SEO: Choosing the Right Internet Marketing Company

One thing I’ve tasked myself with learning and staying on top of over the past few years is digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) / search engine marketing (SEM). In this post, I’ve asked Rusty Russell of RussellCraft to share tips on hiring a company to help manage your internet marketing strategy.

The first thing to consider before hiring an internet marketing company is to find out if they will take the time to understand your company, your vision and company goals, or are they just going to use automated tools that will do the thinking for them? Are they going to do the work themselves or are they outsourcing to other companies? Here are some useful tips to guide your search for the right partner:

1. Get on the phone and do a screen share

Consider jumping on a phone call with the company you are considering and having the specialist take you through your website and show you how it is currently set up for SEO and what they intend to do. Set up a screen share, so that you can easily see the computer screen together as you are talking and walking through the website. Here are a few important questions for your preliminary analysis:

1) How are my company’s core business keywords ranking in Google? Do some Google searches and see how your website ranks within the results.

2) What keywords should my company be targeting? There are two types of keywords, local and national. Local keywords are connected to a geographical area, i.e. workers compensation jobs in Dallas, Texas. A national keyword would be something that someone would type from anywhere in the nation, i.e. workers compensation transportation.

3) What would you do to better optimize my website? Traditional SEO uses tools to determine keywords and adds those keywords throughout the website, within the content and the meta-tags. They hire content writers to continually add to the website and social media to earn their monthly income. A good SEO strategist will think outside of traditional SEO and diagnose your company history and credibility, as well as the footprint your company has made in the real world. These assets are all connected to the digital world and are the best way to leverage keywords for the strongest ranking in the search engines.

4) How successful do you believe our campaign will be? What sort of increase in rankings do you expect to happen, and how much increase do you expect each month, and each year? A good search campaign increases traffic to your company’s website, and decreases the amount you have to spend for online digital advertising.

5) What will you provide on a monthly basis? Ultimately the bottom line is online success, if the company can deliver great ranking, then it is well worth the monthly expense. But rankings aren’t everything. It can be frustrating to pay a company for two years and never get ahead of the competition. Are they willing to engage in conversation at least once per month, and can they provide simple reports that show an increase in ranking, traffic, and conversions? Do they have sample reports to share with you?

There are many more important questions to consider. It is an established fact that there are “SEO’s on every street corner” and they all claim to be successful in getting you to rank at the top of Google. However, the proof is in the pudding…do they have baseline reports, before and after screenshots to show? Is their client list based on Google ad clients, or search success clients? Remember to look at screenshots of your rankings before you start a new campaign so you have something to compare your initial results to.

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