Outsourcing your search engine optimization (SEO) work is an increasingly popular move by local businesses as the art of keyword research and optimizing on-site and off-site factors continues to grow in complexity. As more tools and due diligence are needed to rank well even for medium competition keywords, it makes more and more sense for typical businesses and websites to contract someone who specializes in the space and keeps up with everything (and has the right tools needed to do well) rather than spending the extra money and effort on building out those special capabilities. While it can be easy to decide that you want to outsource your SEO needs, it can be much harder finding the right provider for what you need.
A quick search of your local region for SEO firms will likely turn up many results in Google. It can be easy to think the top one or couple may be the best ones since they rank for that keyword, but you want to conduct some more research before just going with someone on that basis alone. The SEO service industry is an increasingly competitive market in and of itself, particularly in metropolitan areas. It can be hard to differentiate here when you try to talk to different firms and you hear roughly the same thing from them all- they can help you get to number one and increase your traffic precipitously. How is it possible that they can all get you to number one? Chances are, most of them can’t. Your goal should be in maximizing the chance that you hire the one that can.
The first thing that you need to do is question some of your assumptions in judging a particular business. For one, a nice website does not mean anything in terms of SEO. It is the on-site SEO factors as well as the off-site factors which matter, which have nothing to do with how the site looks. In fact, there are some great shops which have very outdated or simple looking websites.
The second assumption you should challenge is on how they rank for ‘SEO [local area]’ as a search term. This can often be a fluke or due to a variable that does not really reflect the capabilities of the website such as date of the domain and website.
Finally, make sure to not be swayed by the size or revenues of the company. This is particularly true if they offer services other than just SEO, which many providers do. When the company provides many services, it may mean that they are well known or make more of their money off of another service and not SEO. Being big or small has nothing to do with effectiveness when it comes to getting results.
Once you are in the right mindset of not falling for false assumptions of quality, it is time to really find the best SEO company for your needs. And of course this starts with first figuring out exactly what your needs including what services you need, how you hope it will drive conversions, and what your timeline for results are. Remember to be realistic and discuss these upfront with prospective providers. You should talk with multiple companies and compare what they say they can do, what results they can show from the past, and why they think they are unique. Make the prospective SEO company tell you stories about their success and ask them for references and case studies as these will help give a glimpse into what experience they have and how they have done for clients in the past. Good luck with your search and in the end remember to trust yourself!