SEO Companies: Some are good, more are bad, and most are really bad. So, how do you know which one to choose?
As a business owner or marketing manager, you’re most likely inundated with ads and promotions from so-called SEO firms on a regular basis. These days, every business needs a solid search engine optimization strategy, so how do you know which SEO company to hire? Price may be your first reaction to this question, but research SEO companies further and you’ll find that they’re not all created equally. Continue reading to learn about the 3 different types of SEO companies you will most likely encounter in your research, and how to know which type is the right one to hire.
Offshore SEO Companies
Offshore SEO companies are very common and can sometimes provide effective technical SEO services, but due to language barriers and lack of verbal communication, mistakes and sub-par results are typical. These companies may have the technical ability to achieve first page rankings, but because they never truly understand their clients’ business objectives and target audience, the ability of their SEO campaigns to deliver the right people to their clients’ Web sites is where they usually fall short. Additionally, because they are located outside the U.S., if they were to inadvertently damage your Web site, not render services as advertised, or simply not deliver results, there would be little to nothing you could do about it.
Black Hat (Unethical) SEO Companies
Black hat SEO is an illegitimate or unethical form of SEO that uses deceptive tactics to trick search engines into increasing rankings for a Web site. These tactics usually work in the short-term, but once search engines discover the deceptive tactics (and they do) the target Web site’s rankings will plummet overnight. If the black hat tactics used are severe enough, search engines will even remove the target Web site from their index altogether.
Google says, “While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index.”
In other words, Google puts the onus on you to make sure you hire the right SEO company, and are not forgiving when you hire the wrong company. Black hat SEO companies are very common, and can be spotted easily because they usually offer some sort of guarantee, such as a certain number of first page rankings within a certain period of time, or your money back. Legitimate SEO firms NEVER offer guarantees of any kind, because search engines are so unpredictable. Google stresses being wary of guarantees and provides a list of warning signs to look for in order to avoid black hat SEO firms and scams.
White Hat (Ethical) SEO Companies
White hat SEO is a legitimate or ethical form of SEO which uses best practices that are generally accepted by the major search engines. SEO companies are common, but legitimate SEO firms that practice high quality, white hat SEO are much more difficult to find than one may think. You can spot a legitimate, white hat SEO firm because they will be eager to learn about your business and your customers, they will be transparent about their SEO strategy, they won’t make any guarantees, and they will be honest with you about the amount of time it may take before you can expect to see results. First page rankings can take months to achieve, and white hat SEO firms are always upfront about this fact. This is why firms that guarantee rankings within a certain period of time are never legitimate.
At Leverage Digital Media, a Tampa SEO company, we only practice white hat SEO. As an ethical SEO firm, we are committed to helping clean up the search engine optimization industry by educating businesses, so they ultimately choose to work with the right SEO companies.
For more information on our SEO services, please call us at (866) 611-6267, or complete our contact request form.