So we all know that Google has made a lot of changes to their algorithm over the last few years. Some of you have felt the impact directly, others have read about those who have. You know the horror stories, one day you’re ranking great and enjoying a steady stream of traffic, the next you’re on page 7. This happened to some pretty big brands like JC Penny getting hit hard by the big G.
Some SEO firms changed the way they did things and left old tactics far behind. Others didn’t and still years later continue to do the same thing that has gotten them (or their clients) in trouble in the past. Since it’s a new year I know many people are getting a fresh start on projects from last year. In doing so make sure you really take the time to sit down with any SEO company you are considering to make sure they are up to snuff.
If you’re not a big SEO geek yourself I recommend you ask three few simple questions of any firm you’re thinking of hiring
1) How has your business changed since the Panda and Penguin updates?
Their answer should include something about them not using link networks or blog comment spam and (hopefully) a focus on high-quality content. Bonus points if they mention that they also try to include your full URL in the anchor text (good has been increasing their focus on this one).
2) What has changed in your business over the last six months?
They might mention things like reduced guest blogging or an increased focus on quality content. Somewhere in there they should talk about Google’s never-ending focus on high-quality content and getting rid of junky guest blog posts which has been their latest algorithm update.
3) Can you give me some examples of clients ranking on the first page of Google who weren’t there a year ago?
This may be a tough one and you can rephrase it however you like – what you really want to see is recent results from clients. It’s easy to talk about having worked with Microsoft, Adobe, and many other big names years ago, but it’s 2014, find out who they worked with last year and what results their clients had.
In some cases, spending money on SEO can be the most cost-effective way to drive traffic to your site. Done incorrectly and it could wipe-out your traffic overnight. So take the time to ask these questions and if you really want to go the distance, ask to speak to a previous client or two and hear how things are going.
So go forth, hire an awesome SEO firm to do your bidding, just make sure they’re as awesome as you think otherwise you could end-up in a less-than-awesome situation.