When you type out any search word, Google or other search engines display sites that they believe are authoritative and relevant to the words typed in. The relevance is measured by making an analysis of the content in the words. The authoritative aspect is measured based on the quality of the page content, the number of pages linked to the page and so on.
If you own a website, you can hire a company, known as an SEO company, and it is their job to create authority pages and ensure that you can be found in search engines for words that are relevant to the content offered in the site. SEO companies provide a kind of quality control service to the website.
What Does An SEO Company Do?
If you need help in increasing traffic to your website, you can hire the services of an SEO company. It is the duty of the SEO Company you hire to secure relevant traffic for your website. Their goal lies in helping your site get a better ranking in the search engines for search terms that are relevant to the content in your website. For instance, if your site sells watches, your site should appear in Google (and other search engines) when some person types in the word ‘watch’. However, the word ‘watch’ is quite common and thousands of websites are competing for the same search term while selling watches. Hence, the SEO Company will try to use some other phrase, such as ‘electronic watches’ to reduce the competition and optimize this phrase.
The SEO Company will also help the site with a better and SEO friendly site structure by linking it with other trusted sites, as this will lead to better search engine ranking.
12 Factors to Consider While Vetting SEO Company
Many website owners prefer to deal with SEO strategies on their own, but they often find that it is quite an uphill task. In spite of all efforts, their site may not rank high, or the strategy involves too much work or too much time, leaving you lagging behind in other more important tasks. In such cases, it would be more practical to consider hiring an SEO company to do this work for you. However, there are several options available and it might be a difficult task selecting the right SEO Company. There are several important factors to consider while vetting an SEO Company, as there are many scams out there. First and foremost, you must have a pretty good idea of SEO and realize whether the claims are just stars in the sky or realistic.
- Are they promising to obtain the #1 ranking in search engines? Well, you need to seriously doubt their competencies in this case, as there is no such guarantee that any SEO company can truthfully promise. Honesty is important, as no company has friends with benefits kind of relations with Google and other search engines.
- Get some good recommendations from friends and other business associates, as it is important to establish the credibility of the SEO Company by word of mouth.
- Search for the company name and Google it. You can get a lot of information about the company on the web and if you find a lot of negative comments, it is probably a scam.
- You will have to check the PR of the website owned by the SEO Company. If they are not able to optimize the PR rating of their own Company website, they are not going to be able to do much about your website. The PR rating should be above 4 to 5.
- Find out the techniques used by the SEO Company and whether they go in for spamming, invisible text and other unethical means of getting your website quickly on the top pages. These are prohibited by search engines.
- You need to consider the experience of the SEO Company in order to get good results. You can look at their portfolio and see whether they have a history of success in previous attempts with other websites.
- Take the time to do your research and look for companies that are hard working and committed as well as ethical and realistic.
- Select an SEO Company that is able to schedule regular meetings. The SEO Company is surely a very busy one, but it should make time to have regular meetings with its clients, listen to their problems and requirements. There should be continued communication and good feedback with the progress that they are making with regard to your website with regular meetings.
- Intimate knowledge of your website is one of the important factors to consider while hiring an SEO Company. The company can get the best ranking for you in search engines only if they are aware of your content. They should ask for regular updates regarding keywords and new blog articles and so on.
- The SEO Company should also be able to advise you regarding ways to generate more sales and inquiries. They should come up with creative ideas about the social media campaign and help you increase the clicks on your listing in the search engine result.
- The representatives of the SEO Company must be friendly and supportive and they should also be reached easily for support and enquiries. They should also be open to any suggestions that the website owner makes. They should be able to explain their strategy in simple terms to their client and not be mysterious about their strategies and tactics.
- The SEO Company must be capable of delivering the best results. They should be able to increase the visibility of your website and must make your website SEO friendly. You should be able to see remarkable improvement with increased visitors and customers.
15 Questions to Ask SEO Company before Hiring
Before hiring an SEO company, you might need to get answers to the following questions. Each case is unique and there are many questions that need answering before you sign the contract with any specific SEO Company.
- Can you give me the names of some other websites that you have promoted? You can also ask them for references, as a happy customer can be the best way to reassure you that your website is in good hands. However, if the SEO company claims that they cannot do so on account of confidentiality reasons, you should immediately be alerted regarding the credibility of the company. No company is supposed to keep the identity of its former clients a secret for any reason.
- What are the keywords for which your site ranks high? If their own website is not able to rank well for their keywords, they are probably not capable enough to handle your website and help it rank high.
- Do you make use of automated submissions? This is a very important question, as automated submissions can result in your website being banned by the major search engines.
- Do you use any Black Hat SEO strategies? Try to get familiar with black hat SEO strategies and start cross examining them on these.
- What is the source of your backlinks? You need to get good backlinks in order that the website ranks high in the search engines. However, if the SEO Company is going to provide you with backlinks from link farms, these are not going to be of much use to you. In fact, it can even cause trouble with the search engines. Make sure that they get the backlinks from reputable websites.
- What is the price for the service? A high price does not mean that the quality is good. High quality can, however, be one of the reasons for a high price. At the same time, be suspicious if it is very cheap as well. The price suggested by the SEO Company must be realistic, neither too high nor too low.
