If you are looking to earn money, fame, or recognition in the World Wide Web, you cannot do it without getting in the good books of Google, the search engine with more than one billion users. In order to get a good presence in Google search results, you need to hire the services of experts who can optimize your website for search engines. Of course you can do it yourself, but trying to learn it from scratch and putting it into practice, while giving time to your business can prove to be a little too much for online entrepreneurs.
Finding an SEO firm is not a problem, but for those who are not familiar with the nitty-gritty of Search Engine Optimisation, it can be hard to tell if they are getting satisfactory services or not? Most of them aren’t even sure, as to what should be the yardstick for evaluating the performance of their SEO provider?
Given below is a comparison between some commonly used metrics for evaluating the performance of SEO professionals, starting from the least meaningful one to the more appropriate metrics.
In the olden days of Search Engine Optimization, the number of back links garnered in a specific time period was used to measure the performance of SEO professionals. In fact, many SEO firms still sell their services as link packages, offering you a number of high PR links for peanuts. While these companies or professionals will boast about these packages as the ultimate solution to your ranking problems, truth is that most of these “wholesale link building” packages will do more harm than good to your website. It’s true that back links are still mightily important, but more than the numbers, you should be looking at the quality and relevance of the back links that they’ve acquired for your website.
Rankings are the most commonly used benchmark to judge the performance of an SEO company, and quite rightly so. At the end of the day, the very purpose of Search Engine Optimization is to push your website up in the search results for the “right” keywords. But there’s a catch, some SEO providers might try to boast about their services by taking your website to the top for some keywords that might sound relevant, however it will fail to bring any traffic because it’s not a highly searched one, which means ranking alone is not a satisfactory result unless it brings substantial traffic, which takes us to our next point.
What good is ranking on the top for some keyword which is hardly ever used by your target customers? Instead, you will be better off by ranking at lower positions for some keywords having high search volume. If your website isn’t having a constant growth in the number of unique visitors after some time, chances are that your SEO firm is wasting your time and resources. Remember that it will take some time before your site can start to appear anywhere near the top for your desired keywords but there should be some growth in the number of visitors right from the word go.
But again, number of visitors doesn’t mean a thing if you are not getting targeted traffic with a possibility of conversion.
Taking everything into account, the best way to judge the performance of an SEO provider is to look at the growth in sales or conversion. To be brutally honest, getting to the top of SERP or getting thousands of visitors is of no use, if your website fails to achieve its targets in terms of sales or subscriptions. For these reasons, your SEO provider should be able to deliver in terms of conversions and sales, instead of boasting useless numbers and statistics. But then, when you go out and search for the cheapest options available, all you are going to get is bogus numbers and false promises, because at the end of the day, you get what you are paying for.