(1) Voice of Customers
The potential SEO provider would ideally provide you, testimonials from their previous clients. Apart from this, there are a number of unbiased sites where you may find reviews on a potential company you are considering.
Do research on these to form an impartial and informed opinion.
(2) Communication Expectation
Understand how your SEO provider will touch base with you and how often. The company should ideally provide regular updates on the progress of your SEO operations and future plan of action on an ongoing basis.
Determine if the level of communication the company offers is as per your comfort level.
(3) Case Study Analysis
Request for past case studies, especially of work done for clients in your industry. Check for results that resonate with you, a knowledge of the nuances in your area of interest and an understanding of expectations of your potential consumers.
In addition, it also look for a proven track record in terms of increased ranking, increased traffic and increased sales.
(4) Social Media Presence
A good SEO company appreciates the value of great online presence and engagement. SEO companies should possess a proficiency of social media and know-how to build a strong reputation while promoting the brand of your company.
The credibility of a company can be verified via their online persona
(5) Website content and Blogs
Always go for a company whose website WOWs you. Because that is what you are employing them to do for your customers. A great SEO professional is innovative and passionate.
They are excited to share their learnings. Conducting a critical assessment on the company’s blog posts, tone and content will show if your candidate is all of the above.
(6) Content-based Marketing Methodology
The idea of SEO is to attract the right kind of traffic who can benefit from what you have to offer. To this end, you should select an SEO partner that understands your business as wells the needs of your target audience.
SEO should serve as a bridge and this should be based on providing relevant content, domains, and keywords.
(7) Native SEO
SEO service is provided on an online medium and that means that it can be done from virtually around the globe.
However, a local SEO company would have a better understanding of the target market in the country of your business. Also, this can promote face to face discussions and rapport building
(8) Clear Result Based Pricing
While it is important for you to have a budget allotted towards SEO, do not compromise on quality. Ideally, your SEO provider would come up with a customized quote based on your requirements.
Having a clear understanding of the break-up costs of all the services that come as a package will help you compare the pricing of different options.
Your company should be able to allocate a team to work dedicatedly on your requirements. This team should have sufficient experience and expertise to understand your expected results and come up with the appropriate strategy to achieve this.
The type of experts that you should look for in an ideal team are digital marketers, outreach specialists, Web designers, content developers, and of course strong customer support.
(10) Site Audit
This is the first and most important step towards hiring an SEO company.
By conducting an audit on your website, the company will be able to establish; the areas of improvement, the recommended approach, projected budget and expected impact on your business.
(11) Professional Certifications
It is important to hire the agency that would provide you, solutions that are validated in the SEO domain. For this, the analysts should possess well-recognized certifications like google tag manager, google analytics 360. These individuals will be able to provide principled solutions
(12) No Hostage-Contracts
Ensure that the contract is free from traps. Key considerations would be intellectual property rights, website ownership clauses, payment options, long-term commitments, hidden charges, cancellation fees.
Always build in an initial trial period with an option to later extend based on results.
(13) Collaborative Dialogues
Once you have zeroed in on a couple of agencies, the next step is to have a two-way conversation with them. You will need to provide relevant inputs on your business specifically and your domain in general.
Based on your site audit and a detailed competitor/industry analysis, the company might be able to give you a basic plan of action right away or in a following sitting.
(14) Scheduled Reporting Format
Ask to see an example reports that the company will be providing. See if this is provided in an easily digestible format within the right frequency.
Check if this report covers all the metrics that are most important to you for example blog entries, social media posts, improved keywords, number of shares, or additional traffic. The agency should track and communicate any changes they make to your website.
(15) Ethics and Code of Conduct
Most of the larger search engines provide guidance on how SEO can be done ethically. This is more commonly known as “White Hat Techniques”.
Even though a company may be able to provide unethical services at cheaper rates, these should be avoided. Search engines have algorithms to spot and reprimand malpractices. Salvage from such a mishap may become a long and painful journey.
(16) State of the Art Applications
There are a number of automated tools, applications, and dashboards that can simplify the SEO process. These can process large amounts of data quickly using less money.
When used with caution in compliance with the applicable guidelines, these will give you easier ways to oversee the outcome of your SEO implementation.
(17) Staying Contemporary
Search Engines are constantly evolving in order to offer an enhanced user experience. Individuals in the SEO market should accordingly be updated on the latest trends. They should be able to harness these evolutions to work to the advantage of your business.
Demonstrated understanding of these ever-changing concepts shows the company’s effort to stay on top of their game.
(18) Third Parties
Before finalizing your SEO partner, it is important to determine if all of your SEO work-flow will be completed in-house.
After having performed thorough due diligence to select an SEO company, you don’t want to find out that your work is being carried out by folks you don’t know and hence can’t trust.
(19) Quality over Quantity
While any over-aggressive SEO firms may be able to improve traffic by adopting suspicious gimmicks, unless these eventually convert into customers, it is meaningless for your business.
That is why the emphasis on quality over quantity. Go for the SEO Company focusing on improving your content and aligning these with increased ranking on the keywords.