5 Things to Look for When Hiring a Quality SEO Firm

The following article is a guest post by Jordan Metts, SEO Consultant at Inetzeal.net.

Google building 43Polished SEO services engage in the proven tactics of both onsite and offsite SEO. Onsite SEO consists of techniques that tweak a web site directly, whereas offsite SEO focuses more on inbound, or backlink, strategy. Organic and paid SEO procedures used in tandem yield the best results for boosting rank with search engines. Five important aspects quality SEO firms use are:

Increasing conversion rates

If you engage in eCommerce, know that SEO authorities live and breathe optimizing eCommerce. Their techniques include, but are certainly not limited to, web page redesign, moving “the fold” when appropriate, placing calls to action where they are most efficient, and analyzing the right metrics to turn visitors into paying customers. A handful of these metrics for eCommerce sites are shopping cart abandonment rate, average order value, new and return visitor conversion rates, e-mail capture ratio, several bounce rate measurements, and many more.

Keyword-rich content and organic linking

We have all seen sites that claim authority on a certain topic in their search results summaries, but deliver content stuffed with so many keywords that the paragraphs are incomprehensible. Many are equally stuffed with links, but I digress. The marketing pros of competent SEO firms tend to utilize a prudent 2% to 8% of text for relevant keywords and keyword phrases. This ratio of keywords-to-content appeases fastidious search engine spiders.

The content is also unique. Spiders recognize content that is scraped from other sites and hastily restructured with synonym replacement and other lazy tactics. This is due to the spiders’ algorithms being armed with code like Latent Semantic Analysis and similar coding techniques.

Organic linking means that the rate at which backlinks are accumulated looks organic, or natural, to spiders. Spiders are coded to search for unusual spikes in link building over time. It does not matter whether links are purchased or obtained freely. Any unnatural spike in backlink building raises flags for spiders. For example, gaining high quality backlinks at a rate of 100 per month, then suddenly gaining 4,000 low quality backlinks in a 24-hour period, attracts attention. Respected SEO specialists build links naturally, avoiding any possibility of scrutiny.

Optimizing graphics

The pros crop JPGs, PNGs and GIFs correctly for the web. Techniques include using CSS sprites to reduce image requests, merging inline images into cached stylesheets, JPEG compression algorithms, overlaying JPEG demos with GIF and text, optimizing transparency, and GIF smoothing. These techniques and many more reduce the size of web pages significantly, decreasing actual and perceived loading times.

Server setup and fine-tuning of web pages

One of the major checks successful SEO firms perform when getting a site up and running is a neighborhood check. If an online business were situated in the real world as opposed to cyberspace, what would its neighbors be like? Would the business be in a crime-ridden or crime-free neighborhood? If search engine spiders find your site nestled among a group of sites with ill repute, it reflects poorly on your site’s rank. The IP address pool in which your site will find a home is very important, and savvy SEO professionals ensure your site is in good company.

Genuine customer service

Last, but not least, experts in the field have a reputation for being available to clients even after normal business hours. Allegorically, when your home PC that is still under warranty freezes, most people want to reach tech support without fuss and resolve the problem as swiftly as possible. If you notice a landing page is suddenly receiving zero hits, or a similar problem, a reputable SEO firm’s experts will respond and resolve your issue within a reasonable time.