- How many search engines is my site automatically submitted to? Scammers will mention an impossible number of search engines. The best and most realistic answer to this one would be that there are no automatic submissions.
- Can my website be placed in the top ten in search engine rankings for any specific competitive keywords? If they ask you for the words, it shows they are probably not such good professionals, as it is the SEO Company that is supposed to choose the right and competitive keywords to optimize your site.
- Do you offer any subscription services? Constant and steady service is very important to rank high on a continual basis. It is important to select a company that offers optimization maintenance as well, rather than one that just pushes your site for one time at the top and then leaves you to fend for yourself.
- Do you offer Pay per click services? You can ask this so that you can maintain the PPC campaign to get more traffic.
- How long have you been doing the SEO for? It is not important that the company has several years of experience, but you would surely not like to be their guinea pig.
- How competitive is my particular industry? A good SEO company should be able to gauge the competitiveness of your industry, as their strategies will be based on this.
- Does your company have any other clients in the same industry as mine? Good SEO companies generally don’t work for clients in the same industry, though they might have similar clients in different geographical locations. This might even be a benefit. Those having active customers in the same area and in the same industry are not desirable.
- Will you need to redesign my website? You may want to find out whether this is necessary, as many sites lose out in search engine optimization due to poor or confusing designing of the site.
- How long should I wait before I can see tangible results or improvements in ranking? This could be possible even within a week or two in case of pay per click marketing. However, the conventional SEO strategies might take a month or two.
Importance of Complying With Google Webmaster Guidelines
Many SEO companies underestimate the importance of following the guidelines of Google Webmaster and suffer adverse effects. If the SEO company that you hire breaks these rules, it can lead to penalties that are applied to your website and you might be unable to remove such penalties forever. Abiding by these rules is known as white hat SEO and the alternative shady strategies are known as black hat SEO. Black hat SEO can yield positive results in the short term, but the penalties are far greater than the benefits. The penalties can result in completely eliminating your website from the search pages results or making it rank much below those of other competitors in your niche.
The Google Webmaster Guidelines are a set of practices that Google has set out for its webmasters, to enable a website to be found and ranked by the search engine. The guidelines are mainly concerned with the website owner not deceiving the users and making use of the website for users and not just for search engines. They should steer clear of tricks to cheat the search engines and make their website valuable and interesting. A good SEO company should avoid hidden links, hidden text, sneaky redirects and other cloaking strategies.
Following these guidelines is important to ensure that you will not be penalized by Google. Additionally, there are several algorithm updates that are specially designed to hit such strategies and tactics and they can hit your website negatively. If you buy links to rank higher in the search engine, you can be punished. Even if you stuff the content with keywords and other irrelevant words, you can be eliminated in the search pages. Plagiarized and duplicate content can also be eradicated. Companies that deviate from the rules and guidelines, such as automatic generated content, domain squatting can result in degradation of the website from its previous rankings.
Measures Taken By the SEO Company to Comply With Tough Google Algorithms
Google has been continually updating its system to objectively analyze results with the best cutting edge search engine strategies and technology in order to pick up and estimate quality of the websites. Google has made a lot of changes and updates in its algorithm for ranking websites. Most SEO companies know all the basics of Google algorithms (Penguin, Panda) and many of them are masters of the art of complying with them. Most professionals in the SEO companies try to do research and are constantly testing and analyzing what the search engines are looking for. A high level of intelligence is required to comply with the Google algorithms, which goes far beyond the basic search marketing optimization knowledge. There are no shortcuts and it is only for people who are ready to take the time to analyze and find out what works best. Many of the SEO companies have the best strategies for recovering from the effects of Penguin. Just when the professional SEO companies started getting used to the Google Panda, the Google Penguin was introduced aimed at cutting website corruption and SEO malpractices. Some of the measures SEO companies take are:
- SEO companies build links to the client’s website.
- They make sure that the links that they build are from sites having content that would be considered relevant to the user base of your site.
- They also make sure that the links are provided on pages that the users consider valuable.
- Some anchor text is also sprinkled in the website.
- They do not go in for services of automated directory submission.
- They make use of keywords that are relevant and pertinent to the content of your website.
- They also conduct excellent quality checks before they include any link to your website.
- Optimization of the website is done in a natural way without deviating from the guidelines.
- No having multiple pages using the same keyword, as these are slapped the hardest by latest Google algorithms.
- Cleaning the whole site and remove all the low quality pages.
- Get rid of all auto generated content, roundups and comparison pages and add original content to them.
- No pages should have just one or two paragraphs of texts aimed at having more site pages.
- Updating content frequently.
- No duplicate or scraped content.
- Removing excess of affiliate links as these are penalized (Pandalised).
- Reducing number of advertisements by keeping only the profitable ones on the page.
- Keeping a limit on outbound links, as these are not natural.
While selecting a good SEO Company to help your website rank high in search engine pages, it is important to as a few important questions in order to get the best service. You need to hire a company who can do a complete research of your company and analyze your requirements and then create a plan of action in order to produce results. Such SEO companies should adhere to the guidelines set by Google webmaster as well without resorting to black hat strategies, in order to avoid your site from being penalized or even removed permanently from the search engine results. They should also be able to adapt to the latest Google algorithms and take steps to protect their client’s website.