Choosing an SEO Agency

The rapid proliferation of business operations and marketing via the Internet has resulted in fierce competition between websites for the users’ attention. It is thus of utmost importance that your website has maximum exposure, and search engine optimization (SEO) can greatly enhance this. What search engine optimization basically entails is the modification of a website in such ways that it achieves a high ranking in search engine listings for relevant terms to your product or service offering. A high placement for relevant terms should lead to more qualified traffic to your site.

The SEO process, however, is not a simple one, and should be left to the experts. Equally important is that these experts must be reputable. Aggressive and unethical search engine optimization tactics have resulted in many websites being penalized and even removed from search engine indexes. At the other extreme, inefficient and incompetent work will result in you paying for an insignificant change in your site ranking. Thus for the average businessperson who is not highly versed in search engine technology, the job of selecting a reputable search engine company can be a daunting and dangerous one. However, do not be put off – the Return on Investment of this marketing tool can be huge, in comparison with traditional marketing methods. The following suggestions will help to make the selection process simple and secure.

Although no company can guarantee you a number one position on all search engines, it is essential that you define goals in search engine ranking that you would like to reach. This will allow you to easily assess the success of the campaign at a later stage, while giving the consultant a clear idea of what you need. Decide if you require short term or long term optimization, as this will affect your budget and also point you to specific services suited to your goals.

For example, you may want to implement and maintain search engine optimization for your site on a long term basis, and you may want to have added to this a more assertive short term exposure for your business or product over a specific period. For this short term objective, services such as Pay-per-click (PPC) or Pay-for-inclusion (PFI) may be suitable. These services entail giving your site prime placement in either the actual search results listing or on the same page as listed high ranking sites, for which you pay a fee. It is not necessary to understand the intricacies of these systems and services, just be certain of your marketing goals and strategy, and what you intend to gain from search engine optimization. 12SM Agency 

The vast number of available firms may be intimidating. In order to narrow the scope, consider these suggestions:

  • Use search engines to search for companies. Search engine optimization companies that rank highly in engine listings should have the skills to do the same for your business.
  • Scan web directories. A company that belongs to a directory or listing may possibly be approved according to certain standards of practice and expertise. Similarly, any associations or societies of SEO agencies may be a good place to start.
  • Ask other companies for recommendations. Word of mouth is usually the safest and most reliable method of selecting a service.
  • Companies to avoid are those that send you unexpected email inviting you to join “free-for-all” link systems.

You will need to carefully evaluate the companies during your initial search as well as during subsequent meetings or correspondence, in order to find a trustworthy and proficient firm. It is recommended that you meet the consultants in person if possible, so as to establish a better impression of their business practice. The following are crucial deciding factors which you should use in your selection process from the very beginning of your search:

Track record

It is recommended that you pick a firm that is experienced in the industry and has valid references and reports to prove it.

Check references to ensure that specific job claims were actually done by the firm that you are considering. Also ask these companies whether the search engine optimization agency delivered in terms of service and results. You will quickly discover if there is anything suspicious or unsatisfactory about the agencies by talking to their other clients.

The company should be able to show you reports clearly detailing success in search engine ranking for their current or previous clients.

Success is indicated by a good website placement across a range of the most popular search engines, for a variety of popular keywords or phrases. A high position for one unpopular keyword on one obscure search engine does not equal success. The reason for this is that SEO companies add key words and phrases to your site content and HTML coding for a search engine spider to detect. If these terms are hardly or never typed into search engines, their addition to your site is completely useless. In the same way, high ranking on an obscure search engine is meaningless. For current ratings of the popularity of search engines, investigate the Nielsen Netratings page at Search Engine Watch (www.searchenginewatch.com). Wordtracker (www.wordtracker.com) is a program that is helpful in determining the popularity of keywords or phrases as searched by Internet users.


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