While checking referrer stats yesterday I found the question “how to find a great seo company” which indeed is an obvious one and nevertheless a good one. I won’t recommend you a single SEO company in spite of writing for one.
Sadly searching Google, especially Google.com for SEO company is not really the best way to determine one. Why? Try searching for the keyphrase car company.
Do you see the best or most important car company on top? Is it Rolls Royce, Ferrari or even Toyota? Instead I will show things to look out for to find a SEO company that will suit your needs:
Nowadays most businesses already have some experience with SEO, some who approach me already have several attempts of a SEO campaign behind them. You could ask your online friends at Twitter or LinkedIn or even better, real life business partners.
Some questionable SEO companies do not have a portfolio at all. They don’t tell you who they have worked with. You have to check the sites from the portfolio with Google. Do they rank on the first page for the first keyphrases they display in the page title? Has this company already worked in your industry? Be it travel, real estate or gambling, some sectors require special skills.
Is someone working for the SEO company who is recognizable by name? Has this person a positive record of appearing publicly both in writing for search and marketing related publications or appearing on industry events? It’s not proof of authority by itself but it certainly shows a level of expertise that stands the test of peer review.
SEO is about trust. You surely have read or heard stories about black hat SEO or spam discovered on high profile sites. Local companies are not better by definition but at least they have to abide by the same laws as you.
How long is a company around? The SEO industry is a young one. A company that exists for more than 10 years is of course good news but not a guarantee of success. How much has a company achieved in that period of time? Has it evolved? Does it still offer SEO for Altavista like 10 years ago (some really do)?
This is quite a short a list, it’s not meant to be a long one. In case these 5 factors are OK in that
To add some other opinions I asked my (@onreact_com) Twitter followers for other suggestions. I edited them slightly for better readibility:
sumesh: Look for SEOs known for honest industry info on their blogs (like Matt Cutts but from independent companies)
sharkinvestor: I look for these who create good widgets and give them for free.
sharkinvestor: Widgetbait has worked very good for me. Doing good one requires more effort and research – so these companies should be cool
hannah_bo_banna: look for SEO companies who have got good results in your niche