Chapter Corner

Finding an SEO Company That Will Make Your Business Stand Out

Posted in: Marketing Matters

SEOGraphic.gifWe all know horror stories about electrical contractors who wasted marketing dollars on search engine optimization (SEO) scams, well-intentioned but misguided web marketing efforts, or even tech folks who can’t answer simple business questions.

Unfortunately, while some SEO companies have at least adequate technical skills, most don’t provide business owners with the one thing they really want—a voice on the other end of the phone. You would think it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a company willing to explain its process, right? Guess again.

So, what’s an electrical contractor to do when it’s time to pull marketing dollars out of traditional marketing strategies and start investing on getting page one ranking on Google?

KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT

Knowing what to reasonably expect from an SEO firm can make all the difference. And knowing what you want from the firm will help you find the right one.

Start by asking yourself the following questions at the beginning of the process:

  • Do you know which electrical keywords receive the most traffic? (i.e. electrician vs. wiring installer. Hint: there are pros and cons to both.)

  • Are you willing to wait a few months for significant results? (Page one rank on Google)

  • Do you want a dedicated point of contact?

  • Will you spend a few hundred dollars per month to focus on just a handful of keywords or a few thousand per month for an all-encompassing SEO firm?

You should also:

  • Ask for references in your industry and find a company that has experience marketing online for electrical contractors. You’ll be amazed how many “bad apples” this will weed out.

  • Ask how to reach them if you have questions. You should have a direct phone number and e-mail address for contacting your provider and a turnaround time under one business day.

  • Ask what the plan is if your results are not satisfactory. Your SEO provider should work with you to try out new strategies if current ones aren’t working.

Most SEO firms will leave you feeling disappointed if you don’t do your research beforehand to confirm their expertise meets your needs.

WHAT TO AVOID

Here are the four most common ways that SEO firms disappoint their customers. Get a better return on your marketing dollars by learning to steer clear of these common traits among amateur SEO marketers.

  1. The “overpromise & underdeliver” routine
    The majority of SEO companies will overpromise to get your company more business or assure you they have inside access to Google’s formula. Assurances like these should set off red flags right away. Be wary of those that promise you the moon just to get you to sign up.

  2. The “hide what we’re not doing” routine
    If an SEO company isn’t taking the time to educate you about its process, then one of three things could be the reason: It might not want to give away “proprietary” secrets; it has no intention of truly delivering results; or it is using “black hat” tactics that work in the short term but threaten your ranking.

    If an SEO company is hesitant to give up any information about its process or provide a road map for your success, start looking elsewhere.
  3. The “long time, no hear” routine
    Some SEO providers will attempt to convince you to sign a contract, but then go dark any time you try to reach them to see what they’ve done for your account. You should expect to have a dedicated point of contact and a direct line to reach them so that you can have your questions answered right away.

  4. The “excuse me, come again?” routine

    Many people at SEO firms are hired for their technical skills, not their ability to talk to customers or listen to their business needs. The best SEO providers are good at both.

Not every service provider can get it right ALL of the time, and SEO providers are certainly not exempt from this rule. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting, why it’s right for your business, and what the price really is before you sign on the dotted line.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While web marketing can be confusing, it’s easier when you remember that hiring an SEO provider is just like hiring a contractor. Ask as many questions as you can.

Getting to page one on Google is realistic if you’re working with the right firm. But, finding an SEO provider you can trust and who can get you great results while communicating with you can take some research. Look for an SEO partner who takes the time to understand your needs and educate you, and you will get the results you deserve.

Alain Parcan is Director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc. Market Hardware helps electrical contractors compete on the web and offers special discounts for professional association members. For more information, call (888) 381-6925 or visit www.markethardware.com.