I will begin this article with motives that have moved me to write it. Recently, one major project was started, with whom communication began in February. At that time, they conducted a constructive dialogue on the cooperation and development of a new online store and did not agree on some points, after which the choice was based on another company. At this stage, the whole story would end if we did not resume the dialogue, in consequence of which we started cooperation in June. As a result, we have three lost months, indistinct results, and, of course, a loss of finances.
Our current partner in choosing the company was guided by completely logical criteria and still fell into the trap. So I thought, as if personally, having all my skills of the head of sales at the digital agency, chose a company to promote the site in case of need.
There are about 10,000 different advertising agencies and freelancers in the field of Internet marketing. Why such a huge figure? This is Google data. You will not find them on the Internet, but at their conferences representatives of the “Corporation of Good” sound exactly these figures.
I will not give you a magic pill that guarantees that everything will be successful with your project, but at the same time, I hope that you will save the reader from a few cones and save you a couple of three thousand American presidents.
And so, what tools to use and how to choose a SEO company to promote the site?
Google search results
Very often, our potential partners say that they applied to our company because we were in the top 3 of the SERP, and if they have advanced their site well, then their site will be promoted. Of course, there is some truth in this. If the company was able to promote its site, it means that it has specialists with at least basic skills of promotion. Nevertheless, I will grieve – the top delivery is far from a panacea and there are a number of reasons for this.
- Many Internet users still confuse organic issuance and contextual advertising and consider – if the site is above all, then it has great SEO experts. In fact, he has cool specialists, but on contextual advertising, and “SEOs” may not understand progress.
- The real leaders of the internet promotion market you will no longer find in organic issuance. Why? Yes, they just do not need it. These guys have a completely different approach to business and the word of mouth is working very well, so nobody is bothering about the TOP3.
- Constant change of ranking algorithms for Google sites. What does it say? I think you noticed that the position of your site in the search is not permanent. On the same request the site is located on the 3rd place, then on the 8th, then it flies to the second search page. Guys who know how to promote sites are constantly fighting for their seats in the TOP, so the change of leaders of the top ten among SEOs is constantly. The one who was in the first place today may become the last and vice versa.
- Web developers who understand very little in SEO, but want to get their part of the market, go to the top of the issue. How does this happen? It’s no secret that the link to the promotion of the site in Google is significant. I think many of you noticed in the footer of the sites a link to the guys who made it, this link can lead both to pages on the development of the site, and to pages on promotion and other services. And now imagine that the company makes 100-200 sites a year. It makes very good sites, but she does not know much about promotion. This sites are promoted by other companies, and the link to the developer is not removed (it’s something like professional ethics). Thus, for 2-3 years of work, the company is gaining a huge amount of quality reference mass from all of its sites and is entering the TOP. You think you’ve found the perfect promotion company. And in the end you find yourself in a broken trough.
- So-called “flying sites”. The company creates one-time lending, buys a lot of rental links and goes to good positions for some requests for a couple of weeks or a month. But then the site might get under the filters of Google.
Different Rating Sites
We include various portals to this category, which forms the rating of advertising companies and web developers. The most popular in Ukraine is it-rating.in.ua. How does the site forms its base and rating? When a company refers to web developers or SEO specialists, it provides access to its site to the contractor. In order to confirm in this rating that you are really working on the site, you need to add an empty text file to the site database. He does not carry any danger to the site, informs the system that this company has access to this site and conducts any work on it.
The advantages of this portal can be attributed to the fact that it is difficult to write on it fake reviews, the feedback should be written only from the domain that is assigned to the site, which minimizes the juggling of results. We also discuss the pitfalls of such a system of contractor selection:
- The rating of sites in this system is formed only by the index of the TIC, let’s see what Wikipedia will tell us about this. It’s funny, huh? The rating is determined by the citation index of the search engine Yandex, which is banned in Ukraine and up to the ban it occupied a maximum of 30% of the search traffic of Ukraine. According to the latest data, Yandex will soon give up TCI itself. Moreover, the citation index does not play any role in search engine optimization according to Yandex itself.
- A higher rating has the company that previously started publishing its projects on the site. Moreover, there is a possibility that the site was promoted to the TOP by another company, just the guys did not find in the database site a text file that raises the competitor’s rating.
