if they start talking about the magic secret sauce, you might want to look elsewhere.
Always beware of those that guarantee or someone that advertises the one size fits all approach. SEO is not a simple $299 price tag. Those that claim that it is, will most likely not going to do a great job for you. They may have fancy reports and things but the work is shady at best.
To ensure that you are getting proper SEO services once you begin with a company is to run some searches on your own in incognito. Find your size manually in the search engines. Or you can use software to do this as well.