Once or twice, I’ve had e-mails from website owners that are at their wits ends with their SEO company. These emails normally start by telling me that they have an SEO company working for them, but they’re unsure if they are actually carrying out the work. They then ask me to try to determine if they are.
So, how do you tell if you’re search engine optimisation company is actually doing it’s job?
Firstly, if you’re upset because your website isn’t number one within a month, then take a step back and give it time. No keyword worth it’s salt will be achievable in just one month. If an SEO company can claim otherwise, ask them for search volume and competition details for suich keyword. Ranking for your brand name and “how to buy dog bowls in Mansfield” doesn’t count either. These are low volume, shitty little keywords that just aren’t even worth their time. Yes you’r brand name is important but it will rank for that anyway, regardless.
Once that has been cleared up, be sure that you’re actually paying for continual SEO work. A previous client of mine was paying a small amount of money to a large SEO company and they couldn’t understand why they weren’t ranking. I checked, and they were simply paying a monthly fee for access to their SEO experts. Actual work would cost more. Sneaky but easily avoidable. Talk to them and ask them to at least guaranteeing positive search engine ranking movement. We can’t promise number one placement but we can promise upward movement and traffic increases. Ask them how they’ll get your website higher, what linkbuilding and website changes will they make to do this. Us SEO geeks fucking love talking about our job and how we do. Each SEO will have their own way, their own little baby in terms of techniques so ask them about it.
Now that we’re clear you’re actually paying money for a service that will increase your search engine rankings, what next? Well, the work will begin and this could be changes to your website and some blogging (if you’re paying for that) or it could be link building which isn’t as visible. That is where people are often taken for a mug. How to check you’re getting links to your website? Why not visit Ahrefs.com and put your website in there. Now, you should be given a figure, in terms of backlinks, as a base number (the same with rankings) so that you can compare the two. I would like to point out that it isn’t a numbers game. You won’t/shouldn’t see a billion links in a day. But you should see a nice, gradual increase of backlinks. AHREFS can be a little complex, but there’s a tab called NEW/LOST which shows all the links that have been added or lost. It might take a week/month before good numbers come in. But keep an eye on them!
Another good way is actually monitoring your keywords. Before any campaign is started, your SEO company will do a little research. They will take any keywords you have provided, along with your website, and look for keywords that are closely related to your market and goals. These keywords will get you the most traffic for the least amount of work. This makes your ROI much, much higher. Once you have these keywords, put them into a rank tracking website such as serpfox.com and monitor where your website is in the search engines. This website is a great bit of kit as it checks every 6 hours where your website is. Please remember what I said about how long it takes to rank a website. You should see some positive results after 6 weeks of any work starting. This might be something simple as your website jumping up to page 4 on Google, but positive movements are an indicator that your SEO company is doing something right. If you do see some drop in rankings, don’t panic. Talk to your SEO company. The linkbuilding might not have started yet and this drop could be completely unrelated to your SEO company.
One final tip is to check your Google Analytics. Your SEO company should provide you monthly traffic reports that completely strips out visitors that come to your website directly or from adverts. They should show you the raw data for visitors that have come to your website JUST FROM SEARCH ENGINES. This will show you exactly how your website is being found. Don’t worry if it’s not a huge jump, as your website might not be on the first page of Google. But keep checking and make sure you get the following on a monthly basis:
- Ranking reports
- Job report
- Traffic report
- Keyword report (There might be new keywords that have been found in Google Analytics)
- Possible extra work that MIGHT be needed. Sometimes, we find new and exciting ways or promoting your website and offer this to you. This could be facebook pages or twitter accounts. You will rank without them, though.
So that’s it. Don’t be taken for a ride. Talk to your company and ask questions. Don’t feel silly! SEO is an on-going process and something that can’t be achieved by buying a shit load of links from a Fiverr. Bear that in mind and remember that if you’re unhappy, talk to them!