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Interview your Future SEO Company and PPC Company

Before you hire an SEO (search engine optimization) company or consultant, or a PPC (pay-per-click) company, you should be thoroughly familiar with what they do.

Hiring an SEO company can potentially raise your site’s profile dramatically in a short time, but if they go about it in the wrong way, you risk damaging your site’s standing in the search engines and your business’s reputation. The general things that SEO companies do include:

  • Technical advice on hosting, error pages, JavaScript, redirects, and other website technology
  • Keyword research
  • Managing online business development
  • SEO training for webmasters
  • Some SEO consultants have expertise in specific niches and / or geographical areas.

Perhaps the best time to hire an SEO company is when you’re launching a new site or redesigning an existing site. When you interview SEO companies that you might consider hiring, ask the following questions:

  • Do you have experience in my city?
  • Do you have experience in my industry?
  • What do you think are the most important SEO techniques?
  • How long have you been doing SEO consulting?
  • Will you document all the ways you change the site and why you chose to do things that way?
  • What’s the best way to get in touch with you?

Here are a few things to watch out for when selecting an SEO company.

  • SEO Companies that contact you via email out of the blue. It’s spam and they’re probably all talk and no action.
  • Companies that promise you a #1 Google ranking
  • Companies that don’t explain clearly what they do to optimize your siteSEO companies that talk a lot about linking schemes and submitting your site to a thousand search engines. These rarely help and can hurt.

When choosing a site, make sure you understand exactly where the money is going. There are search engines out there that combine paid results with organic results and some SEOs may promise to get you highly ranked in search engines by placing you in the ad section. These companies are not helpful. Who’s to say they don’t create their own “search engine” that they can easily game or control? You care about the big search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Some SEO companies will create shadow domains that shunt users to a site deceptively. Suppose you complain about their service. They could easily point your domain to a different site or a competitor’s site. Another bad practice to watch out for is creation of doorway pages stuffed full of keywords on the client’s site, claiming they will make the site “more relevant.” Number one, that’s bull, and two, these doorway pages may well contain links to the SEO’s other clients, diluting the popularity of your site and possible rerouting it to illegal or “bad neighborhood” (“adult”) sites.

Run away from SEOs that own shadow domains, that don’t differentiate between organic search results and paid ads on the results pages, who operate with multiple aliases, or who get traffic from fake search engines.

A great place to start when thinking about hiring an SEO company is Google’s Webmaster Central page where you can download a free SEO starter guide (see screen shot). If you’re going to hire an SEO consultant, you should know what they’re supposed to be doing so you can protect yourself from shady practices.

choose an seo

Pay Per Click (PPC) companies do the following:

  • Analyze your e-business model to gauge how profitable your internet venture could be
  • Check on your competitors and their PPC campaigns
  • Be familiar with business to business (B2B) directories and consumer product search directories
  • Create a marketing strategy and spell out the plans in advance
  • Give clients precise budgeting estimates for a PPC campaign
  • Be well versed in the latest and greatest analysis software for your site and PPC campaign
  • Audit publishers to sniff out click fraud and warn you immediately about it
  • Monitor website visitor behavior, analyze and index it

When you choose a PPC company, make sure it doesn’t work for your competitors too. In fact, you should get a guarantee from them that they will not communicate with your competitors when your PPC campaign is in the planning and execution stages. If your PPC company uses unfair means like cloaking to get you a higher rank, fire them at once. They could easily get you penalized or banned by publishers. You should find out what their track record is with top search engines. If their successes come from third-tier engines, look elsewhere for a PPC company. And you should definitely demand references and check up on them.
The reason people hire PPC firms is to give an e-business instant exposure and funnel heavy web traffic to its site. One service provided by PPC advertising firms is landing page optimization. They should also use the marketing techniques that have been proven to increase search engine ranking by honest and acceptable methods. They should increase traffic and conversion rates, and analyze on-site activity as well.

Your PPC company should have a great track record running campaigns on big PPC advertisers like Yahoo and Google. the best PPC companies have a stable of professional PPC experts trained on the most effective SEO techniques so that they can run effective programs for their clients. Their SEO techniques and content should be above reproach. Some PPC companies also offer to redesign sites for SEO, and it is a matter of choice as to whether you want your SEO and PPC coming from the same source. If you do, check and double check references to make sure you’re getting an above-board company.