Looking for an SEO Company? 5 things that should be on your radar.

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There have been a lot of gloom and doom articles over recent months about the relevance and value (or otherwise) of SEO for businesses.  Well, the good news is that it is far from dead – it has however changed fundamentally and finding a company who understands the importance of SEO as part of a holistic digital marketing strategy is critical to success.

It is not about quick fixes and short term solutions (although that’s not to say that you can’t see great improvements in the short term) Business fraudhowever, if you have your eye on the main prize you need to understand that SEO is a long term strategy that looks at your specific objectives, the competitive landscape and all other relevant factors and most of all understanding that content is king.   Part of the challenge for any organization or business when looking for a company to undertake SEO is knowing what to look for and what questions to ask of an SEO company.

Done well SEO is a key part of any digital marketing strategy that will help you to improve your brand visibility and awareness online, help establish your authority, drive traffic to your website for increased conversion and sales and as a loyalty builder.  Done poorly it can actively damage your brand credibility online and consequently directly impact your sales.

Digital SPS have put together a guide of the top 5 things you should consider when selecting an SEO company which will help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls, encourage you to see beyond those catchy claims and help you to ensure that your choice of SEO provider pays dividends where it matters most – your bottom line.

Experience in the Industry

In any industry, and particularly in one as unregulated as digital marketing, wild claims, too good to be true offers and poetic license abound.  Without exception every one of the clients Digital SPS have dealt with, have had at least one ‘bad’ experience with previous SEO or Digital Marketing providers.  Trust and reliability it would seem, and not unreasonably, are in short supply in the UAE.

Yes, we all agree, trust has to be earned but as a first step establishing the level of knowledge and experience of the team undertaking your SEO work is a must.  Don’t be afraid to ask any prospective SEO partner to provide you with details and outcomes of campaigns they have worked on in the past and for client testimonials.   This will help you to gauge their effectiveness but also assess their track record and level of client satisfaction.

Ethical Techniques

What is critical when selecting an SEO company is to get them to explain the methods and techniques they plan to deploy to help you achieve your objectives.  If what you are looking for is an overnight hike in rankings some of the methods deployed to achieve this may actually harm your business in the long run as there is a high risk that Google will penalize you for this.  Gone are the days when ‘keyword stuffing’ and a host of irrelevant links was sufficient to guarantee at least short term success.

Do make sure that your SEO company only deploys ‘white hat’ techniques and adhere to webmaster principles.  If the individual or company is Google or Bing certified then that tends to be one good indicator of what you can expect.  Don’t be surprised if your current website comes under scrutiny from your SEO provider – to get the best from your SEO you need a well ordered site with relevant, original content with strong inbound links to help build domain authority.

Claiming to have ‘secret methods’

SEO is an industry full of promises, many of them broken.  An SEO company claiming to have ‘secret methods’ to guarantee you top spot ranking is likely to have a trail of broken promises littered behind them.  Like most things in life worth having there is inevitably a lot of dedication and hard work required to achieve success and getting there is one thing but maintaining that position and translating that into meaningful engagement, leads and ultimately increased business is often the hardest part.

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is – dig deeper behind the claims and guarantees to understand how the SEO company plans to deliver.  Look for the SEO company that is committed to working with you not just using the most ethical techniques but that also understand your business objectives and the competitive landscape and that ensure that your SEO strategy helps deliver against those objectives.

Performance measurement

Any SEO provider worth their salt will be very happy to provide you with monthly reporting to help track performance and results.  Keyword rankings, domain authority and competitor performance are all vital components to help you, in partnership with your SEO provider, to help refine and adjust your strategy and approach.

You should ensure that your SEO company are able to measure and report on performance on a monthly basis in order that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy and more importantly measure the return on your investment.

Contract fees and term

There is generally some truth in the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ and SEO is one area where it is worth considering carefully and understanding what you will get for your investment.  The holy grail of first page ranking is certainly achievable but not without significant research, planning and execution on the part of the SEO company followed by constant refinement and management.  Most importantly however it needs to be driven by your business objectives.

Be wary of companies that want to tie you in to a 12 month contract or who offer special ‘packages’ – make sure you fully understand the limitations that come with it.  Packages can be appealing as the headline price often seems reasonable but make sure you read the small print and terms and conditions.  For example may companies will limit the number of keywords that they will work on and not be flexible in introducing new keywords once the original ones are ranking.

Sure it could well take 3 to 4 months for you to see a sustained improvement in rankings but if your SEO company is proactively monitoring and reporting on performance and you are confident in their abilities and are starting to see the results then they should be prepared to be judged on that and not tie you in to a long term agreement.  The quality of their work should be the key motivator for you to want to remain with them so make sure you choose a company that offers a pain free and easy exit should it be necessary.

Finding an SEO company in the crowded UAE market is not difficult, but choosing one that has the skills, experience and ethics to deliver quality, which truly understand your business, who have a vision for your online presence and are happy to be judged by measurable results, are harder to find.  The good news is that a reliable SEO provider can make a real difference to the performance of your business – all you have to do is choose wisely.  We hope that using some of the tips we have shared with you above help to make that process a little easier.

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