Search engines strive to offer the best experience for their users. In order to achieve this, they review and update their algorithms periodically. This can be a game changer for most companies in managing their online presence, as they are also required to periodically review and update their internet marketing strategy to match new trends.
Professional search engine optimisation services can help you stay up to date with these, but with the sheer number of options available for picking an search engine optimisation (SEO) company, it can be hard to choose the right one.
How is a Website Optimised?
There are a number of different tactics used to increase a website’s ranking in Google (Google has over 90% of the search engine market share in Australia, so it gets the most focus). These actions can be grouped into three categories.
Technical optimisation – This is the aspect of understanding how well a search engine can crawl through the website and index its content. Agencies focusing on this aspect of SEO will look into details such as the website coding (the HTML tags), its structure, and speed (how long it takes to download the content).
On-page optimisation – This evaluates user experience by understanding the navigation, content and how the keywords have been used in the site.
Off-page optimisation – This looks at the qualitative and quantitative aspect of inbound links into the website. In other words, the analysis looks into factors such as:
- Does the website receive referrals from outside sources?
- Does the business have a social media presence?
- How well is the website perceived – does the search engine trust the website to be genuine and useful?
Looking for an SEO company to help devise your strategy can be a difficult and confusing task. There are several providers in the market that provide different services. Hence, it might be a good idea to shop around and understand who the providers are and what an SEO agency might have got to offer.
The following are series of questions that can be used to evaluate a potential provider, before making the final choice:
- What tactics does the agency use to tackle the problem?
There is no one set formula for success. Hence, it is wise to choose an agency that provides a holistic service where the SEO strategy consists of technical, on-page and off-page optimisation. Furthermore, it also helps to check for how long they have been in the business. The more experience the better.
- What are the charges? Is there a minimum contract period?
Different companies charge different rates for their services. For example, if they charge a recurring fee on a monthly basis it might be good to check what tasks will be completed during this period. Do they provide reports of the tasks completed along with the results?
- Are they up-to-date with the latest trends?
Does the agency keep itself abreast with the latest trends and changes? For example, in the past keyword density played an important role in receiving a higher rank in the search results. However, today this strategy should be exercised with care.
Is the agency a member or partner of Google? Do they conduct their own research for better results? If there is a change in trends, how quickly will the change be implemented in the existing plan or strategy?
To have an understanding of the latest trends in SEO, it might be a good idea to use the many free resources on the internet.
- How are goals chosen?
The ultimate goal is to have the businesses website on the first page of the search engine listing. Although this is an achievable goal, it is not guaranteed.
Hence, choosing services from an SEO agency that will identify the business goals and work with you to develop the online marketing strategy is a must. This is where experience in a particular domain comes in handy, to help cater to specific niches. But this is not mandatory.
It is also important to identify how the results will be measured.
- Is there a waiting period to get results?
Although it is hard to predict this, most experienced agencies should be able to provide a basic time frame based on the health of the website. If they promise quick results, beware as they might be using black hat optimisation tactics. This can be harmful in the long run, as search engines are clever to spot wrongdoers quickly and blacklist them.
- What reports do they provide?
How transparent are their activities? Are the stakeholders kept informed about the actions taken and the results from these actions? Will they undertake to examine the health of the site periodically to achieve the goals and required results?
- Who are their existing clients? Are there any direct competitors?
This might be confidential information. But it is worthwhile to find out if a direct competitor may be an existing customer of the agency. If this is the case, there is a potential to cause a conflict of interest, where both clients are competing for the same rank in a search engine.
- What happens when the project is completed?
Optimising the website and conducting audits to check the health of the website must be carried out on an ongoing task to maintain the desired results. It might be worth asking the agency if they can continue to support the business in this task.
Do they provide a contract? What is the cost for maintenance? Can in-house staff from the business be trained to do the same task, in case the agency leaves after the closure of the project?
- What are the success stories?
It might be a good idea to ask for some references or checking for the agency’s track record. Speaking directly to existing or past clients can help
With the constantly evolving Google algorithms, staying ahead in the game can be a challenge! However, there is help readily available. It is recommended that you choose an agency that has a holistic approach to the problem, where all three groups of tactics – technical, off-page and on-page optimisation – will be applied.
The holistic approach has proven to give websites an improved ranking, better leads and potentially more sales.
By asking these questions, the business can evaluate and choose an SEO company that helps delivers results the healthy way.