Do you know what to look for in a good SEO Company?
We have heard a few horror stories over the years, and having chatted to a few companies just recently, it appears that there are still a few SEO’s out there who are using out of date techniques that just don’t work anymore. Operating in this way will eventually let a client down. Expectations will be flattened, results will be low and sadly the business owner probably loses trust, not just in the SEO company who didn’t deliver, but in the value of SEO itself.
Whizz Marketing takes pride in being completely transparent about the work we do for our clients. We don’t believe there is any point in being less than honest about what can be achieved. Some business owners are very clued up on SEO, some have very high, and perhaps unrealistic expectations of what SEO can achieve, whilst others are just really confused about it and don’t know what they need to do to achieve their marketing goals.
We have detailed below the main areas that you, as a client, should focus on in order to increase the organic visibility of your brand and the services and products it offers.
These are the questions you need to ask your SEO company as getting this information will help instill confidence that they have your business interests at heart and are providing a quality SEO service:
1. What is SEO?
You need a direct answer to this question and the explanation should be relatively simple!
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation – a series of activities which help increase rank in search engine indexes, providing greater brand visibility. There may be over 200 ranking factors which correlate to page rank, but you don’t need to know about every one of them in detail. You just need to be confident your SEO can deal with the ones that will help you achieve your business goals.
Of course we all want our websites to appear at the top of Google for a variety of phrases, and the job of an SEO company is to work through as many ranking signals as possible using Google Best Practice techniques and online marketing. It isn’t just about keywords inserted into a website anymore. It is more about identifying with the needs of your customers. It is about business credibility, trust, quality content and engagement. You get this right, and your site and brand gains authority, and your website gains rank in organic search.
2. What can I expect from investing in SEO?
Certainly some positive results! More traffic, increased engagement on site, increased impressions, increased clicks, increased conversions. It does take time for SEO to work and there is a tendency for people to be a little impatient and expect results overnight. It is easy to forget just how much content there is for search engines to crawl, so actually finding a page from your website and showing it on Page 1 of Google IS an achievement in itself, particularly in competitive sectors.
You do of course want your site to be at the Top – don’t we all! However, if your sector is really competitive, you have a new domain and are competing with long-established domains with high brand authority, it doesn’t really matter how much you spend on SEO, it is unlikely you will be able to outrank them, at not least in the short term.
Your SEO consultant should be realistic in what they can achieve and be honest about what you can expect from the start. Talk through what you want to achieve and within what timescale. Generally, you should expect to see some notable improvements within 3 months.
3. What should be included in the SEO package?
Some SEO’s may take advantage of your lack of knowledge on the subject, but don’t allow yourself to be blinded with science! At Whizz Marketing, we customise a package to suit the client’s needs and the cost will be relative to this, however many SEO companies offer set packages and monthly retainer fees. Whichever you choose, just be clear on what you are getting for your money.
A comprehensive SEO package could include:
1. Website Audit – identifying technical and SEO issues which will need improvement in order to achieve optimisation. These should be provided before you commit to a monthly retainer so you know exactly what they will be working on. If you are considering a monthly retainer package, your site may not need everything the package is offering. Make sure the package is going to be customised to suit the requirements of your site. Ask your SEO consultant to be clear about what they will be working on each month, and ask for evidence that each element has been addressed.
2. Keyword Research – this is a critical part of SEO and should always be offered. Without keyword insight, the SEO will be working blind. You need to understand what phrases people are using to search for your products and services. You need to know how much search volume there is for these keywords, and how well your competitors currently rank for keywords you want to be found for.
3. Competitor Research – this is highly recommended but isn’t always offered. This research will provide insight on multiple competitors; how well their sites perform, how your site is positioned against theirs, competitors page rank, their domain trust and credibility, and how much social buzz they generate. All really useful data which will help to establish how much optimisation is needed for your site to outrank your competition.
4. Content Optimisation – this involves optimising your website content with the focus keywords you have decided to use for optimisation. This may require a re-write of some content, and there may be a need to add more content to help increase relevance. This is a very time-consuming element of the overall SEO work. If done properly, the more content you have, the longer it will take to optimise it, and the more expensive the quote will be.
5. Meta Tags – these are title tags, description tags and keyword tags. They are also crucial elements of on-site SEO and should be refreshed following Google Best Practice guidelines to ensure they are effectively optimised.
6. Link Audit and Optimisation – it is recommended to undergo a Link Audit to assess the quality of your backlinks and to see if the domains you are linking to are high ranking. Cleaning up the backlink profile is crucial to help improve domain authority. Link clean ups can be a long process, and aren’t always included in a monthly retainer due to this, however you may have link building included. If link building is being offered, just check what type of sites they will be linking you to, how the link building is managed and ask if you can have a report that gives evidence on what links have been created each month.
7. Content Generation – this is a crucial element of SEO as it helps keep a site fresh by adding new content. This can be achieved through a website blog, by adding images, videos and case studies and testimonials, for example. A site needs to have a good flow of fresh, quality, relevant content. Again, this may or may not be included in a monthly package, but if it isn’t – then you will need to look at investing in this element.
8. Monthly Reports – you should absolutely, without fail, receive regular reports from an SEO company who is charging you a monthly retainer. These reports should clearly show improved and depreciated positions, traffic data, competitor stats and if any on-site SEO issues have manifested (which can sometimes happen – e.g broken links, new pages created without being optimised). Any issues identified should be dealt with by the SEO company and this should show on the next report as having been addressed.
We really hope you have found this checklist useful and it gives you some confidence that there are some good SEO companies out there who want to get some positive results for your business!
Whizz Marketing is a Google Partner Agency and offers customised SEO packages. We do not sell contracts or tie our clients in with monthly retainers. We will quote a one-off optimisation price following a FREE website audit, and provide an additional quote on offering further support with online marketing and off-site SEO services if required.
We will let you know exactly what needs to be done and what we can do to help and at what price – and we will keep the jargon to a minimum, we promise!
Find out more at whizzmarketing.co.uk or call Louise on 01252 622129.