Hiring an SEO company could be a daunting task for some small business owners. The previous statement is true especially when it’s their first time hiring and trusting someone with their online rankings.

Let’s face it. Online rankings are very important to manage because they are basically your business reputation. The more positive reviews you get or the more keywords you rank on top page, the more people trust you.

Here are the things you need to look for when hiring an SEO company for your small business websites:


Ask about their clients and see if you can contact them as references. Most SEO companies are happy to give several of their clients contact info as references. When contacting the clients make sure you ask what they think about the SEO company you are hiring.

Getting some insights into clients’ experience will help you figure out whether or not to hire the SEO company. What makes them happy? What makes them upset?

Current Ranked Keywords

This is related to the first point above but it is worth mentioning that you should ask for the company’s ability to rank keywords. What are their clients’ keywords that are ranking? Are they similar to what you have in mind?

For example, if you are a dentist in Houston, TX, it is a good idea to work with someone who has experience in working with dental or local websites.

Make sure the SEO company can provide you with stats and analytics about the keywords they help rank. For example, how many searches per month?


Look for their online reviews. What are their SEO clients saying about the company? Nowadays, online reviews are very important. A study shows 9 out of 10 people see online reviews are as important as personal recommendations and they tend to spend more money on businesses they see as trustworthy.

A good SEO company should have some good reviews from their past and current clients. Make sure you also read the testimonials that are left by clients and decide if hiring the company is worth your investment. Look for red flags (if any) from their clients.

Keep in mind, reviews could be faked. I’m not saying to discredit all the reviews, but maintain your perspective when reading online reviews. As you dig deeper, you will eventually get a good idea about what other people think of the company.


While being able to rank certain keywords is a must-have skill for an SEO company, it is also equally important to know the right techniques to do so. Dealing with a bad SEO company could cause your website to get banned by Google and other search engines.

Good SEO companies will never jeopardize your website by doing shady SEO techniques that could get your website banned although some companies might put your website in trouble inadvertently.

Make sure the company you’re hiring is capable. They must only use “white-hat” SEO techniques and avoid “black-hat” or shady SEO that could cause you time and money.


Make sure you understand how the SEO company is going to provide you with updates about the project. A good update is something that’s easy for you to understand and regularly shared. At a minimum, you should get an update every month about your website’s rankings and improvements.

Most SEO reports include the following data:

Activities: how many emails they send? How many articles they write?
Traffic numbers: number of visitors from search engines and/or others
Current rankings: these are the rankings that your website currently has


Communication is very key when hiring a company to work with. Make sure you pay attention to their communication skill. Are they being punctual in replying your messages? A good SEO company must have a great communication skill and be organized because part of “white-hat” SEO is getting backlinks.

In the process, an SEO company must reach out to other website owners to share their clients’ content. Finding possible websites, contacting them, and following up are very repetitive and boring tasks. You can see how being able to communicate well and get organized are key to the success of your SEO campaign.


Hiring an SEO company to improve your rankings is a big step in the right direction if you want to get more leads for your business websites. Having said that, choosing a company to do the job shouldn’t be rushed and taken lightly. Make sure you take your time to pick the best company based on their skills, techniques, and other criteria.

A good SEO company could help you grow your business by managing your online reputation and finding great keywords to target for your website. The fact is there are millions of people use Google and other search engines to search for something. Does your website come up? Consider getting a free SEO audit today.

Steve Harris is a freelance writer. He loves working at an SEO company on his company and personal blog. In his free time, Steve likes to read books about personal development and time management.

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