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Lee Odden

Finding a Search Engine Optimization Company

By Lee Odden     Online Marketing, SEO

When KeywordRanking was still in business, our Minneapolis SEO agency used to get calls about once a month from disaffected clients asking how to get out of contracts and to see if they were getting value for the $2,000 being spent. Most of those situations were the result of overzealous sales people, cold calling businesses and making promises that were a bit ambitious.

In most cases though, the business owner had not allowed enough time for their SEO and link building to gain momentum. Even quality SEO firms can suffer if expectations are not set correctly.

Now that the subsequent iteration of KeywordRanking (MarkeSmart Interactive) is no longer doing business as usual, we are getting contacted again by companies looking for reliable, trustworthy and results oriented SEO vendors that can help improve their sales online. This is on top of the 2-5 daily inquiries we get from other sources.

There are a variety of resources online that list SEO firms and I’ve listed several below. However, if you’re a company looking for a new SEO agency, I would recommend going the referral route first. Referrals are a win win situation for the company as well as the agency. I am biased about this somewhat because referrals are the biggest source of long term and successful client engagements for TopRank.

However, if you don’t have a network that includes people that are satisfied with their SEO agencies and prefer to go the search, evaluate, selection route via a larger universe of vendors, here are a few resources: (added: not in any particular order)

  • SEMPO – This is the leading search engine marketing industry association web site. You can submit a project request and SEMPO members will reply. There are currently 500+ members world wide.
  • Marketing Sherpa’s Guide to SEO Firms, 2007 Edition – Offers a very detailed look at 106 Organic SEO firms. Yes you have to pay $199 for the guide, but the information allows you to compare firms on may levels ranging from clients to pricing to tactics.
  • Marketing Profs Vendor Selector – A list of the top SEM and SEO firms with additional information on each. There are 48 world wide SEO firms listed.
  • semlist.com – This vintage list was recently revised and is part of Incisive Media’s Search Engine Watch web properties.
  • seopros.org – This is an older list and somewhat like seoconsultants.com.

Check out this article from Search Engine Watch on SEO Vendor selection based on a past Search Engine Strategies session.

Next steps would be to establish specific criteria and gather a list of SEO companies from a variety of sources: referrals, industry resources, forums, and even conferences and then interview each candidate firm according to the criteria you’ve established.

This can take some time, but the payoff can be a high value, appropriate cost relationship with a SEO vendor that best meets your needs in the short and long term. If you’re looking for more advice on selecting a SEO firm, leave a comment or email us using the contact form.


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