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I've already written about the importance of understanding the basics of SEO before you hire an SEO company. The second part of this equation is doing your research about every company you approach about internet marketing and SEO.
A quick way of getting an idea of their reputation is to search for the prospective SEO company by name. You should be looking for several things:
- Can you find their website in Google’s search results? If you can, great. If you can’t find them at all then they probably aren’t very good at their job. If you are having trouble finding them by name do a Google search for "site:insert-seo-company-web-address-here". If you cannot find any pages, or you only find one page then they've done something to upset Google and you will want nothing to do with them.
- Do they have any negative publicity? Read through it. If it worries you contact the person who produced it and ask about it. Ask the SEO company to explain as well. Never trust just one review either positive or negative, but if you find several reports then you have a pattern regarding the quality of their work and the customer service they offer.
- What does their website look like? Do you feel it looks professional enough that you would be happy to have them alter your site based on their recommendations? Does it reflect the professionalism of a company you would trust with your business?
- What is the copy on their website like? Is it well-written? Does it explain what they do clearly? Would you be happy to have similar copy on your website?
Your SEO firm should have some type of online presence and that presence should be positive. If your SEO company is happy to have grammatically incorrect copy on their own site, or copy that is stuffed with keywords then the chances are that they'll damage your site too.