Hiring expert SEO services require developing a plan before even beginning research. A good guide to follow is to establish your SEO goals and budget, establish criteria for the company you hire, research companies online, tap into your professional network for referrals, and meet with candidates in person.

The following goes into more detail on each step. Expert SEO services can seem mysterious and confusing to those who aren’t used to it. But really, it’s just a matter of clearly knowing what you want, and then going out and getting it.

Expert SEO Services

Like anything else, you don’t want to rush off and start spending money on SEO without having a detailed plan of what you want out of it. Before you do one minute of research, sit down with the top executives of the company and determine what you hope to accomplish by driving more traffic to your site.

Examples include increasing conversions, building out email lists, raising your profile by getting traffic from specific demographics in your consumer base, developing industry thought leadership, and ranking higher in search engine results for certain keywords and phrases.

In other words, don’t just say: I want more traffic to my website. There needs to be a purpose for that traffic.

Establish Criteria

Do you want the SEO company to be local and work with you in-person? Or is it Ok if they work remotely You may also only want to consider those who have done work in your industry. You may be willing to work with relatively new agencies, or only with those with years of experience. Whatever the case, now’s the time to get that down on paper. Also, set a budget for what you are willing to spend for expert SEO services.

Research Online

Some sources tell you not to use Google to search for expert SEO services in your area, but that seems anti-common sense. One of the main goals in SEO is to increase rankings on searches. Surely you would expect an SEO company to be able to get itself ranked higher, at least in their own market.

Once you have a list of companies, read their online reviews and check their websites. If they have testimonials from customers, make sure to check out those websites, too, and how they rank in their industry.

Do, however, take any lists you see with “the top SEO companies” with a grain of salt.

Use Your Network

Now is a good time to work on your professional network. Consult with people you respect about companies they’ve used and had success with. Talk to friends you have in the digital marketing field. You might even find out who your competitors are using if they’ve done well with SEO. Often, you will find the best company through a good, old-fashioned referral.

Talk in Person

All the technology in the world doesn’t change the fact that you must feel a level of trust and compatibility in working with a person. This is especially true when hiring an outside consultant. You want to make sure you understand each other and have similar communication styles.

There’s also simply the “feel” you get from people. Such instincts are usually worth following.

Expert SEO service companies also should be able to describe in detail how they approach driving more traffic to your site and how they plan to use SEO strategies and techniques to accomplish your specific goals.

At this point, you will have narrowed it down to one or two choices to choose from. But by carefully following the steps rather than just wading into hiring expert SEO services without a plan, your chances of success will be higher.