- The third point is a consequence of the second. Web developing companies who post their file in the code can in no way touch on the further promotion of the site, but grow their rating through a hosted file that SEO experts have not noticed.
Analyze the portfolio
Yes, you understood correctly. It is necessary to go into the company’s portfolio, which you liked and analyze the sites of its clients. There are a number of public tools for this, which we will consider in the next article, so as not to accumulate current material with unnecessary information. If the company does not have a portfolio on the site for some reason, ask the manager to provide you with several client sites that you can analyze. What indicators do we recommend to analyze?
- Search (organic) traffic. What is it and why do we focus on it. The site can identify 4 main traffic channels, do not dig deeper: organic traffic; advertising traffic; traffic from social networks; referral traffic. If we are talking about SEO promotion you should be interested in the number of non-advertising visits because the site can have 80 thousand different paid transitions and 1000 free. Of course we would like it to be the other way around. Also, when analyzing, consider that organic traffic should grow, not fall over the last 7-8 months, but seasonality must be taken into account. For example, the topic of bicycles peak traffic will be in the spring. And by fall, there will be a very significant drop.
- Is the site really promoted by this company. On the one hand, it sounds ridiculous, but if you analyze the websites of many companies there are a number of customers that can be found in almost every one of them. For some reason, all the companies like “Coca-Cola” and other market leaders were very fond of it. To confirm again, you can see if there is a link to the SEO agency in the footer of the site. True links may not be, as many do not want to see who is promoting their site.
- Also, you can call directly to the owner of the site and ask for his impression of the contractor. To do this, you need to choose in the portfolio are not very large and well-known sites. I think you understand that you will not get through to the owner of the online store “Amazon”.
Reviews on the Internet
I will not write much about the reviews. I just want you to understand that a good marketing agency can write yourself a million good reviews. And competitors can write many bad reviews. So I do not recommend you to rely only on the reviews. They must be considered in parallel with other factors described above. But still, the absence of bad reviews is a plus, they can’t be removed in most cases.
How it works with the client’s site
A little incomprehensible wording, everything will become clear if you read further information. Based on the results of the SEO site audit, the contractor will probably have a number of recommendations on the site that need to be implemented. All SEO companies are divided into two types: some implement these works themselves, the second throw the task on the shoulders of the client. This is not good or bad, there are just two different approaches to work. Your task is to find out the exact total cost of works in one and the second case.
Cost of work
Unambiguously everyone wants to find good specialists, so that the site’s positions grow, and traffic grows and conversions from the site were, and better to pay nothing for it. The cost of work can depend on various factors: competition in the subject, the age of the site, the frequency of search requests, the region of promotion and many others. It is important for you to assess how the contractor company approaches the calculation of the cost. If you sent the application and within an hour you were given an answer with a price, I give a 100% guarantee that your site has not been analyzed in detail by anyone. The maximum looked at is on the subject matter of the site and was given a price from the head. I also add that every year the cost of website promotion is getting higher. And this is not because SEO companies want a lot of money, but because the top 10 search engines are not rubber. And if even 5 years ago only the most advanced entrepreneurs thought about promotion, now they want to promote their site to the TOP and enter to online from offline business becomes more and more. In a highly competitive niche, where 50 firms compete for the search grant from 10 positions, not only the one with the steepest specialists wins, but also the one with the budget for promotion higher.
If you are ready to invest in SEO promotion, you do not need to spend them giving away one-day companies, it is better to invest them in Google Adwords, save money and already with the much bigger budget start active site promotion. Some may say that in freelancing will do the same and for less money. To which I will answer, you are adults and have the right to make your own decision. That’s only usually the budget for spending often exceeds the amount for which freelancers are willing to work, and yet they also want to eat and 100% are not altruists.
There is no SEO company which has already taken place as a business, as a marketing agency, does not give guarantees for advancement. You can try to work with mountebank, no matter by contract or without. In six months, open my article and read it again.
So what should I do?
If you have read this far, then you are really serious about choosing a contractor, or maybe just scrolled. For the right decision, I recommend that you go through all the points listed above, and also use a number of audit tools that I will provide in the next article. Of course, send your site to a miscalculation in several companies that fit all of the above criteria. Listen to the questions asked by the sales person, whether he is really interested in your project or doing a template job, copying the figures from the previous commercial promotion. Your business is your child, I’m sure that you do not want to find a bad nanny for your child. Good luck in the right choice!