Important Things to Look for in the Best SEO Company

There are many companies out there that offer SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), so many infact, that the market is flooded with them. The blanket email spam sent out from these companies can become very frustrating, believe me - I know. For myself, I get multiple emails every single day from companies and individuals both in New Zealand and overseas (mainly India) offering SEO services for our Activate Design website.

Many of these emails start with: “I have viewed your website and believe I can improve your rankings by the following methods...” Another may say: “I have conducted a thorough analysis of your site and believe we can give you #1 rankings by …”

white hat seoMy first issue here is that if indeed these companies had actually viewed our website as they say they have, they would have seen that we ourselves offer a full SEO service. We also offer mobile sites, responsive websites, full website design, development and more. What I mean to say is; there’s no use offering window cleaning to a window cleaner right?

So I must conclude that these emails are spam being sent out without any real research having been done.

My second issue is are these companies using good "white hat" seo techniques, or agressive "black hat" techniques that rarely obey search engine guidelines and put your website at risk.

Is there any way to tell? My advice would simply be to use a well reputed provider of SEO. A good bet would be a company such as ourselves who don't soley offer SEO, but specialise in a host of other website related services.

My other advice would be to choose an SEO specialist in your country, that way if something goes wrong you know you can reach them easily to discuss and are not limited by electronic communication and time differences.

THE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK FIRST IS: CAN I TRUST SEO SERVICES FROM AN UNKNOWN COMPANY?

As a recent example, we were contacted by one of our Clients who had been intrigued by an offer of SEO that seemed too good to be true, yet also seemed quite legitimate. This initial email offer outlined a lot of points that appealed to our Client and the third party company seemed to know their stuff. Our Client had then spoken with this unknown company, (a wise step), although the company was not based in New Zealand, and decided to proceed with the service.

When they contacted us it was to forward an email requesting top-level access to their website to be passed on to the third party company. Our client had been informed that code would be added to their to site increase rankings. Without knowledge of SEO techniques themselves, our Client would have no idea what was being added to their site, and what could be hidden in the code that they would never find out about.

AT THIS POINT IT NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED: HOW MUCH ACCESS TO MY WEBSITE SHOULD I GIVE A THIRD PARTY COMPANY? HOW MUCH ACCESS TO MY WEBSITE SHOULD AN SEO PROVIDER NEED?

The answer, in fact, is none. If you do decide to take a risk on an unknown search engine optimisation company either based in New Zealand or overseas, they should not need access to the background workings of your website if it is just some code they are adding to your site. As we suggested to our Client, they would be wise to have us check and add the code into their website for them, ensuring it is 100% legitimate and that their website, which is such a large marketing investment, is kept safe.

In this particular case, once our client contacted the company to inform them to send the code to be added independently, they never heard from that company again. Rather suspicious don’t you think? That code could have contained any number of things from links to other sites or improper and outdated SEO practices that would have had a detrimental effect on rankings.

YOU NEED TO KNOW: WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF USING AN OUTSIDE COMPANY FOR SEO?

There are many, and I’m not scaremongering here - I genuinely believe that a website is such an asset that we are more than happy to ensure it's continued security. After all, we take pride in our websites and want to ensure the optimum effectiveness of the websites we create for every business, individual or organisation.

The dangers you face of using an unknown SEO company are that your website could be made vulnerable, hacked, deleted, or simply undermined. What I mean by undermined is that there are many, many methods of SEO to increase your rankings, and the effectiveness of these methods changes constantly. SEO techniques change as search engines get smarter, for example, Meta tags were once extremely effective but are rarely used anymore.

An HTML Meta Tag is a form of data tag that is not visible on the site itself, yet still communicates to search engines about your web page. Meta tags were popularly used to convey information like page title, description and keywords. What occurred to change this was that dishonest websites were adding keywords to their meta tags that did not in any way relate to their website content, effectively luring people in to their website through dishonest means. Thankfully, search engine technology is constantly evolving and once it was determined that Meta tags could be manipulated to gain undeserved rankings this technique became less used if not completely redundant. A good SEO provider must be constantly updating his or her skills using "white hat" techniques to stay ahead of trends and avoid penalisation for using outdated techniques.

FIRST CONSIDER: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY WEBSITE IS COMPROMISED DUE TO SEO SERVICES FROM AN ILLIGITIMATE PROVIDER?

What should I do if an SEO provider damages my rankings or results in my site being banned through "black hat" seo techniques?

If your site does not improve in rankings or actually goes down in rankings, there may be things we can undo to reverse the downward spiral and restore your website’s integrity. Contact us immediately!

If you website is banned from Search Engines, which happens more than you realise, we can re-create your website, making it much improved and more effective by employing good SEO techniques right from the start.

We work with SEO specialists who keep up to date with all the latest SEO techniques and developments to ensure any SEO results in a growth in rankings, not penalisation of rankings due to dishonest or outdated practices.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY WEBSITE IS HACKED OR DELETED?

Give us a call. If you have one of our websites then unless you have given someone access to your website background, your site will be very secure. Our CMS (content management system) is unique in that it has been developed by us. Most websites that are hacked are created in open-source Content Management Systems, such as Wordpress and Magento. Open-source cms are available for anyone to use, so unfortunately there are more people working on ways to compromise them.

If your website has been compromised then in most cases we can repair it for you and get it working again with minimum down-time. If your website has been created in an open-source CMS we have a lot of experience with a range of issues that can occur, and on several occasions when the corruption is too wide-spread, we have re-created complete websites in our more secure CMS.

I think it’s important to note that with our CMS you can still host the site where you like. We do not lock you into hosting with us as some other companies do. Having freedom of choice is for your simple peace of mind.

Our unique CMS was created in response to the fact that most CMS available were created for programmers to use, not people (not that er, programmers aren’t people…). So our CMS is very, very simple and straightforward to use, giving you greater control over your content and images, and allowing you to add, hide or remove pages, add links and much more.

So if you’re thinking of SEO services to improve website rankings, or if you’re have concerns about the ongoing security of your website - do feel welcome to contact our team at Activate Design. We have designers, developers, service support technicians, and just friendly helpful people like myself here to assist you whenever needed.

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