Five Characteristics of an SEO Agency That Won’t Rip You Off

Feb 28, 2014 | SEO | 0 comments

Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” for short has been a digital buzz word for a while now. But with the ever-changing nature of search marketing, rapidly evolving search algorithms and the looming risk of a manual penalty, companies need to be ultra-careful about who they choose to perform their SEO services for them.

The question at hand: what are the characteristics of an SEO firm that won’t rip you off? Below are a few characteristics of a good SEO company.

Good SEO’s Experiement

One of the best ways to tell if an SEO (individual or company) is a leader in the field is to ask them about their research work. Some of the best SEO experts out there are true experts because they discover truths, they don’t just read about them.

If you’re looking for a forward-thinking company that will provide you with solid, trustworthy results and insight, I’d be sure to ask them about their research and experimentation in the field. Cutting-edge SEO isn’t always the answer, but companies and individuals that experiment have first-hand knowledge of how search engines work.

Good SEO’s Are Transparent

What’s the second most important aspect of a sucessful SEO engagement? Reporting! While the most important aspect of an SEO consulting campaign is actually seeing (through targeted measurements) the benefit of positive SEO, transparency through reporting and regular SEO-client discussions helps to ensure clients feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

If you’re a client, don’t be afraid to ask for a regular progress report. If they offer a monthly report, but you’d prefer semi-monthly, ask! If your SEO wants to send a report without explanation, ask them (or make them) explain what the numbers mean to you.

SEO’s that are worth the investment will not just do the work, but help you understand the benefit as well.

Good SEO’s Follow a Process

I already mentioned that a knowledgable SEO agency tends to experiment in order to learn more about how search engines work. One of the first things I think of when I hear the term “experiment” is the scientific method. While SEO is truly part science and part art, there definitely should be a process that an SEO consultant follows with each client.

Good SEO agencies don’t “wing it”. They’re methodical.

If you’re a client, ask your SEO more about their process. What do they do first? What comes next? How will they know when they’re “done”? If they’re unable or unwilling to provide any detail about their process, I’d beware. They may just be winging it.

Good SEO’s Teach Others

The market for search engine optimization services is large and growing. There are a LOT of SEO providers out there, but very few that actually add value – at least value equivalent to what they want to charge.

Good SEO’s aren’t afraid of helping others – including their clients – learn more about the industry. The best providers are often active in the digital marketing community. The best SEO’s love to talk about their craft with others – in the business or not. A good SEO will realize and acknowledge that it’s in everyone’s best interest to raise the overall SEO bar because it’s ultimately good for clients, the industry and the end (web) user.

Good SEO’s Practice What They Preach

This is a big one for me, but easy to loverlook as well because it can take a little technical know-how. If your potential SEO consultant has his or her own website, how does their own site look from an SEO best practices perspective? Does it violate key aspects of a solid strategy?

Good SEO agencies practice what they preach on their own websites. For instance, if you visit a site for a provider and they lack a solid heading structure, their site has poor search indexing functionality or they’re still stuffing keywords into their meta tags, I’d take that as a very strong clue.

Chances are, if they did it on their own site they’ll do it on yours, too; and your SEO will suffer for it in the end.

What do you think?

What characteristics do you consider to be shared among the best SEO experts in the field? What characterists have you experienced that are strong indicators an SEO agency is trustworthy?