Search engine optimization is the process of modifying your website so that you show up more in the search engine results in Google, Bing and other search engines. The idea is that by broadening your visibility in the search results, you will attract more prospective customers to your business’ website and get more qualified lead from that website.
Great search engine optimization firms do a lot of things to help you get business from your website. But how can you tell if the company you’re talking to is a great search engine optimization firm or a so so one? Here are the things that should be red flags when evaluating an SEO agency.
1 – Promise you number one rankings in Google
SEO is hard. It’s a constantly shifting landscape with daily changes to the search engine algorithm by Google. Yes, a great SEO agency may be able to get you to rank number one for an important keyword after a lot of work and testing and adjusting. It’s not something that one can wave a wand and achieve. There is no magic bullet to make your website shoot to number one.
Plus guaranteeing a number one ranking is against Google’s own guidelines. “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. “
So if your prospective search engine optimization firm is making outlandish promises, move on. Either they are lying or they will be doing something that could end up getting your site removed from Google. That’s not fun.
2 – Optimize your site without defining your target audience
Even though search engine optimization is a modern marketing technique, it works much better when combined with old school target marketing. Identifying your target audience is crucial because doing that first will help you optimize your website for phrases that people search when they are looking for your services.
Without clearly defining your target audience, you end up with a lot of waste. Using big volume broad keywords will attract a lot of people who will never do business with you. When your SEO agency starts with an ideal prospect targeted strategy, you are already starting off by filling the top of your online marketing funnel with more qualified prospects.
3 – SEO Services that don’t include new content
A great search engine optimization firm should be able to move the needle by optimizing tags and fixing problems with your site’s architecture. But to really get amazing results you need to add content to your site. Without new content, you can only go so far.
Our SEO agency uses content to improve rankings and add rankings. This sends traffic to the site skyrocketing. Most of our clients experience traffic to their websites doubling in the first year that we work with them.
Our SEO services including optimizing the existing site. This can include creating new pages, especially individual services pages and adding targeted keyword focused content to existing pages. Plus we create weekly 600-word keyword targeted blog posts every week.
This process allows us to greatly broaden the client’s visibility in the search engine results for the phrases that their ideal prospects are searching for.
4 – Not give you regular search engine results reports
If you are evaluating search engine optimization firms to hire for your business, ask for a sample of the reports you’ll get and ask for their frequency. I can’t tell you how many times we have taken on a client and their old SEO agency didn’t provide regular reports or they just screenshot stuff out of Google Analytics.
A great search engine optimization firm will provide you with regular reports, that are understandable and track your progress. They should also review these reports with you monthly.
Here is the type of data you should see in your SEO agency’s reports:
- Top level site traffic including number of users and pageviews.
- Sources of traffic like organic search, direct, referral, social and paid search.
- Data should be shown over time so you can see trends.
- Your SEO agency should highlight organic search traffic and its particular path since this is the source that an SEO firm should be improving month to month and year over year.
- Keyword rankings including which keywords are ranking in which positions, changes in position from last month and the exact page that is ranking
- Conversions including phone calls, form fills and any other conversion action that you have defined.
If your prospective SEO agency thinks that’s too much data and work to put these reports together, find someone else. Because they need this data as a basis for what they should be doing every month. If they aren’t looking at even the basics, they can’t do their job.
If you have any questions or would like to see some sample SEO reports, reach out to us at (973) 770-4668.