How do you know if you’ve found a good SEO company?
It never ceases to amaze us here at SEO For Breakfast just how many bad SEO companies there are in the world. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good ones (for example these guys) but the majority i encounter wouldn’t know an alt tag if it slapped them in the face and shouted “i’m an alt tag, USE ME, USE ME”. We have clients that had previously been paying hundreds of pounds a month, believing their SEO company was doing things for them, when in reality, they were spamming cheap backlinks once a month and not much else.
More and more people are realising that SEO is an essential part of modern business, but as they search for the company that is a good fit for them, they have to wade through all the crap first. Now we would love for everyone to use our SEO Services, but in reality that is not going to happen; for example some people may want a company based locally to them. But we hate the thought of SEO charlatans getting peoples hard earned money, so we thought we would put this article out into the world.
Asking the right questions
We have compiled a list of questions that you should consider asking any prospective SEO company you approach. I will add at this point, that you probably should not consider any SEO company that approaches you. That is not to say marketing and advertising, but rather those email approaches you never asked for. If they resort to mass emailing people who did not request it, it likely means they use black hat techniques.
Anyway, i digress. So how do you know if you’ve found a good SEO Consultant? Simply ask these questions, as recommended by Google, and you’ll know soon enough:
- Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
- What’s your experience in my industry?
- What’s your experience in my country/city?
- What’s your experience developing international sites?
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
- How long have you been in business?
- How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
Now the answers to some of these quests are not always black and white. For example we have never had a client in the hotel industry, yet we could definitely conduct their SEO for them. Some things however are certain, while SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate Google’s guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:
One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.
Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.
Now i realise i am going on quite a bit here. So much so, that most people probably won’t get this far. But nevertheless, here are some other important points of note when searching for the best SEO Company.
Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.
- No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
- You should never have to link to an SEO.
- Be sure to understand where the money goes
Now this is far from an exhaustive list, but if you ask those questions, and remember those points, you should be safe. Please don’t let me put you off SEO with these warnings. I can assure you there are some brilliant people out there, and who know their stuff. But why not play it safe, and use SEO For Breakfast?