Choosing the right SEO company in South Africa is a decision that requires some understanding and a proper filtering process.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial for a business website and there are different ways to do SEO Marketing in South Africa. You can do things yourself or hire someone to do it for you. We have written this guide to help you find and choose a reliable SEO company. We will include what you should be looking for, red flags that you should be aware of, and what questions to ask your potential consultant.
Choosing An SEO Company in South Africa
You must define the standard that you want for your website.
The benefit of SEO is that if done correctly, it can lead targeted customers to your business for years. Choosing an SEO company is not as simple as reading a website and making your pick. You must do a background check on the consultant during the hiring process to determine that they will b e able to deliver what it is you want from them. The focus is not on rankings but on organic traffic and conversions.
Reason You Hire an SEO Consultant
SEO is an ongoing process and takes dedicated time to manage it. You can manage SEO yourself but it will require a lot of learning and time dedicated to making the necessary tweaks to your website over time. Have a look at this guide on how to do SEO yourself. If you hire an SEO company to do it for you, you are able to dedicate more time to running your business.
Fringe Focus outside of SEO
There are other aspects in the internet marketing that are related to SEO. These include content marketing, Pay Per Click Campaigns, social media posts, and email marketing. These are NOT SEO but they are related and some companies offer them as part of the package. The reason for making this distinction is that it is easy to distract you from your focus goal by throwing many terms at you that sound familiar, something marketing companies will always do (because it works).
So How Do You Choose a reliable SEO Company In South Africa?
The truth is that the proof is in the pudding, but you can weed out most of the chaff by reading reviews (genuine ones) if they are available, and by knowing what is realistic and what a company can realistically offer you.
Look for content on their website and see how they rank for.
Ask them what terms they rank for and then search for yourself
5 Tips For Choosing A Good SEO Company
#1 – Define Your Goal
If you want to find the right person to do your SEO for you, you have to know what you want from the consultant. SEO can be a bit of a nebulous term and there are a wide area of aspects within SEO, some of which may be applicable to your needs, and others which aren’t. Things you need to consider are
-What is your SEO Budget
-What areas of your website need SEO improvement
-Do you want purely organic traffic or inclusion of PPC
-Is your target audience local (city), provincial or National
-How long is the SEO campaign
#2 – Find an SEO company that can analyze your data
For the best SEO service, you need a company that will be able to analyze your data, and give you an understanding of the condition of your website. They can tell you what you are doing right
#Know exactly what the company specializes in. Most companies will offer you a jack of all trades approach. The truth is most of them cast a big net and don’t specialise in what you are looking for. So you must determine what the company has mastered and whether that is what you are looking for. They must then provide you with proof of these results.
Tip #3 – Get Reviews and Testimonials of the company.
The best way to find out how good a company is, is to hear from people that have worked for. Good old word of mouth. The easiest way is through reviews. This can be done by reading reviews on their social media pages from multiple different users. If a company has a review from a large publication, such that’s even better. Just beware of on-site testimonials as those aren’t reliable. You can easily put a testimonial on your own website under a random name.
Additionally, if an SEO company has been operating for a year or more and have a track record, you should be able to request a reference. If the agency is reputable, they should have a current client that they can put you in contact with, who can speak about their experience and level of satisfaction.
Tip #4 – Schedule a Consultation With The Company
This is a great way to get a feel for the company and see what they are capable of doing. If you contact an SEO consultant and explain to them what you want them to do, they should be able to do some basic research on your industry and give you an idea of what the landscape is like in terms of competition, and type of strategy would be ideal for your SEO campaign.
Trust is an important part of the relationship between you and your SEO consultant. A consultation will give you a good opportunity to see how well you can connect with the consultation. You can find out if they give you a good understanding of what you want and give you answers to some questions you wouldn’t know to ask but would still want answers to. You can also suss out if they are focused on helping you to achieve your SEO goals, or whether they are more focused on overselling to you.
Tip #5 – Define your SEO budget.
SEO is, at the minimum, a months long journey so it is a good idea to plan your budget out from the start. Initially, you must have an understanding of how much SEO costs and what kind of packages you will afford. You can find out the market rates for SEO by assessing the company rates for companies online, which should more or less give you an idea of how much you must make provision for.
An industry rate is a good map of how to budget. If services are too cheap, there might be reason for suspicion. In the same breath, some companies inflate their charges while not delivering impressive result. So price alone is not the only indicator. It is used in conjunction with other aspects that you consider in assessing the company.
Things NOT To Do
Don’t Fall For Flashy Presentations:
It is almost a cliché but it remains true. Do not trust a book by its cover. It is a common tactic in marketing to create a more flash than substance approach in order to secure customers. This includes flashy sales presentations and bombarding you with a range of technical jargon. A good SEO consultant will place emphasis on giving you an understanding of what you will be paying for. This includes explaining things to you in plain language, and simplifying technical terms for you where needed.
