How to Pick a Good SEO Company

Picking a good SEO company is hard.

No matter how well-credentialed a business might appear to be, you never know what skeletons they have lurking in the cupboard.

Would you choose an SEO company because they had been featured in several high profile magazines?

What if you knew their website traffic had tanked as in the example below?

website traffic

My guess is probably not.

The problem is that many businesses make decisions that put their business at risk everyday.  And it’s not their fault. SEO is constantly changing. It is hard to focus on a business and keep up to date with the latest changes in SEO. Especially when Google makes daily changes to their algorithm.

What’s Good and Bad SEO

So how can you tell the difference between a good provider and a not so good one?

  • Be concerned if your SEO provider only focuses on building links 
  • Find out of they use automated tools? If they answer yes, then run a mile.
  • Ask if they spin content? Avoid like the plague if they say yes.
  • Ask they if they can help you with content marketing and building your authority in the market.

Many small businesses are unable to discern between good SEO and bad SEO. Therefore, they often choose the cheapest package which invariably only includes building links.

Don’t get me wrong, link building is still very much a part of SEO. However, we think this will change dramatically in the future.

Choose Your SEO Provider Carefully

That being said if you are going on a link building mission, you need to be very careful that your links are not automated or spammy.  If you choose an SEO provider and are paying under $500 per month then you need to be careful. The fact is, good content does not come cheap.  It takes time to craft and devise a good strategy.

If you are interested in checking out the performance of your SEO provider before you sign a contract, why not check how well their own SEO has worked for them. In the chart above, I went to SEM Rush, selected Australia and typed in the web address of the SEO provider and looked at the SE Traffic Report.  SEM Rush is a paid tool but you can still get limited information for free.

A word of advice – use with caution. Some peaks and troughs can occur due to specific events i.e. press releases, radio interviews, email mail outs etc. So do take that into account – the main thing to be wary about are sites whose traffic has tanked as in the example above.

What If You Do It Yourself

If you don’t want to pay an SEO professional, then you need to start creating content for your website. Great content that people want to share with others. Content that makes people want to come back to your site again and again. Content that people naturally want to link to.

You will also need to know about on-page SEO and how to ensure your pages are correctly optimised. Though it only accounts for about 20-30% of helping a website get ranked, it is still an important part of SEO and is often overlooked.

What Are Google Targeting

Matt Cutts – Google’s head of webmaster SPAM recently made the following comments in relation to what Google was targeting in their next update (which happened May 22nd).

He said Google was targeting:

  • Black hat web spam (this means automated links, spun content that is not readable by humans, hidden links etc)
  • Advertorials that pass page rank and do not have clear and conspicuous disclosure
  • Clusters of results from one domain

As always he mentioned that if you were doing high-quality content then there shouldn’t be any issues. You need to focus on having a great site that users love and want to tell their friends about and come back to. They were also looking at ways to help sites that are considered an authority rank better.

Google has also invested in some sophisticated link analysis technology so it will be better able to detect poor links in the future. Do yourself and your business a favour and make sure have a content marketing strategy and great content that attracts links naturally.

You can see an overview of Matt Cutts latest video here.