What to Look For in a Small Business SEO Company
When it comes to finding an SEO company for your small business, you’ll have a lot of choices. Many are good, many are OK and many are downright bad for your business. It doesn’t take a lot to start an SEO company and many SEO “companies” are simply one person in their home, outsourcing all of your work. Or it’s someone doing this work part time to make an extra dollar for themselves. In short, there is very little regulation in an industry full of empty promises.
So you may be asking yourself, if the landscape is this treacherous, why would you hire an SEO company or want SEO for your business at all?
Stats don’t lie. SEO is important.
Gone are the days of traditional marketing like billboards, radio & print ads and commercials as your main source of marketing.
Search Engine Optimization is the new traditional marketing.
So you know you need it. You know that there are a lot of people claiming to be full fledged companies with extensive capabilities. And you know some of these companies can’t deliver.
In the SEO world being nice isn't a qualification for you to spend thousands of dollars. There needs to be more.
But some absolutely can deliver.
SEO is an $80 billion a year industry and it’s not just comprised of people working out of their garage or basement. There are quality companies that don’t make false promises but execute well thought out strategies to get your business ranked online. You just need to know how to find the right SEO company for your small business.
This blog will guide you on what to look for in a small business SEO company.
|First, let’s start with some more stats:
So how do you go about finding the right SEO company for your small business? Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be on your way to getting in front of your potential customers online with the right SEO agency.
Step 1: Identify Your Needs
First and foremost, you need to identify what you’re trying to accomplish as a business so you can find an SEO company that can best serve your needs. Consider the following questions.
- Are you a local business or national one?
- Do you prefer to do business with companies face to face or over the phone?
- Are you in a competitive industry?
- Do you know who your main competitors are?
- Do you know what your website is currently ranking for online?
- Do you know where the majority of your online traffic is coming from to your website?
- Do you need an agency who will do everything or do you have manpower internally to help out?
- Are you looking for an overnight fix?
- What sort of monthly budget are you willing to put forward for online marketing?
Answering the following questions will help you identify what sort of business you’re looking to work with.
If you’re looking for a local company that you can meet with, you’ll want to find reputable companies in your area. Searching “SEO Company Near Me” is a good place to start.
If budget is the primary concern, you can either look on a variety of sites for their pricing or inquire if it’s not listed. “Affordable SEO Services” would be a solid search to start. Keep in mind, it’ll still pull listings from your local area primarily so it doesn’t hurt to search “Affordable SEO Services in the US”.
If you’re still struggling to discern a reputable company from a “Joe Sixpack” in his garage when searching online, you can go to industry review sites like Clutch or UpCity to get filtered results on only high-quality SEO providers.
Step 2: Background Check Before You Connect
Once you’ve identified your needs and have researched and created a line up of SEO companies you might want to reach out to, start investigating each and every company by going to their websites.
What to look for
Check for an “About Us” page on each site. This is one of the clearest places to get an idea of who you might be working with. Websites without an “About” section are big red flags. If they aren’t willing to show you who they are, how can you know for sure who you’ll be working with?
Check for case studies on their website. While these are the best of the best a company has to offer, they should be present on the site. If a website doesn’t have success stories that’s a red flag that the company doesn’t deliver.
If case studies are present on the site, type in their company name on Google and read their Google reviews. Type in their company name into Facebook as well. While it’s not guaranteed that case studies on the site will also have reviews from those same companies, if reviews from the companies featured on their website is present, you can verify the SEO company is telling the truth.
Reviews are also great for an obvious reason. If the company has low ratings, it’s an easy no.
Step 3: Confirm A Good Fit
You’ve got your shortlist of small business SEO companies. Now it’s time to engage with them and settle on the best one for you.
At the beginning of a dialogue with an SEO company, you should expect them to complete an audit of your website. This audit should be completely free and should include the following:
- A 30,000 foot view of your company website
- A site security evaluation (have you been blacklisted, https, indexed pages)
- A site speed evaluation (comparing mobile and desktop speed)
- Thorough competitor analysis
- Keyword research and analysis (for Google, Yahoo and Bing)
- Digital advertising cost analysis (what budget would qualify for success in Google Ads)
- Social media analysis (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn performance)
Interested in a 100% free and educational website audit?
This assessment is also much more beneficial if guided by a representative of the company. During this assessment, not only are you learning about your website’s standing, you can also learn about the SEO company.
Some great questions to ask the representative during this audit would be:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many employees do you have?
- Can I receive a list of references?
- Do you work with any other companies in my industry?
- Do you work with any of my direct competitors?
- How often will you be communicating with me if I buy your service?
During this audit it’s also vital the representative explain the stats and technical jargon in terms that fit your business not the audit. They should be able to clearly explain technical terms in an easy to understand format and should give clear examples on how to improve your website.
It’s also very important to pay attention for promises and “pie in the sky” type language. SEO is not an exact science. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to ranking online and Google, Yahoo and Bing are in control. The best this representative can do is make an educated guess of how you’ll rank online.
If they guarantee you that your website will rank on page one, negotiate for a money back guarantee before you sign up with them in the event they fail to achieve that result.
If they refuse to give you the money back guarantee, RUN.
SEO changes on a daily basis. What works today might not work tomorrow. Don’t look for an agency that makes a ton of promises. Look for an SEO company that tells you how it is.
Transparency is the most important aspect of partnership with an SEO company. Without it, you’ll never fully know what your agency is up to.
If you’re given a list of references and you’re a local business, check out these businesses to see if they rank well on a local level.
Do they show up on the map? Are they featured as a business in the results?
Ask these companies the hard questions.
- Has the SEO agency gotten you results?
- Have they communicated well?
- How have they communicated?
- Does the agency show you the results they are getting?
- Does the agency show you their activities?
- How long have you been working with them?
- Do you plan to continue working with them?
The Importance of SEO and Choosing the Right Company
Going through these three steps takes time but it’s well worth it. As a small business you’re focusing on budget and return on investment.
Many people believe that if you’re a small company you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars a month to compete with larger companies online. It’s simply not true.
There are many affordable SEO companies out there that can deliver results. Following the above steps will make sure the company you choose isn’t a random character in their garage but a reputable business.
So why is it important? Here’s a few more stats on the importance of SEO.
If you want to do one or more of the following, buying SEO services for your small business should be an important part of your marketing budget:
- Grow your company’s bottom line
- Connect with your customers
- Get more leads
- Get more phone calls
- Get more quote requests
- Beat your competitors
- Put your best foot forward
- Not get stuck in old marketing habits
Whether you have an outdated website or a gorgeous website, it’s rendered useless if it doesn’t speak to algorithms. If you’re not placed high up in Google search, are you as successful as you could be?
The answer is no.
Your website should be the number one employee at your company. It works 24/7/365 and it’s only goal is to turn one-way communication into two-way communication.
Knowing that isn’t enough and it’s highly unlikely you have the time to complete the hundreds of touch points required to make your website successful. You need an SEO company.
By following the steps outlined in this post, you’ll be able to find a company you are comfortable with that can deliver.
Share your success stories, your horror stories or any other experiences you’ve had with SEO companies in the comments below.
You’re in need of a website audit, right? Agency Jet offers a completely educational website assessment for free! It’s guided, informative and no sales pitch. Find out where you stand online by booking an appointment today.