When my three kids were younger (think diapers) the last thing on my mind was interviewing all the SEO company bids my agency had received to build our rankings. Seriously, it was maddening. This was years before I opened my own SEO company (pre-2007).

The agency I was working for wanted to grow some of our organic rankings. I had always been interested in learning why one SEO company could rank some sites on the first page of Google. Yet others couldn’t. Why? After I talked with dozens of firms, I finally noticed a trend.

SEO Company Patterns

seo companyThe first six proposals I reviewed were confusing as hell. They were filled with dorky graphics peppered with eons of data about…

  • Backlinks
  • Keyword densities
  • Link networks
  • Social media

However, there was one thing missing in every SEO company proposal: how our site could rank better using Google standards. Instead, I felt as if all of their ideas were to trick the search engines into ranking us which is a common SEO company technique. It sounded too deceptive because even if it worked, how would we rank once Google updated their algorithms? Probably worse.

At the time, 2004-ish, I wasn’t willing to risk our rankings for short-term gains. So I changed my tactic hiring an SEO company to teach me what they were doing for some of their clients. Believe me, my first year was confusing.

seo-expert-consultationx88Jay my SEO company mentor, would brow-beat me over the phone. My problem was I wanted to pinpoint the elements that contributed to ranking well. Sure backlinks were always a big part of  our coffee and donuts conversations. But Jay was adamant  thatspam backlinking your way to the top would eventually bite me in the backside.

Phew, thank goodness for Jay. By 2006, Google started penalizing sites that were using spam backlinks. Remember, this was pre-Penguin so backlinking was still common in every SEO company game plan.

By 2007, I was ready to dive in deep. I started my own SEO company which was really pretty funny. All I had was some basic training. What I didn’t have were any genuine case studies. My wife would ask me in her sarcastic tone, “How can you start an SEO company if you don’t have any clients?”

My answer? No clue. But after more than two years learning Jay’s SEO company techniques, I started to see patterns in how he was ranking some of his clients.

Jay’s SEO Company Techniques

He had fifteen client sites on the first page of Google for a handful of highly competitive keywords. Honestly, his SEO company was growing fast. Mostly because business owners wanted to work with a firm that not only helped rank their sites but also manage content. Video was becoming more relevant and it was obvious my background in the TV industry would make a difference producing videos for my clients.

Jay’s techniques were bullet-proof. He taught me how to use Google standards to help clients instead of trying to trick the search engines into ranking clients. By 2010, my SEO company was grooving. I had a good client base. Many of my clients were ranking well. But more importantly, they were converting site traffic into prospects.

Don’t forget, if you’re not converting traffic, you’re losing money. Very few SEO company owners focus on conversions because it’s the part of the business that takes extreme expertise. Mostly in understanding how to persuade your visitors into taking action. Either by opting into a newsletter or contacting you.

Conversion expertise = SEO company success

If your SEO company specializes in direct-response advertising, you’ll do well. These days your entire site should be built around converting site traffic. Ignoring how your visitors navigate your site can be devastating to your growth no matter how many bells and whistles your prospective SEO company totes in their proposal.

Something many site owners wonder about with their own SEO is how it compares to their competition. Honestly, there’s many reasons why sites rank. So I tell my SEO client partners to focus on their own site content instead of pilfering through other sites. SEO company salespeople love to lead you down this road. Bad idea.

Learn more about what to ask your next SEO company and how to improve conversions.