SEO or search engine optimization is one of the most effective online marketing strategies implemented by various businesses around the world. Since it generates organic targeted traffic from the search engines, businesses can enjoy continuing growth in leads and sales. And because it is also cost effective, they could expect decrease in expenses which results to increase in net profit.
Due to the many benefits provided by SEO to many brands, business owners and entrepreneurs look for SEO agencies or specialists to help them plan and execute the strategy. They also look for search engine optimizers who can provide them high-quality yet inexpensive SEO services. That is why they seek for SEO companies or freelancers from Asian countries like the Philippines.
In my previous post, I discussed 5 good reasons why businesses should outsource SEO in the Philippines. Now, to better pick the best one among the growing number of SEO practitioners in the country who will handle your SEO, I would like to share these tips on how to choose the right SEO agency or professional for your business.
1. Check out the tools they’re using.
If you like your SEO campaign to have lasting results, you have to ensure that your SEO provider is not using tools that game Google. Tools that automatically manipulates search engine rankings or what many marketers called black hat SEO tools could make your site get penalized by Google, and will do more harm than good to your business.
As a client, it’s your privilege to ask your SEO provider what tools they are using. If a SEO provider uses tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer and other tools that are known to be used by quality SEO professionals, then perhaps there’s a good chance that your SEO campaign can generate good results. But if the provider tells you about SEnuke or ScrapeBox, then you should be suspicious because these tools are known to be used for spamming and automatic link building.
2. Know their strategy, tactics and practices.
Of course, tools are only tools. A white hat SEO tool can still be used for black hat SEO practices, while a black hat SEO tool like ScrapeBox can still be used for white hat SEO implementation. In other words, you should try to investigate a little further by knowing your prospective SEO’s practices.
Before closing a deal or signing a contract of work, ask the SEO provider the usual strategy, tactics and practices they are doing. A quality SEO provider will gladly tell you about his common strategy and steps to a successful SEO campaign.
Of course a SEO provider could only give you some initial plan, as they can only devise a special and detailed strategy after analyzing your business and doing an SEO audit on your site.
You should be warned if a SEO practitioner will not tell you anything or will make alibis, such as “it’s confidential” or “we don’t have any idea yet”. Remember that good SEO people are generous with their knowledge and expertise, as you may find them freely sharing valuable SEO and other online marketing advice on their blogs.
3. Analyze their own website.
How can a SEO company or professional provide you a good SEO campaign if they can’t even implement it to themselves? Therefore, go to their websites and evaluate if they have the signs of a properly optimized website. Take note that, nowadays, a pagerank is not already a good proof that a website has a good SEO score, specially for the newly launched websites which have not yet earned a good pagerank from Google.
To know if the website of your prospective SEO provider has a good SEO, check out if the following are present:
- The website is mobile friendly and user-friendly. Remember that user-experience is an important factor to a higher search engine ranking.
- The website has high-quality content, like useful blog posts and landing pages. If they can’t create high quality content for their websites which are vital to SEO success, then how can they create great content for you?
- The website receives significant traffic. If their website doesn’t generate enough traffic, then how can they drive traffic to your own site and generate leads for your business?
- The website has a good social media following. A good social media presence is a sign that people are engaging with their content or brand.
Positive testimonials from clients shown in a website may be a good sign that a SEO provider is doing a good job. But remember that they could also be fake. Besides, a business will not always display all testimonials from its clients, including the negative ones. Thus, it’s wise to contact the people who gave positive testimonials to confirm if they are really authentic.
4. Check their previous clients or projects.
SEO companies and practitioners who were already in the industry for many years should show you their previous works and campaigns. This will also help you identify the industry, niche or market where they can work best. So if your business is related to the health industry, a good choice of SEO provider is someone who has already implemented a successful SEO campaign in that industry.
Of course you should also consider new SEO agencies or specialists. Although they don’t have much experiences, they can be hardworking and dynamic to give you better results. And they also charge lower than the more experienced SEOs.
5. Ask their industry peers.
In the Philippines, SEO practitioners almost know each other. They gather in SEO events and always spend time exchanging ideas in various online communities like in a Facebook Group. That is why if you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask some people in the industry for references. You may ask some people from SEO Organization Philippines to know if your prospective SEO providers are doing good SEO practices or not.
6. Know their value proposition.
A value proposition is what makes a certain business unique to others. It contains the value of the service it guarantees to be delivered to customers or clients. To choose the right SEO provider, assess their value propositions if they are realistic or not. Be alarmed if you encountered too-good-to-be-true promises like the following:
- I’ll make your business rank #1 in Google.
- We will give you a thousand quality backlinks in 7 days.
- We can rank your primary keyword on top of Google in 48 hours.
- We are SEO experts who know Google’s algorithm well.
Take note that no one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Also, no one knows exactly Google’s algorithm but Google itself.
7. Check out the legitimacy of their business.
This one is for business owners who are thinking of outsourcing their SEO to agencies. If you don’t like to deal with fly-by-night SEO companies who, after cashing money from you, evade the work and responsibilities that they must be doing, make sure to choose the SEO agencies who are duly registered in the Philippines, with permit from the Department of Trade and Industry (for sole proprietorship), Securities and Exchange Commission (for partnerships and corporations) and Bureau of Internet Revenue.
8. Ask for deliverables.
SEO indeed takes time to provide significant results. It could take months for a website to experience significant improvement in search rankings, traffic and lead generation. However, this should not hinder any SEO provider to submit periodic deliverables, such as weekly or monthly reports. These reports will help you evaluate the actions they have taken, the path that their strategy is heading, and the progressive results they have accomplished in a given period of time.
Effective SEO agencies or practitioners submit weekly or monthly reports showing the tasks they accomplished, improvements they have achieved and recommendations they want to implement. They will also constantly ask questions and help from their clients since a successful SEO campaign involves a cooperation between the SEO and its client.
If your SEO is not submitting any report or recommendation to you, and if he’s not even bothering to ask your assistance, then you should be alarmed.
9. Do not easily be fooled by top lists and rankings.
One thing you might do to find the best SEO provider in the Philippines is to search the query “SEO Philippines” right on Google. It’s a good idea but not all the SEO agencies and specialists displayed on top of Google’s SERP for that particular keyword are really doing a great job. There are reputable SEOs in that results page but there might also be one or few who are doing some dirty tactics to be there, which you don’t like to be implemented in your business’ website.
You might also find a publication that lists a number of SEO agencies that are considered the top 10 in the Philippines. But be skeptic on that because it might just be a PR stunt to lure you in to believing that your prospective SEO provider is one of the best, which in fact is not.
10. Talk with their representative.
Last but not the least, talk with their representative to test and confirm all of the above tips that I’ve given. A SEO agency or freelancer may not be a perfect one according to the signs above but by directly having a meaningful conversation with their team leader or representative, you will get to understand them better and be convinced that they are actually the right SEO who can help your business to succeed. Hence, don’t hesitate to ask questions to know them better.
Choosing the wrong SEO could be a disaster for your business. It will waste your time, money, and even endanger your business integrity. A poor SEO campaign could also drive off your potential customers and cause your sales to drop. Therefore, as a wise business person, choose your SEO provider wisely.