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May 14, 2008

Criteria for a Good SEO Firm

You have a website and now you’re ready to start marketing yourself…who do you go to for help? Who do you trust? Finding a knowledgeable, time-tested and honest SEO firm is a challenging, and at times, daunting task. Ask the right questions and educate yourself on the criteria for a good SEO firm. There is a lot of stuff out there on the web, but if you gain the right information and hire a great SEO firm, you can breathe easy and watch as your website soars in the search engines! Is your hired SEO firm a true fit? Check out these criteria on a good SEO firm.

Steer Clear of “Just Trust Me…”
Have you heard this line before? If so, you might want to reconsider this type of SEO Firm. Good SEO Firms not only explain what they are doing, but why they are changing your website. Whether it’s tweaking content, adding links, or creating a new page – there needs to be an explanation for changes made to your website. A good SEO firm will act in an honest and professional manner when optimizing your site – keeping those lines of communication open! If all you hear is, “Just trust me” or “In 2 weeks, you’ll be #1 in Google”…that’s a red flag! Don’t waste your time, or your money with these fly-by-night, so-called SEO Firms.

What’s the Key to Success? A Strong Relationship
A strong client-SEO firm relationship starts with honesty and the overall goal of converting your leads into sales. Increasing your return on investment (ROI) should be the motivating factor behind any strong campaign. A good SEO firm needs to establish trust, explain how to get your website from point A to point B, and withstand an open line of communication throughout the process. The client-SEO firm relationship relies heavily upon customer satisfaction, as well as getting your website found in the search engines.

Cookie-Cutter Approach? Not Here!
A Good SEO firm inspires creativity and the creation of individual search engine marketing campaigns. Each website is different, from the way it looks and its functionality, to the keyword phrases and marketing approach. Whether you are selling products, booking rooms, or branding your business – each site requires a tailored marketing plan. Good SEO firms realize this and will use their experience in the industry to determine how best to market your website to increase your conversion rates.

Content Is King!
Everybody says that you need compelling copy on your site – but why? A content-rich site screams credibility to not only the search engines, but the end user. Let’s think about this: If I’m traveling to Florida and I’m trying to decide between Hotel A and Hotel B, where would I go to find information? The web of course! Hotel A’s website has great content on ALL pages, easy to navigate and offers a myriad of informational articles about the region. Hotel B’s website has a couple of sentences on the homepage about the resort and an ‘email us’ link at the bottom of the page…which Hotel would you choose based on its website? No brainer, huh? Although search engines can’t “read” copy like humans, they do follow links and keywords within text copy and base their ranking algorithms on these two variables. Sell your destination, product or service with great copy and generate sales and rankings too!

Content is King…and so is the Navigation Structure!
Keep it logical, keep it streamlined…and watch as the conversions pour in! I’m sure you’ve read case studies or various articles talking about eye tracking theories including the F-Shaped Pattern for reading web content. A clean, easy to use website does wonders for sales and conversion rates. Not only do easy to use websites offer people a clear avenue into what they are searching for, but search engines like to be able to spider sites quickly with ease. SEO firms need to ask themselves, “What does my client want to achieve from this website?” and facilitate an easy way to get the job done.

Experience Matters
Can your SEO firm show you a variety of different sites that they’ve worked on in the past? What is the firm’s background? Make sure that you gather all the information you need when hiring a good SEO firm. After all, this is your website – a tool that is supposed to drive traffic, increase leads and boost your return on investment. Your research can save you money in the long-term!

Got Links?
The topic of link building has become a greatly debated issue over the past several years. SEO experts and professionals alike have posted comments on numerous discussion boards and blogs – and the consensus is the same…Link building is still a necessity for search engine placement. However, techniques for link building vary. A good SEO firm knows that link farms and “spammy” link campaigns can quickly lead to the demise of a website. Social Networking in online communities, quality relevant links that will bring you traffic, and directory submissions reign supreme in the linking world, and a Good SEO Firm knows the value in getting you listed in niche markets.

Word of Mouth Matters
Do you already have an SEO Firm in mind? Ask your potential firm if they have any testimonials on client satisfaction. Or, browse their website to see if testimonials are available. The best advertising is word of mouth. Good SEO Firms have happy clients that are eager to share good news!

‘Black Hatters’ Bye-Bye
What is ‘black hat SEO’? It’s when firms get away from the idea of creating quality SEO campaigns and instead incorporate “spammy” techniques in the attempts of fooling the search engines. Keyword stuffing, website cloaking (creating content that is only seen by search engines and not users), and mirrored pages are just some of things that have gotten webmasters into trouble. That is why it is so important to ask the right questions and see if the SEO firm is trusted in the industry.

  • Show Me The Money!
  • Is Your Website:
  • Easy to navigate?
  • User Friendly?
  • Have a marketing message clearly displayed?
  • Creatively written?

If so, then you are off to a great start! If not, you might want you find yourself a reputable, good SEO firm.

With these tips, you are sure to be on your way to a high ranking, content rich, and increased trafficked website! Always rely on common sense and your gut reaction when hiring an SEO Firm as well. Similar to what Forest Gump says, “SEO Firms are like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get”! That’s why it’s important to educate yourself, ask the right questions and make sure the lines of communication are always open between you and your SEO Firm.


Sarah Lamansky is a Search Engine Marketing Manager at Mannix Marketing, Inc. in Glens Falls, NY. Please contact us for all of your search engine marketing, website design/development and advertising needs. Proven to be a Good SEO Firm, call now for a FREE quote on internet marketing services for your website. With a positive approach, streamlined goals, and over Ten Years in the search engine optimization industry, We Get You Found On The Web AND increase your sales.