13 May How to Tell If a Search Engine Optimization Provider Is the Real Deal
Why should you care about search engine optimization? If you own a business website of any kind, that’s a fairly easy question to answer. Today’s consumers like to find everything online — even brick-and-mortar stores — and they use search engines to do so. But about 75% of searchers never click through to the second page of results, meaning your website must rank well if it’s going to be found. It’s not even wildly melodramatic to say that if you’re not working to improve your search engine rankings, your website might as well not exist; it’s like having a store and then camouflaging it.
SEO is a complicated business, and you’ll almost certainly want to hire it out to a professional search engine optimization provider. But how can you choose one? There are a lot of search engine marketing firms out there, and not all of them are the SEO gurus they claim to be. Here are five questions that can help you separate top SEO providers from the fakers:
- How Have You Helped Other Businesses Like Mine Succeed?
The Ideal Answer: Any good search engine optimization provider should be able to instantly answer this question both narratively and with data. You should be looking for SEO professionals who can explain things in a simple and compelling way but still back it up with some figures (ranking positions gained over a certain amount of time, website traffic volume, number of leads, etc.).
- Do You Use a Content Marketing Strategy?
The Ideal Answer: You want to hear an unqualified yes here. Modern SEO needs to rely on the creation of unique, meaningful and engaging content that real people — not just bots — will want to read. That will probably include a combination of both onsite and offsite content; onsite blogs, for example, can give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links, and offsite articles can build valuable high-quality backlinks. All those things are good for your website’s rankings. In fact, a whopping 92% of marketers say content creation is either “very” or “somewhat” effective when it comes to SEO.
- Do You Integrate SEO With Other Marketing Tactics?
The Ideal Answer: SEO, and especially content-based SEO, works best when it’s integrated with a broader marketing and public relations strategy. You want to find a search engine optimization provider that can also put out press releases and manage your social media accounts to fully leverage the SEO potential of such activities.
- How Do You Keep Up With the Industry?
The Ideal Answer: The SEO industry is constantly changing, to the point that SEO as it existed 10 or even five years ago is now a liability. Choose an SEO firm that follows industry trends, cultivates relationships with search engines and other major players, and even does some experimentation and research to make sure they’re truly at the top of the game.
- Do You Offer a Guarantee on Your Results?
The Ideal Answer: If you’ve read our blog before, you already know what you want to hear: absolutely not. SEO is inherently dynamic and unpredictable, and anyone who says they can predict the outcome of a campaign isn’t telling you the whole truth.
What other questions might you want to ask prospective SEO firms? Share your thoughts in the comments.