Just so we are clear from the beginning of this blog, noone can guarantee results in Google. Noone has a “special” relationship with Google or has the ability to offer “priority” submissions. Any search engine optimization company stating otherwise is full of it. Stay away!
These days, Google even offers guidelines for hiring professional SEO firms. The guidelines include best practices, what to look for in an SEO firm and how to manage expectations. When we talk about managing expectations, this is in reference to the firm managing the expectations of the client. The first step in this process is education. Good SEO companies will educate first, then develop a strategy and give you their pitch.
The following tips are simple but valuable if you are interested in hiring an SEO company or Internet marketing company.
(1) Look for a company whose sales representatives actually understand SEO: Natually, people in a sales position may not have the technical expertise to actually implement your campaign, but a good company will have trained sales representatives that have a sound understanding of ALL aspects of search engine optimization.
(2) Beware of firms whose only presentation is a list of rankings they achieved for clients: While this is a valuable aspect to judging a company and the success they have achieved for other companies, it is not the only component. Additionally, you have no real idea when they acheived those results, if the client is still a client, and how competitive the keywords really were. You also do not know how well optimized the client’s webiste was prior to the SEO firm taking them on.
(3) Look for a company that will give you a presentation about YOUR website and what they can do for you: If they have not taken the time to personalize a presentation and do research on your behalf, then they probably will not go the extra mile once they have your signature on their 30 page contract (that probably has very strict cancellation policies).
(4) NEVER work with a firm that makes guarantees unless they are reasonable guarantees and offer money back if milestones are not hit. Keep in mind that this is very unusual and top firms do not usually offer this. Many firms that offer VERY low monthly rates and guarantee top placements use Black Hat tactics and take short cuts that will hurt you in the long run. Sometimes these short cuts take a while to catch up to you and by that time the company is long gone; and you really can’t pinpoint exactly what they did unless a new SEO firm takes the time to analayze the past campaign…by that time it is too late and it could take years to get rankings (depending on the penalties you may have incurred).
(5) Look for SEO companies that are transparent about the campaign and their methods: Communication should be fluid from Day 1. The company should be honest about how challenging the campaign might be and help you understand what to except along the way. This is one of the most difficult aspects because SEO takes time and patience.
The best thing a good SEO company can offer is education, best practices, communication, transparency, and hard work!