This is a very important question, especially if you are trying to decide whether or not you should hire an SEO expert. In this post, we will do a deep dive into what types of things you should expect if you hire an SEO company, as well as what red flags you should be aware of so you can avoid the imposters. Anybody can say they are an expert in search engine optimization, but actually performing SEO like a pro takes significant experience, knowledge, and skill. So, let’s dive in!
Search Engine Optimization Takes Time
You want your website to appear high up in the rankings. But you don’t want to just be ranking for a week, a month, or a year. You want to rank indefinitely. A real SEO consultant will work hard and smart to ensure your rankings last. Rankings take time and earning rankings that will last forever (with proper upkeep) takes a lot of time. Any self-touted guru proclaiming they can get rankings in less than 3 months is either full of it, or they are using sketchy techniques or exploiting some loophole. And the problem with sketchy techniques and exploiting loopholes is your rankings can and will disappear one day overnight. Steer clear of any SEO company that promises fast rankings and talks of secret tricks and loopholes. You might see rankings quickly, but know that it’s only a matter of time until you wake up one morning and your rankings have completely disappeared.
Demonstrable Value-Add from SEO Services
Promising fast results is a red flag. But promises of steady and continuous results is something you should require. You won’t get to the first page of Google in a month, maybe not even 6. But you should see improvements within a month, and certainly within 6 months. In fact, any SEO agency worth hiring will provide you with monthly reports outlining the work
they have done and the improvements that were realized compared to the previous month. Maybe more keywords are starting to rank, maybe the site has improved a few slots in the rankings for different keywords, or perhaps a new page has shown up in the search engine results. You should fully expect to see improvements from month to month. Slow and steady improvements are a good sign that the work that is being done will result in rankings that last.
Research Keywords & Competitors
The first step to any SEO campaign is research. Extensive research should be done to find the best keywords, as well as to determine who your competitors are. The best keywords will result in the highest conversions (be it leads, sales, etc.) and should provide sufficient traffic to generate those conversions. Competitor research is an involved process that allows you to see who is ranking for the best keywords, what they are doing well, and what they could be doing better. This information allows you to match what your competitors are doing well, and if desired go beyond and do it better. It also allows you to dominate them in the areas they are not doing well. If you do these two things, you will skyrocket past them in the rankings.
The next step is going to be on-page SEO and website optimization. While related and often used synonymously, we differentiate the two in the following ways: on-page SEO has to do with making it so search engines like your site; website optimization has to do with making sure visitors like your site. The former is more about getting your site ranked, the latter is more about making sure your site converts. There are things you should and must do to get your site ranked that won’t help conversions at all. Likewise, there are things you should and must do to make sure your website converts. The best SEO consultants know the difference and will give you guidance in both on-page SEO as well as website optimization.
Finally, SEO experts build links. Then they build more links. And more links. Building links plays a crucial role in getting your website ranked. Continuously building links is vital to ensuring your site stays ranked. However, just because you build links doesn’t mean you will rank or stay ranked. An SEO expert understands what types of links to build to ensure your rankings last. Some backlinking strategies act as a silent time bomb, just waiting for a new search engine algorithm to light the fuse that disintegrates your rankings and progress. The best search engine optimization backlinking strategies provide rankings improvements and rankings that last.
There are a lot of SEO companies out there. Make sure to use this guide when trying to decide which SEO company you should choose. The company you choose should act as a partner and should make it crystal clear – not just in the beginning, but all throughout your relationship – that they understand that your success equals their success. If you ever doubt whether this is the case, you should probably move on. Good luck!