Selecting an SEO partner can be daunting for a businesses owner. There are so many things that need to be addressed, not to mention most owners aren’t equipped with the knowledge or tools to monitor performance.
Another thing to consider is cost and return on investment. A good SEO partner will be able to lay out a clear path to success for you. Stay far away from the companies that guarantee #1 rankings for tons of keywords.
Your key focus with SEO should be authenticity. Google loves it, your users will appreciate it, and it is the only way to guarantee the long-term success.
Rule #1: Do your research
The first thing you should always, always do when evaluating an SEO partner; check their page ranks and check in with their references. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Here is an article with more on that, SEO Partners: What to look for when selecting one
During the initial interviewing stage, your potential partner should be immediately providing value and insight into their expertise and what they will do.
Do some SEO companies outsource certain services? Absolutely. Ask the question and avoid the ones that outsource a majority of the work. You want an SEO partner that commits to your business.
Rule #2: Look local if possible
We have three offices; Phoenix SEO Experts, San Diego SEO Experts, and Dallas SEO Experts. We try to stay within these geographic areas, one because we know the area. And two we can actively work with our clients in person.
That last part goes a long way, you have no idea.
Yes. We are nerds. But we don’t hide behind our computers and fancy reports. We like to get hands on with our clients.
By staying local you will be able to collaborate with your partner, and if all fails you know where they live. Just kidding on that last part. But no seriously you can hold them accountable and build a solid working relationship.
Rule #3: Know your SEO Partner’s strategy
A good rule of thumb, know the difference between white hat and black hat search engine optimization. You don’t want to get stuck with a partner that is going to sacrifice the long-term integrity of your website for short-term success.
You also don’t want a partner that is only focused on the long game.
White hat SEO is the practice of obtaining organic traffic through best practice techniques. This includes content marketing, on-page optimization, link building, influencer marketing, social media and other technical aspects.
Black hat SEO is, you guessed it, all the bad stuff. Keyword stuffing, duplicate content, link exchanging, some private blog networks, and any methods where you are trying to trick search bots.
Here are some additional resources for White Hat versus Black Hat:
- Moz – White Hat or Black Hat? It’s time to ask better questions
- SearchEngineLand – White or Black Hat SEO: What’s the difference?
- SearchEngineWatch – SEO 101: Meet the White Hats, Grey Hats, Black Hats & Asshats
Rule #4: Create an SEO Partner checkup sheet
Your SEO partner has one KPI and that is to increase your search ranking. At the very beginning of your engagement, you should have clear keyword goals in mind. And each week you should track changes in those SERP rankings.
If you are losing rankings in one keyword that you are actively trying to rank for, something is wrong. Either your competitor has a better SEO partner, or you’rs isn’t doing their job.
KEEP TRACK OF THOSE RANKINGS.
Another important KPI is domain authority. A ranking factor created by Moz, a leading search engine optimization tool. Ideally, you want to see your domain authority consistently rising.