Don’t fall for “Secret Sauce” claims
This is another trick that marketers use to sway potential clients. There is no secret sauce of magic potion to SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a systematic process and is very well-documented. There are no shortcuts or magic tricks that other companies have. The difference is in the skill and understanding of your consultant, which comes from doing things repeatedly over a sustained period, also known as experience.
Don’t Choose A Cheap SEO Company
Like many other things in life, what you get is what you pay for. On the light side, you can end up wasting money. In the worst case, a bad SEO agency can cause damage to your website and its rankings that can take months or years to recover from.
Not Doing Your Research
If feeling is anything to go buy, there are more bad SEO companies out there than there are good ones. You must do your level best to be properly informed with the basics of SEO so that when someone is selling you something, you are able to pick up red flags that could lead you into a bad business relationship. As mentioned earlier, you have to read reviews about the company. You have to ask them some of the basic questions that any SEO consultant should be able to address. You must be able to get proof that they have been able to do for themselves and other companies, what they are promising to do for you.
Red Flags For SEO Companies
Search Engine Optimization is a process and most of the time it will take at least 6 months to see a good amount of traction and increased visitors to you website. Nonetheless, there are countless companies that will make unrealistic or outright false claims about what their services can do for you. You should keep away from companies that promise
- Overnight rankings
- Double your traffic
- Instant Leads
- X number of backlinks
Nobody can promise to double your traffic or to get you to the top of the search rankings. How much traffic you will get is determined by algorithms, that will determine the quality of your site based on how visitors interact with your content.
There are two types of SEO. White hat SEO, is the ethical forms of SEO that are done using best practices. The focus of white SEO is to make for the best customer experience and gain visitors by creating the best content.
Black Hat VS White Hat SEO
Black hat SEO are questionable SEO practices that try to game the system. While these practices will sometimes work in the short term, Google penalizes websites that use black hat SEO. Often, the damage caused by a Google penalty can take years to repair and you can end up loosing more than you gained in the short term.
Another pitfall of BlackHat SEO is that it often results in traffic of a poor quality. There is use in getting 1000 visitors to your website who are not interested in what you are selling. In the same way, backlinks are of little use is they come from a website that has no relevance to your own.
What you want instead, is targeted traffic. This is composed of people who are looking for what you are selling and using search engines to find you. This type of traffic converts (into sales) and can only gained sustainably through organic traffic and white hat SEO.
Here are some warning signs of Black Hat SEO techniques
- A lot of links from websites that have no relevance to your content
- Duplicate Content and Scraped content
- The use of automated software (also known as bots)
Very Important Considerations
When anybody world on your website, make sure that that copyrights to all metadata defaults to you, the owner of the website. If not, they could create metadata on your website and even though it is on your website, it belongs to the SEO company. That means that if you cut ties with them, they could legally prevent you from using the data on your website of even remove all the work that you have paid for when you end your relationship with them.
Questions To Ask An SEO Company Before You Hire Them
What does my contract stipulate
– Take your time to read the contract thoroughly and ask questions about anything that you are unsure of.
Is there an early termination fee? – You can engage in an ad hoc contract if an SEO company allows for it (although that is not advised) or you can get into a contract with an end date. Ask if there is a notice period or a cancellation fee applicable for an early termination.
How Will Communication Occur?
– You must come to an agreement with the consultant about how you will be communicating, and at what frequency.
Who Does The Website Belong To? – This is particularly important when the SEO company offers to build you a website. Some companies have clauses where the ownership of the website rests with them if the contract is left early. Do not enter into any contracts where the website for your business does not belong to you.
Does the Company Provide Guarantees? – A reliable company will not give you any guarantees. The hard truth is that only the search engine algorithms can decide whether you will rank or not. What an SEO company can do is show you what they have done before, which will indicate that there is a good change of them giving you results. If a company that you talk to guarantees you results, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
What contract periods are available and what are the price packages? – Ideally, you should be looking at a minimum of 6 months on an SEO contract, since this is how long it takes on average to rank in the SERPs. Your budget should also align with what you expect from your SEO.
Choosing the right SEO company is a diligent exercise and you must conduct your due diligence to make sure that you get the correct company to satisfy your needs.
There is no one size fits all. Industries differ, as well as individual company profiles. What you can do is clearly define your goals, and know what it is that you can reasonably expect from an agency. Also, keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process and for real results, you should be looking at between 6 months and 12 months for the relationship with the agency.
From there, find a company that speaks to well to what it is you want, and gives you reasonable estimations of what they will do for you and how they will do it.