If you run your own business, there will come a point in time when you need to outsource tasks. It will help you concentrate on the money-making side of your business, free up valuable hours, and give you the expertise of a third party. One of those tasks is often SEO – or search engine optimisation.
Many companies outsource this part of their online marketing, as it can be a complicated subject – not to mention a time drain. But how do you go about choosing the best company to work with? There are plenty of firms and consultants out there that promise the earth and fail to deliver. Here’s a quick guide on how to spot the good from the bad.
Ask how they judge their results
First of all, ask how they judge their successes. If they promise that you will rank at number one on Page One of Google, it’s probably best to walk away. No one can give you such guarantees, and you should be suspicious of the methods they employ. It can be easy to hoodwink Google and the other major search engines, but using bad tactics will only result in a penalty, or, in some cases, a ban.
Talk about money
It’s also important to talk about money, of course. According to the team at Sticky, SEO is still the best way to get the most for your cash regarding online marketing. But, you need to understand how much you will pay, so you can start using the data to estimate your cost of sales.
Define a payment schedule
There are two ways that you can pay an SEO consultant – either upfront or on a retainer. It’s best to pay a flat fee for basic fixes, such as work on your broken links, and bringing your SEO up to standard. However, once the consultant has finished, that will be your lot. If you want your site to keep up to speed with the latest developments and make improvements over time, think about paying by a retainer.
Learn the basics
It’s important that you know some of the basics of SEO before you hand over the reins to someone else. Without it, you are more likely to fall foul of a rip-off merchant, who will take your money without giving you the results you need. There are plenty of sources of excellent info out there on the web. And, the truth is, that anyone can learn SEO – as long as they have the time to do it. The basics will give you the ammunition you need to choose the right person for the job.
If an SEO consultant is reluctant to give you references from past clients, it should set up warning bells. You can’t expect to see detailed reports and stats, but you should get an overall view of how they have helped a customer. You could even ask if you could call their clients and have a chat. It will help you develop a better picture of the skills and methods of the person you want to hire.
OK, so that’s all there is to it – good luck with your search, and don’t be afraid to bring up any suspicions you might have.