What’s the first thing you do, when you’re looking for a good SEO company for your business? You Google “Best SEO Company In Malaysia”, and you get a search result that has a mixture of sponsored results, top 10 lists, and companies that are listed in the organic search results.  (I’m writing this for Malaysian business owners, but the same principle applies wherever you are)

So, the question is, are these SEO companies the best ones for your business? As a former small business owner who found frustrations in getting traffics to my website to picking up SEO skills hands-on, I’ve created this article to share what you should really know before engaging an SEO company in a lengthy contract.

Outrageous Claims That You Should Take As A “Red Flags”

1. “We Know Exactly How Google Ranks Your Website”

No one in the world except some of those in Google will know exactly 100% how does the search engine work. With hundreds of search algorithm update carried out by Google each year, and some caught SEO experts by surprise, claiming that one would know “exactly” the ins and outs of SEO is an overstatement.

But SEO firms and experts do indeed know the major criteria in getting your website ranks favorably on Google, through detailed experiment and official statements released by Google itself. If your SEO consultant told you that there is a secret in implementing SEO, I’m telling you there isn’t any.

How To Choose A Good SEO Company

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2. “We Can Get You On The First Page Of Google In A Week Or Shorter”

Be careful when you have SEO companies or consultant claiming they can rank your site or page in less than a week or within 24 hours. The worse case that will happen is that these SEO companies implement BlackHat tactics, in another word, strategies that are banned by Google and will get your site penalized in no time.

There is no point in rushing your site to the first page in 24 hours, only to have it forcibly removed by Google the next. Recovering from Google’s penalty is tough and some web owners would rather create another new site than spending resources fixing the damage.

3. “You’ll Get More Traffic/Leads/Sales By Ranking High On Google”

Ranking on the first page of Google could really boost your ego. But if it doesn’t translate into traffics, leads and eventually sales, it will be a costly investment with no returns. The fact is, getting ranked on Google does not necessarily guarantees traffic.

There are a few factors in play here. First, is the keywords that you are ranked for generates sufficient monthly searches? Is your title and meta description interesting enough to attract the clicks to your site? Is your site optimized with content and structure to turn visitors into leads? What is your content strategies?

Should You Trust The Results Shown For “The Best SEO Companies”?

Now, let’s head back to list of results when you search for “Best SEO Companies In Malaysia” or “SEO Company In Malaysia’.  Should you take those listed as the best fit for your business? Before we hastily jump into conclusion, let us take a look at each type of the listed result.

1. Sponsored Results.

These are SEO companies that are listed right at the top and at the most bottom of the search result with a small “AD” beneath its title. These are sponsored listing, where you can easily do so for your business through Google Adwords. Getting listed on sponsored results simply means that you have advertised for a certain keyword and in this case “SEO Company In Malaysia” which has a decent monthly search traffic.

2. Aggregator Sites

Occasionally, you’ll come across list posts like “Top 10 SEO Companies In Malaysia”, and you’ll get a nice page of comparison of the service, cost, and reputations of certain SEO companies. Should you trust this list? Well, in certain cases, these lists are owned by aggregator sites and some offered paid position to be on its top 10 list. You’ll have to do more than blindly trusting a company just because it was listed as top 10.

3. Organic Search Result

These results typically show the best SEO companies in your country. SEO firms that have been established for years and have good reputations. But occasionally, you’ll get some suspicious firm that slips in on the top results. Perhaps that begs the question of why this particular new SEO provider is spending so much time optimizing its own site, instead of its clients.

Most of the time, Google consistently displays the best results. That means top notch SEO companies that have proven portfolios with multinational companies and large organizations. Some are particular about the clients they took on, and with great reason too. While some do not take more than one client in the same niche.

How To Choose A Good SEO Company In Malaysia

How To Choose A Good SEO Company

1. Define Your Goals

Why do you need SEO for your website? Do you want more sales, newsletter sign-ups, driving traffic to a landing page or create brand awareness? A good SEO company or consultant will walk you through this process and make it as specific as possible.

But here’s one thing that you may need to figure out for your business. Your customer persona. Who are they? Men or women? Are they working professionals, entrepreneurs or stay at home moms? Providing your SEO firm this information may make your SEO campaign more targetted.

While there is a generic strategy to technical SEO implementation, the finer details of engaging the target audience may differ in various industry.

2. Get A Clear Idea Of SEO Implementation

It’s quite often for a business owner to engage an SEO firm without knowing what SEO it’s all about. Do not be intimidated by the technicality of the word “SEO”. Get your SEO consultant to explain briefly what is the process to rank your website favorably on the search engine.

Here are a few steps that you should hear from your SEO consultants:

  • Local Directory Listing – This is common when you want to drive traffic from local search results. Make sure you’re also listed in Google My Business.
  • Keyword Research – Do you want to appear on informational keywords or buying-intention keywords? There’s a huge difference between “SEO company” and “affordable SEO company for small business”
  • Competition Analysis – Do you have the resources to go head to head with established giants in your industry on competitive search terms? If not, what are the alternatives?
  • Engaging Unique Content – Engaging blog posts, infographic or videos are the keys to establish trust and great conversion factors.
  • On Page SEO – Keyword density, word length, images, URL structure are important. Make sure you are not being told otherwise.
  • Link Acquisition – Make sure that backlinks are only acquired from trustable, high authority and relevant websites.
  • Mobile Optimization – With the majority of the internet users on mobile, your website needs to be mobile optimized. No SEO will suffice if your website looks weird on mobile.

3. How Well Can You Monitor Your Progress?

How To Choose A Good SEO Company

Most SEO firms require you to sign up to a contract ranging from 6 months to 1 year. While it’s understandable that it takes time for SEO to show results, you don’t want to be paying thousand of dollars each month only to realize that your site is making little to no progress at the end of it.

Make sure that your SEO firm provides the “monthly analytics” report. But if you do not have the time to go through all the details, here’s what really matters to you.

  • Organic Traffic – does it increases as each month progress. This will give a good idea if the SEO effort is working.
  • Keyword Analytics  – The search terms where your website is found. It’s a good indication if you’re ranking for the correct keywords.
  • Bounce Rate – This is important if you’re running an e-commerce site or implementing SEO for your landing page. If you have a high bounce rate, that means people are leaving your site without taking further action.

These figures could easily be acquired from Google Analytics and Goole Webmaster Tools if they are integrated with your website.

4. Feedbacks/Reviews

Let’s be frank, I’ve been in various industries for 10 years and I’ve never seen a company with a 100% record. As a business owner, you know there are cases where there are factors beyond your control that will affect results negatively.

The same is true with SEO company. What should be your concern is what are the general success rate of these companies. Clients feedbacks and reviews are a good place the start checking if a particular SEO company is the right one you should be engaging.

Skip the glowing testimonials on their website if you must. No company would ever publish bad reviews on their website. Instead, head on to reliable review sites where it’s not easy to edit or remove reviews. Check out what other client says about the SEO firm at Google, Facebook, Yelp or other authority local review sites.

5. Ask Questions

During the initial consultation, ask questions that will give you a good picture of what to expect from the SEO campaign. Here are a few questions :

  • Do you have any real life successful projects you can share with?
  • What’s your experience in SEO campaigns in my industry?
  • How long do you anticipate results and what are the indicators that the campaign is working?
  • Is there any specific approach you take in implementing SEO?
  • How the last major search engine algorithm update affect your tactics in SEO?

You’ll be able to gauge the likelihood of a successful SEO campaign by asking meaningful questions.

What’s your experience with your previous SEO company? How do you choose the right SEO company for your business? Do share your thoughts in the comment below.


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