Are you thinking about outsourcing your SEO? Whether you’re just starting to implement SEO in your strategy, or already have experience in it, finding a professional SEO company can be tough. The market is flooded with companies offering professional SEO services that claim to be the best ones. And it’s hard and exhausting choosing the right company for you.

Many businesses try to handle SEO themselves, but it can be hard for most, as SEO is very time-consuming. And if you’re not ready to put time and energy into that, it’s better to hire professionals. But here comes another question: which company should you choose?

To answer that question, we’ve created this guide that will help you understand what SEO is, why you need it, and how to find the best SEO agency for your business.

What is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization is the process of optimizing the website for search engines to improve the website’s ranking in search results and guarantee website traffic.

It might seem similar to paid advertising, but there is a major difference between these two. Paid advertising or SEM provides you with paid traffic, and SEO provides organic traffic. It means you don’t need to pay to be visible on search results. If you have a good SEO strategy and your website has a good ranking, you will be visible on top SERPs (search engine results pages) without any additional effort.

Wooden cubes, with written letters SEO SEM

I’ll try to explain in short how SEO works. You optimize your website for SEO, then when you’re ready, you index your pages. Google bots crawl your website and qualify whether its pages can be indexed. If some of them or all can’t be indexed, these pages won’t be visible on SERPs. If they can, then the pages will finally appear on search results.

After that, you get a ranking. Based on your keywords, content, website architecture, and many other criteria, you will rank for certain search results.

If you have created a well-optimized website, with responsive design, great content, and enough backlinks, then you’ll get a high ranking and appear on the first pages of the SERPs.

Also, note that SEO doesn’t only refer to the optimization of the website. There is also mobile app optimization for Apple Store and Play Market, there is Amazon store optimization, etc. So, even if you don’t have a website, you still need SEO to rank on websites such as Amazon, or App Store for your app.

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Why is SEO Important?

It Ensures You Get Website Traffic

This is probably the most important reason why you need to optimize your website. Do you want users to land on your website? If yes, then you should have an SEO-optimized website. Why are you creating and maintaining your website if no one will visit it?

Screenshot of Google results page

Look, there are 700M results for a simple search “what is seo”. And if you want your website to appear on the first results page, then you need SEO.

Users Don’t Even Visit the 2nd or 3rd SERPs

Without SEO you will land on some search results eventually(or won’t), but you can’t tell where. Moreover, users usually visit only the websites on the first results page. So, no matter how great your website design or content is, without SEO no user will visit it.

Search Algorithms Become Smarter and Smarter

Search engine algorithms have been changed and improved a lot since their creation, especially Google’s. Some 10-20 years ago you could just write keyword-stuffed content that has no meaning and rank on the top results. But now, Google understands the difference between a keyword-stuffed article and a well-written one that actually gives valuable information to the reader, or offers a great description of a product.

Besides the content, Google also checks a lot of other things like mobile-friendliness, website architecture, accessibility, relevant links, and many other things. And you need your website to meet the search engine’s requirements to be visible to users.

To Attract the Right Audience to Your Website

You’ve created your website for a reason, right? Whether it’s to sell products, offer services, or provide information about your brand, you need the right people to visit it. And SEO can help you with that. By ranking for the right keywords, you can make sure that you will get quality organic traffic and attract the right target audience.

To Provide Relevant Information to Your Audience

A search engine’s primary goal is to provide the most relevant results to the user’s search query. Implementing SEO best practices and ranking on the top results, is a good indication that you’re providing the most relevant content to users’ search queries.

To Increase Your Brand Authority

When you appear on the top page on Google SERPs, users will think you’re one of the top brands in your industry. So, you’ll be considered more authoritative in your industry, get more quality traffic, and as a result more customers.

A screenshot with graphs and brand logo

Criteria a Professional SEO Company Should Have

Now that we’ve learned about the importance of SEO, it’s time to understand what criteria a professional SEO services company should have. But first, I’d like to mention that before starting looking for an SEO company, you need to clearly understand your main goals, what services you need, and what you expect from these services. This would make the whole process easier both for you and the SEO company.

A Complete List of Their Services

A professional SEO company would thoroughly describe what services they provide. As mentioned above, SEO includes many parts in it. There is traditional SEO, e-commerce SEO, app optimization, etc. So, you need to understand what services the company provides and whether you need them or not.

Many marketing or design agencies provide professional SEO services as well. But some companies exclusively focus on SEO services. Also, check whether the company offers full service or just on-page or off-page SEO. You just need to research the companies, understand what services you need and see which companies meet your needs the best.

Experience in Few Industries

A professional SEO company usually chooses a few industries to work with. All industries have their specifics, and if a company specializes only in 2-3 industries, it means they are more specialized and have more expertise.

Solid Portfolio

A good SEO company would showcase their experience, by describing their past best projects so that their new clients would understand what the SEO agency can do for them. If the company doesn’t have a portfolio at all, that’s a bad sign. It usually means that they don’t have enough experience and may not be very professional.

Though, some companies may simply not put their portfolio on the website. Not all clients agree that the SEO agency share their story with the public. In this case, you could request their portfolio or at least ask for some information about their past clients. If they refuse, that’s a big red sign.

Screenshots of mobile app-portfolio

Professional SEO Specialists

Besides the portfolio, you should research the background of the team members. Pay attention to how much experience they have and what projects they have worked on. If this is not provided on the company’s website, you can again request the information from them directly. If they are professionals, they would be happy to provide you with any information you need.

These are the people who are going to do the SEO for you. So, make sure you choose the right specialists.

