Gaining top rankings for a number of prominent niche keywords is a goal of most small businesses. With the right keywords, the search engines can provide a consistent flow of targeted traffic, potentially reducing the need for expensive ad buys. SEO has not got any easier in recent years, though, so there is no easy route to the top spots. You could set up an internal SEO team, but that will be costly and doesn’t automatically guarantee success. For most small businesses, it makes sense to hire an outside SEO company, but how can you avoid some of the common mistakes that often follow this decision?
Choose Quick Success over Long-Term Results
SEO, even for a smaller niche, can be a time-consuming prospect. Nobody can say with any certainty how long it would take to reach a prime position, so be cautious of a company that makes definitive promises. Of course, it is possible to make assessments based on the search terms, the niche, and the competition, but this should all be explained in an SEO audit. To firmly cement your position, you will usually be looking at a period of months, though the ongoing promotional work should not cease when you reach the top spot. Additionally, quick rankings can often be followed by your site falling fast, often due to ill-advised linking practices.
Agree to Risky Linking Methods
There are risks involved with any attempts to influence the search engines, but some methods are far riskier than others. Bulk link building is one of the most common strategies that can lead to penalties, with automated tools making it easy to achieve. While you can see some quick results, it is unlikely your site will be able to sustain for long. Buying links is another tactic you will encounter. Purchased links from powerful sites will almost certainly provide a short-term improvement, but you will have to assess whether you are comfortable with the penalties that will come your way if you are caught.
Hire Someone Without a Track Record
Allowing someone to experiment with your site could be a disaster. Experienced SEO professionals will have a number of their own test sites, so they wouldn’t need to take unnecessary risks with yours. You might prefer to go with a new company or freelancer, but they should have case studies of their own available to view. In fact, many solo SEO experts have been working on projects for years before deciding to start an agency. Rather than the size or prestige of the company you employ, look for case studies and proof that they can deliver what they promise.
Find the Cheapest Option
Unless you have discovered a great deal, choosing the cheapest option could be a mistake. A cheap deal could arise when a company is looking to build up its client base, possibly with the aim of gaining long-term customers. In most cases, however, the price will reflect the service. In order to keep costs down, it is likely that automated tools and cheap outsourcing will be the SEO methods used. You can avoid any problems by carefully assessing the methods the SEO company intends to use, paying consideration to whether it sounds realistic based on the overall cost.
Accept a Generic Strategy
Some SEO companies offer generic packages to all customers. The problem with a non-specific plans is that every business and website will have particular requirements. You may not require a completely unique plan, but it is important to pay attention to industry needs. For example, local businesses can often benefit from citations, while global companies might prefer a content marketing campaign. Industries that inspire opinion and debate can benefit from article syndication, but an ecommerce store might focus on video marketing. While some SEO techniques are of benefit to almost every site, ensure your SEO agency pays close attention to your industry.
Avoiding these mistakes can prevent the usual disappointments where small businesses realize any rankings they have gained are not sustainable. Risky or negative SEO can have severe repercussions for a website, with a long and frustrating clean up job required to get back on track. Instead, look for a company that provides a safe, strategic, long-term, and tailored SEO solution. With an effective plan, you can enjoy sustainable rankings that bring consistent traffic around the clock.