If you have a business website, you must invest in search engine optimization (SEO) services if at all you want it to succeed. You can either hire an in-house SEO specialist or outsource the job to an SEO company. The latter has proven to be the better option as an SEO company is more likely to be up to date with algorithm changes and the latest practices in the industry. However, choosing an SEO company is not as easy as many people assume it is. In fact, many have ended up bitterly regretting their choices. You do not want to end up there, do you? Hiring an SEO company is a big investment and you therefore need to be sure that you are choosing a company that has your best interests at heart, and that has a proven track record in the industry. This article highlights some of the common mistakes people make when choosing an SEO company and some tips on how to avoid them.
- Not doing enough research
Many people have chosen the easy route of searching for the best SEO agencies on Google and going with one of the names that come up. While you might be lucky and get a good company this way, this is not a good way to search for an SEO company. You need to dig deeper in order to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Start by asking for recommendations from your friends or business associates and then check out the companies recommended to see if they can provide you with the services you need. Read reviews on their website in order to find out what other clients thought of their services.
- Going for the cheapest
The cheapest option is almost always a bad deal. This applies to SEO as well as several other things in life. The most important thing is that you get good value for your money; even if this means digging a little deeper into your pockets. It is better than ending up stuck with a company whose services are unsatisfactory.
- Choosing a company that promises you quick results
SEO is a gradual process. You will not start seeing the results immediately you start optimizing your site for search engines. Therefore, any company that promises you quick results is only out to eat your money. Many have fallen for this in the past and ended up paying dearly in one way or another. Black hat SEO techniques can yield results overnight, but if your website is discovered to be using black hat SEO techniques, it will be flagged and penalized and this will also affect the reputation of your business. You wouldn’t want this, would you? Go for a Mississauga SEO company that is honest with you right from the onset so that you do not have unrealistic expectations and end up disappointed.
- Not asking what strategies the company uses
As mentioned above, black hat SEO techniques are forbidden. While they may take your site to the first results page of a search engine, they can cost you dearly. Find out how the SEO company plans on improving your site’s ranking to avoid any trouble. Organic SEO is the only sure way to move up the ranks and stay at the top.
Top Technical SEO Tools That Agencies Use to Drive Performance
Since SEO can be quite a complex process for online businesses, many of them prefer to entrust it to specialized agencies that not only have a better understanding of the technology in an ever-changing search engine environment but also have the necessary technical SEO tools to do a better job. Some of the top technical SEO tools that agencies use to boost search engine results:
- Screaming Frog
To optimize the performance of the website, it is necessary for a thorough audit to be conducted and this is made possible only by an efficient crawler tool. Screaming Frog is arguably one of the most popular tools used by SEO professionals because of its many features. It is not only possible to find stuff that an ordinary audit would have never revealed but also you can use it to identify missing page titles or Meta descriptions, images that are too large, and errors in response codes, URLs, canonicals. The advanced features of Screaming Frog can enable you to identify pagination issues, diagnose the implementation of SEO issues, and take a close look at the architecture of the website.
- Google Search Console
Very few SEO professionals will not have Google Search console in their armories. Not only is it a firm favorite for long but with its recent overhaul, it has become even more attractive with many more features, reports, and data now available. It is extremely simple to set up a reporting process that is critical for SEO agencies.
- Google Analytics
Among the most vital tasks for SEO professionals is the analysis of organic search performance. Even though it is free, the powerful features built into Google Analytics allow you to identify things like traffic issues, penalties, and pretty much everything else that might be obstructing good search results. Ideally, you should set it up in such a way that you get the reports on a monthly basis very much like Google Search Console so that you have all the relevant data even if the client loses access to Google Analytics for any reason.
- Web Developer Toolbar
Page speed has been a subject of intense debate in recent years and consequently, a whole host of tools for auditing page speeds have emerged. WebPagetest is a part of every SEO practitioner’s toolkit because you can do so many things with it like waterfall speed tests, competitor speed videos, competitor speed tests, identification of site loading times, establishing start render time, time to first byte as well as finding out how the technical elements of the site interact to form the final result or the time to display the page.
- Google Page Speed Insights
Google Page Speed Insights is popular with SEO agencies that are keen to refine the page loading speeds because of its ability to factor in speed metrics for both mobile and desktops. However, as a smart SEO practitioner, you should not rely on it as the sole tool for testing page loading speeds because of its tendency to use approximations rather than the actual page loading speeds. It is quite likely that you will get a result using this tool that may be different from results of other tools. Consequently, it is better to use multiple tools for a more accurate picture.
- W3C Validator
Ordinarily, code validators are not thought to be SEO tools; however, the W3C Validator has for long been popular with SEO agencies precisely for that purpose. However, if you have never used this tool, you should be very careful as it can be quite easy to misinterpret the results and make things worse. For example, validating code of a site developed with XHTML but ported to WordPress during the development could very well reveal lots of errors since the document type is not automatically changed when the code is copied and pasted into WordPress.
Definitely, among the most popular SEO tools, SEMrush is extensively used for keyword research that is considered to be at the core of SEO. Even though the tool is not normally thought to be a technical analysis tool, it can throw up very interesting data regarding competitors, especially their ranking and market analysis data that can serve as very important insights that can be used to refine SEO strategy in such a way that you get a valuable competitive edge.
Effective link building is considered by SEO agencies to be among the core tasks in SEO for extracting better search engine rankings. By using Ahrefs, you can examine in detail the link profile of the website and identify patterns that can be helpful in figuring out its linking strategy. The tool also is useful in the identification of issues in anchor text that may be affecting the performance of the website by using the word cloud feature. SEO agencies can also use Ahrefs to find out the nature of links that link back and if there are any issues in their profiles.
If you are considering engaging an SEO agency, among the many things that you could use to decide on its expertise is by discussing the SEO tools that they use and why they prefer it over others. If the agency is talking your language and seems to on the ball using some of the tools discussed here, then you could have a useful yardstick for your evaluation and final decision. Always hire a local and experienced SEO agency so that clear communication can be maintained throughout the campaign.