How to Pick an SEO Company (from a Sales Executive)

Hello and welcome to my big blogging debut! I’m in sales in our Seattle office and here to impart a bit of my knowledge about how to pick an SEO company.

I started with Distilled in April of this year and have talked with hundreds of clients, from both big and small companies, and they all have the same story: they want to drive more business to their site and find an SEO company to help them do this. This is a great start; however I’ve found that beyond these initial ideas, some don’t know what they are actually looking for from an SEO project.   So, I’ve compiled a few questions I hear often and my answers to them to aid those looking for SEO help and make the process a bit easier.

I’m interested in an SEO project, but what should my goals be?

I get this question all the time.  My answer is typically to turn the question around and ask the client “what do you want from your business?” This is not a cut and dry answer. You need to establish your priorities for the project, including both short term and long term objectives. Some ideas to consider are:

  • Are you looking to focus on branded or non-branded search?
  • Do you have any specific issues with your site you are looking to fix immediately?
  • Is your site easily found by the search engines and do you have strong conversion rates?
  • Do you have specific traffic growth targets you are aiming for?

This is something I always like to discuss with clients to ensure we are able to create a project that will fit exactly what they are looking for in terms of SEO and make sure we are getting the client a strong return on investment.

Do you offer a price per service, such as for link building?

I am a bit wary when I hear from potential clients that they have been offered a price per link because sometimes it takes twice as much effort to get a good, strong link as it does to get many, less powerful links. Therefore, we don’t offer a price per service because we find it can artificially limit what we are able to do. We take a more comprehensive approach to SEO because it allows us the flexibility to look into all aspects of SEO so the client gets a well rounded online marketing platform.   Try to keep this in mind when researching different companies because the focus should be on quality over quantity- especially when looking for link building. You are going to want to build long lasting, powerful links that are going to be the most effective!

This third question comes up often when talking to in house SEOs or marketing directors. They often know what they are looking for in partnering with an SEO company, but they need a little help convincing the others that it is a worthwhile investment.

I understand the value of SEO, but I’m having trouble convincing my boss. Any ideas for how to help?

This is always going to be a bit tough, especially if they are skeptical to begin with, but it is definitely doable! A good way to convince a boss/CEO/VP etc. is to mention that SEO is one of the most cost efficient ways to get a strong ROI from your marketing campaign. In SEO, you are able to track everything and monitor very closely the progress and success of your campaign, unlike other more traditional forms of marketing. You are also able to target and connect directly with those looking for your product. I then point people in the direction of the handy dandy SEO guide, which has a whole section with data on the use of search called “How People Interact with Search Engines.”

I’m an SEO, so what can you help me with that I don’t already know?

This is a smart question to ask because it’s important to consider all parts of a project before investing in an SEO company.   We are often contacted by in house SEOs and marketing managers and they all seem wary that SEO companies could somehow replace them or that they could be a waste of time.   At Distilled, we are very much focused on consulting, so we would be able to give you an unbiased review of your site without taking away from you and your in house team doing what you do best. You should be looking for the same. Anyone you talk with should be about making your process better and making you company’s site perform better, not securing their own financial future.

An SEO Company should have a wide range of individual SEOs with unique specialties - some more tech focused, some with a stronger marketing background.  This is to complement the current in house SEO and fill in any holes in the team. You want your SEO company to have strong experience in all backgrounds that no individual could easily have on their own. Taking advantage of the combined expertise of an outside SEO company can be an invaluable move as it will bring in another pair of eyes to point out things you’ve missed and give a unique perspective that is hard to see when working in house.

Also, consultants aren’t tied to working in house for any specific industry or company, risking the chance of getting bogged down in the details or inner workings of a specific field. Instead, we are free to keep up to date on SEO trends, consult with other industry leaders, and stay at the forefront of search marketing. Then in turn, when we are hired on as consultants, we can offer the most up to date knowledge and recommendations to help make you, your website, and your company better.

Hopefully this will help in your quest to find the ultimate SEO company for you. Good luck!