SEO can be a very tricky industry. Anyone can wake up one morning an call themselves an “SEO” without having any type of degree or certification. We are even seeing SEO’s now without any programming background, PR background or any type of experience that relates.
There are SEO’s with computer science degrees and certifications from Google that are just ok. I’ve also met SEO’s with a high school diploma making 6 figures working for themselves from home. It really just depends.
Typically SEO companies charge some sort of down payment, along with a monthly retainer in exchange for search engine rankings, traffic, or even revenue.
Today we will review a few ways for clients to tell if your SEO company is giving you the most for your money.
Ask them what they’ve done. This one is pretty simple. Call them up and instead of asking them general questions. Ask them exactly what they have done, and ask your SEO company to send it to you in an email with specifics.
Check for on-page SEO changes. There are a few quick ways that you can tell if any work has been done. Start by going into the “code” of your website and analyzing the <title> tags, the <meta=description> tags for signs that they have been changed.
Check for off-page SEO changes. With all of the penalties and changes that Google has made, building links is still one of the top signals that Google looks for when ranking a site. That said, there are a few tools that you can use to check if your SEO company has been doing their job. Ahrefs.com has a tool that will show you any new links that have been built for a specific date range. Go there and select the starting point as the date you signed your contract, and the end date being today. If you see little to no links being built, you have a problem.
This is somewhat open to interpretation. Sometimes all it takes is 3-4 links to rank a site for tons of keywords. Other times, and in more competitive niches it takes many links. Judge for yourself and make the determination.
Install your own analytics. We stopped checking ranking en masse a long time ago, along with a lot of other SEO companies. Sure we still check, but ranking has so many variables with location and personalization it is too open to interpretation. By installing your own analytics you will be able to see growth over time. You don’t have to go crazy, just check for an increase of organic search visitors over time. There should be a steady growth after months 1 & 2 at the very least.
Most SEO companies want to do a great job. Smart companies know that great results mean longer contracts and great referrals. SEO is can be a tedious process, and it is difficult to wait patiently for results. The upside to doing good SEO work is that once the bulk of it is done, it can be a great way to bring in new clients and add a new revenue channel to your business.
We're glad you stopped by. We blog about SEO to contribute to the community, and to help educate those looking to learn more about it.
Part 1 - An SEO's Guide to Tumblr
Part 3 - The value of Tumblr links revisited