Here is a list of all the things you need to keep in mind when choosing an SEO company.
Do they focus on the users first?
The most important thing an SEO company needs to do is focus on the people visiting your site first instead of the technical aspects of your website.
All SEO companies focus on optimizing the website design with the latest and greatest tricks. The number one thing you need your SEO agency to do is to focus on the User Experience (UX) of your website.
Is your website easy to use, or is it frustrating? Is the site easy to navigate? Is it hard to navigate because you have too many pages in the menu? Does the site work on all devices and all browsers? Is the information easy to read and understand? Are the blogs and pages of your site helping your customers or gloating about your company or product features?
One way an SEO agency might focus on the UX of a website is by using a recording tool to see how users are using your site. Is anyone getting stuck anywhere? Do all the buttons work? Are the viewers having to scroll to the top to get to the menu when they have finished reading the content on one page?
Watching the way your users are interacting with your site is the most valuable SEO tool and trick being used today. Google cares less and less every year about the technical aspects of your website. For many years already, they have relied on how long users on your site as a ranking factor. The longer a user is on your site, the more valuable your content appears to Google algorithms.
There are many technical tricks SEO companies use to capture the attention of a website’s audience. A quiz is one example of a way to engage your audience with your website for a bit longer than they might normally. AlantisAquatics.com has a great example of an engaging quiz.
Another way agencies are implementing engagement tactics is with great design. Websites are turning into entertainment where visitors are told a story in a new and delightful way. Check out Awwwards for some great examples of designers pushing the envelopes and creating websites with new experiences.
Are they getting user-generated content?
User-generated content is a very crucial part of SEO going forward. Google is collecting user profiles on everyone using its services. Google captures everything about its users, from where they work, what restaurants they frequent, what books they read, what hobbies they have. With every type of information, you can get on a person, Google has it guaranteed.
Let us pretend you are searching for ‘homes for sale’ on Google. When someone leaves a comment on a blog about homes for sale, Google profiles all that data they have on that user and attaches it to that blog. If that person who left a comment is similar to you, then Google will likely show you that blog.
When you post your blog onto your social media accounts, be sure to request that your friends and readers leave a comment or question if they found it was helpful. Be sure to ask readers to leave a comment at the end of every blog post, and it’s not a bad idea to start asking for comments on your typical web pages as well.
How is the SEO agency getting traffic to your site?
Are they using social media or pay per click ads? Both are very effective in getting people to your site. Social media posting is a slower process and pay per click ads will get traffic to your website much faster. How much is your time worth? A good strategy will use both because pay per click ads will get your site on Google’s radar almost immediately and social media will keep it there. Some agencies use Pay Per Click ads in the first to three months after a site launch and then rely on social media after that. After three months, your social media should be established enough to generate a significant amount of traffic that is free. If you want a huge boost in traffic, you can do both in parallel, and you can add paid Facebook or LinkedIn ads too.
Is the SEO Agency keeping up on new algorithm releases? Are they developing Your site in a way that prevents a sudden downfall in Google traffic when things do change?
The best agencies have good SEO and web development practices and do not need to watch out for the next Google algorithm changes.
The biggest change in 2019 was when Google made a move to Natural Language Processing (NLP). They called this release BERT and it shook up the SEO industry. NLP is another term for artificial intelligence that focuses on written language. There are programs out there analyzing the emotion of the text. For example, a Facebook study determined that people are happier in the morning and least happy in the afternoon and then become slightly more pleased in the evening right before they go to bed. The Facebook study was conducted with NLP.
Google is now using a different approach to analyze the usefulness and relevance of a website. It’s creating a better user experience and finding better matches to people’s search queries. BERT might be the best thing that has happened to Google in a long time.
Does the SEO company wear a White Hat or a Black Hat?
Wearing a white hat means the individual or company uses ethical, conservative, and legal tactics to make gains. Black hat companies and individuals choose to renegade from the rules and hack their way to the end goal. Black hat SEO tactics may include buying backlinks.
Buying links will get your site penalized by Google. Often when you buy backlinks, those links end up being spam, and Google doesn’t consider these toward ranking you. Instead, Google now sees spammy sites linking to yours and now thinks your site might be spam too. Black hat SEO is a big mess you must avoid.
Often agencies will happily tell you what they do, so never be afraid to ask them if they buy backlinks or have any other shortcuts. It will be evident if this is the case. They may try to lie to you and say no, we don’t do anything like that, but it’s usually apparent if people are lying.
White Hat SEO strategies will keep you in Google’s good graces. Once you give them a reason to question your honesty, it’s hard to rebuild a good reputation. Keep a clean record with Google by picking a quality SEO agency, and you will reap the rewards for years to come.
Do they have case studies?
Ask to see examples of the work and results they have done for other companies. It doesn’t matter how many years a search engine optimization company has been doing it, what matters is if they can get results.
Often, a newer SEO company will know what today’s standards of optimization are and will disregard dated practices.
Check out their portfolio and google the companies they have done SEO for in the past. Check them out and do your own research beyond what they are telling you. Does the company show up on Google when you search for its name? If it’s a local company, does it show up on the maps? What services does the company offer, and where do they show up in results for that town and service, for example “Plumbers in Boulder, CO” or “Plumber CO” Ask the agency what keywords they focused on for the portfolio sites they show you. Then type those keywords into Google and let the results tell you if that agency is legitimate and capable of doing SEO for you.
If you are a national company, ask for a few example sites they have done with national reach. Also, ask what is the one tactic that had the biggest impact on ranking that site? A question like this will give you an idea if they are doing white hat or black hat search engine optimization tactics.
Do they focus on Local SEO or National?
A local SEO company is slightly different from a national SEO company. Some strategies overlap, but in general, it is best to choose an agency with experience in your type of company.
Do they do SEO for themselves and successfully?
Pick a company that has done SEO for themselves. If they can’t do it for themselves, why would they be able to do it for you?
Do they offer backlink building?
Choose an SEO company that focuses on optimizing your website and not on getting backlinks. While backlinks are relevant, they will come naturally. Instead, the focus needs to be on providing value to your customers, as emphasized before. Providing a good user experience will return far more excellent results than any other tactic you use.
Do you like the agency and it’s representatives?
Pick an SEO company that you enjoy working with. Life is way too short to be working with people you don’t trust or enjoy speaking with. Ask yourself, do you look forward to your calls with him/her? Are they honest with you even when it doesn’t make you very happy?
Do they Guarantee Results?
Do they make promises to get you the number one spot on the results list? No agency can promise such results. Any commitment to getting you onto the top of the search results are false. There is no predicting what Google will do with your website. Lately, one day, your website will be number one for a search term, and the next day, it will won’t even show up. The new way Google is picking sites is largely based on what the users are doing and less on how the website is optimized.
Thank you with our whole hears for reading this post. if you have ever experienced something with an SEO agency, good or bad, we want to hear about it. Leave a comment.
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