Are you hoping to improve your websites ranking on the search engine? Have you been thinking of hiring an SEO company? When delving into the world of SEO, navigating the industry can end up being quite the minefield: with organisations of sizes small and large all offering a similar service but with different methods. It can sometimes be tricky knowing what’s true and what’s real, with digital marketing agencies being the powerhouse at knowing how to lure in the consumer: making deciding upon the right SEO company more than meets the eye. The right SEO company can do your organisation wonders: improving your website with well-optimised content, carrying out the technical fixes that your site so well needs, achieving the best results for your business to help exceed your competitors online and to put a spring in your sites step in bringing more valuable traffic.
Why you should bother to hire the right company
For individuals who are new to the digital marketing scene when it comes to picking the right SEO company for the job, the inclination to hire the first capable-sounding SEO company they come across may be an approach many decide to follow as they find their way in utilising a new industry. This approach sadly couldn’t be any more wrong. Unlike other service industries, such as plumbing, technical support or even electrical engineering in which you don’t necessarily have to spend time and focus on the individual or the company that you plan to hire for the job, picking the right SEO company is a whole different ballgame – with a laissez-faire approach being something to avoid. It is of utmost importance that the organisation you hire to do your websites SEO is the right company for you, willing to take you in a direction that won’t hinder or harm any progress you’ve already stacked up on the site – a trusted pair of hands. When looking for the right SEO company for you, you should always opt for a company that works with and delivers white hat SEO methods rather than an organisation that can put your site at risk through black hat SEO.
White hat SEO
White hat SEO methods are seen as the ethical way of carrying out SEO online, keeping you on the good side of the search engines – of which your website will appear on and ensuring any results you achieve are long lasting and not temporary. White hat SEO techniques involve a lot and span the breadth of the digital marketing world, engaging an SEO company in anything from guest blogging on other websites across the web and linking back to your own site, internal linking within your own website to help search engines find their way around your site, optimisation of your site through the page titles and meta descriptions as well as creating relevant quality content that will bring traffic and shares to your site.
Black hat SEO
Black hat SEO is the flipside of the search engine optimisation coin, which sees a marketer engrossing in aggressive techniques that completely go against the guidelines set out by the search engines, techniques of which can hinder a websites progress and their standing online. Black hat techniques normally aren’t long lasting and can see a website get penalised by the search engine: potentially excluding that site from appearing when searched until the offending material is removed. Examples of black hat SEO techniques include keyword stuffing that sees targeted keywords on a website overwhelmingly filling the page on the site through repetition, implementing hidden text (or search spam) that is hidden through CSS to the user, link spamming through posting a link to a site on forms and comment sections across the web, buying links on other sites to link back to the site they wish to boost and finally, doorway pages that work to bring in traffic to a particular section of the site but do not offer any value.
It is vital that when hiring the right SEO company, you should opt to take the more ethical option of an organisation that carries out white hat SEO. It can sometimes be tricky to find out what methods an SEO company uses on their clients, but it’s important to understand that there isn’t a set of traits to an agency that uses black hat SEO. A bigger company with 100+ employees doesn’t equate to a company that plays by the rules, but a company that can prove itself with its methods of usage can. So how can you hire the right SEO company for your organisation? With a few factors to bear in mind, it’s quite simple…
Hiring the right SEO Company
When looking for a company to best cater for your organisation, the first thing you should do is completely disregard “Top SEO” lists. These pages, which normally appear at the top of search terms for the likes of “best SEO in (city)” aren’t to be taken for gospel, with the sites listed on these lists being companies willing to dump a load of money into showcasing themselves as the top SEO firm – even if they are not. Top SEO list websites work by contacting companies and offering them a position on the list in return for an annual fee, a pay to play scheme if you will. In the same light, it is also good practice not to solely take preference over websites that showcase a wide variety of awards on their website, as with many, aspects of pay to win to achieve those awards may have been incorporated. The best way to view them is, if the awards aren’t from a valued and respected brand or outlet, treat such award like it’s worthless.
When you’ve come across a snazzy website you like the sound of, it’s important not to let aesthetics fool you. A snappy and sleek website that is filled with lots of interactive features may sound wonderful, but it shouldn’t be a tiebreaker in choosing the right SEO company for you, web design doesn’t necessarily equate a company to being great at the trait of search engine optimisation. However, if content creation is something you’d like from an SEO strategy, be sure to explore the content the SEO agency releases themselves – do they have an active blog that releases a lot of interesting written material, for example. If you like what you see in that department, you’ll be on your way to finding the right SEO company for you.
It is always important to see if an agency has carried out work for companies within your industry when looking for the best agency to use. Not only will discovering a company that has worked on related companies to yours bring with it experience, but will be best tailored to what you’re looking for. If you’re an online store, see if the agency has also carried out SEO for other online stores within the industry. You can read through online reviews and testimonials that may be showcased on their website for research, or ask the organisation themselves if they have any testimonials available for viewing. If you wish to delve deeper, you could even contact clients that the agency has carried out SEO for yourself – dropping in a call to those companies.
When you’ve compiled a shortlist of companies you’d quite like to work with, shortening this list more will require in-depth analysis of these organisations. A good way to jump right into that process is to compile a list of questions you’d like to know in relation to your website and what you’d like the organisation to do for you. You can then contact these companies individually and with the answers you receive, you can see if this matches up to what you’d like from an SEO company. Ensure the organisation matches your budget and type of communication: if you prefer an organisation to carry out monthly or quarterly meetings with you relating to progress and moving forward, find out if this is something that will be possible. If you’d prefer to be sent a monthly roundup of changes the organisation will have carried out for you, or a progress report – find out if such can be catered for. Investing some time in exploring a companies history, or “About Us” page will allow you to tap into the companies ethos and decide whether it’s the sort of management style you’d like to deal with.
Transparency is also key when finding the correct agency for you. Discover a company that is not only transparent in what it does and the methods in which it does it, but is honest with its outlook on SEO projects. If a company is promising to rank your web page as the #1 search result for the top keywords you’re aiming to rank for to rank 1st for your top keywords in “10 days” it’s likely they’re using some underlying black hat methods, or are using that purely to lure you in. The truth of SEO is that it’s a long and sometimes tedious process to achieve greatness, which is why it’s of utmost importance you find an SEO company that knows exactly what you want and is able to carry that out for you. It is important that through transparency you also discover what an SEO companies plan of action would be for your website. If the company offers SEO site audits, request for one to be made. Sometimes these may be free for any interested clients, but even if they charge a small price for one, it’ll be a small price to pay for discovering the right company for you.
After you’ve ensured all these factors have been calculated for, the last thing you should be sure to do before picking a firm is to spend some time utilising “word of mouth” and ask friends and associates of any SEO companies that they might use or recommend. At Silkstream, we receive a lot of our work through recommendations that other clients share with others and is one defined way you can be certain to attain an SEO company that’ll have a backed up history and experience.
Interested? Explore SEO options with Silkstream
We are one of the leading SEO companies in Essex. Our in-house team are experienced, honest and jargon-free, with a proven track-record throughout Essex. Our goal is simple; to get more customers to your website and increase your sales and leads. Find out more about what we can offer and explore SEO options with Silkstream.