Search Engine Optimization is an extensive process that can help bring visibility and ranking for your website on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Companies, whether large or small, hire in-house SEO experts or digital marketing agencies to get assistance with organic SEO and digital marketing in general.
This is an important decision because anyone who is serious about getting found online cannot ignore SEO. But if not properly done, hiring an irresponsible staff or agency can damage your reputation and harm your website’s ranking.
Read on if you are not familiar with organic SEO and the jobs that SEO agencies generally do:
- Developing and maintaining website structure and content: Organizing the hierarchy of web pages to enable ease of navigation, and make it user- and search engine – friendly
- Technical advice on website development: Provide advice on hosting, crawl error fixing and sitemaps. Engage in site moving & redirection management, URL optimization, handling of error pages etc.
- Content development: Develop engaging and SEO optimized content that have relevant keywords and provide precise information to visitors, compelling them to get engaged on the website.
- Managing your online advertisement and promotion campaigns: Advice on online reputation building strategies for your particular business niche, understanding your target customer base and optimizing according to the customer needs.
- Keyword research: Analyse business and research relevant keywords using Google keyword planner and different keyword tools. Refer search trends and related keyword tools to prepare a proper website content strategy.
- Expert advice in specific markets and geographies: Analyse location and market-based performance and research the varying trends and factors to optimize the business.
If you have understood the need in hiring a professional SEO agency and decided to outsource to them, then the sooner you do it, the better it is for you. If you are building a website from scratch, an SEO expert can help you design and develop a search-engine-friendly site from the beginning itself. He can also aid you in lifting and improving an existing site from failure.
As indicated above, hiring an SEO agency is an important step in taking your business to the next level. So, there are certain factors that you should consider before taking a decision.
The following are some of the questions that you could ask to understand more about the agency’s working.
- What are your experiences in digital marketing? Any success stories?
- Do you work in accordance to Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you provide digital marketing solutions or advises to go hand-in-hand with the best organic SEO practices?
- How do you measure and frame reports?
- What type of results do you expect and how long does it take for you to gain results?
- Have you developed international websites? What are your experiences with overseas clients?
- How long have you been in this business?
- What are your trusted SEO procedures?
- How transparent are your billing procedures?
- How do you maintain communication with your clients?
- Will you keep me updated on the procedures and changes done to my website? Will you provide a detailed analysis and the reasoning behind any changes done?
There are agencies who give the industry a bad name through their unethical approach and black hat techniques in an attempt to manipulate search engines unfairly. Such practices that toe the Google Guidelines will create a negative impact for your site and could result in it being removed from Google’s index.
Get to know your SEO properly, and clear all your doubts regarding their working process, and forge a healthy relationship that can benefit your online business. Aside from getting to know your SEO expert, you need to be very careful about malpractices that could result in bad reputation, or your site being removed by search engine indexes. Doing a brief research on black hat SEO techniques will give you enough information on what needs to be avoided.
Therefore, when enlisting the help of an SEO agency, make sure they are reputed and accomplished and transparent in their dealings with you. If, at any moment, you feel cheated by your SEO, you should take it up very seriously.
Below are some things you should consider to avoid being deceived by fraudulent practices.
- Be cautious of spam emails that advertise SEO firms. Most of these spam mails flooding your inbox are mainly scams looking to swindle your money. Therefore, be skeptic towards such unbidden mails.
- No SEO agency can guarantee a number one spot in search results; i.e. no SEO expert can give 100% assurance that your website will be ranked number 1 on Google. If any one does promise you, be wary of that promise.
- Do not trust in a company that keeps its procedures secretive. If they don’t clearly explain what they intend to do, it means that either they don’t know the job or they are hiding something. Demand 100% transparency.
- Choose and invest in an SEO company wisely. Understand how they work, their accomplishments and reputation, and ensure they follow safe, white hat practices that are transparent and keep you in the loop.
- There are many different ways by which an SEO can deceive you. These are some of the more common ones –
- Shadow domain use
- Using doorway pages to place links to their other client sites
- Doesn’t differentiate between the ads that appear on search result page and the actual search results.
- Guarantees number one ranking
- Having multiple aliases or fake WHOIS info
- Channels traffic from false search engines or spyware.
- Have their own domains removed by Google or are not listed in Google
In short, hiring an SEO agency is a very important business decision. But if done wrong, it can be detrimental to your business growth online. So, be careful and educate yourself before taking the important decision.
In case you have any questions and wish to get our opinion on your website, please contact us here.
(Image Courtesy: Tulane Public Relations)