Whether you are looking for Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Paid Search Management (Pay per Click or PPC), you need to make certain that the Internet Marketing Company you are interviewing includes or excludes the following:
I. Extensive Keyword Research – this is absolutely essential. If you don’t know which keywords have the best potential and have the greatest relevance, you will begin your internet marketing with a shaky foundation at best. Many think they know their keywords and they are almost always wrong. Few recognize how many variations of words and phrases are actually used by real people who are searching for their products and services. It is only through extensive research, using sophisticated tools and methods, can all keywords of value truly be identified and included in the online marketing plan, while those keywords with poor potential can be eliminated or deemphasized from the thrust of the plan.
II. Onsite Search Engine Optimization – this is nothing more and nothing less than the processes involved in making certain that your web pages are clearly understood by the Google Spiders. The effective use of title tags, meta tags, keyword architecture, and dozens of other elements all work together to quickly tell the spiders what your website is all about. This is the most basic essential service that all Search Engine Marketing Company must perform very well. Poorly done, Google will never give your pages the credit they should get for the keywords you are targeting.
III. Content – onsite and offsite. Content is probably the least emphasized, yet the single most important component necessary to successfully compete for high search engine rankings. I suspect this is the case because it requires the most commitment, the hardest to do consistently and over a long period of time and it requires the SEM to “level” with the potential client about the plain truth about SEM; no matter how much or little you are paying your Internet Marketing Company, it will be completely wasted if you don’t have a strong commitment to regular additions of unique (non-duplicate), highly relevant content. If the company you are interviewing do not stress this, or even mention it, head for the hills!
IV. Live Results / Deep Results – when you are interviewing an Internet Marketing Company, you must see live and “deep” results for existing clients. Live results is simply going to Google, entering a keyword provided by the company and verifying first page results for one of their clients. Verify that the client is actually a client usually by seeing the Internet Marketing Company’s name in the footer on the home page. Deep Results is the high ranking for many keywords for the same client … and … the keywords are at least moderately competitive (more than 250,000 competing pages). Then get the same quality results for other clients and verify them live right in front of you from Google searches.
V. Existing Client Interviews – you must actually interview 1-3 clients, not only to verify the results, but to gauge the ranking the client gives to the SEM. What are your experiences with the SEM? How are they to work and collaborate with? Are you planning on renewing their services? Have you recommended their services before? What improvements would you like to see from the SEM? Don’t ask yes or no questions. You won’t get the information you need. Ask questions that require thought and listen, not only to what they say, but also how they say it.
VI. Pricing – you need to know the pricing but not with the main objective of selecting the lowest number. You need to know the numbers but you also need to know the following:
a. What does the price include? What does it not include?
b. Are there any guarantees? If there are guarantees, be very skeptical.
c. Are all fees paid regardless of performance or are fees, at least to some extent, contingent upon performance?
There are literally hundreds of factors and sub-specialties that are well mastered at Optimum7 and are written about extensively through our website. However, this 6-point checklist, well understood and followed will help anyone seeking to hire a professional Internet Marketing Company.