How To Choose An SEO Company

Narrowing down the best SEO Company may be easier once you know which ones to avoid. Once you take those companies out of the equation, some simple research and the right questions will make it clear who the best providers are. Final selection is then all about your individual business needs and your budget projections.

The path is, however, fraught with many pitfalls. You must not be persuaded out of your money by less than scrupulous providers looking to make a quick buck and wooing you with technical jargon.

If you have limited or no knowledge of SEO then I’d suggest that your starting point is some general research to grasp the basic implications of good SEO practices.

For those with a good grasp of SEO, you may at one time even have wondered why you’d need a specialist provider if you already have a good understanding SEO yourself. Actually, knowing how it works and why it works are vastly different. To say nothing of the dynamic nature of SEO, so read on.

Basic Rules of SEO

Search Engine Optimisation deals with a wide variety of tactics used to bring more traffic to your website via search engines. The higher ranking sites will be visited more often. Page one rankings are what everyone is looking to get for their keywords. A #1 spot is very coveted and highly contested in many popular keyword niches.

SEO can be divided into two sections:

On-page – everything you do on your website pages in conjunction with your keywords to bring to the attention of the search engines when those keywords are typed in. This is usually done during the setup phase with minor adjustments made every few months.

Off-Page – methods used off your website to give your site authority in search engines’ eyes. Through using links, related content and various other methods leading back to your site, the search engines will find your site more often and index it. This is where the real work is and what differentiates the good SEO companies from the rest.

Immediate Red Flags When Choosing An SEO Company

Keeping their methods secret
You should always ask questions when sourcing an SEO company. Enquire as to their SEO methodology and what your money will get you over time. If they can’t – or won’t – tell you exactly how they go about making these promises come true then give them a wide berth. Having an understanding of basic SEO will help you formulate the questions you need to know. Some examples are listed further down.

No keyword research offered
Good SEO companies will do research and discuss keywords with you as this will determine your final cost. Highly contested keywords will need a bigger spend. You may choose to target several keywords in various competitive levels or go after the long-tail (or both!).

Limited avenues offered
If the company only offers one or two avenues to bring search engine traffic to your site then do not use them. SEO will not work for any extended period unless a broad spectrum of tactics is used on ongoing basis. There are many avenues available to be used so be sure you understand what these are and ask about them.

Spam emails or telemarketer offers
Spam email offers will never be above board. If you receive any offer in your email with guarantees of top spot and low prices just ignore it; they are just after your money. There may even be times you’ll get telemarketer calls with this type of offer, or people targeting your directly. Simply ask a few basic questions and see how they answer. Even with a basic understanding of SEO you’ll soon see through their “special” offer.

What Questions Should You Ask SEO Companies?

Some good basic questions to ask, and get confident, immediate answers about are:

  • What are your marketing techniques to get good rankings?
  • Are there any risks associated with these techniques?
  • Where do I stand if I end our business relationship?
  • What reasonable traffic increase can be expected and when will I see results?
  • Do you have samples of your work and what were the rankings achieved?
  • What do you expect from me as the client?
  • Is SEO the only service you offer?

There really are many questions you can ask but if you can’t get good answers to even half of these then take the company you are talking to off your list of possibilities.

Once you have narrowed the choice to two or three, or even your last preference then you can ask more specific questions like:

  • Will I get to approve all actions before they happen?
  • Do you have a contract and can I read it before I decide?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • Do you include content writing in the price?

Also go with how you feel about the information they offer you. Does it seem too low a price for the competitiveness of the keywords? Do they seem unresponsive or are they not seeing you as important? Are their answers generic, cookie-cutter style?

Do Your Own Research On Their Proposed Methods

There is a lot of information on the internet on SEO practices and what is the right way to do things. Take some time to do a few searches about methods each company will use.

Also, be sure you do a little research on the company themselves. How long have they been established? Look at their client base, some of which they should have on their website’s portfolio, and go to those sites and see how they are faring when you type typical keywords into a search engine.

You might also want to ask them what their own rankings are for their keywords and check those out as well.

Finally, research their link building methods. Ask them what strategies they’ll use and what is included in the package you are considering.


  1. How To Hire A SEO? says:

    […] and you should feel welcomed to ask questions about the business and services provided. Learning how to choose an SEO company can save you a lot of money, but also preserve your online reputation. If things are done wrong, […]

    September 17th, 2009 at 3:43 am

  2. Pat Williams says:

    I’ve seen lists for what to look for, thanks for giving us the flipside. Bottom line is, there are a lot of seo companies out there that are unethical and don’t care about the client. Anyone looking to hire an seo firm needs to do their research. My biggest advice? Educate yourself first, read the top seo blogs that explain the different services. Don’t go into it blindly. You’ll be better equipped to weed out the bad ones.

    September 1st, 2010 at 3:44 pm