Everyone claims to be an SEO expert these days. In Baton Rouge, LA. alone, there are no less than a hundred companies offering search engine optimization services.
But, how many of them honestly know what they’re doing? How many have the knowledge and skillset to help business owners boost page rankings?
In this article, we will give you what to look for when you’re shopping for the best digital marketing agency, and what red flags to notice.
Not all Baton Rouge SEO companies are the same!
The SEO industry is being tainted by online marketing experts who claim they can help boost website rankings. When, in fact, their outdated tactics harm site rankings and waste their clients’ time and money.
Don’t get caught up in the scam! Learn how to choose an SEO agency here.
Table of Contents
- The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced SEO Company
- Five Tips to Use In Finding an SEO Partner
- Red Flags to Notice When Choosing a Search Engine Optimization Company
- So, How Do you Find the Best SEO Company for Your Needs?
- Questions to Ask an SEO Company Before Hiring Them
What Exactly is SEO
First let’s define SEO.
According to Moz,
“SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results.
If you’d like to learn more, we’ve set up an article, “Super Easy SEO for Small Businesses,” that teaches you all you need to know for a solid foundation in search engine optimization. Or you can watch the video below for an overview.
The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced SEO Company in Baton Rouge.
We’ve heard horror stories about a local business hiring an agency to help them with their rankings in Google.
The business owner is promised by these “experts,” that their website will get to the top page of Google overnight, and left with lower page rank, and even possible penalties from Google due to shady techniques.
That’s why you need a professional company to handle your site optimization.
One that can show you that they have the knowledge and experience to help you rank higher, which results in increased sales.
By making a small investment in partnering with an SEO professional, your company will see:
- Increased Rankings
- Increased Organic Traffic
- Increased Calls / Form Submissions
- Increased Sales
Additionally, when you choose the right SEO company, you will get:
- More time to focus on running your business
- An improved website and better user experience
- Improved rankings on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yelp
It’s always a good idea to choose a company that can also provide you with content marketing, pay-per-click campaigns, social media marketing, email marketing, maintaining your Google My Business listing, video production, and much more!
When you hire the right company to do this intricate work, you can focus on running your business instead of trying to learn SEO algorithms and best practices.
Usually, the proof is in the pudding, but you can easily separate the good from the bad by reading SEO company reviews, case studies, and website content. See what our clients have to say on our testimonials page.
Use the five tips below to help you find a partner right for your business.
Tip #1 – Clearly Define Your SEO Goals
The first step to finding the right team for the job is to define what areas of your online presence that you’d like to see improved.
To find the right team for the job, you need to determine which areas of your online presence, you want to improve and find a firm with the experience and qualifications to make it happen.
If you’re not sure which areas you need to improve, then contact us for a free internet marketing consultation, and we can discuss how to reach your goals from a holistic perspective, not just by launching endless SEO campaigns.
Tip #2 – Make Sure your SEO Company Tracks Your Data
There’s no one size fits all approach to SEO. To find the best solutions for your unique business, you will want to use a firm that can track and measure all of your company data.
They should know how to track phone calls, contact forms, site visits, click-through rates, and more.
When choosing the right business strategies for your company, it’s crucial to make decisions based on results and not someone’s gut instinct.
Tip #3 – Ask your SEO Company for Reviews, Case Studies & Testimonials
One of the best ways to find a reputable agency is to read through their testimonials and online reviews.
A company’s reviews can easily be found by exploring the company’s site or searching for them on sites like Google, Yelp, or even Facebook.
For more thorough information, request case studies from the agency by calling them up or submitting a form online. Case studies are one great way to see what the agency is capable of doing for your business. Another great way to get a feel for an agency is by requesting a reference.
A dependable SEO agency should be able to put you in touch with a current client so that you can speak with them about their experience and level of satisfaction.
Tip #4 – Schedule a Consultation
Whether you are right down the street from the marketing firm or thousands of miles across the globe, you can always ask for a consultation.
If they’re any good, the agency will be happy to pull up some research on your industry and walk you through some strategies they have used on past clients.
A consultation will help you get a feel for both the knowledge and the skillset of their team. (Not to mention their level of passion and creativity.)
Your relationship with your SEO agency HAS to be based on trust.
To build a trusting relationship with your SEO agency, use this as an opportunity to see how well you connect.
- Are they explaining things in a way that you can understand?
- Do they seem more interested in selling than educating?
- Do they seem passionate about the work they do?
- Ask them specific questions!
If you have any questions so far, fill out the form below and we’d love to answer them for you.
Tip # 5 – Define Your SEO Budget
Before you invest in a service you can’t afford, plan out your budget ahead of time.
Hiring an agency that doesn’t offer you improvement in search results is a horrible return on investment.
Ask about package deals and price ranges early on to see if the service is in your price range. Often times SEO agencies are way overpriced, that’s why we strive to provide affordable SEO for your small business.
Most companies have a variety of monthly packages to choose from, which should make your life easier.
When choosing a package deal, remember the goal you developed in Tip #1, and see what package will help you smash it.
Red Flags to Notice When Choosing a Baton Rouge Search Engine Optimization Company
Often, it’s easier to know what NOT to do than what to do. Those of us who have children are familiar with that approach!
Here are five signs that you’re dealing with of one of those Baton Rouge SEO hacks, and not a professional.
Flag #1 – Fancy Presentations with no substance
Everyone knows not to judge a book by its cover, so why business owners keep falling for flashy sales presentations blows our minds.
We see it all the time. A digital marketing agency creates these beautiful, high-tech marketing pitches but fails to do the same for their customers.
There’s no need for flash and pizazz. Presentations should be all about the numbers.
Any professional knows that SEO is data-driven. We use a comprehensive analytics stack to see what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.
