Selecting a Search Engine Optimization Company
However, like every business, there are good companies andthere are lemons. Knowing the right questions to ask andthe criteria to look for will help you in choosing anaffordable, effective search engine optimization company.
When looking at different companies, begin by consideringthe approach they employ to raise your search enginepositions. Steer clear of companies that use cloaked,doorway, or bridge pages to raise your positions. Thesetechniques violate most search engine policy, and in theworst case scenario, will only get your website severelypenalized, if not removed entirely from a search engine’sindex.
A cloaked page is a page that is created which is invisibleto the regular visitor to your website. The cloaked page iscoded to detect a search engine spider and divert them tothis special page, which is set-up to artificially boostyour search engine position. Doorway or bridge pagesutilize the same concept, but often reside on an entirelydifferent server. Google, one of the largest and mostimportant search engine on the Internet, will remove yourwebsite from their index if they detect you have cloakedpages. Never, never employ any company that uses thistechnique!
Another important element is to get a guarantee that thecompany you hire will not work with your competitors whilethey are working for you. Obviously, this would seriouslycompromise the effectiveness of the search engineoptimization campaign. Be aware that some companies willuse the success they achieve for your website to sell theirservices to your competitors. So get your guarantee inwriting, and make sure it is legally binding.
Of course, one of the most important factors you want tocheck out is the company’s track record of results.However, don’t take the company’s word for it. They willundoubtedly be slanting their results in order to selltheir services to you. To go beyond their simple statementof success, ask them a few pertinent questions, and verifytheir answers.
Ask them which engines they have achieved the best resultson. The ones that are important are the most popularengines, and these are the ones you want to see goodresults on. Since the popularity of search engines canchange with the landscape of the overall Internet, checkout the Nielsen Netratings page at Search Engine Watch. Youcan access this athttp://www.searchenginewatch.com/article.php/2156451.
Next, find out what keywords and phrases they are claiminggreat results with. It’s easy to get high rankings withunpopular words. For instance, the keyword “cat leashes”will get high popularity ranking because no one else wouldthink of using it. What you are looking for is good resultsusing popular keywords. Check out the software Wordtracker,available at www.wordtracker.com. You can order a freetrial, or a subscription ranging from 1 day to 1 year. Thissoftware rates the popularity of keywords and phrases basedon actual search engine use.
Next, look for good results over an entire site that thecompany claims to have successfully worked for. You want tosee a wide range of positions over a number of differentsearch engines using different keywords or phrases for theentire site. Request a report for any client the companyclaims to have done well for. This report should show goodpositions on a number of the most popular search enginesfor a variety of different, popular keywords and phrases.
When you are checking out search engine optimizationcompanies, make sure they have actually done the work theyare claiming to have done. Some companies will use othercompany’s results in order to get you to sign on with them.If you are in doubt, call the company they are showing youresults for, and ask for the name of their search engineoptimization company.
It’s important to keep in mind that a successful searchengine optimization campaign will result in maximumexposure across a wide range of popular search enginesusing a variety of keywords and phrases. This is theformula for a successful campaign, and you should keep italways in the forefront of your marketing strategy.
Ask the search engine optimization company you areconsidering for a report that shows you rankings across anumber of popular search engines for a period of at leastsix months. Remember: search engine marketing is a processthat is continual, and you need a company that not onlyunderstands this, but keeps constant tabs on your searchengine positions. That company must also be able to adjustits strategy in the event that search engine rankings drop.
Since search engine marketing is an on-going process, yourpositions must be constantly monitored. If you want yoursearch engine optimization company to do this for you,request a sample of a monthly report. It is essential thatthis report should show rankings for the most popularsearch engines. Don’t be impressed by a report that onlyshows great results for a limited number of small searchengines. These are fairly easy results to acquire. Alsoconfirm that the popular search engine results they areshowing you are indeed the popular search enginescurrently.
Be sure the sample report the company shows you is in aformat that you can easily understand. For example, itcould be in the form of a chart that covers a period of atleast six months and presents data such as the top 50positions broken down on a monthly basis or the top 5 pageseach month. Then, ascertain that the company you areconsidering actually monitors these positions or pagesevery month, and that the sample report they show youincludes findings and recommendations for the specificsite. This insures that the company will actively monitorand make adjustments to their strategy on a continual basisrather than simply gather statistics on your positions. Youneed a company that is actively participant in your searchengine marketing campaign, not just an informationgatherer.
Obviously, your finances have to figure into your choice ofcompany, but bear in mind that a search engine optimizationcompany is crucial the success of your marketing campaign.It is not just a casual accessory. If you cannot afford acompany that will do a thorough and reliable job for yourwebsite, you might consider waiting until you do have thefinances in place.
If you have to find a company and can’t wait for yourfinances to catch up, you may be able to find an affordablecompany that will also be able to supply quality, reliablework, such as a fairly new company. Just remember thatthere are risks involved with using a company without aproven track record – and that risk is your money! Don’ttake that leap unless the company can supply you with aleast a few references.
References are the most reliable indicator of a goodcompany. Don’t use a company that won’t show yourreferences because of any reason, confidentiality included.Remember – even doctors will provide references! The firmyou choose should provide you with a minimum of tworeferences, one that is from the past, and one that iscurrent.
When you contact these references, be prepared to askprecise, specific questions so that neither of your time iswasted. Ask them what their experience was like with thecompany, such as their availability to answer questions anddeal with problems and their ability to meet deadlines. Askthe reference to rate the overall performance of thecompany.
Find out if the company requested that the reference makesignificant changes to their web pages that affected thevisitors coming to their site. You are looking for a searchengine optimization company that can balance the needs ofboth search engines and site visitors without compromisingeither.
The most essential question to ask is whether the work ofthe search engine optimization company resulted in higherprofits for the reference. Without profits, it doesn’tmatter whether your positions are at the top of the list ornot.