There are hundreds of companies offering professional SEO services. They all claim to be able to put your company’s website on the front page of a Google search. They can’t possibly all deliver what they say. Here are some tips for figuring out which SEO firms can provide and which ones are just talking the talk but can’t walk the walk.

1. Figure Out What You Need

The first step in picking a professional SEO company is to decide what SEO services your company needs. For example, some Vancouver SEO agencies offer web design in addition to SEO; is this something your company needs, or would it be extra money out of your budget for no good reason?

The best way to figure out what you need from your Vancouver search marketing experts is to set a goal for your company to achieve. Make sure this goal is both measurable and achievable. Are you trying to grow leads and sales, show increased rankings, or just be able to say that you attempted professional SEO services? Whatever goal you choose, keep that at the center of your relationship with SEO consultants during your search and after you’ve chosen one company to work with.

2. Check Out Multiple Options

You don’t want to jump for the first firm to respond to an ad you put out for SEO services, nor do you want just to choose an SEO agency that shows up first in a Google search. Instead, pick three or four companies that seem the most attractive to you and ask each of them for a consultation.

Once you’ve asked for a consultation, the SEO firm will go and research your company, your website, and your industry. They will return with a proposal for the kinds of services they think your site needs and a pricing scale.

You don’t want to tell these companies that you are shopping around for professional SEO services. Firms with a large number of potential clients may not take this as an incentive to try harder to get your business; they’ll just move on to the next client and let you go to the competition.

3. Get References

The SEO skills needed to promote a business vary drastically from industry to industry. This means you want an SEO firm which has worked with other companies like yours. If you are a building contractor, find an SEO firm with a track record of success for building contractors. An SEO Marketing firm responsible for getting a retail mattress store up to number one in Google probably won’t be the right fit.

This remains true even if you run a unique business. The SEO firm you choose should have worked with other companies that at least have similar business plans. Failing that, find an SEO firm that has been successful in a variety of industries and with companies with same goals.

4. Hire an SEO Agency Like an Employee

Don’t hire an SEO consulting firm based entirely on their website. That would be like hiring a new employee sight unseen based on their resume. They might have a great history, but unless you meet with them to ask about their experiences, you won’t know if they’re going to be a good fit for your company.

It works the same way for bringing on an SEO firm. Meet with someone face-to-face, via Skype call, or over the phone to get a real feel of how they operate. Ask them to elaborate on their experiences with other companies, good and bad. Run this meeting the same way you would a job interview for a prospective employee.

To recap: figure out what you want out of your SEO experts, get bids and references from more than one company, and interview these firms like you would a new hire. If you follow all of these steps, you are much more likely to find a professional SEO firm that meets your company’s needs.