Best SEO Service | What to Look for in an SEO Service Provider

Selecting the Best SEO Service Provider

All small business owners I know want or need more (qualified) traffic on their websites.  And they have varying degrees of understanding about search engine optimization.  The problem is how to find the best seo service – and don’t forget we’re talking small business, so the best seo service on a limited budget.
Since I do this for a living I thought I would provide some tips on choosing the best seo service provider for your budget.  Of course I would like you to choose my firm, Marketing Practicality, as your SEO Marketing Consultant. But this post is not a sales pitch, rather some practical tips for small business owners to select a quality seo service provider.

Searching the Web for SEO Service Providers

When one doesn’t know where to start, this seems like a logical place, right? Is it the best place to find an SEO service provider? Maybe yes, maybe no.  The problem is it’s incredibly competitive, so the first page of Google maybe not actually list the firm that might give you the best seo service for your business.  You have a few options:

  1. Select a big SEO firm
  2. Outsource your SEO overseas
  3. Learn SEO and do it yourself
  4. Do some digging and find a smaller SEO firm

The Big SEO Firm

Large SEO firms typical provide service packages. So for a set price, you’ll receive a defined service (updating content, submitting your website to a number of directories, changing title tags and meta tags, etc.).

  • Expect to have the seo work performed for the price you paid.
  • Expect to be up-sold on other products or seo services
  • Don’t expect much help outside of the scope of your agreement

This level of service may be fine for your small business if this is what you are looking for,

Outsourcing SEO service overseas

I’ll admit, I haven’t run across too many companies or clients that have chosen this route when looking for the best seo service for their own company.  Most small business owners want a resource that is at least US based. My firm uses a programming resource in Europe from time-to-time with positive experiences.  But I would be wary of using an unknown resource for one of the many link building services that frequent my junk mail box.

Learn and Do Your Own SEO

Generally, I have two types of clients (which one are you? Be honest)
Client A
Developed a great website (it cost a fortune)
Cash flow is tight
Unfortunately, the website isn’t generating traffic like he hoped it would
After some research, he learned about search engine optimization, SEO
SEO has something to do with meta tags
So maybe he will try this SEO himself and then the expensive website will generate traffic and his internet fortune is made.
Client B
She has a great website (it cost a fortune)
Cash flow is tight
Checks her Google Analytics frequently
Has relevant title tags
Has her local business listing on Google and Yelp
Keeps trying to update her blog but doesn’t have time
Knows she should be doing more with social media – no time
Business is good, growing, even in this economy
She can even code a little HTML
But with all the business pressures, family obligations, etc. she can’t give the website her full attention. And cash flow is still a constraint – so hiring an full time seo is out of the question.
Client A can become Client B with the right aptitude and time.  Client B can do SEO herself, if she feels it is the best use of her time.  Understand, SEO never ends (if you want to do it the right way) and it is dynamic, so it is a considerable time investment.
If you want to do it yourself, here are some good starting points:
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO – by Rand Fishkin
High Rankings Advisor – by Jill Whalen

Hire a Smaller SEO Service Provider

If you want the best seo service, this may be your best option. Smaller firms often provide a more customized and detailed approach the your website’s search engine optimization strategy. But, like anything else, there are good apples and bad apples.  Here are some tips in selecting your “best seo service provider”:

  1. Ask your network for recommendations
  2. Ask your potential SEO partner for references – current and previous clients
  3. Get data from the SEO service provider (before and after ranking reports) from clients
  4. Define what the SEO firm will do for you – get it in writing
  5. Trust your gut – do you feel like you are entering a partnership or being sold?

Hear are things (at a minimum) to expect from an quality SEO service provider:

  • SEO strategy development commensurate with your business goals and objectives
  • Competitive market analysis
  • Detailed keyword research to develop the SEO marketing strategy
  • CLIENT EDUCATION – so you learn about SEO
  • Analytics interpretation and analysis
  • Effective link building strategies (off page SEO)
  • Professional, responsive and consultative interactment
  • SEO and practical use of Blogs and Social Media
  • On page SEO – optimization (code editing) of all elements
  • Qualitative and quantitative feedback of your website
  • Knowledge sharing

If your SEO service provider regularly gives you these things, within your budget and sales and traffic are improving – congratulations! You’ve found a quality seo service provider.

The Best SEO Service – Where to Find it?

Like most questions, this has many answers. But I would recommend you start within your network and expand your research from there. Once you’ve made the decision to hire an seo service provider – and I believe this is usually the most cost effective and productive route – make sure you are getting results.
Best of luck in your search for the best seo service – there are many qualified firms out there which will help grow your business.
Of course you can always contact Marketing Practicality!
But here are some other resources:
Google – with a link to their SEO starter guide
World Wide Web Consortium
Webmaster World

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