When it comes to marketing your business, there is perhaps no decision more important as to your online strategy and who you hire (if anybody) to implement that strategy.
The ramifications are far too great to ignore: hire the wrong online marketing company (or disregard online marketing completely) and not only are you wasting your time and money, you’re losing business to your competition as well. Hire the right SEO consultants and you increase your visibility, sales, and grow market share.
Finding the Right SEO Consultant for Your Business is Essential
In fact, the case could be argued for an SEO hire making or breaking many small businesses that are on the verge of success or failure. The Internet is that powerful when it comes to increasing your business and sales. This is why it is so important that you not only find the best SEO Company within your online marketing and reputation budget, but also the right SEO consultant for your industry or niche.
Finding the best fit for your company’s needs is arguably more important than finding the biggest or best SEO firm in your area. An SEO person that is more in tune with your vision, has more experience in your niche, has more time to spend on your account and can implement the types of SEO strategies that are the most effective within your budget will be exponentially better for your results and spend than a large SEO firm that applies cookie-cutter techniques to your business while assigning you an ‘account manager’ that over-sees your campaign, and has little vested interest in your success.
I want to preface this blog post by saying this:
Do you NEED to hire an SEO person/company? Of course not.
Can you learn it and do everything yourself? Yes, absolutely.
Is it the best use of your time?
Only you can decide. Are you spending your time doing things that you could hire somebody to do at a much cheaper rate? Will you be able to dedicate the time, attention, and consistent learning that is required to stay up on the changes that take place on a constant basis? Just a few things to think about.
SEO, when done right, is much less about backlinks, and manipulating the search results. It is about getting in front of more eyes, it is about getting your company more exposure, it is about getting found more easily by your ideal clients.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Searching For An SEO Consultant or Company
To help you choose the right SEO consultant for your business, here are a few questions that you’ll want to ask during the vetting process. If at any point you aren’t satisfied with the answers given by the consultant, run—don’t walk—away.
- Are they responsive? This is a big one. If they aren’t wooing you now and responding to every one of your emails and calls, imagine how they’re going to be when you’re having a problem or need to get some fast results in the future.
- Can you check with their existing clients? Good SEO consultants make their client list available for references. They should have nothing to hide and if they are getting results for their clients, the clients will be eager to sing their praises. Take a look at their track record and make sure they are getting results similar to or better than the ones they are promising you.
- Do they stay up to date on SEO Changes? While you might not be an SEO expert, your consultant should be. Ask them a few questions to get a feel for how up to date they are on the latest practices. You can use Google to find some questions, but something simple such as “How has Hummingbird changed your approach to SEO as compared to the Penguin and Panda updates?” If this stumps them or they stumble, they are not a good candidate.
- What is their take on on page SEO vs off page SEO? While different SEO practices are common in the industry, this is one area where there is very little wiggle room. The consultant should extoll the virtues of both on page and off page SEO since it takes both to be successful.
- Is there a guarantee? Many SEO companies in the desperation to get a sale offer a guaranteed ranking. Never believe somebody that guarantees something that doesn’t have 100% control over. From a logical standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. Google says not to trust ranking guarantee’s, so if you start to be pitched a guarantee, run far away.
- What is their view on content marketing and how can it help a small business? Content marketing is the future of SEO. During the hiring process, you should be thoroughly impressed with the SEO Company’s visions and plans regarding how content marketing will help your business grow. They should be integrating their own content marketing strategy and have readily available content on sites such as SlideShare, LinkedIn, Google +, and others including industry related sites.
Are Small Business SEO Companies A Better Choice?
Many people feel, a bigger company is better. After all, they’ve grown their company and now are huge, so they must be doing something right. They very well may be doing many things right. A big SEO company may be the perfect solution for you. Keep in mind their processes. What happens when you have an issue and need it addressed? What is their turn around time? What if they don’t have a plan that works for you? Do you have to go with one of their cookie cutter plans? What if you need something they don’t offer in their plans?
Usually a smaller company can accommodate your requests just because they are smaller, more nimble, and aren’t tied to the same types of policies, procedures, and bureaucracy that often creeps into a larger company.
So tell us, how did you decide who to use to market your business online? If you do it yourself, what made you decide that? Either way, are you happy with the results that you have been getting?