Finding a trustworthy SEO company has never been easy, especially considering Google’s constantly changing algorithms and rules that regulate SEO. The plain truth, though, is that SEO plays a crucial role in the rankings of a website in search engines and, consequently, its visibility, traffic, and conversion rates. Pulling the needle out of the haystack, where needle in this case is ethical SEO companies that do work with your best interest in mind, will definitely help take your business to an upper level. Let’s find out what you should look for when in search of an SEO company that can deliver really positive results.
What Aggressive SEO Can Do to Your Business
In the past, SEO companies relied heavily on link building. Although there is nothing wrong with it, many of them were implementing black hat SEO, which refers to unethical SEO practices that aim at boosting the website’s ranking in search engines the very wrong way. Google now penalizes websites that build links aggressively. This includes buying links or using other unethical SEO tactics to manipulate the website’s Page Rank (often called black hat SEO). An SEO company that does that will quickly land your business in the reds with Google.
Understand that although such aggressive SEO tactics can deliver some pretty amazing results fast, these results are extremely short lived. The worse news is that even if you do sack the SEO company that has put you into a tough spot against Google, chances are you won’t be able to resolve a manual penalty without a report of every single link building activity that the SEO company carried out. It doesn’t worth risking getting your website penalized from Google for approaches that don’t get you anywhere, right?
Signs of Quality SEO Firms
- They Have Evidence of Things They Have Done
Working with an SEO company that has deliverables is key. They should be able to show you what they are doing. This can be achieved through weekly/monthly reports that display the work done and how your website ranks after each week/month’s work, actual websites that have real dofollow backlinks to your website, changes or additions to your content, or an audit of your content, homepage, site, or link profile with some recommendations for action. If the SEO firm you are considering has transparency in the way they are doing things and can show/prove this to you, it is a good sign for sure.
- They Suggest Improvements
If they recommend some sort of action on your behalf (extra SEO services), it probably means that they want to work with you so that you see the best results the soonest possible. For example, they may suggest you start social media channels, start a blog, launch a content marketing plan, optimize your images by adding alt tags, create a sitemap.xml, optimize the site’s content, allow crawling on the whole of the website by changing your robots.txt, or perform a link profile audit. All that is meant not to trick you into investing more money, rather than using white hat SEO tactics to help get the results you are hoping for. If you follow their recommendations, chances are you will.
- Your Website Starts Ranking Higher
Rank improvements is definitely in every web master’s wish list. If you are getting improved ranking, it means that your SEO agency is indeed doing everything right. To determine whether the firm is using white hat (legitimate) SEO, check your site’s ranking. It should be ranking on the 1st page of Google for your target keywords and a variety of long-tail keywords. Be a bit patient and check if your rankings show significant fluctuations. If they stay relatively consistent on a weekly basis, then you are in good hands.
- They Give You Realistic Promises
Beware of fancy talk and “top ranking guarantees”. Most of the times, such promises are not realistic. Instead, they are linked to the SEO sales machine. It is important to know that you can’t get guaranteed results for any keyword search, even if you have a best buddy working for Google. SEO is constantly changing. It is not easy to implement either. So, those that promise to dramatically increase your search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings overnight cannot be trusted.
- They Do Not Work For The Competition
Seemingly, there might be nothing wrong with hiring an SEO agency that is okay with working for the competition. However, putting two clients that belong in the same market against each other can never be a good thing for neither of them. You want the best work done, which includes driving as many people/prospects from your respective market to your site as possible. Working with an SEO firm that is marketing your competition will give you a portion of their efforts, rather their full attention (they want to make money from both you and your competitor). Trusted SEO companies will find it against their code of ethics. So, make sure you ask them before you shake hands.
What Can YOU Do When You Find a Trustworthy SEO Company?
First of all, be patient. SEO is a tedious and long work that takes time to produce results. Learning all you can about SEO will certainly help you stay on top of any changes within the industry. That way, you will also be able to identify whether an SEO firm is using the safe road of outdated techniques.
That aside, it is critical you work with them and comply with whatever they recommend you do (provided you have found a good firm, of course). SEO is a team effort and a multifaceted field. The only way to achieve the results you are expecting is to view the SEO agency as a partner. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to monitor them,
though. On the contrary, do ask for reports; find out how and what they are doing; ask questions; check in with your account manager.
Finally, know exactly what you expect the SEO agency to do, be it creating backlinks/content/new social channels, auditing content or whatever else.
Unfortunately, as with any business partnerships, there is always a chance you will collaborate with an SEO company that doesn’t use transparent methods and focuses solely on delivering the fastest results, which usually last shortly and could lead to penalties from Google. However, there will certainly be signs to help identify a spam company from a trusted one so keep your antennas up!