Choosing Search Professionals – Part 2
Last time at the BuzzStarter Insider, we discussed key elements in finding and evaluating SEO professionals that can possibly work on your project. In today’s article, we will be continuing this topic in further giving you tips on how to accomplish this.
- Talking About Past Successes
During the initial talks with your potential SEO provider, telling them what your business is about and what you are looking for is always a good thing. Now if during these talks it becomes a fit between parties and they are willing to work on your project, the next thing would be asking them for a portfolio of their past projects and how successful they were in accomplishing these.
Do not be turned off or be surprised if they are very selective of the projects they talk about. I have done work for a number of clients and depending on how the client implemented the project after I turned it over for a long term project or how they implement if my role is more of an short-term/advisor-type, it would be unfair to judge me on past projects I have no complete input over. I say the same thing for other SEO companies out there so in my case I always try to demonstrate my work on the matter with more current clients. Though we can only be judged in the current, I would still mention past companies that I have successes with such as iLeads or The Advice Company.
- Present Scenarios
Have you heard these words “No Spec?” For those who do not know this, what it means is that a consultant isn’t supposed to do any work for potential clients unless there is a written contract to do so. With that in mind, respecting the boundaries of what you can ask your selected SEO professional should always be within consideration.
However, it is not so unreasonable if you were to ask certain things. Throwing scenarios to the consultant within acceptable parameters is ideal so that you can understand how they will approach the problem. Asking them how they resolve certain issues, for example like “What if my indexing went down,” or “What will you do if we haven’t moved the needle after 4 months,” is not only fair but prudent. It will give you an idea on how the consultant will approach the problem his level of expertise.
- Being Referred Is Always A Good Thing
Most of the time, you may not even have to open the yellow pages or do any searches for a good SEO company. A referral from a colleague is as close as you can get to a good one that will work with you to get your SEO objectives done.
I have been lucky enough that I have had good references from current and past clients. Mind you, this still does not mean that I will get the project. I haven’t had a former or current client say anything negative about me so far but that doesn’t also mean that all the goals we have agreed to at the beginning of the engagement are at 100% completion. SEO is work over time and sometimes during the lifetime of the project, the scope will change if it is within the contract. Embrace the referral but also be reasonable that all of us doing this work is at the mercy of the search engines. Tips and strategies that work now may not work tomorrow if a new update is pushed out.
- Review Everything
From the first time you start talking to your preferred SEO company, to the time you are offered the contract to be signed, make sure you look at all your notes, read the proposal and contract carefully. Pay attention to things you wrote when you where discussing scenarios with your consultant, remember how they think and how they approach a problem.
- Got Quote?
I used to teach and run the IT program for one of Jerry Brown’s charter schools, a college preparatory in Oakland. It is a military charter ran in cooperation with The California National Guard, The City of Oakland and the Oakland Unified School District. As the person in charge of the IT budget, one thing I learned working with the military in securing critical equipment and services is that it always makes sense to get pricing from different vendors. How many vendors? The magic number for me including the vendor you would work with will be three. Having two extra quotes to look at gives you a perspective on where you should be on your budget.
At this stage, you already have decided on what SEO company you will be working with. Always remember though that price isn’t always everything unless you are working on a limited budget. Remember that pouring $70K or more on a project will tend to bring you back faster results. You will make your money back with the increase in positioning and traffic you get in the immediate term. Working with a limited budget will get you there longer and the likelihood of you being impatient in recouping your dollars per conversion will be higher. As long as you are aware of the advantages and limitations of these scenarios, select the most comfortable one for you.
- The Selection Process
Making business decisions are never easy. Deciding factors can sway back and forth. Reading through this article hopefully will get you there in picking the right SEO company for you. Always remember that you have to have a clear defined end game on why you are doing SEO. Align that with your business goals and your budget. Figure out a long term and short term strategy in maintaining this, either in-house or continuing on with your vendor. However, picking the right one will come into play when everything they talk about, when it comes to Search Engines sounds practical and sensible. They must be technically competent, it really is like hiring an employee, they must know certain implementations of SEO be it optimizing your copy, inlinking strategy or off-page optimization. Feel their passion for the industry, do they live/breathe SEO? Are they always giving you free advice before the project starts?
Posted in: BuzzStarter, Optimization Floor, Search Engine Optimization
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