Flag #2 – “Secret Recipe,” Sales Pitches
There is no “secret formula or recipe” for SEO. There’s no such thing as “one-click SEO.”
How to succeed in SEO is very well documented; however, the landscape and algorithms change daily.
Our SEO experts stay abreast of these changes and trends to perfect our craft, resulting in a better benefit for you, the client.
Flag #3 – Bottom Dollar Pricing
You get what you pay for.
Typically those agencies who offer “cheap” SEO services outsource to India or another country.
It is ok if your target market is in that country. Just remember, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Flag #4 – Lack of Proof
Make sure that your SEO candidate has proof of previous SEO work.
- Look at their case studies.
- Read their online reviews.
- Browse through their blog.
Does their language vibe with you?
Do their clients remind you of your company?
Do they have documented results similar to the ones you want?
Save yourself time and money by vetting potential agencies.
Flag #5 – Poorly Designed and Optimized Websites
Substandard websites are one of our biggest pet peeves.
Some self-professed SEO gurus promise to sell their clients domination of the search engine results pages.
They may even offer graphic design and profess to be a design company.
But their website is an SEO trainwreck!
Call us crazy, bored, whatever, but one of the things we like to do is audit our competitors’ websites. (We do the same for our clients to ensure that they’re a step ahead of their competition – that’s SEO 101).
Today, we found an SEO “expert” in Baton Rouge who didn’t even rank on Google for its’ brand.
That’s right. The business’s name isn’t listed on the first few pages when you search for their name (We stopped at page 2).
They haven’t even had their search properly indexed, let alone launch any link-building efforts.
Or here’s another one.
Another Baton Rouge SEO firm that claims to specialize in Baton Rouge Web Design has a site that’s a technical SEO disaster. (they don’t even have an XML sitemap and their phone number isn’t even listed!)
Technical SEO is critical to your website, and technical errors could be hurting your SEO.
Page loading speed, heading placement, accessibility, clean code, page metadata, and server response codes are among the many ranking factors that search engines look at to determine your page rank.
It’s all about user experience!
If an SEO company doesn’t (or can’t) properly handle the technical side of search engine optimization for their brand, can you trust them to do it for you?
We thought you’d never ask!
Whether you’re looking for the best local SEO companies for your small business or need an enterprise solution, picking the right company is crucial.
An SEO partnership is long-term, so you need to be sure of who you’re picking.
Not all Baton Rouge SEO companies or digital marketing firms live up to their promises of more traffic, better rankings, and more leads. (sidebar: higher rankings don’t necessarily equal success.)
Avoid any SEO company that promises anything like the following:
- Overnight rankings
- Doubled traffic
- Instant leads
- Search engine submissions
- X amount of backlinks
If you come across a company that offers any of these, RUN!
While some of these results may be possible, it would most likely be due to black hat practices.
Black Hat SEO is the practice of using questionable SEO practices that try to “hack” the system.
Google punishes sites that use Black Hat techniques, and the damage can take years to reverse.
Bottom line: it’s not worth it. Any gains you would make from Black Hat SEO would be temporary, and subsequent rating losses would be worse and longer-lasting.
Black Hat SEO is terrible, horrible!
If an SEO expert makes any guarantees or promises about results in X amount of time, run! Good SEO takes time and is a process.
Some signs you’re about to be conned include SEO strategies like:
- Purchasing backlinks from random, spammy websites
- Using software to produce pages full of nonrelevant content.
- Using duplicate, scraped, or “thin” content
- Submitting fake press releases to spam links
If you haven’t used Black Hat SEO tactics on your site, don’t start!
But if you have, or suspect your developer or SEO team has, we recommend working with a reliable company that can help clean up your website.
Contact Us, and we’ll take a look at it for you for free.
Questions to ask an SEO company before hiring them
Before you randomly pick one from a list of SEO companies or call up your friend’s brother-in-law who built a website once, make sure you look at SEO company reviews extensively.
Ask up-front for examples of reviews and case studies that prove their success in your industry.
They must show proven success in your particular industry because each industry has different nuances and different consumer expectations.
You should also additionally ask the following questions:
- What’s the process to cancel?
Sometimes contracts have an end date or a fee for canceling before a certain length of time.
- How will we communicate, and how often?
Any decent SEO analyst should want to communicate with you, if for nothing else than to show you results on your rankings.
- Do I have full access to my Analytics/Adwords accounts and my website?
It’s helpful to know who has FTP access, CMS access, Analytics access, and AdWords access.
- Will I own my website?
Many Baton Rouge SEO companies have website ownership clauses built into their contracts. For example, some will build “free” websites, but if you cancel your contract early, you lose all rights to it.
- Do you provide performance guarantees?
A reliable SEO company doesn’t. Because of all the moving parts and because each website is different, it’s impossible to guarantee results. If you talk to a company that does, you need to run and don’t look back.
- Have you done work like this for companies similar to mine?
Different industries have different nuances and SEO requirements, which means you need to find an SEO provider that knows your specific industry.
- What are some of your recent success stories?
Any marketing agency should be proud to tell you of some of the marketing campaigns that they launched for clients and produced results.
- What contracts, budgets, and options are available?
Your budget should depend on your starting point, goals, competitive landscape, and internal capabilities. No one size fits all—there are no cookie-cutter solutions, at least not from the best SEO companies.
- What are all your fees and payment options?
Be sure you know every single aspect of how you’re going to pay for what SEO costs. Otherwise, you might have work withheld because you “didn’t pay.”
Let’s hear from you!
Are you looking for a Baton Rouge SEO company?
Could your business benefit from search engine optimization (SEO), and if you’re not sure, check out our recent article to see why it can absolutely benefit.
Would you like to improve your website’s search engine ranking? Now that you know how to choose an SEO agency, let us know how we can help you level up!