Chicago is a great, thriving city with a lot of competing businesses. One example of this is the growing number of local search engine optimization firms and experts. The bad part is that not all of these Chicago SEO experts are experts at all.
So how do you tell who is an expert and who is just after your hard earned money? By finding the answers to a few simple questions. Below are a few questions you should ask yourself any search engine optimization expert before hiring them– even if they aren’t in Chicago.
1. How Many Years Of Experience Do They Have?
One of the first and most important things that a website or business owner will look at before hiring an SEO expert, no matter the location. It’s possible for anyone to turn their bedroom into an office and claim they are an SEO agency, but that doesn’t mean they are the experts you want managing your company’s marketing future.
Online marketing is a complex and relies on a lot of small parts to work together. That’s not to say a new company isn’t good, but if you want the best experts in Chicago, then you’re going to want one with years of experience.
Each year of experience arms the SEO expert with an arsenal of new tools, a better understanding of various markets, and they’ve probably made a couple of mistakes they’ve learned from along the way. Experience in different niches means the expert will understand what your site needs to succeed, which is going to be different than what the next site needs to succeed. Fledgling marketing firms tend to apply a “one size fits all” solution that doesn’t always work.
2. What Does Their Track Record Look Like?
Ten years of experience in search engine optimization don’t mean much if they’ve done nothing but fail since the beginning. That’s why it’s important for them to not only be experienced but to have a proven track record of successful campaigns. If they can’t prove it, then it probably didn’t happen, and you should move forward to an expert who can.
What is enough to constitute proof? Aside from reading online reviews, you should get at least three references of clients they’ve worked with in the past year or two. You, of course, have to check the references yourself. If their past clients are all happy, they should have no problem providing the references.
Outside of references, online reviews are a great way to gauge a digital marketing expert or firm’s past. The internet has been around long enough that any advertising professional with years of experience will have some reviews online. There are several sites dedicated to listing and reviewing such experts. Use these to get opinions from people who aren’t referenced by the expert.
3. Are They In-Sync With Other Internet Marketing Strategies?
Long gone are the days when a single marketing plan will take your company to the top. Most businesses implement a few different internet marketing techniques to get the best results. Some of these strategies work very well together, such as search engine marketing and social media marketing(SMM). However, that won’t mean much if your Chicago search engine optimization expert isn’t taking this connection into account.
There are some internet marketing firms that simply want to ignore all other marketing efforts and focus only on the search engines and improving site rankings. The best experts will instead take all other marketing efforts into consideration and work on creating content that syncs on all levels. Content that is easily “shareable” on social media or designed with mobile devices in mind.
Every successful campaign starts with a realistic goal. Despite common belief, this goal is not getting ranked highly on Google. Getting ranked highly is the method you use to accomplish the goal. Goals tend to involve converting visitors into customers. You can then use email marketing to convert those customers into return customers. Find out what their goal is and whether it will sync with your other plans.
Get A Dialogue Going
If they pass on all of the questions listed above, then it’s time to get a dialogue going if you don’t already. Tell them about your goals and plans and possibly get a quote. You should also use this time to judge their general customer service. Few things are worse than getting stuck in a contract with an advertising firm that spends more time ignoring you than answering your questions.
If you find you like the expert’s prices and customer service, then you may have found the firm that’s right for you. You can always repeat the process in the future if things don’t work out.
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