How to choose an SEO company to successfully grow your business
In this post we’re take a long hard look at the pros and cons of outsourcing your Search Engine Optimisation and what you, as a business owner, need to consider before hiring an SEO company to work with.
What does an SEO company actually do and do I need one?
In case you’re unsure of the term, SEO is the common abbreviation for ‘search engine optimisation’ and it can also refer to the service carried out by a people known as ‘search engine optimisers’.
Search engine optimisation itself refers to the task of reviewing your website and implementing changes that help more people find it online. The goal of this work is for your website to show higher in search results relevant to the line of business you’re in.
So if you’re a plumber in Newcastle it’s going to help your business get more bookings if people in Newcastle who are looking for a plumber come across your website, rather than your competitors, in Google results.
As an SEO company in London, it’s the job of agencies like Cash Cow to carry out in-depth reviews – or as we call them in the trade SEO audits – then recommend and implement changes that will increase the ranking of our client’s websites.
SEO Services Defined
A good provider should be able to increase traffic to your website by making the necessary changes that result in higher rankings, more visitors and ultimately, more sales.
However, simply increasing the ranking of your website is only one of the services a competent SEO company will provide.
They should also be able to help you with;
- Technical advice
- Expert insights into specific markets or geographical locations
- Developing your website’s content
- Improving the UX (user experience) of your website and conversion
- Training you or your team in the regular SEO tasks that can be managed in-house.
Do I need to hire an SEO company to do the work for me?
Most of our clients come to us with a website they’ve either built themselves, using popular development platforms like WordPress and Wix or outsourced to a third-party provider.
Regardless of who and how it’s been made, it is extremely rare that the websites we see are performing well in search results. This makes perfect sense if you think about it, as we’re a specialist marketing and SEO company, meaning people only come to us when they have a problem they think we can fix.
On a brief side note, to any DIYers building their own website right now, looking for some advice or help, you would be wise to check out this free beginners guide produced by Google.
(Actually, the same advice applies to many web design agencies, because we’re frequently disappointed by the number of professionally made websites we see that are woefully lacking when it comes to even the most basic optimisation techniques.)
Make no mistake, search engine optimisation is a skill and any ambitious enterprise, serious about growing their business online, will need to either learn the ropes pretty quickly or hire a specialist SEO company.
But likewise, do not be fooled by the smoke and mirror merchants who say it’s impossible to rank well in Google by yourself. All it takes is time, and if you have plenty of that on your hands this simple guide we’ve produced should help.
For those choosing the obvious route, and deciding on the former option, of hiring a specialist SEO agency, here are a few things we hope will make the process easier for you;
Hiring an SEO company: What to expect
A good SEO company will improve your current website’s visibility and can be particularly valuable when launching a new site or online marketing drive. However, as is the case when outsourcing any third party for support, it’s sensible to have a few questions in mind.
When interviewing, ask about previous work, ask for examples and ask how long they have been in business, do they have specific sector knowledge, ask if they follow Google webmaster guidelines, and finally and probably most importantly ask what improvements do they expect to see and over what timeframe?
On this latter point of ‘improvement’, a good place to start is by asking any potential provider for a website SEO audit.
Having a copy of this audit will give you a baseline to evaluate future progress and deliver valuable information on what you can expect. You’ll have a record of your current position and your website’s search engine visibility.
The final benefit of having a copy of your own website audit is that you’ll be able to see for yourself, what needs changing.
Hiring an SEO company: What to Avoid
A good agency will become a valuable long-term asset to your business as you grow.
But unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous operators out there who might use strategies that may initially seem beneficial, but ultimately damage your business.
Search engines like Google have strict guidelines and infringement carries penalties. Breaking the rules is easy enough, and sometimes leads to short-term gains. However, once Google spots a website trying to game its system you are more than likely to lose any advantage and possibly see your website removed from search results entirely.
Sadly, we witness an awful lot of companies coming to us who have suffered from these nefarious practices and our team engages in way too much ‘disaster management’, correcting the mistakes of other SEO ‘providers’.
A few SEO red flags to look out for;
You will be number one!
Avoid any company that guarantees they can make you number one on search engines. This is technically impossible as all search engines are slightly different. Your webpage can be optimised to improve your ranking for sure. But no company can guarantee number one positions for any website.
Shadow domains direct traffic to a site using deceptive redirects. Usually, the shadow domain is owned by the optimiser and as these redirects are not under the control of a search engine or the website owner. In the worst-case scenario, the optimiser can switch the redirects off at will – thereby substantially reducing traffic to your site.
Doorway pages are web pages placed on your site that solely comprise of many, many keywords. The premise being more keywords equals more hits. However, this is false as website hits also work on specificity and in the case of doorway pages the lack of specificity will eventually drain away your website’s popularity.
Link networks (also known as private blog networks or PBNs), or schemes involve placing or buying links on 3rd party websites such that they increase your own website’s traffic. This is against Google’s guidelines and before long will result in action being taken against your site.
So, who should you work with?
Having listed ‘what to avoid’ you may be feeling slightly put off the idea of engaging with a search engine optimisation company.
But don’t worry too much, just be careful and approach the opportunity as you would with any business service. Once you find a responsible and experienced SEO company, who plays by the rules, you’ll be in good hands.
Here at Cash Cow Marketing, we like to think we’re one of the good guys. We’ve been recognised for the quality of our work by many of the most respected directories on the web, awarded partner status by platforms including Google and Wix, as well as achieving the highest levels of certification from UK government bodies including the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Cyber Security Centre.
In short, we’ve been around a while, proved ourselves and been certified by some of the web’s most respected authorities.
We also offer a completely free website audit for every business. So whether you decide to work with us, go on to become a DIY SEO or go with another agency, we’re more than happy to share a complete action plan of how to improve your website’s ranking in search results.
Stop procrastinating and get started today, learn more about our Free SEO Audit and get started by clicking here.
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