Clutch Interviews 180fusion: How to Hire an SEO Company
Deciding to work with an SEO company is one of the most important decisions any company with an online presence can make, particularly in today’s mobile and social media-driven market. The relationship between client and SEO agency is a crucial one, and can become a determinant in the success of your online business. Choosing which SEO company to work with is a process–one that requires research, goal setting, and a thorough understanding of what you’re looking for.
Clutch recently interviewed 180fusion’s own Mike Rosa, director of marketing, and Doug Reader, director of SEO, to define how to hire an SEO company in today’s day and age. Here are some of the highlights:
What goals should a business define before looking to hire a SEO partner?
DOUG: First, what type of revenue growth do you want to experience? Break it down by service or product. Most businesses, at least in our experience, say, “I want to grow my business ‘x’ percent over the next few months or next few years”, but they don’t really drill down and get specific into where that growth is actually occurring.
For example, say we’re talking about an ecommerce business, it’s important for that business to clearly identify which product, products, or even product categories they’re going to experience their growth from, especially if they’re selling over a hundred different products. It’s great to say, “I want to have 20 percent growth,” but from our point of view, it’s more important to clearly identify where that growth is actually happening and which products and services are driving the growth.
For a service-based business, let’s say you’re a plumber and you work both on the commercial and residential side. It’s first important to identify, do you want more of your growth coming from commercial or residential? Then breaking it down even further, say you want to increase revenue through the residential side, what type of services are we talking about? Are we talking about fixing leaky pipes? Installing new plumbing throughout the house? Getting really granular is an important step in determining how you want to grow your revenue. So that would be my first goal, revenue growth by product or service.
What are some red flags to watch out for when evaluating a SEO company?
MIKE: To add to that, other red flags to look out for would be anyone that promises you pie in the sky results, especially in unreasonable or unattainable timeframes. SEO is a medium to long-term strategy. Most of the time, our clients require anywhere from six to eighteen months for most of the rankings to mature. Anyone who promises you, “I can get you ranked for such and such keyword in 30 days,” chances are, one, they’re overselling and they won’t be able to deliver on the promise, or two, they’re using methods that will ultimately get you penalized or get you in trouble, either in the near term or with the rollout of the next algorithm update.
Finding a company that believes in sustainable SEO practices is very important. At 180fusion, we try to focus on making SEO as future-proof as possible by doing it the right way. In a similar way that the medical industry has the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm”, we really believe that our SEO work shouldn’t pose any sort of risk or do any sort of harm to our clients’ sites. Finding somebody who believes in doing SEO the right way, the sustainable way, even if it’s sometimes the slightly slower way, is your safe bet in the long term. That’s the way to make sure that the rug isn’t pulled out from under you and you’re left with a mess for another SEO company to come in, where you’ll have to spend twice the money and twice the time to clean up the mistakes of the first.
Does 180fusion have any specific requirements for a potential client, such as a minimum budget or project length?
DOUG: We don’t have a minimum budget or minimum project length.
During the sales process, we perform due diligence on our end to get a clear understanding of where they have been. To build on what Mike just brought up, we’ve worked with a lot of clients who’ve come from other agencies, and those agencies used tactics that might have produced great results at the time, but long-term, they’re negatively impacting the site’s ability to perform well in Google or in other search engines.
We take the time to first go through, understand what has been done in the past, and based off of that, we’ll build out a strategy around what their goals are and anything that needs to be cleaned up. Then we provide the client with a long-term strategy and an appropriate budget to match that.
It’s incredibly rare that we’ve ever turned down a client. We are as transparent as possible, so the client understands what was done in the past, and this is what we have to do to clean up some of that mess, if there is a mess. Then, this is what we’re doing going forward to solidify their position and improve where they’re currently at.
MIKE: In terms of our SEO offering, we’ve really segmented it to be able to service the entire market, depending on their various needs. We serve anyone from your local mom-and-pop shops all the way up to Fortune 500 companies, and we have different levels of engagement for each of those needs.
We have a special competency in local SEO. We’re very good at being able to achieve local rankings. Not that we’re any less competent on enterprise, but the local offering has always been a core of what 180fusion has been about, which is being able to help small and medium-sized businesses grow into medium and large-sized businesses. That’s something that’s near and dear to our hearts.
That being said, our enterprise-level offerings are comprehensive, and we do work with Fortune 500 companies to act as an extension of their in-house team, to consult on things that need to be changed, or even in a full service management capacity.
We’ve stratified our offering to be able to meet all segments of the market. We have a best-in-class offering at each segment.