Finding SEO Companies

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When KeywordRanking was still in business, we 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:

  • topseos.com – Ranks the top 30 SEO firms world wide each month based on competitive advantages, services and pricing levels support, unique attributes and performance.
  • SEOmoz – Recommended SEO, web development and support firms.
  • 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.
  • SEO Consultants – Strict inclusion guidelines for this directory of search engine optimization specialists and companies makes sure vendors do not engage in search spamming. They claim to reject 70% of the consultants that apply. After 7 years, there are only 140 SEO consultants and firms currently included so the process of inclusion is indeed selective.
  • 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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Lee Odden is President and Founder of
TopRank Online Marketing, specializing in organic SEO, blog
marketing and online public relations. He’s been cited as a search
marketing expert by publications including U.S. News & World Report and
The Economist and has implemented successful search marketing programs
with top BtoB companies of all sizes. Odden shares his marketing
expertise at Online Marketing Blog offering
daily news, interviews and best practices.

Finding SEO Companies
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About Lee Odden
Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and public relations firm in Minnesota that specializes in search, social and online PR consulting and training for companies worldwide. Odden has been cited for his internet marketing expertise over the past 10 years by the Economist, Forbes and U.S. News and contributed a chapter to the book, "Online Marketing Heroes" published by Wiley. For the past 5 years he has also been the editor of TopRank's Online Marketing Blog, a Technorati 100 favorite blog and one of the top marketing blogs according to Advertising Age. WebProNews Writer
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