I’ve been there myself. Just completed a website, and thought that now the enquiries from interested customers must start flowing in. Except that they didn’t. No one knew about the site or where to find it. It led me to learn about Search Engine Optimization.
You may want to do the same thing and learn all about SEO yourself. But perhaps you don’t have the time for that. In that case, a good outsource partner can help you build traffic to your site, thus growing your business by extension.
The question is, how to find a good provider of SEO Services? Here are some questions to ask.
1. “Can I afford to outsource SEO?”
SEO services in Singapore are typically charged on a recurring monthly basis and it takes time to see results. It’s common for SEO companies to have a minimum contract period of 6 months, although that is not something I would ever ask of my clients.
So the first question is: can you afford the out-of-pocket expense for the first months when the work is being done, and no results are showing yet?
But the more important question is: is your site suitable for SEO. Will the investment pay itself back over the long run.
I will use myself as an example. The site I started, Yago.sg, is a directory listing site of language schools in Singapore. I charge my customers a monthly fee for premium listings. If the traffic to my site increases by 50%, I can perhaps get 1 or 2 more customers, but there is no direct link between website traffic and revenue.
Years ago, I spoke to a few Singapore-based SEO companies at the time, and they quoted me for their service. But the only way it could make money for me was to change my entire business model. That’s why I learned to do SEO myself instead.
2. “How am I going to earn money out of this?”
If you are a business and use the site to sell your products and services, you can potentially get much more money out of an improved ranking in the search engines. Will it be enough to justify the investment in SEO service fees? That will depend on:
- The total market size for your product
- Your gross margin
- The search volume (% of potential buyers who search online)
You probably have an idea of 1 and 2. For 3, SEO companies should be able to give you an idea. You and the SEO expert both hold some pieces of the puzzle, and you have to fit them together to know the answer.
Some providers of SEO service may be good at ranking websites, but not quite understand the business side from your point of view.
I try to learn as much as possible about the business case for SEO services, and don’t take jobs that don’t give a realistic chance of making money for my clients.
The way I see it, there’s no gain in overstating the benefits: I value long term partnerships with clients. And those only work when both parties are making good money!
Feel free to give me a call if you wonder whether SEO makes sense for you (9008 1423).
3. “What if I can’t afford a long-term SEO engagement?”
One effective way to move forward without engaging long-term SEO services is to have an expert examine your site and write a report for you, detailing any current problems that are holding the site back, ways to overcome them, and opportunities to give your site more exposure.
It’s quite possible to do many SEO tasks yourself, but knowing what has to be done requires a lot of knowledge. Instead of reinventing the wheel, spend a few hundred dollars and you’ll know what needs to be done to move forward.
4. The service provider’s track record.
The track record of professionals you hire should speak for itself. This is tricky, however, because many companies that make use of an SEO provider do not wish to be named. Maybe you wouldn’t be too keen to be named as a customer reference either.
How willing is the SEO company to resolve this difficult situation? As a potential customer, it’s understandable that you like to see some real evidence of their skills. Perhaps they can find a current customer that is willing to talk to them. Perhaps they can discuss some of their own projects with you.
5. “Can we get along?”
You don’t have to become friends with everyone you hire, but a successful partnership with an SEO provider will require some collaboration. In my view, it’s not a matter of setting the expectations once and then handing it off. Can you work with this company? Who will you be working with once the sale is done?