SEO companies and consultants know this all too well. Clients, on the other hand, typically have a tough time grasping the concept. I can't say I blame them. Quality SEO requires an investment of time, resources and money. It also requires a significant amount of client/vendor trust. Lack of trust can kill a business relationship far faster than poor performance or missteps during the process.
Top SEO rankings don't start with keyword research, competitive analysis, site organization and content development. They start with trust.The best advice I can give is to think about SEO like dating. A top-3 ranking on Google is equivalent to the person you want to date. If your special someone likes to take things slow - much like search engines do - slick attempts to close the deal on the first date will always result in failure.
Success in SEO - and in dating - is the result of patience, respect, listening, adapting and, most importantly, building trust. If you're a good, responsible partner and you treat your significant other well, you just might here those three magical words: "I love you!" If you're a good, responsible website owner and you treat your site well, you just might earn that magical #1 position on Google.
How do I find a reputable SEO company?
I hear this from friends and business owners all the time. The unfortunate truth is that, much like home contractors and auto repair shops, SEO companies have a stigma associated with them.
Why? Because greedy, unethical individuals and companies prey on the fact that many business owners know little to nothing about SEO. They lock them into binding contracts, confuse them with technical jargon and provide no value or ROI.
The good news is that there are plenty of trustworthy SEO agencies and professionals out there who stand by their work. The following are traits you'll find in a quality SEO company:
- They don't provide blind estimates. SEO is like a custom suit - it needs to be tailored to each client. Certain processes may be duplicated for each project, but the overall strategy and scope of work is different from business to business. Beware of cookie cutter solutions.
- They ask a lot of questions. Your SEO strategy is highly dependent on your business goals. The company you work with should want to know what action(s) you want people to take when they visit your website. They'll also want to know about the typical buying process for your products or services. Without this information, even great SEO work can miss the mark.
- They communicate a lot. Monthly progress reports are great, but I believe SEO companies should communicate with their clients on a weekly basis. Not to discuss ranking changes - that should be done less frequently - but to stay in tune with your business. Marketing campaigns, social media contests, press releases - all of these things can impact SEO. The tighter your communication with your partner, the more likely they are to be able to take advantage of potential SEO boosters.
- They don't make guarantees. If a company guarantees you the #1 spot on Google within 6 months or less, run. Quality SEO takes time, and the amount of time it takes to get to the top spot - or even to page one - depends entirely on how competitive your target keyword/phrase is. Guaranteed search engine rankings are modern day snake oil.
How much does good SEO cost?
The price you pay for SEO varies from company to company. May companies charge hourly, and the hourly rate depends on the skill and experience of the individual(s) handling your account. Another popular financial arrangement is the monthly retainer. The majority of our SEO clients prefer to be billed this way. Retainers involve an up-front agreement on the number of hours a project will require each month. The client enjoys the stability of a fixed monthly cost, and the agency enjoys the stability of a fixed monthly workload.
Additionally, many SEO firms - including us - often charge an initial fee to cover time dedicated to keyword research, competitive research and analysis, content strategy, development of comprehensive SEO plans, etc. These are one-time costs, and they're well worth the price of admission; the work they include will serve as the foundation on which your SEO is built.
Are you in need of a good SEO company, or would you like an analysis of your current SEO efforts? Contact us today for a FREE 30-minute consultation!
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