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Don't waste time and money by hiring the wrong search marketing consultant.

Choosing the right SEO Agency to drive more traffic to your website and social properties is critical. You have invested years and significant personal finance in your business, yet you may not be aware that time is working against you. Each day that passes with your competition being more visible on the search engines is another day they can be stealing your customers and income. If your website is not on the first page of Google you are losing money.

Most small business owners understand the value of ranking in Google search, but some still wonder why they need a local SEO expert. There are many reasons, but a major one is because the smartphone along with the Internet has replaced the yellow pages. Just think how long it has been since you looked in the yellow pages, and your customers are no different when it comes to searching for local businesses.

Google reports that 80% of local searches begin in a search engine, and 43% start on a mobile device. Isn’t it time to move from obscurity to the first page of thesearch engine results page?

As a top 10 Internet marketing agency and SEO consulting firm in Mesa, we want to make your job of selecting the right company easier. It is our sincere hope that the following tips will be useful in your quest for a professional, effective, efficient, and affordable internet search optimization company.

Before we get into helpful advice on how to screen an SEO firm, there are three business models or structures for SEO (search engine optimization) services that you should be aware of.

1. Individual (Independent) Consultant

These are typically freelancers who offer search optimization and marketing services on a part-time basis. Generally speaking, an individual consultant will be slightly more flexible in pricing and how they deliver their services. Don’t assume that if someone is a “one person show” that they cannot produce results. It’s not uncommon for the highest performing SEO’s to be individual consultants.

One attractive feature of working with a solo consultant is that they will typically be focused on local SEO for small businesses. Though the methods and techniques for ranking a national website versus a local site are not so different, there are uniquenesses that must be understood.

2. SEO Company

A company consisting of a team of SEO consultants, along with support staff who utilize a standardized process for every client. There can be safety in hiring a “brand name” SEO company, since presumably, the fact that they have a brand and reputation in the market likely means they deliver results. The market serves as a filter for companies with inferior service quality as no one will use a low-quality company, much less recommend them to other business owners. Thus a company that remains in business for even a few years means they are doing something “right.” However, all is not perfect, and there will be tradeoff’s starting with cost.

To sustain the operational overhead of a big brand SEO agency, for every dollar you pay, at least 40% will go to fixed costs which add zero value to the task of ranking your company website higher than the competition. Another “issue” you will run into is that they typically have a process by which they run every single client through. Utilizing a process is good, in fact, you should ask the companies you are speaking with what their processes are to understand how each may compare or contrast to the other. But when websites are treated equally, this can lead to inconsistent results since not all sites will respond the same when it comes to ranking.

3. In-house SEO

If your business can justify the fixed expense, some companies find it makes sense to hire a dedicated in-house SEO specialist or team. For a company with an exclusive or primarily web based business, this can look especially attractive since the feeling will be “we want to be fully in control of our destiny as our business rises and falls based on the volume and quality of web traffic we receive.” A few things must be considered however before embarking on this approach.

First, the very reason that you need to hire someone to focus on SEO means there is not sufficient expertise in the company to do the job. Therefore, the position of Director, Search Marketing is probably the only job in the entire company where no one including the CEO is qualified to screen or interview candidates. Because of this, it’s advised to work with a highly experienced SEO consultant to get your site ranking and then serve as a consultant and screener for candidates. I’ve seen models, where the consulting engagement runs 18 months with the first 6 to 9 months focused on improving the position of the company’s web properties. And the second half spent setting up a process and structure, so that when an in-house SEO expert is hired, there is a proper structure to build on.

Like other decisions in our businesses, there can be tradeoffs between predictable fixed costs, and variable. SEO consulting is a highly demanding skill set, to hire someone of the caliber you will want will not be cheap. You should plan for an annual salary before employment taxes, benefits, and bonus to range between $80k to $150k per year. Which means the fully loaded cost of having just one in-house SEO could be $120k to $250k depending on the level of benefits and bonus that your company provides. Many companies who think they want to bring SEO in-house realize that they can get better value with an independent consultant or even an SEO company.

This article is primarily for the first two business models as the majority of companies find it is more cost-effective to work with a freelancer or SEO agency. Like everything, there can be a wide variation in the quality and value that freelancers and SEO firms provide. To begin with, a proven SEO will not be the “low-cost option”.

If you’re looking only for a discount, chances are you will end up with a consultant who cuts corners. Which in the best case means you won’t receive the full benefit that being top ranked can bring your business in free organic traffic. But in the worst case, you may find the tactics employed harm your site, degrading your ability to be discovered by potential customers.

Google has been aggressively cracking down on sites that appear to use spam techniques to manipulate their rankings.

