How to Choose the Right SEO Company in 2020

Ralph Cockburn - April 1, 2020 SEO Blog Home

Choosing the right SEO company isn’t easy. SEO can become a very complicated topic and if you’re not an SEO expert it can be very easy to get confused by all of the technical jargon. What makes it even more difficult is that SEO really isn’t just a single discipline. Once you get into it the world of SEO there are different specialties like On-Page SEO, Technical SEO, and even Off-Page SEO. So how do you choose the right SEO company?

Read on and we’ll give you some of our top tips as well as questions to ask to help uncover if you’re dealing with a team who really knows their stuff or if it’s just some guy who has some basic technical chops and can do some basic on-page optimizations.

How Do They Do Keyword Research?

This is an easy trap to set to tell those who know their stuff apart from those that don’t. Those with very basic knowledge will likely tell you that they use a tool like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEM Rush to find keyword search volume and prioritize your pages from that.

The problem here is not the tools they are using but that they’re likely not taking into account relevance or competition for keywords. Far more important than volume is how relevant the chosen keywords are to your topic. If your website is about making craft beer and they want to target the keyword “craft beer” you’re going to be set up from failure from the start. First, the vast majority of those searching for craft beer are not going to be looking for ways to make it, and second, the competition for this keyword is going to be far too high for a homebrewing website to stand a realistic chance of ranking well.

Question to ask: What are the key metrics you look for when deciding on keywords?

Answer you should receive: We look at a combination of search volume, relevance, and competition. Bonus points if they also take into account keyword intent i.e “buy kitchen utensils online” vs “kitchen utensils”. The first term likely has lower search volume but shows a much higher intent on behalf of the searched to ultimately purchase.

Ask Them About Their Company’s SEO Specialty

Back when I was running a Digital Marketing Department I once had an agency try to sell me their SEO services as an add on to their PPC services. They claimed that their specialty was that they had recreated an in house version of Google’s algorithm to crawl sites to see what needed to be done to improve them. This made absolutely no sense on so many levels but is exactly the type of flashy things that some agencies like to dangle in front of customers to make it seem like they have something special.

There are a few different things that an SEO company could specialize in but understanding a little bit about some of the different aspects of SEO can help you to decipher their skills.

SEO Audits

We partner with a company who do the most incredible SEO audits, they use a huge 150-page document that they deliver at the end of an audit and they spend hours upon hours combing through every little piece of data on your site. These audits uncover all kinds of hidden little pieces of information that give a really great background on what may be holding the website back. These types of audits require a very specific skill set that few people have but don’t necessarily translate well into the other aspects of SEO.

On-Page SEO

This is SEO in its most basic and widely understood form. This entails things like keyword research, updating page content and meta content to help search engines to better understand what pages are about.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO typically takes the form of link building services. These services can be extremely risky if the company uses spammy methods that are against Google’s Terms of Service.

If you’re looking for link building services you should make sure that the links you are getting are in no way part of a “reciprocal agreement” i.e your paying the SEO company and then the SEO company is paying for the links. In the eyes of google a link back from another website should is a vote of confidence that you’re an expert on a particular topic. If the link is gained based on anything other than the merits of your content you risk running afoul of Google’s incredibly sophisticated algorithms.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is one of the most complicated and least often specialized in aspects of SEO. This is because to be good at technical SEO you need someone who is also an experienced web developer. The problem with being an expert in this area is that it’s unlikely that they’re going to have an experienced developer on staff for each of the different website technologies. If they do specialize in Technical SEO make sure that they have developers that are experienced in the specific platform that your site is built on.

Question to ask: Do you specialize in a specific type of SEO?

Answer you should receive: Ideally you’re looking for an SEO company that has a team of people who each specialize in their own area of expertise. Listen closely to what they say and see if they give a combination or some variation of the above specialties. If they tell you about some gimmicky method they’re using to help you appear in the top spot proceed with caution.

Talk to More Than One SEO Company

This should go without saying but you should always talk to more than one company (yes, even if we’re your first choice). Shop around, have some conversations, and get a feel for the teams that really know their stuff and can provide you with valuable insights versus the people who are dangling shiny objects.

At TopOpti we strive to provide people with the very best experience possible when it comes to SEO. If that means that this article results in you choosing another SEO company then we’re glad that we could help but we’d also love it if you get in touch to give us a shot at showing you some of the features and benefits we can provide!

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