How to hire an SEO company

You may be busy managing your small team of creatives, building your website, focusing on content relating to your product or service and ensuring that your offering message is clear. But have you thought about your on-page and off-page SEO strategy in writing that web or blog copy? Often, when you’re a new company, you may do your research, but you still find you aren’t quite reaching the rankings you’d like. There’s where hiring an SEO company can help.

Here are five quick tips on how to hire an SEO company.

1. Dig further than Google

So, what does someone do when they want to hire an SEO company? Your first reaction may be to do a Google search for ‘[your city] + good SEO company.’ Seems pretty logical, right? After all, when you ordered your pizza last night, that’s what you did and you got results. But was it really the best pizza? And why is a pizza company investing so much in making sure they have really good SEO on their own website? Isn’t word of mouth more powerful when it comes to eating out?

That’s kind of how it works for SEO too. The really good companies sometimes neglect their own SEO because they don’t need to rank on the top page of Google because many of these companies are already overwhelmed with word-of-mouth clients; they don’t need to draw in more customers by focusing on their own page as much because they’re busy focusing on their customers.

Many companies who rank highly in Google searches (not all, of course) are pouring their efforts into their own website. Be skeptical of why. Is it because they don’t have enough work to keep busy? Are they taking every single job even if it’s not a good fit, scraping the dregs? Google search can be efficient, but don’t use it for all of your research needs, especially when it comes to SEO companies. Instead, when finding a company, you may want to ask around. Ask your fellow marketing agencies who they use to boost their SEO.

2. Avoid companies who pitch ‘proprietary’ expertise

There was a time when ‘search engine optimization’ was a secret world. There was an air of mystery to it, but that era has long gone. There is no ‘secret’ formula to SEO. Avoid companies who try and sell that idea to you. If you ask what they are doing, they should be able to tell you. Of course, they may have their own proven methods and track record of getting pages to rank and improving your on-site content and backlinks, but your SEO company should never act like you have to cough up the cash for the information.

The truth is that most companies would be capable of improving their own SEO, but it does take time and expertise. Just as you keep up with your industry’s latest trends, SEO companies abreast of the latest in SEO. Sure, you could find it out yourself but you may not have the time. Plus, the difference between a specific SEO agency and a broader full-service marketing agency is that SEO agency just focuses on your SEO. It’s not a secret, but they’ll be able to get your results better than your employees can if it isn’t their full-time role.

3. Be realistic with your timeframe goals

When considering hiring an SEO company, realize that SEO fixes take time. Sometimes it takes three to six months to see improvements, but – either way – you want to have clear goals in mind. You don’t really just want to rank in Google’s SERP for anything and everything; you probably have a specific target audience in mind. Just like if you cast a net of paid ads on Facebook if you’re targeting the wrong audience, even if you’re in front of thousands of people, they will never become leads if they are the wrong people.

With SEO, there are some quick wins with technical SEO fixes, but then there are those slower wins like long-term backlink planning and content marketing strategies. Be sure that you understand what you’re paying for when you’re hiring an SEO company and be cautious of any company that promises results tomorrow.

4. Hire someone with the know-how and who asks the right questions

Quality SEO companies know how to audit your site and plan ways to ensure it meets SEO best practice. Hire a company who explains what they are doing with regards to the overall SEO vision as a whole, but you also want someone to explain the nitty-gritty technical SEO errors that are quick fixes (but maybe a little time consuming to correct). A good SEO company is the little hard working elf in the factory who works while you sleeping to tinker away and fix your website. But, more importantly, they don’t pretend they are working on NASA-level stuff. SEO companies understand that they are the experts who are hired to continue to improve what you already have; they are building on your foundations.

As you know, part of SEO is improving your website and its ranking so that you reach your target audience. Be wary, however, of companies that will guarantee that you’ll be number one, two, or three, though. It takes time, effort, and man-hours to rank. An SEO company may tell you that in six months they will generate 50% more leads, but they won’t tell you that will happen in a flash. A good hire will understand your goals and give you concrete steps to get there.

5. Find a company that has a plan for the future

Once the initial SEO help is in place, if your new SEO company drops you like a hot potato, red flags should wave. A good company will tell you that they plan to implement continual updates and provide suggestions to keep on top of your website’s SEO. The industry changes regularly so a quality SEO company will stay abreast of these changes and ensure that your website and content keeps pace, including supplying target keyword research and on-page SEO strategies.

As many companies know, another way to increase page rank is acquiring quality backlinks. Ask your potential SEO company what their long-term plans are to improve your SEO beyond those technical quick-fixes and content updates.

Overall, when hiring an SEO company, you need someone who is a good fit for you, who feels like part of your team. You don’t want someone who sweeps in, pretends that they’re doing some magic service that you couldn’t do yourself (given time and resources), and excludes you from the process. Hiring an SEO company is an important decision so the right fit matters.

Want to see if Key Medium is the right fit for your company?

The fact is that not every company is the right fit for each other, but one way to find out is by having a free SEO audit. No strings attached. Then, if you like what you see, you can give us a call and we can discuss your SEO and website goals further.

Run Your SEO Audit
Elaine, an SEO Specialist and Content Writer

Elaine Frieman is a UK-based professional editor, freelance writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, checking images for alt text, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.