For this reason, high-quality, sustainable SEO will take longer than short-term methods. However, you should not be looking for short-term success only to be banished to the bottom of the rankings for violating Google’s terms of service. We've heard many sad stories of short-cut's that cost business owners dearly in lost traffic. Don't let this happen to you.

It requires significant work for an Internet optimization company to develop a strategy and identify high-ranking keywords with good traffic, but low competition. While you shouldn’t expect cut-rate pricing (just as you do not price your goods or services at bargain basement levels) - you do not need to pay the highest rate either.

Following are five tips for identifying, interviewing and hiring a search engine marketing and Internet media optimization company.

Understand your End Game for Hiring a Search Engine Consultant

Business owners choose to work with SEO Ranker Agency because we follow through on our promises, which originate from the interview process that kicks off all client engagements. If a client doesn’t have a good understanding of the business benefit that obtaining more traffic will bring, success will be challenging.

For this reason, we do not work with every company who approaches us, a fact that surprises some people. But if we don’t feel that we can bring sufficient value, we will gladly refer the prospect to the right firm or agency who is best equipped to meet their needs.

During the interview process, you should have a list of questions to help determine who to work with. Do not forget that the greater clarity that you have in your ultimate objective (the end game), the more effective the company you select to work with can be.

When you begin working with a professional search engine optimization team, they should be able to give you a roadmap for how they plan to increase exposure to your website. You don't need to become an expert at search marketing. But just as using a roadmap in the car does not mean you need to understand how a GPS and laser guided surveying system works. A search engine optimization consultant should be able to explain in layman’s language the marketing and search optimization strategies they plan to utilize to reach your objectives.

Not All Search Marketing Service Companies Are Equal

You likely have competitors who are both smaller than you and larger than you, perhaps orders of magnitude in either direction. The value (ROI) of SEO can vary based on factors like ASP, customer lifetime value, the number of customers your company is built to handle simultaneously, etc. Just as you specialize in your own business, a high-quality SEO company will do the same.

As a premier top ranked Mesa search optimization marketing firm, we understand that search optimization is NOT one size fits all. Which is why we develop marketing strategies suited for each of our clients individually, avoiding cookie-cutter formulas. If we used the same strategies as other businesses in your niche, your content would likely get lost, and pages left undiscovered by your customers.

An area of caution is the following. With the advent of cheap labor outside the country; SEO is a service that can be easily “fronted” by an American company while the actual work is performed elsewhere. We are proud to be a Mesa SEO company, and all work on your website will be done locally.

SEO Domination Requires Keyword Research & Optimization

Keywords are the phrases and words that your customers are likely to use to find you. What’s important to consider is that people are increasingly expecting Google to understand natural speech and language patterns. The days of typing in strangely worded search queries because it’s all a machine recognizes are largely behind us. For this reason, it both simplifies and complicates the process of keyword optimization.

We are a pioneering Internet search optimization firm. One of the first tasks that we undertake with every new client is to analyze their content and optimize the keywords and common search phrases that appear throughout your site, suggesting alternatives, to boost your rankings.

SEO Ranker provides all clients a detailed analysis report showing how the right keywords can increase traffic. Once we begin working together, we supply regular updates on how the ranking of your preferred search terms is progressing. Make sure to quiz potential SEO firms on what they intend to do in the area of keyword research and optimization. If they don’t have a clear answer, chances are they are a “hope and pray” agency. Just as you don’t leave your businesses success to chance, neither should you leave your ranking and thus revenue and profits to the whims of Google.

Develop Effective Linking Strategies for Google Search Ranking

Ranking for specific keywords is a prime objective of SEO, however, having a solid linking strategy is critical. Your search engine optimization company should develop links with the most important parameters used by search engines as ranking factors.

SEO Ranker Agency performs a detailed analysis of the linking structure within your website, and we will show you exactly how to improve and build upon it. For WordPress based websites this work will be completed by us. That doesn’t mean if you use another content management system (CMS) that you cannot benefit from SEO, or that we can’t help you. But for sites running on the WordPress platform, our team can perform much if not all of the work required without needing to involve your web developer. During the interview process with a potential SEO consultant, be sure to ask if they have experience analyzing the link structure of websites (both external and internal links).

Start Today, Do Not Delay

The Internet has changed everything. For some, many perhaps, it is the Internet that created the opportunity to operate the very business we are in. You surely have an onslaught of competition clamoring to be at the top of the search standings. For this reason, the SEO company you decide to work with must be able to produce professional results. The expert search optimization team at SEO Ranker Agency will work tirelessly on improving your website page ranking so you can focus your efforts on other projects intended to grow your business.

Don't wait one more day to dominate your competition. If you would like a 100% FREE SEO ANALYSIS with an honest assessment of what we can do to improve your business, simply complete our Discovery Form to get started today.