There are a lot of changes going on in the world of search engine marketing and optimization. Google has released two momentous algorithm changes to its search engine, namely ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin,’ which have both created quite an uproar in the website optimization industry. Additionally, the search giant has ditched Google Places for a more socially-oriented approach of using Google+ Local pages – another huge move for business and online marketers alike.
We’re not even half way through 2012 and Google has SEO’s and Internet marketers scratching their heads thinking “what’s next?”
So if you’re a business owner or marketer, you need to ensure that working with right website optimization company. The stir from ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ has magnified the importance of using only ethical, best practices techniques of search engine optimization, and you need to ensure that the company you choose to help you get found in the search results knows exactly what to do and how to do it.
In this article, we are going to highlight a few major considerations you will want to keep in mind when selecting the right company for SEO and website optimization.
How Well Does Your Prospective SEO Provider Communicate?
Communication is key in any business relationship. This often underscores the importance of keeping you vendors as local as possible. So if you represent an American company that is attracted to the pricing models of a SEO company in India, you may want to consider the language barriers involved. Furthermore, because content and copywriting are integral aspects of on-site optimization, you will also want to assess the quality of the product that the company will provide.
Additionally, the manner in which your prospect communicates to the masses is huge reflection of how professional the company may be. Sometimes you can pick up cues simply by reading the copy on their website. Some other attributes that you may want to consider in regards to communication are:
- Does the company involve itself in social media and other Internet marketing channels?
- Does the provider have a blog or publish articles that are relevant to its industry?
- How effective does the company write content, both for clients’ sites and its own?
- Does the company deliver detailed monthly reports to its clients that show search rankings, site analytics, and performance metrics?
- Does the provider provide ongoing updates, insights, and new strategies?
If the company you are considering does have a Facebook or Google+ page, start reading into their posts. If they have a blog or articles section on their site, read into this content and assess the quality for yourself. It is usually obvious is the people of the company know what they are talking about, or if they’re just full of fluff.
Effective communication is key for virtually any type of service agency. Get to you know your prospective optimizer as much as you can before making any commitments. If have any mixed emotions or adverse gut feelings about a certain company, it is most likely best that you cross them off your list of potentials.
Does Your Prospective Optimization Agency Offer Technical Expertise?
Almost anyone can write keyword infused page titles and meta descriptions and call themselves a SEO pro. However, the most powerful SEO specialists provide technical website services to pinpoint weaknesses and opportunities in the HTML back-end of your site. Whether the prospect has in-house web developers who know the in’s and out’s of search-friendly coding, or they simply outsource these capabilities, it is critical that your optimization firm acknowledges the importance of having a seamlessly coded website.
The overall coding structure of your website, whether it has been custom developed or is purely based on a content management system (CMS), must not go overlooked. There a tons of search agencies that fail to take into consideration the SEO pitfalls of using a robust CMS platform or cumbersome HTML coding. The end result of such negligence will often lead to a sluggish website that can inhibit search engine spiders from crawling and indexing the site in an efficient manner.
In short, the lack of awareness of how SEO-friendly your website’s back-end is can end up being a recipe for disaster. Be sure to ask your prospect about the degree of technical expertise it offers. Does the company have experienced website developers on staff? Does the provider base all of its website services on a content management system?
When interviewing your SEO prospect, create a list of questions that address the technical capacity of the company. If they build their websites around CMS software, ask them what CMS platform they use. Additionally, do some research on just how SEO-friendly of the CMS platform really is (there’s usually always reviews on this sort of thing.) Proficient and trustworthy SEO firms will have their goods together and will often times put all of their technical capabilities on the table. The task for you is to inquire and extract as many details as you can.
What Resources Does Your Prospect Use to Build Links?
After all of the changes from Google targeting the ‘over-optimization’ of websites that have too many optimized backlinks, the link building aspects of SEO are critical consideration. Many companies that offer SEO and web optimization are losing tread from their previous link building practices that no longer work. Not only has their clients’ websites dropped in the search results, but so has their own sites.
Strong providers of search engine optimization have adapted to the recent search engine algorithm changes (primarily ‘Penguin’ which targeted over-optimized link building). These types of companies have modified the link popularity programs they provide to clients. Instead of creating tons of links with exact keyword phrase anchor text (which worked in the past), the leaders of SEO pack have diversified their link portfolios to include a blend of natural backlinks.
If you’re seeking a company to provide SEO (and surely link building too,) below are some aspects that you may want to consider in choosing a sound, up-to-par specialist.
- Does the provider use a mix of do-follow and no-follow backlinks?
- How well does the specialist use anchor text variations? That is, the ratio of your links anchor text that includes purely the URL (natural), partial use of keywords (semi-natural), or complete exact phrase match (not as natural, but still essential of SEO.)
- What types of sources does the company use to build links? Are they relevant content sources that pertain to the outbound links and their anchor text?
- How much authority do the link sources have to offer (often times measured by Google PageRank)?
When searching for the right SEO experts, be sure ask your prospects about their link building resources. The key points to uncover are just how natural and how relevant the link building service is. A very diverse blend of backlinks using various combinations of anchor text is natural. Building links from quality content that has some relation to the links is relevant. Using expansive blog networks, article spinning software, and mass publishing platform is unnatural and risky.
In addition, some SEO providers will still utilize traditional, old-school link building strategies like directory submissions, blog commenting, and forum posts. Although these sources of backlinks are much weaker for SEO than those from high authority blogs and articles, they still contribute to creating a very natural looking backlink portfolio for your website. When used in moderation (and not the sole sources for ranking power) these traditional linking techniques put the icing on the cake.