SEO industry is highly competitive, and it includes both excellent professionals and low quality firms. Choosing right things to improve your brand’s presence online can be a challenging task.

This guide will help you identify the differences between high-quality SEO professionals, and the companies to stay away from. These practices can help you get noticed by your target audience.

1. Talk To Who’s in Charge

You might be inclined to say yes to the first persuasive sales representative who is keen on closing a sale. Resist the urge of closing multi-thousand dollar SEO agreements at first. You can’t know how good an SEO company is by just talking to sales reps. You’ll have to get in touch with more people before being able to make an informed choice on the best SEO company to hire.

You should contact someone from the upper management in order to make sure that your business will be in good hands.

You should also get in touch with some of the former or current clients of the SEO agency you intend to hire. Ask them for low long they have been working with the company you are looking to hire, and how happy they are with the results.

Last but not least, visit the headquarters of the SEO company in person. The office environment speaks volumes about the success of a business.

2. Choose Quality Rather Than Quantity

There are SEO services providers who promise every kind of service you can imagine. They also offer huge quantities of each of these services.

Rather than look at quantity, you should favor companies that offer high-quality services. Moreover, don’t forget to ask for and review samples of each of their services. For instance, let’s assume you want to compare Company A vs. Company B. Company A offers you about ‘thirty’ infographics a year, while Company B delivers only ‘five’.

At a glance, you may be tempted to believe Company B wants to take your money without providing your company with a lot of value in exchange. Nonetheless, a closer look may reveal that Company B does a lot more research, has better designers, and offers you a better promotional strategy, while Company A offers poorly designed infographics with barely any social media promotional activities.

3. Comprehensive Coverage

While it’s true that quality is more important than quantity, you still want your SEO agency to provide you more than the simple optimization of your web pages.

Chances are you’ll have to pay a lot of money if you hire different agencies to handle different types of digital marketing services. By choosing a full rage service provider, you can make some savings, while also benefitting from a better communication.

Find an agency that’s great at all activities you’re interested in. This will enable you to make the most out of your digital marketing budgets.

4. Learn About The ROI

You shouldn’t settle for mediocrity when it comes to SEO. You need to make it clear that you expect a spectacular boost in your rankings, as well as a significant increase of your organic traffic.

In addition, explain them that you expect a positive ROI, even though you understand the SEO isn’t an exact science.

5. Level of Communication

You should ask the SEO agency about the kind of communication level you can expect to get from them.

You should make it clear that you wish to be contacted for approval on various campaigns and activities. You should also be informed on all things the agency is going to do in order to improve your rankings.

This is very important, as a Google penalty may kill your website, and perhaps your whole business. By staying on top of the news, you can prevent actions that could land you such penalties.

6. Know About Software Tools

As SEO campaigns are nothing else but projects, they should be managed just like projects are.

Ask the company what are their project management tools of choice. If they don’t use any, chances are they may not be too well organized.

7. Check Report Templates

If the proof is in the pudding, the best way to see it is by asking the company to show you a piece of the pudding.

A reliable SEO company should be happy to show you some samples of their real work. A real report provided to one of their latest clients would be the best proof they do know their business. You shouldn’t worry if you see the name of the client and the keywords replaced with dummy text. This is normal. Your goal is to see the kind of report you should expect, and not to spy on their other clients.

8. Ask For Some Case Studies

Although most SEO activities are usually kept confidential in order to prevent competitors from duplicating good results, reputable SEO agencies offer case studies that illustrate the results they’ve been able to achieve for their clients.

Take a close look at these results, and ask the agency what where the winning strategies. Will they work for your website as well? What would be different, and why?

9. Look For Their Business Experience

How long they have been into the trade? Long experience doesn’t necessarily translate into wisdom, but it’s reassuring to know that the agency has been around for a while. This means they do something that works, as otherwise they wouldn’t have lasted for too long in such a competitive market.

10. What is Contract Duration

All service-oriented businesses ask their clients to sing a contract. Ask them about the length of this contract.

The standard in the industry for the time being is the month-to-month contract.

Nonetheless, you should be aware that SEO is an endeavor that takes way more than one month to show results. You should allow your service provider enough time to be successful.

11. Agency’s Internal Structure

How does the company split the time and the workforce between projects? How many account managers cater to one client?

12. How Company Function

How reputable are the managers or the owners of the company?

If you haven’t heard of them, try to search online for their names. Such details can make a huge difference in some situations.

Choosing an SEO company to work with can be a long process, but picking the wrong SEO company could cost you a lot of money in the long run. That’s why it’s important to do your research and evaluate what each company has to offer you.

Author Bio: Celeste Combs is a digital marketing strategist for online businesses like imediadesigns. She has a passion for social media, digital marketing and search engine optimization.