- Posted by Karolin Bierbrauer
- On 8. April 2016
- 1 Comments
- #buyseoservices, #SEO, #seoservices
Not every small business has the time to do their website optimization themselves, especially when the business starts to expand. SEO is not easy and is time-consuming. Perhaps it is better to buy SEO services and let someone else do the job. This post will guide you through the right decision when buying search engine optimization services.
What is SEO? Why is it essential for a website?
There are two types of search engine marketing (SEM) – search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA), also known as PPC marketing (pay-per-click marketing). What you see on top of a regular organic search result on Google, are PPC ads that have a yellow label, as shown below:
The regular search results (organic search results) that are beneath the ads are the ones obtained through SEO. Users of search engines generally believe that the organic search results are highly recommended by the search engine, so they rather click on that results than the ads. In a long run, SEO is considered to be highly effective and pays back over time.
Why buy good SEO services?
When you do plan to buy search engine optimization services, first you have to make sure if you really need it or not. The questions you should answer are: Do you really need SEO services? Are they profitable for your business?
Start by listing out what you want to achieve out of your SEO services, so your investment is driven in a certain direction.
Let me help you with some sample ideas below:
– Beat current search position of a potential competitor
– Get more search traffic.
– Get more visibility for your brand
– Get sales.
Once you have a target to achieve out of the SEO for your website you must choose what is the best options for your business if you feel you cannot do it yourself: you can hire an SEO for your time (in-house or freelance), an SEO agency or someone who can train your staff to handle it.
Getting your staff trained in-house can ba a good option in the long run, as you do not have to depend on a third party all the time. However, you can hire an SEO provider, always after a thorough background check. I will point this out later.
Be immune against fake SEO claims
There are all kinds of SEO companies out there – the good, the bad and the ugly. Some shady digital marketing companies may urge you to buy SEO services from them based on fake claims. Let me explain some of these claims that small businesses owners usually get and be unaware of when they buy SEO services.
Pay your way to organic listings
Actually, no you don’t. Organic listings are always free. The normal organic search results you saw underneath the Ads don’t cost anything. An SEO company can only charge you for their consultancy and services that will help you get in the organic listings for the searches that are right for your business. They can offer you services though, such as technical audits, link building, visibility actions or social media promotion.
#1 Ranking are a mark of success in SEO
Even it is true that you can benefit a whole lot from being #1 on organic search results, it is not exactly necessary. Serious buyers would sometimes not hesitate to browse further down search pages to find what they are looking for. Also, organic search results are customized for the searcher’s search behavior and preferences and some are arranged or shown based on their geographic location. So, every search result is different and if your website, for example, ranks on #10 in the “general search” it might rank differently on local search.
As long as you have a great search snippet with a convincing Meta Title and Description and content that matches the snippet’s description on the site, you are good.
Of course, you can expect to rank at least on first pages of search. You could also set a benchmark by asking them to rank you higher than your close competitors, but don’t get too obsessed with rankings. Other KPIs are much better signals for success for your website than others.
SEO is guaranteed
If your SEO service provider says that a #1 ranking on organic search engines is guaranteed, just rule them out of your list of SEO companies to buy search engine optimization services from.
SEO can’t be simply guaranteed, because search engines like Google, have extremely complex search algorithms that not even Google employees know by heart, not to mention your SEO service provider. Also, don’t forget about your competitors: they will probably be working on getting to the same pages.
SEO is a one-time job
It is not a one-time job, everyone who has done SEO before, knows that. Even SEO audits are not a one-time thing (like most business owners think). SEO is a long-term, recurring process as there are many competitors in the line to take away your number one position on search (if you are lucky enough) and as the “rules” of Google change almost on a daily basis. Also, Google really loves fresh content, so you cannot really think that you are going to stick around in the same search position all the time.
If your SEO provider says that you must try their services for a certain period of time and it will. take care of your site’s SEO for a long time, they are basically not telling the truth.
Questions you should ask your SEO provider
Earlier on, I mentioned that you should do a background check on your SEO provider before buying SEO services. You can first check SEO reviews of the company or social media mentions with a simple Google search of the brand name. Check their experience and number of staff by doing a search on Linkedin for the brand. If it is just a freelancer SEO provider, check his or her Linkedin profile for recommendations or previous experiences. Also, the website is always a sign of quality. Check their website if they have been transparent about their services.
