Every online business owner wants to be successful with SEO and get more organic traffic. But what do you do when you don’t have enough experience and don’t know how to improve your website’s rankings in Google? You either start learning search engine optimization and how to build backlinks, or you choose the easy and less time-consuming way of outsourcing SEO to a specialized company or freelancer. Because they are more experienced than you, the chances of succeeding are higher. However, that’s not always the case. When choosing your SEO partner, you have to be very cautious and never rely on them fully, until they prove they are trustworthy.
The big question I want to bring in this article is how do you know if your SEO company is helping your website or hurting it? I’ll show you some of the most important things you have to know when outsourcing SEO and also what you can do to measure the success of their campaigns.
Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision and should be taken after analyzing all options wisely. After all, you are responsible for the actions your SEO is taking.
Things to know before hiring an SEO company
If you are just getting started with SEO, you must know that there are good practices (also known as White-Hat SEO) and also bad practices (Black-Hat SEO). By following the best practices and strategies, you’ll be able to increase your organic traffic, while by using wrong techniques, you’ll increase the chances of getting a Google penalty. The loss of traffic can be a shock to any website, and in some scenarios, it can even lead to bankruptcy.
The margin of being successful with SEO and getting a penalty is very fragile, and you can’t afford taking risks by choosing the wrong SEO provider.
Not all companies or freelancers use ethical and correct methods to do SEO. Here are some tips for choosing the right SEO company or freelancer:
1. Check if their website is ranking in Google for their primary keywords. SEO is a very profitable business, meaning there’s a lot of competition, making it difficult to rank for keywords such as “SEO company” or “SEO company in San Diego”, etc. If the SEO firm you are about to choose is ranking on the first page for these keywords, that’s a good sign. If they don’t and they prefer to use Adwords to rank in the top results, they might not be as good as the other ones that rank organically. Here’s a visual example:
2. Ask your SEO questions to understand the strategy they plan to use. These are some questions you can ask:
- Can you give examples of previous work and share your success stories?
- Was any of the websites you’ve optimized ever been penalized by Google?
- Do you provide a weekly or monthly progress SEO report?
- Do you have experience in my industry/country/city?
- What are the most important techniques and strategies you want to use for my website?
- How will we communicate?
- How do you measure success and when do you think we’ll start to see results?
- Will you follow Google’s guidelines?
- Can you show me a report sample?
- What’s your definition of a good and bad backlink for SEO?
- Will you create an initial report and analyze my website’s weaknesses and strengths?
3. If they refuse to answer your questions, and they are hesitant to share examples of their previous work, don’t waste your time any longer. You want to use a company that’s open and willing to speak with you from the first conversation. Here are other signals that can indicate your SEO is not the one you need:
- They buy backlinks or use blog networks. Google is against purchasing backlinks or creating blog networks for the purpose of manipulating search results. If anything indicates that this is what they want to do for your website, abandon any future discussions.
- Beware of SEOs that guarantee they can rank your website in the top results for certain keywords, or claim that they have a special relationship with Google. Such offers might sound attractive to SEO beginners, but are nothing more than scams.
- Ignore SEO firms or consultants that send unsolicited emails.
4. Stop any further conversation of collaboration if you notice your SEO is building backlinks that are against Google Webmaster Guidelines. The quality of your website’s backlinks will often make the difference between success and failure. Avoid having bad links such as link exchanges, widget links, advertorials, paid links, backlinks from article directories, site-wide and footer backlinks, etc.
Things to do after hiring an SEO company
Whether you’ve just started collaborating with a new SEO, or you’ve been using one for quite some time, you don’t have to believe that everything they do is safe. Here are some of the most important things you have to do after finding the right SEO company:
1. Ask them to send a detailed monthly report containing:
- All on-page SEO changes they have made, if any.
- A list of backlinks they have built for your website.
- A list of the next actions they will do to improve your site.
2. Use a tool to understand your SEO progress and see if their work is paying off.
The best way to analyze the progress of your SEO, without spending much time, is to create an account on Monitor Backlinks.
After connecting your domain with Google Analytics, you’ll get automated email reports with the organic traffic progress, the latest backlinks your website has earned or lost, keyword rankings in Google and much more.
Why do you need all this?
Simple, because as I said at the beginning of this post, you should never rely on your SEO company entirely. There have been numerous cases in the past when this has proven to be a recipe for disaster. It’s also very useful to keep an eye on the progress they are making if you have doubts about their work.
A typical scenario is that your SEO will send you a report of the best links they have created, but try to hide all the other low-quality ones. Also, it’s important to know if the backlinks they are building for you are good and if they will influence your rankings in Google. Here’s how to quickly analyze if it’s worth having a link from any particular website.
You should always compare the reports they are creating with your own reports you get from Monitor Backlinks and see if there are any significant discrepancies.
3. Give them time and don’t push for results too fast. Search Engine Optimization is a very time-consuming process and to get good results, it will usually take months or sometimes years, depending on how severe your competition is.
By being impatient and forcing your SEO company to bring results faster, you’ll put them in an unwanted situation of trying to optimize your website too quickly. When that happens, there’s a higher risk of getting a Google penalty. If their strategy is correct and the backlinks they are building are good, results will come, with time.
Your website can benefit from using a trusted and reputable SEO firm, but you have to be vigilant and keep an eye on your progress. Paying someone to optimize your website without seeing any real results is a waste of money and time. SEO is an ongoing process that never ends and usually results come after months of work. Use Monitor Backlinks to see if your SEO company is helping your website grow.
What’s your experience with hiring SEO companies so far?