This post is another question that we get all the time – how can you tell if an internet marketing company is legitimate or not?  SEO is a quickly growing field full of encouraging success stories, but growth can sometimes invite imitation, and some internet marketing companies may not be what you are looking for.  So, how do you separate the good from the not so good?  There are several simple signs that an internet marketing company is on the right track.

References – This one is obvious.  So obvious in fact, that many people fail to consider it.  What is the first thing you do when you need to repair your vehicle?  You ask friends if they know a good mechanic.  You check Yelp for reviews and ratings.  The same should be true with an internet marketing company.  If you find a promising company, ask them for references.  Unless the company is fairly new, most successful companies should have a strong portfolio of satisfied clients eager to make a recommendation.  This can put you at ease.

Beware of “guarantees” – Internet marketing, be it SEO, PPC or website design based, is not an exact science.  Most companies that claim to offer a “guarantee” or use other language that feels “scammy” are usually exactly that.  Instead of considering a company that makes large promises they can’t necessarily keep (usually just to get your first check in their pockets), you should search for a company that is transparent and intelligent, with a focused approach.  The other thing to know is that Google is constantly changing its algorithm.  Any internet marketing company that is experienced should know and understand that.  They should know full well that, especially in the beginning of a campaign, your rankings can be up one day, and down the next.  And if your marketing company is promoting best practices, a first page ranking that is more stable to fluctuations within Google’s algorithm changes takes time to build – sometimes a long time depending on how competitive your niche is.  Any company that guarantee you front page placement in month one or two may even be able to get you there, but you probably won’t be there long, and once you are penalized by Google for participating in what it considers ‘web spam’, the recovery process can take a lot longer than a month or two, if at all.  Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to Google’s search results – trust your gut, if a company interacts with you like a used car salesman would, steer clear.

Communication – Again, transparency is paramount. You want a company that will listen to your company’s needs, and offer form fit solutions to your particular set of priorities.  If a company uses a “one size fits all” approach, this will typically result in something that may not match your desired campaign, or fit your budget.  For example: there are many 3rd party options for analytics.  If your budget is lower or your campaign is limited in scope, there should be several options on the table to accommodate that fact.  For instance, Google Analytics gives insight into what visitors do on your site once they’ve decided to visit; and the service is free.  While it is likely not the optimum solution for a company looking for sophisticated analytics, it may be a good sign if the option at least comes up in a conversation.

All in all, prioritize transparency, focus, and professionalism when searching out a company to meet your internet marketing needs.  Look out for vague pricing or one track strategies, and you’re well on your way to a successful marketing campaign.

If you are considering hiring a company to manage your internet marketing strategies

If you are thinking about devoting resources to promoting your business on the internet, contact us today.  We can give you varying strategies based on what your budget is and we will never try and upsell you.  We understand the constraints that businesses are facing in this economy – especially small businesses.  We will be down in the trenches with you, working to make your phone ring with potential new customers.  We offer competitive pricing packages and can offer many references of our satisfied clients.