Finally, when you shortlist a few companies or freelancers, ask them the following questions:
Are you into Off page SEO or do you also provide On page SEO and social media?
It is usually a good thing to buy SEO services from a company that is a one-stop shop for OnPage SEO (SEO on your website coding), Offpage SEO (building links to your site) and social media marketing. If you are a small or medium-sized business, it is easier and cheaper to get things done with the same SEO provider.
If you are a startup who does not have a website yet, hire an SEO company that offers web design and development with SEO. This will also reduce costs and save time by not having to switch between companies. But just be aware that there are some web design and development companies that say they will provide SEO, but usually, they only mean OnPage SEO and not lin building and social media.
How many links will be built to your site and within what time period?
Building links is not easy. We are talking about genuine, relevant and high-quality links that really matter.
If your SEO provider says that they will build 100 links a month, tell them you don’t want to startle Google with mass link building. Google has been sending unnatural link warnings out to webmasters and if your SEO company is a good one, they probably know better.
There is no rule of thumb for the right amount of links to be build to a site within a certain period of time. Even if they give you a number like 50 or 100, ask them for the list of source domains of the links and check if they are genuinely good pages (best is to check their PageRank, traffic estimates, and even Domain Authority).
And always remember please, “the objective is not to make your links appear natural, the objective is that your links are natural” (Matt Cutts, former Head of web spam team).
Do you use automatization software?
There are some SEO service providers who build links automatically with the help of link building software. Be aware of this practice as it has the tendency of raising a red flag with Google. Also, it is a good signal that they know the different software possibilities on the market, make sure they do key things manually: building links, creating content or publishing on your social media networks, among other things, are tasks that should be performed manually.
Which keywords will they use to optimize the site?
Keywords are important when it comes to SEO. It is easy for your SEO service provider to take a list of keywords that have low competition and rank your website on #1 position in organic search. Make sure you take a look at the keywords and see whether they are relevant to your niche audience.
Also remember, that you want to find people (traffic) that are genuinely interested in your services and company. What kind of search are these people using? If you get traffic without conversions, it will only be a cost for you.
Can you prove your credibility?
A good SEO provider should have real examples of search optimized websites from previous clients. If not, they must provide you contacts of those who have hired services before. And if not, how are you going to believe what they are telling you?
Don’t be afraid to ask, a good background check before you hire the service provider is better than regretting after hiring them.
Who will be working on my site?
A lot of SEO agencies only offer consultancy. Who is going to do the work afterward? Now we are again at the beginning of this blog post. Time is money and not every (small) business has this to do the changes. Ask the if they can offer the service or recommend someone that can do itö. Get to know the staff that will be working on various areas of your site.
Who will be my project manager?
You must be assigned a project manager to whom you can ask questions and who reports to you from start to finish of your site’s SEO. Some SEO agencies might belong to a local area, but they might outsource some jobs from other places and the communication channel must never be interrupted.
Will you give me access to all the new accounts?
It is logical for you to ask for access to all the sites where profiles have been created, for link building and promotions. This is useful in cases where you switch to another SEO provider in future or decide to eventually hire an in-house SEO.
These may include social media accounts, business listing site accounts, online review website accounts or even Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) if you didn’t already have one.
What is your pricing structure?
This is the most important question, but it comes last because you need to first clarify the above questions before reaching the final step.
Get a complete breakdown of the estimated SEO costs on your website when you buy the SEO services from an agency or freelancer. They must be transparent about every process that is to happen on your site.
Some providers even charge hourly, monthly, quarterly or annually. Some others charge based on the number of links created or the number of webpages optimized. Some also have a monthly fee, but they compromise and have a part “variable” depending on the results. Look for the structure that suits your own needs.
If you need to buy SEO services for your site, you can do it yourself or hire someone to do it, but you have to remember that it is a hard process and it is time-consuming. In the digital age where tutorials are available nearly everywhere on SEO and digital marketing, anyone with a computer can call themselves an SEO. So if you are buying SEO services, you have to be able to differentiate between a professional and an amateur.
Set your goals, ask the right questions and then do your numbers: it has to be profitable to you, but remember that SEO in the post penguin age is not cheap. Some providers will over-promise but don’t forget to always ask them to prove their expertise.