Learn How to Hire an SEO Company
Maile Ohye, a developer programs tech lead with Google, has excellent advice for hiring an SEO (search engine optimizer). You can see her tips in the video above.
What to Consider When Hiring an SEO
SEO is so much more than just digital marketing. It requires a fundamental understanding of the technology that powers the web.
Awesome SEOs Know How to Optimize Beyond the Website
The most effective SEO companies possess in-depth knowledge of website development, design, hosting and domain names and can optimize almost any website, regardless of platform or programming language. They not only are capable of acquiring valuable organic search engine exposure but maintaining it by strictly adhering to search engine guidelines and protocols.
A good SEO will try to prioritize what ideas can bring your business the most improvement for the least investment, and what improvements may take more time, but help growth in the long term. –Maile Ohye, Google
Research Digital Footprints, Clients and Social Media
The difficulty is, how do you hire an SEO that is up to the task? Like any other type of business, researching the basics is a good place to start.
Checklist: Research Tips for Hiring an SEO
- Since the web is their mainstay, Google them. A little searching should give you a decent first impression.
- Visit their website and take a look at their portfolio. Does it look like they service your type of business? Do they have actual, verifiable clients listed?
- How many years have they been in business?
- How much experience does the consultant or SEO company staff have?
- Do they use/update their own website?
- Do they have a social media presence? Are they active?
- Do they suffer from “jack of all trades master of none” syndrome AKA offer too many services?
- Do they have website design and development skill sets? A solid SEO should be able to optimize nearly any website platform, CMS or custom build.
- How robust is their optimization? In addition to on-site, off-site and technical SEO, they need to be able to optimize website hosting, domains and analytics.
Organic and Paid Search
SEO consultants, agencies and companies that specifically provide SEO usually offer paid search (Google Ads) and auxiliary services like auditing and website migration management.
Stand-Alone and Ongoing Services
Most reputable SEO organizations offer a mix of stand-alone services like auditing and consulting as well as ongoing service options.
What to Look for When Hiring an SEO
Ideally, hiring an SEO company that meets the following standards is a great place to begin. You’ll want to talk with them at least once before they prepare a proposal for service, in order for them to have the information they need to conduct market and competitive research.
Checklist: General SEO Company Hiring Standards
- Has been in business a few years (at least 2-3).
- Has experience in your industry.
- Has experience optimizing your website platform/CMS type.
- Has a public portfolio with links to actual clients.
- Provides local and national SEO.
- Provides customized weekly and monthly reporting with ongoing service.
- Provides daily critical issue monitoring with ongoing service.
- Clearly distinguishes between implementation and recommendation service types.
SEO Hiring Process Expectations
Requesting a proposal for service is typically the next phase initiated after narrowing the field of potential SEO organizations or consultants you are interested in hiring.
Once you have connected with a prospective SEO company they will most likely respond with a few simple questions that will assist with conducting research. In order to create an effective proposal, the SEO will need to know about your services and products, competition and most importantly – your expectations.
SEO proposals come in many flavors, the most common are for ongoing service, project management/consulting and conducting website auditing. Some SEOs will require contracts, while others will not.
Jtree Insight: We generally take the approach of not wanting to force anyone to conduct business with us if they don’t want to. This just means we utilize a monthly agreement for providing ongoing service instead of a multi-month contract.
Hiring the SEO
After reviewing the proposal and asking the SEO any relevant questions it’s time to make your decision. You can usually expect to be signing either a contract or agreement of some type which will entail deliverables, timing and costs before service launches.
Search engine optimization organizations are just like other businesses in that if they look sketchy, they probably are. Paying close attention to tips and basic standards when hiring an SEO should greatly increase the likelihood that you will be hiring a pro.