Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.
Today’s consumers begin their customer journey with a search engine. This means that businesses with a website must rank on the first page of Google or any other search engine such as Bing and Yahoo. This makes search engines the most powerful online marketing tool available. Not only do search engines attract the most users, but they also bring you customers.
Websites that rank on the first page of Google see a massive increase in traffic and conversions. Ranking on the first page increases traffic by 134% for those previously listed on the second page. Ranking 1st on the first page of Google drives 34% more organic traffic than 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places combined, and get this: 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page.
However, to rank in the top ten of Google (the first page), you need a fully optimized website that is the best friend of search engine algorithms. This is achieved through the practice of ethical search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is not magic, but it requires knowledge of search engine algorithms and specialized skills. This is why most business owners turn to experienced and reputable SEO professionals. However, choosing an SEO agency to manage your online presence is not as easy as it should be. Not all agencies will keep what they promise. But there are telltale signs to look for to make sure you pick the right one.
Related: It Might Be Time to Fire Your SEO Company
Do their SEO strategies meet Google‘guiding lines ?
The best SEO agencies understand how Google’s algorithm works and don’t stray from the limits. You should look for experienced professionals with a proven track record of ranking their clients in high positions. More importantly, you want to be assured that the methods he deploys are ethical. Search engines have a list of “Quality Guidelines” that prevent underhanded tactics designed to manipulate search engine results. And there are a lot of SEO agencies that use “black hat” tricks.
Illegal SEO techniques include auto-generated content, sneaky redirects, scraped content, paid link building schemes, and thin content (less than 300 words per page). Google makes it clear that any website violating the quality guidelines will be banned from search engine listings until the issue is resolved.
Google says: “Website owners who devote their energy to upholding the spirit of the Basics will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better rankings than those who spend their time looking for flaws that they can exploit.”
Beware of the promises of SEO agencies
SEO works, but it takes time to achieve top rankings. Don’t expect to climb into the top three spots in a year. It can take six to 12 months to land on page #1 of Google.
It’s probably not the news you want to hear, but it’s the advice you should look for when choosing an ethical SEO agency. Anyone who promises to put you on the first page of Google in three months is using black hat techniques. Quick results can be great in the short term, but they will have long-term adverse effects that could potentially cripple your business. Good SEO involves a slow, steady climb to the top, but you stay there when you get there.
Are their testimonies authentic?
Testimonials are meant to provide consumers with reassurance and trust. The problem is that online testimonials can be faked. Never trust testimonials posted on a website alone. Quality SEO companies have a strong online presence. You should be able to find positive reviews on consumer review websites such as TrustPilot and Trustist, as well as a choice of social media accounts.
You expect an experienced SEO agency to have lots of positive reviews and maybe even a handful of negative or poor reviews. But even these so-called trusted platforms are not trustworthy. A company or its competitors can falsify reviews.
The best way to check if positive reviews are genuine is to contact the people advertised on the agency’s website. If the reviews are honest, you should be able to find the businesses on the first page of search engines. It’s even better if the SEO agency also publishes case studies on their website.
Related: 5 Tips for Choosing Your Next SEO Company
Research your own keywords
Search engines rely on keywords to match search terms with the most relevant pages. However, search engines rank millions of websites that all use the same main keywords.
A creative SEO agency will use smarter tactics, namely niche keyword research. This technique identifies high quality keywords that have the lowest competition. Essentially, niche market research avoids competitive research by exploiting searches using long-tail keywords. This allows companies to find their target audience more often.
For example, let’s say you provide a self-help program targeting people with depression. The general keywords that everyone will use are:
- “Self-help tools for depression.”
- “Depression therapist.”
These may be high quality keywords, but they are also very competitive keywords. Niche market research will identify long-tail keywords that target people looking for a specific product or service. For instance:
- “How to cure depression without drugs.”
- “What causes depression? »
- “How to Manage and Overcome Depression Quickly.”
Long-tail keywords increase conversions because they identify customers looking for a specific solution.
Does the agency specialize in local SEO?
Local SEO helps small and medium businesses attract customers by targeting search engine users in your area, and 46% of all Google searches have local intent.
Optimizing your website that lets Google know how you can provide a solution to people in your area will help you show up in search engine results. Plus, attracting local customers leads to more sales.
Related: 3 Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Agency