SEO is a tricky thing to succeed at. With so many tools available to you, Google algorithm changes to keep track of, and performance analytics to look over, it can be hard to manage everything that goes into creating a strong search campaign.

Luckily, that’s what professional SEO services are for!

This is your ultimate organic search resource. Hiring an SEO business to handle your campaign gives you the peace of mind that you’re in the best possible position to rank well on SERPs.

It also gives you a chance to focus on other aspects of your business because it eliminates the need to rack your brain over what your SEO strategies need. But, you can’t enjoy the benefits of professional SEO support until you find the right people for the job.

Here are 7 things you need to do when hiring SEO services.

1. Determine What You Really Need

Before you can start researching various SEO service providers, you need to identify what you’re looking for. Take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish with better search engine rankings.

Do you want to create a higher sense of brand awareness within your market? Are you looking for more clients to make repeat purchases, or are you more interested in connecting with new potential clients?

Whatever your goals are, write them down. These are going to be the foundation of all your SEO campaigns. You need to find an SEO professional who has worked on campaigns with similar goals; someone who understands how to create the specific results you’re looking for beyond a high SERP rank.

2. Consider Local and Long-Distance Professional SEO Services

Since SEO work can be done from anywhere the world, it doesn’t make much sense to limit your search to marketing professionals in the local area. Make it a point to research SEO companies in your backyard and in different time zones, too.

Talk to people in your professional network about the services you’re in the market for and ask who they’ve worked with in the past. See what you can find with your own in-depth online research and don’t hesitate to see what small SEO companies have to offer.

All of this increases your chances of finding the ideal provider. It may take some more time to go through such a big search pool, but it’s worth it in the end when you know for sure that you’ve made the best choice.

3. Set Clear Workflow Expectations

Whether you’re working with a small SEO company that’s located near you or a big firm on the other side of the country, the only way you’re going to succeed is by setting workflow expectations.

You should go into project discussions with a clear idea of how involved you’d like to be. You may choose to take a hands-off approach and let your new SEO team handle all the ins and outs of your campaign. Or, you might want to be more involved with the decision-making process and take this as an opportunity to learn about how SEO works.

Either way, you need to make your expectations clear. Most SEO companies are fine with either working relationship, but things go better when they know where you stand.

4. Talk About Performance Measurements

Another expectation you should set ahead of time is how performance is going to be measured. This ties back into the goals you’ve set for your company, but it also helps you weed out the top SEO companies from the amateurs.

The most important performance metrics to focus on are conversions.

If an SEO company is trying to stress the importance of traffic or rankings alone, you need to keep your search going. You need someone who has a deep working knowledge of how SEO works and how it ties into the bigger picture of your business.

Even better, you should look for a company that can explain to you how different metrics add up. They should be able to walk you through how page visits can turn into conversions and also talk about things that may be hurting your performance – like slow load times and sub-par opt-ins.

5. Ask for References

Just when you think you’ve found the ideal SEO agency, ask for a list of references. This is your chance to get a closer look at how an agency treats their clients.

Contacting references directly and reading testimonials allows you to learn about an agency’s communication style, organization, and timeliness. It tells you just how much you can trust that the claims they’ve expressed in your conversations thus far will be backed up by high-quality work.

6. Get an Audit of Your Current SEO Performance

At this point in your search process, you should only be down to 2 or 3 SEO agencies. If you’re having trouble narrowing your list down to the final choice, ask each agency for an audit of your current SEO performance.

This is a great opportunity to engage in more in-depth conversations about your SEO efforts. It’s a time to talk about what red flags a company may see in your campaigns, and more importantly, the specific steps they plan to take to turn things around for you.

Your audit should cover both on-page and off-page strategies.

7. Avoid Anyone Who Offers a “Guarantee”

This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when looking for an SEO agency. To a certain extent, SEO is unpredictable. There is absolutely no way to know for sure that one strategy will be more effective than another.

But, there are plenty of tools available to help SEO professionals create the strongest possible campaign for your company. It’s a good sign if an SEO agent tells you they’ve been in situations like yours before and come out successful. It’s okay if they say they can help boost your traffic or expand your online presence.

However, if an agency guarantees that you’ll see a specific amount of conversions or that you’ll “definitely” be the #1 result on Google, don’t trust them.

Meet Your Ideal SEO Agency

Here’s an interesting thought: instead of investing so much time comparing different professional SEO services, take a moment to reach out to us.

Section 5 Media is ready to help you create innovative, engaging SEO campaigns. We understand how this marketing niche works and we’re prepared to make your online presence the best it can be.

Contact us today to discover everything we can do for you!