Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

How Do You Pick an SEO Company?

This is a question many people grapple with when they first realize they need help with their search engine rankings. The question was well-posed and the answer was right on the money. This is from SEO guru Jill Whalen’s High Rankings Newsletter issue 158, which seems to have expired from their web site. I found another copy of it over at Search Engine Guide.

How to Pick an SEO Company

Question: How does Company A, that is new to search engine marketing, assess Company B to hire them to manage their SEO programs? I’m seeing that there are companies making claims to put our company on the first page of Google — but there are black hat and white hat companies, companies that make the SEO program so obvious that the site gets de-listed. It seems just as complicated to pick a company as it is to actually optimize.

Jill’s Answer: You would choose an SEO company the same way you would assess any company you were going to purchase a service from. Check out people who’ve used them before and get referrals and that sort of thing. Find out how long they’ve been in business, and see if they’ll tell you exactly how it is they do their work.

What’s their methodology? Do you understand it or is it all geek to you? You can’t expect them to give you the exact specifics of what needs to be done on your site (until you’ve signed a contract and made a deposit), but if they say the way they optimize is proprietary, then run like the wind!

At the very least, any professional SEO company should be doing extensive keyword research, making site architecture recommendations, making copy recommendations, and creating Title tags. If a company seems to mention *only* Meta tags and submitting your site to search engines, but not the things that I previously mentioned, then you’d be throwing away your money if you use them. Even if you’re paying them only a small amount of money, neither Meta tags nor submitting to search engines will move your pages in the search listings. Those alone aren’t worth even a penny.

I couldn’t have said it better myself! Needless to say, we welcome inquiries about how we approach our SEO projects. We think you’ll be happy you asked.

  1. These are great tips for finding a good SEO company. I can imagine that making this decision can be difficult, especially for a small business that can’t afford to waste any money. I like what was said about choosing a company that can explain their SEO strategy to you. As a business owner, you want to know what your money is actually buying. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Glad you liked it, Nathan. It’s as true now as it was ten years ago when this was first posted.

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