Lets get straight to it: how can you identify the best SEO companies from a runner up?
1. Transparent & Accountable
hire a top SEO company, ask to see a sample of the reports they deliver to their clients. You should ask yourself "If they delivered this report to my team and I would I understand what's being said? Would the metrics they use be relevant?
For example, if you're a service based business you want a report that tells you things like "How many people called? Submitted a content form? Schedule an appointment?" or "What percent of the overall traffic is engaging and visiting beyond the page they land on?". But if the report is geared towards an eCommerce company it will omit things like that and instead say "1,000,000% increase in Sales from last month!"
Not all SEO companies are created equal. You want to land with an agency that interviews you so they can understand the context of your business and how to customize a report for
Great SEO companies will anticipate your needs. Meaning, they will interview you to identify what you believe Target Keywords and Target Landing Pages should be, but also help you understand how those pages or keywords may not perform as well without certain changes to them. Great SEO companies will notify you of opportunities beyond the pre-defined scope of work or budget so you can make educated decisions, and more.
3. Content Creators
SEO companies that are not ensure you are creating content - either internally, through them, or another third party - are going to eventually hit a point in which there is no more on-site work they can do for you. While they may be able to continue building backlinks and directory listings, they will probably get low-quality results if they're not offering modern and fresh content to those providers and you may be better served with another
4. Relationship Builders
The best SEO companies know how to build relationships with backlink providers, establish blogging relationships, outreach to influencers (when applicable) ad more. While this may not always be included in the core SEO services offered by quality providers, it is one of the highest impact activities you can do.