With so many different types of SEO firms out there pitching their services, it’s tough to know which one is right for your business. Finding one that meets your needs and objectives—and avoiding those that might waste your time and money—requires carefully considering the focus of each SEO firm, their service level and their service type. To help you with the selection process, we’ve created this helpful guide to show you the different types of SEO companies and how to find the right one for you.
Focus: Specialist vs. Generalist
Research the type of industries that an SEO company caters to in order to find out if their services will be appropriate for your business. If you work in a particularly specialized field where it’s important to be familiar with technical language and narrowly focused target audiences, you most likely want a firm that is familiar with your industry and can distinguish you from the competition.
If your business appeals to a broader audience and is more accessible, then you should be fine working with more of a generalist SEO company that works with different types of clients. There are of course exceptions to both these cases as a specialist may be too limited for your goals and some generalists may be very adaptable, so it’s important to talk to potential firms about the areas in which they excel.
Service Level: Entry Level, Mid-Level and High-End
The size of your company and your SEO needs will largely dictate the size of the SEO company that will suit you well. If you’re a large international brand, you’re going to need a high-end firm that can offer you the scale and resources necessary to address all of your objectives. Whereas, if you’re a small to mid-sized local or regional company, blowing your allotted marketing budget on a heavy hitter wouldn’t be a smart use of your money and time. You’re better off choosing an SEO firm that can address your needs at a reasonable rate and has a solid understanding of your particular marketplace. If you’re a larger, mid-sized company that has a bigger budget and would benefit from a more comprehensive approach, a mid-level firm would likely work well.
Keep in mind that paying more for SEO services does not necessarily mean that you’re going to get better service. Ideally you want to choose a firm that can customize your SEO strategy and execution to your specific business needs without spending your entire budget. You can always upgrade to a larger firm if business is booming, but it can be difficult to downgrade if you’ve already spent all of your resources right out of the gate.
Service Types: Tactics, Strategies and Goals
There is a wide variety of SEO companies offering a range of services, and choosing the right one for your company depends largely on your overall goals. Whether you’re looking to improve basic site optimization and restructuring to develop more visibility or you need a more comprehensive approach, including content marketing, social media, and long-term development, there are firms out there to meet your needs with different strategies.
One critical component to choosing the right firm for you is knowing which SEO tactics you want to avoid and, in turn, steer clear of companies that use them. Avoid companies that promise overnight results and immediate top of page one search results, as these fly-by-night operations are most likely using unsavory or “black hat” SEO tactics, including link buying schemes, and other outdated strategies.
The company you want to look for, ultimately, is one that offers a clear strategy that they’re willing to share with you. They should have plenty of experience, references and case studies of their past successes, and be able to show you how their particular services can meet your goals and objectives. A great SEO company should also be up to date on ever-changing SEO trends and frequent algorithm changes. They should be able to clearly demonstrate and report on how their strategies can improve your traffic, rankings and leads/conversions, so you can feel confident about your investment.
Take Your Time and Do Your Homework
SEO can be an incredibly effective marketing tool if used effectively, and choosing the right SEO company to implement your strategy is a key component of the equation. Don’t feel as though you need to rush the decision, and definitely be wary of any company that makes you feel that you must. Take the time to research the companies that are available to you based on your goals, scale, and budget. A great relationship with the right SEO company can be incredibly fruitful and long lasting, so it’s wise to do your homework and find the one that will help you grow.
What characteristics of an SEO company do you value? What type of SEO companies do you think would be most effective for your business? Let us know in the comment section below.
- “How To Hire The Right Type Of SEO Firm” (Forbes)
- “Choosing an SEO Company in 2013” (Search Engine Journal)
- “How Do I Find Good SEO” (Moz Blog)
- “How To Find The Right SEO Company For Your Firm” (9Rules)
- “10 Things To Look For in an SEO Expert” (CIO)