4 Tips for Hiring an SEO Firm

by Nick Stamoulis August 12th, 2011 

Hiring the right SEO firm involves a lot more than checking references and looking at past client work. The SEO company you decide to work with is going to have measurable impact on your site’s online presence, traffic growth, brand recognition and bottom line. You want to be sure that the SEO firm you hire is the right one for you!

Here are 4 tips to make sure you hire the best SEO company for your site:

1. Beware the sales pitch.

salespitch

If you are looking to hire a large SEO company, chances are the first person you’ll talk to is a salesperson, not an SEO strategist. Just remember that the salesperson’s job is to bring in new clients! They will do and say just about anything to get your business, whether that SEO firm is a good fit for you or not.

Don’t get caught up in a whirlwind sales pitch!

A lengthy sales pitch is really just cleverly disguised fluff designed to tell you what you want to hear. More often than not, it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. It may be incredibly convincing, but it’s not very substantial.

2.  You don’t hire an SEO agency like you would a creative team.

creative

When an advertising agency is going after a client, they pull out all the stops. They’ll design a full advertising campaign before they even land the account, because the potential client wants to see what kind of unique and creative ideas they can come up with.

Don’t expect an SEO agency to do the same thing.

An SEO firm might explain their process and offer general recommendations, but you shouldn’t expect a 30 page SEO report to go along with it. A white hat SEO consultant or agency knows that can’t make real, useful recommendations until they take an in-depth look at your site’s analytics. You’re probably not willing to give your login information out to every SEO firm you interview, so don’t expect too much information upfront.

3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

free-money

There is no “magic” answer to SEO. If you interview a few white hat SEO companies, you’ll probably notice that they all talk about the same things; on-site SEO, link building, content marketing, social media and so forth.

They should also tell you that SEO is long-term, and not to expect overnight results. If you run into an SEO firm that says they can get you 1,000 links in a month, get you on the first page of Google in two, and all for the low, low price of $199.99 a month, it’s probably a black hat firm or a scam.

There is no “secret” to SEO that you can buy for $199.99. Great SEO is the result of continuous, consistent, quality work.

4. Respect the person on the other end of the line.

respect

SEO is not a commodity, it is a service. You don’t want to deal with belligerent customers, and neither do SEO firms. If you’re just shopping around and aren’t really looking to buy, keep your phone conversations short and concise. Don’t waste your time or the time of the SEO firm by fishing for free SEO information. The key to a successful relationship with an SEO agency is respect, and it begins with the hiring process. You have to be willing to treat the SEO company like you would any other employees or partner.

Nick Stamoulis

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, a full service Boston-area SEO services firm and has over 13 years of SEO experience.

Brick Marketing

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3 Responses to “4 Tips for Hiring an SEO Firm”

  1. JamieArdent says:

    Hi Nick, as someone who works in an SEO firm, I agree with all your points. Number 2 in particular strikes a chord with me. Few people would call up a lawyer and expect 30 minutes of free tailored advice, but for some reason some potential clients expect it from an SEO company.

    The SEO industry has a bad reputation in some quarters and I know many local business owners who've been talked into expensive and ultimately useless SEO campaigns.

  2. Rana says:

    Thanks Nick for explaining the reality of SEO.

    This is a really simple point but most people don't understand and end up paying to cow boys.

    Anyone interested in SEO should understand the process and pay for the things SEO company will do, not for the rankings.

  3. Brock Blohm says:

    "There is no “secret” to SEO that you can buy for $199.99. Great SEO is the result of continuous, consistent, quality work."

    I'm with ya! This does take work – and it takes time to learn the strategies to implement in the first place. I have read and learned as much as possible. I have learned a lot in the last 2 days, I'm getting excited to put it to use! :)
    Thanks for the info!