Search is one of the two most frequent Internet activities in the world (along with email), which is why it’s so important that potential customers be able to easily find your company website via the major search engines. And since between 70% and 80% of searchers completely ignore sponsored links in favor of organic results, you can’t rely too heavily on pay-per-click campaigns to build steady website traffic. The bottom line is that out of all the internet marketing strategies you might try, search engine optimization is probably the one that has the most potential to impact your customer flow.
But when you’re vetting SEO companies, how can you know you’re choosing a reputable one that will provide you with long-lasting results? Here’s what you should expect when you hire an organic SEO company:
- White-Hat Techniques
It’s easy to get sucked in with SEO agencies who promise they won’t take a dime until you’re on the first page of Google results. But this is actually a warning sign that a company is using “black-hat” SEO techniques, implementing methods banned by Google to manipulate rankings for a temporary gain. The problem is that when Google discovers how the agency achieved those rankings (and Google will find out), your website will be dropped in the rankings via manual penalties. Whatever agency you end up working with, ensure that they aren’t using any outdated techniques; these attempts to cut corners can hurt your business and leave you trying to repair the damage long after the SEO company is out of the picture.
- Constant Monitoring of Algorithms
Search engines are constantly updating and refining the algorithms that determine rankings, and a good organic SEO company absolutely must keep up with all those shifts. There was even a shakeup in the SEO world on Thanksgiving Day this year, when it appeared that Google had rolled out a new version of the Penguin algorithm (it later turned out it was a continuing rollout of version 3.0 from October, and not a version 3.1). A top SEO company will be looking out for these types of events 24/7, as well as trying to predict future moves, in order to boost or protect your rankings.
- An Understanding of Content Marketing
One of the most effective SEO methods currently in use is content marketing. All this means is that you, as a company, share useful information with your customers in order to build your brand without directly selling a product. The most basic iteration of content marketing is a company blog: Business websites that include a blog get their pages indexed 434% more than those that don’t, which gives you more chances to rank and more potential leads. A full-service organic SEO company should help you create unique, dynamic content for an onsite blog, as well as place articles (including reputable links to your business) on high-quality sites all over the web. Content marketing is just one example of how SEO is quickly merging with more traditional marketing methods, going hand in hand with other efforts such as social media.
Can you share any more advice on how to choose the best SEO company? Join the discussion in the comments.