Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the trickiest things you could try to outsource. While there are many legitimate companies that can help you, there are at least just as many companies out to try and scam you. On top of that, there are a lot of SEO firms charging a lot of money – Without delivering real results.
So how can you outsource SEO well and get good bang for your buck?
==> How to Evaluate Promises
As a rule of thumb, promises are red flags. If an SEO company says they can get you to #1 in 6 months, that should send you running in the other direction.
The reality is, no SEO company can promise a ranking. SEO always has a certain degree of randomness to it.
The one exception to this rule is SEO companies that guarantee their results. For example, they might guarantee that if you don’t reach the front page, you don’t have to pay. If that’s the case, the promise could be a strong plus.
==> How Much Does it Cost?
Generally you can expect to pay between $1,000 a month up to $8,000 a month. In other words, the range is between $12,000 a year to $100,000 a year and up.
Because outsourcing SEO is quite expensive, it’s generally not recommended for small businesses. Instead, small businesses tend to do SEO in house while medium to large sized businesses can look at outsourcing.
==> Whitehat, Greyhat, Blackhat
Make sure you understand what kind of techniques your SEO firm plans to employ to get you ranked.
If they’re going to be employing blackhat techniques like XRumor and SENuke link blasting, you should know about it. If they’re using greyhat techniques like article spinning, you should know about it. If they’re only using whitehat techniques like guest posting and link baiting, you should know that too.
Understand the risks associated with each type of approach. Blackhat techniques can get you de-listed from Google altogether, while greyhat techniques can get you simply penalized.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t employ these techniques. You should only use them if you understand the risks and take appropriate steps to protect yourself. If getting delisted would cripple your company and you don’t understand the risks, you probably shouldn’t use a company that employs these techniques.
==> How Much You Need to Know
Before hiring an SEO firm, you should know at least the basics of SEO. This will allow you to evaluate whether or not the firm knows what they’re doing. You should be able to at least gauge whether or not their tactics make sense; even if you couldn’t employ them yourself.
Be selective when hiring SEO firms. Don’t pick one until you really feel a sense of trust for a firm.