Good Reviews and References

This is another crucial point for a professional SEO company. If they have done a good job in the past they would get tons of good reviews and references. Don’t only consider the ones on their website. Word of mouth would be even more helpful in this case. You can contact their past clients and find out yourself whether they were satisfied with the job or not.

Also, if you’re looking for a local SEO company, you can ask your partners, colleagues, and people you know for references and their experience. Nothing proves the quality of work more than the past works.

Screenshot of reviews page

A Free Consultation Offer

Most companies would provide you with a free consultation. No matter how much you research the company, you will understand much better whether they are a good fit for you or not if you discuss your case with them. Some agencies may even offer to do a free website audit or some other service so that you can better understand how they work.

A vital piece of advice: trust your guts. If something feels wrong and you have doubts, it’s better to look for another company. You have to feel comfortable and confident working with the right people.

Transparency About Their Working Processes

And finally, a good SEO agency would be transparent about all their working processes. They should give you clear information about their fees, working process, their services, and the team members that would be responsible for your project.

If they don’t have clear answers to your questions and requests, that’s not a good sign.

How to Find Professional SEO Services Near Me

The most obvious answer is of course do a Google search. If you want to hire only local SEO companies, then consider asking your friends, business partners, and colleagues who they would recommend.

But, as SEO is related to the web, there is absolutely no need for it to be a local company. You have more chances to find the best fit for you if you don’t concentrate on its being a local one. Of course, hiring a local agency has more advantages, regarding the time zone, easier communication, and many other things, but foreign companies can also be quite good and offer the exact services that you need.

What Services Should a Good SEO Company Provide

This is a bit tricky question, as it all depends on your needs. Some companies provide only traditional SEO services, some can also provide e-commerce SEO, app optimization, and other services. And this does not indicate whether the company is good or not.

Overall, if it’s a professional SEO services company, that offers uniquely SEO services then it should provide a full SEO package.

Let’s imagine that you need traditional SEO services with the full package and see which services you’ll need.

Website Audit

Regardless of what services particularly you need, a good SEO company must do your website analysis and audit. In order to create a strategy for your website, they need to understand how your website works, where your website excels, and where it needs improvements in terms of SEO. If a company doesn’t offer a website audit, it shows the company’s incompetence and that they are not ready to create a custom strategy for you.

Competitor Analysis

A professional SEO company would analyze your competitors first, before creating your individual SEO strategy. Each industry has its own unique specifics and the SEO agency should know these as well.

With competitor analysis, the SEO company would define your competitors’ strong and weak points to better understand how to outrank them. Make sure to check this point with the company.

Custom SEO Strategy and Plan

This is probably the most important thing to pay attention to when choosing an SEO services company. If you notice that they don’t intend to create a custom strategy for you and instead want to use the same strategy as they used before, then run away from them and never call them back!

This is crucial, as each brand is unique and needs an individual approach. There is no good generic approach to SEO. Each website has its pros and cons, unique goals, and customers. If you want a high-quality SEO-optimized website, then you need a tailored strategy, created just for your business.

People brainstorming ideas across a table

On-Page SEO

On-page optimization is an essential part of SEO. I don’t underestimate the importance of off-page optimization, but if the company doesn’t offer on-page optimization, then they are not providing optimization services at all.

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of your website for search engines. It includes components like:

  • Keyword research and optimization of the website content for chosen keywords
  • Sitemap creation
  • Technical SEO, which makes it easier for Google to crawl your website
  • Analyzing the website’s architecture, design, and speed and creating a strategy to improve these
  • Creation of internal linking strategy, etc.

Content creation may also be a part of the services the SEO agency offers, but it’s not necessary.

Off-Page SEO

As the name suggests, off-page optimization refers to the optimization processes outside of the website. It includes:

  • Creating backlinks for your website’s content
  • Developing shareable content
  • Checking your website’s mentions on social media and other sites

Basically, the off-page SEO strategy must make sure that any outside source is not damaging your website’s authority. Off-page optimization should be included in a full-package SEO service company.

Computer, mobile phone and other icons on blue background

Constant Optimization

A quick but important note: SEO is not a one-time thing that you can do once and forget about it. Optimization is a continuous process and a professional SEO company would constantly monitor your website to make sure you receive your desired results.

If someone promises you to rank your website at the top in a month, then it’s a scam. This is the so-called black hat SEO, which is in fact manipulation of search engine indexes, creation of irrelevant links, and duplicate and keyword-stuffed content. It may give you quick results for a short time, but in the end, Google will downgrade your website or even ban it completely.

It generally takes from 6 months to a year to see visible results of the SEO efforts. So, be ready to wait quite a bit to rank high in SERPs. A good SEO company would tell you the estimated time needed to receive your desired results.

Final Words

Now, I hope, you learned everything needed to make a decision and choose the best SEO company for you. Make some research about the company, do a consultation and with the information in this article you’ll be able to choose a good agency.

And don’t forget to trust your guts and feelings.

Good luck finding the best SEO company for you!

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General FAQ

SEO stands for search engine optimization which is the process of optimizing the website for search engines to improve the website’s ranking in search results and guarantee quality website traffic.

SEO is crucial for every business, that wants their website, e-commerce site or any other site to have a high ranking on search results. Besides, SEO ensures that websites attract the right visitors and contributes to the increase in sales.

Essentially, you need to conduct research about the company and make sure they meet the following criteria:

  • A complete list of their services
  • Solid portfolio
  • Experienced specialists
  • Good reviews and references
  • Experience in 2-4 industries
  • A free consultation offer
  • Transparency about their working processes