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Knowing how to choose an SEO company can be the difference between a surge in organic traffic, better ranking, and increased conversions or a decrease in organic search ranking. We’ve even seen clients come to us after a previous SEO agency implemented blackhat techniques and the website began disappearing from Google search results.

A good search engine optimization campaign is a necessary marketing requirement for every business. Unfortunately, the search engine market is difficult to tap into, since every business wants to show up at the top of the results for their keywords. In order to have a presence online, a business needs to invest in an effective online marketing campaign with a company that can produce results.

Finding the best SEO business can be difficult, especially with so many new SEO companies popping up. Here are some criteria to look for and take into account when selecting an SEO firm.

1. Look at an Agencies Portfolio

Take a look at their work and start with their website. Has this company successfully optimized their site for search engines? Do they show up in searches for their keywords? If they haven’t been able to help themselves develop an excellent online presence, chances are, they won’t be able to help you, either. Take a look at some of the other companies they have promoted and check their rankings in Google.

2. Choose an Ethical Company

Before researching SEO companies, it is a good idea for any business owner to familiarize themselves with the basics of SEO. To know how it works, what it is, and how results are realistically achieved is important when it comes to distinguishing between ethical and shady SEO practices.

Before signing a contract with an SEO company, make sure they are adhering to the guidelines of search engines. Black Hat SEO, which is a term for unethical optimization practices, can produce quick traffic, but eventually ban you from having any presence online. Does the agency do the work in-house or do they outsource it to third parties in another country?

3. No one can Guarantee Results

Along the same lines as ethics, pay attention to what an agency guarantees. If a company says that they “Guarantee” a certain place on Google, or a certain number of visitors to your site, steer clear. It is impossible for anyone to promise a specific rank, since Google refuses payment for priority submissions or higher rankings, so the promise you want is that they will follow the search engine guidelines for quality of work and the search engine optimization process.

Google’s search algorithm is constantly being updated and tweaked. It’s important to choose an agency that stays on top of these updates and is plugged into the latest changes.

4. Check an SEO Companies Reviews

Check testimonials and reviews for the SEO service provider you may potentially work with. Besides the testimonials on their website, look for other comments by searching online. If they have numerous negative reviews, you are likely to find them. Also check out their BBB profile and social networking sites to see how they interact online and get a better feel for their work culture.

5. Expect Transparency – Don’t fall for “Secret Sauce”

If a company is willing to answer all of your questions and fully clarify any doubts by offering SEO information, this is a good sign. Beware of companies who may be secretive about their process, practices or employees. If they are hiding anything, it’s likely that they are practicing black hat SEO and operating under unethical standards. SEO isn’t rocket science, and nor is it a secret formula. A good SEO firm will share its process, explain why they do things a certain way, and teach you more about what SEO is and how it works.

6. Cheap, Fast, and Easy Doesn’t Exist

Although internet marketing is the most affordable method of advertising, proper SEO takes time and funding. Because it isn’t immediate and cannot be done overnight, any company that charges a onetime fee is probably not worth it. Search Engines are constantly changing their algorithms and internet marketing should be a gradual, ongoing process in order to achieve the best results over time. A better way to handle SEO is by monthly or annual contracts to ensure that the SEO company is maintaining the results and promoting your site continuously.

7. They Provide More Than Just a Report

Before you sign up with a company, ask them about how they report results. Google Analytics is great, but more than that, it’s important that they are analyzing where the site is going and what is working or not working. The best SEO firms cater your marketing plan based on results from previous months. Make sure they aren’t just showing you numbers, but analyzing and interpreting the observations to help move your company forward.

Read Also: How Can Marketing Improve SEO?

Consider the points in this article if your company is looking for a professional SEO service to manage your internet presence. Although there are undoubtedly some unscrupulous black-hat SEO techniques, there are also a lot of reputable SEO firms that can help your company’s reputation develop in a positive way.

How do businesses pick an SEO firm? One of the topics that are asked throughout evaluation interviews and data collecting is, “What was your selection process, and why did you choose this company to work with?” We were able to group these qualitative comments into a few broad categories, despite the lack of great scientific rigor.

Factor 1: Referrals and previously established relationships

Referrals and previously established relationships turned out to be a key reason, cited by 45% of reviewers. This makes sense, as companies may not be experienced with SEO services, and they, therefore, rely on the experiences of friends and colleagues they trust.

Factor 2: SEO company knowledge and processes

The second-largest factor in choosing an SEO company is company knowledge and processes. This includes customer service, thought leadership, staff experience, reporting, and transparency. These are all attributes that can help make a company successful for its clients, as they were mentioned by 43% of reviewers.

Factor 3: Case studies, client references, and online reviews

Closely related to company knowledge and processes, past performance includes specific evidence, such as case studies, client references, and online reviews, all of which indicate previous success.

About 14% said this was a deciding factor in their decision.

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