NSW Fair Trading recently issued a warning to small businesses to be very wary of companies who offer SEO services guaranteeing that they can get you on the top search results for Google for a package sometimes in excess of $4,000 per month.

Search Engine Journal agrees that guaranteed page one is not a realistic claim.
”Getting to page one for any keyword within weeks were common claims and still are to be found in the recesses of the Internet. These optimizations either did not last long or, most likely, caused the site to be hit hard by Google, filtering out spammers and SEO gamers in their updates.”

Agencies such as Australian company Publicity Monster - who currently have 99 complaints lodged against them - talk jargon and technical details to unwary and unknowing small businesses and effectively bully them into signing up on these packages.

It’s no secret – SEO is complicated and highly technical. Ethical Practioners are continually keeping on top of changing algorithms from Google and Bing to ensure that SEO programs are delivering the best results for clients. Choosing the wrong SEO company can have long term negative consequences for your website, with some backlink strategies employed ruining your website and in some cases being penalised long term by Google for your rankings.seo-basics

There is no SEO accreditation program that helps unsuspecting companies make sure they are choosing a marketing SEO first who can deliver results. So what should you look for when choosing an SEO company?

We asked our SEO guru, Digital Marketing Manager Tim Bekpayev to give some insight in what companies should look for in an SEO company and how SEO works.

Q. What are the main ways you can choose an ethical SEO company versus a shoddy and questionable SEO supplier?
A. The first thing that gives away questionable SEO practices is a company who is promising to guarantee results and get you onto the first few search results of Google or Bing almost immediately. SEO isn’t a quick fix; it’s a long term strategy that takes time, planning and continual efforts to be an effective program that drives traffic to your website – and most importantly the right traffic.

We also highly recommend for SEO buyers to make sure that none of the SEO firm’s clients were penalised by search engines. Another important thing to know is whether they use an automated software of human power in their link building strategy as well as ‘does this SEO company outsource SEO or do it in-house?’.

Another thing to look out for is being locked into long term contracts – while it’s true that SEO should be seen as a long term strategy, you shouldn’t be locked into contracts.

Q. How do you determine what keywords you recommend for my website?
A. Keywords should be determined by an overall analysis of your company business which helps us to understand what keywords will deliver targeted visitors who ultimately have the highest potential to be converted into leads and customers for your business.

Another important aspect we take into consideration is that your targeted keywords must bring you a substantial volume of traffic; otherwise it is wasting of your time and budget. Our keyword recommendation is also the result of analysis of the competition existing across your targeted keywords to ensure that your SEO goals are achievable in the foreseeing future.

Q. How many keywords should my SEO program be targeting?
A. The problem with questionable SEO suppliers is they don’t necessarily target the right keywords for your business and will guarantee top place search position for only one or two keywords at the most. When we start your SEO program, we recommend a list of keywords most relevant for business – the right keywords that will deliver not just visitors but actual customers.

The most important thing to remember is that your targeted keywords must be largely supported by your website content. In other words, putting more and more keywords in your SEO program makes no sense if you do not have a sufficient content to cover those keywords. So be aware of SEO companies suggesting to target more than 100 keywords. As general recommendation, you may count the number of the webpages on your website, then multiply it by two and you will get the approximate number of keywords your website should target.

If your business has a small range of products or services, then the keyword list we target may be a handful only but they will be selective to the right keywords. When SEO objectives for the particular keywords are reached then we start adding more keywords to your SEO program to drive more relevant traffic and high quality leads.

For larger company’s offering a large range we would expand the targeted keyword list to make sure the top products and services are driving website visitors.

While our SEO program specifically targets these keywords, our programs always deliver a wider range of organic keywords simply by the content marketing and link building activities we deliver.

Q. How long will it take until I see SEO results?
A. SEO is a slow and steady drip, with realistic results taking 3-6 months depending on how competitive your keywords are. The whole Google search engine results and search algorithms trust history, longevity and authority – none of which can be built overnight. Any SEO program that built too quickly – mostly by buying links or excessive directory listings overnight – will look un-natural to Google and not be effective as part of your SEO strategy – this could indeed lead to being penalised by Google. Google won’t necessarily remove your site from the internet, but they can apply such heavy penalties that it may as well almost be gone from the search results.

Q. How do I know if my SEO strategy is working?
A. When we set up an SEO program, we agree with our clients on keywords, deliverables and measurable KPI’s. You should expect this from an ethical SEO supplier as well as regular transparent reports – most likely monthly that report on activities, results and how they are meeting the milestones agreed.

One of the most interesting things about the internet is that everything is measurable. There is a measurable metric for most everything about your online activities and your SEO company should be able to transparently report on the most relevant for your business. For example – how many sales or leads are coming from my SEO efforts, what products are people most visiting on my website and how many of these are converting to customers, what is the average value of each online sale, what keyword is delivering the most visits – and the list goes on. If you want to know a specific metric, just ask and your SEO Company should be able to report on it.

 

 

When looking to engage an SEO company try and get some knowledge about SEO to make it easier for your negotiations or so you can challenge a method proposed by an SEO company. Check out our recent blog articles on The Components of a Good SEO Strategy or The Absolute Basics of SEO

At Icon Visual Marketing, we offer professional SEO consultants who possess hands-on-experience and are more than happy to give SEO services that tailor fit the clients and customers. And being a full service marketing agency – be assured that your SEO is not outsourced, we have an inhouse team who understand your overall marketing strategy and use SEO as a tool to achieve your overall marketing goals.