How To Tell If An SEO Company Can Really Deliver

What you will learn: How to identify SEO companies that execute successful campaigns. Who should read this article: Anyone involved with hiring an SEO company.

Talk Is Cheap – Results Are Not

The first thing to look for in an SEO company is up for debate – but the last thing you should look for is a discount. As we have explained elsewhere, low-budget SEO campaigns are doomed to fail. Beware of SEO companies offering cut-rate, package deals. Cutting rates equals cutting corners; a package deal is a one-size-fits-all formula that adds up to zero results. So, instead of focusing on price when you search for an SEO company, tackle that item last, after you have vetted your candidates using the following checklist.

7-Point Checklist for Vetting SEO Companies

  1. Communication skills. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” SEO companies that speak in incomprehensible technical terms don’t understand SEO well enough – or, they are trying to bamboozle you.
  2. Campaign management skills. A campaign manager skilled in SEO, project management and communication -- and with adequate time -- is essential to a successful SEO campaign. Without a point-person to oversee strategy, execution and reporting, the only thing your SEO campaign will produce is chaos.
  3. Technical skills. Can the SEO company demonstrate expertise in keyword research, analytics, SEO theory, lead tracking, Web design, Web development, conversion rate optimization (CRO) and user experience (UX)? Your SEO partner must excel at these, because all of these technical skills are critical for a successful campaign.
  4. Content marketing skills. Creating and publishing strategic offsite and onsite content is one of the most productive SEO techniques available. An effective SEO company has talented copywriters, editors and outreach specialists on staff.
  5. Staffing. Best-of-class SEO companies have plenty of bench strength. If the company’s staff is thin or relies on freelancers, your campaign may come to a grinding halt due to vacation, illness, reassignment, etc.
  6. A detailed, documented process. SEO campaigns have a lot of moving parts, which means the devil is in the details. Without a detailed, documented process, an SEO company will execute tasks out of sequence, miss vital steps and duplicate efforts. The result: Your campaign springs leak after leak … until it sinks.
  7. Focus on lead generation. If an SEO company brags about rankings or traffic, you can be sure it will disappoint you. The purpose of SEO is generating sales leads. A great SEO company continually makes campaign adjustments that increase lead generation – if they happen to improve rankings and traffic, so much the better.


To be sure you’ve gotten the full picture on these seven points, visit the SEO company and check its references thoroughly. A tour of the company’s office allows you to see its team in action and confirm that all the people are in place to handle your campaign. Checking references assures you that the SEO company has actually done what it claims it can do. SEO companies that discourage office visits or decline to give references should be eliminated from consideration immediately!
Contact Straight North to learn more about our SEO services and discuss your next campaign. Call us at 855-883-0011 or request a quote online.

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