How Do I Pick an SEO Company? (from the Owner)

Okay, there are lots of stories out there about SEO. I got the idea to write this long form (for me at least) exposé after reading Alistair Barr’s great article, “Mobile Devices Upend Google Search”. There were many references from professionals who are at bigger companies than my own – even WPP.

What I want to do is give the SEO prospect a better understanding of SEO as a topic, including why there are so many different directives, and how to move forward in enacting better SEO for their company.

SEO is a big topic. SEO is both simple and also highly technical. SEO can start with something as easy as writing on your site to something more complex, like schema data & CDN’s.

Web-wise, every business has its own complex individual position (not rank), which can be broken down into: Content, Design, Technical, Competition, Vertical, Unique Sales Proposition (USP), and Human Capital, Relationships. Though there may be others, these are the most influential I can name at this moment, in general terms.

Web-wise, most executives and managers don’t know (or can’t Identify) how all of this affects their current “SEO”/individual position. Some larger companies may have internal people who work on their website at varying roles and technical abilities.

The reason people and companies should use an SEO consultant or an SEO agency. is because these consultants and agencies have the ability to understand a large majority of your business’ complex individual position as well as an ability to work with your business to achieve more success. Usually, that means more sales; and what most executives are interested in is Market Growth/Profitable Growth.

What happens when “SEO” doesn’t work? Here are the raw reasons:

An Unqualified SEO’er, Lack of communication, Misunderstanding of SEO’ers abilities OR focus areas, Budget not sufficient enough to compete with competitors in vertical, No long-term outlook, Non-Transparent SEO’er.

What the Prospect should/could do to identify who to work with:

  • Phone conversation: This could be the first call, or a call scheduled for later. Get a general over-the-phone feel for the Consultant/Agency, knowledge level, skill level, SEO Areas of focus/skill. Most executives can hear weakness of hesitation in conversation. However, don’t hold it against them if they take a moment to mindfully respond to questions/examples.
  • In person meeting: Ths can take place at a place of your choise or at the agency. During the meeting, you’ll have an in-depth talk about the Consultant/Agency’s knowledge, skills, areas of focus as well as your specific goals, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), reporting you need to see, and on what schedule. Ask questions knowing that to answer, they may have to do specific research on the current position.
  • Hire them: Confirm you want to work with them, and commit.
  • Pay them: Pay on time, every time. A lot of Consultants/ Agencies go the extra mile for great clients. This usually means they put in more time than they get paid for. Don’t leave them hanging; they might have to stop their work until they get payment, which could delay goals and milestones.
  • Talk Often: This can occur once every two weeks or weekly, depending on the budget. The reasons to do this are too numerous to list.

SEO – An All Encompassing Phrase

Again, SEO is really an all-encompassing phrase with the level of complexity being very high and different for every company. Hopefully, this helps you understand the complexity and vastness of it. Don’t take all the short “quotes” you read in articles about SEO as truth. Instead, work with your internal team and your SEO Consultant/Agency to execute a winning plan.