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Whether your business is small, large or somewhere in between, if you rely on internet traffic for marketing or sales, you need to either master search engine marketing or hire an SEO specialist. But unless you happen to be a big brand or a large e-commerce site, you should not consider handling SEO yourself. Why? Search engine optimization is a full time job that is becoming increasingly more complex and difficult to keep up with.

In order to succeed with DIY SEO, it's necessary to dedicate many hours towards research, testing and strategy refinements in order to stay ahead of the curve. Effective in-house SEO is only done today by big brands and large e-commerce sites that have the right staff and budgets needed support a proper SEO program.

If you've been tasked with the responsibility of hiring an SEO provider for your company, here are some top qualities to look for in a good SEO firm.

1. Experience
Just about anyone can set up an 'SEO firm' very quickly and call themselves an expert. This is why you should look for an SEO provider with many years of experience. An experienced firm has the ability to look at any website to know exactly what needs to be done for it to gain more traffic. On the other hand, a new SEO provider will most likely try the same things on every site, which will only have a limited effect if any.

2. Proven Track Record of Success
It’s easy for any SEO firm to ‘talk itself up’ but it’s another story to have happy clients. This is why it’s important to ask for case studies and testimonials. Make sure that the company you’re evaluating submits several case studies and testimonials to you to review with your team.

3. Analysis and Planning
A great SEO firm will perform a detailed analysis of a website in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses. This analysis is necessary in order to devise an effective plan of action to improve and fine tune search performance.

4. Good Fit with Your Company's Culture
It's very important that the SEO expert you hire can interact with the various areas of your business including IT, marketing, customer service and sales. Progress will be difficult if the SEO provider does not communicate well with members of theses teams. This is one reason why more and more businesses today are choosing to use SEO purchasing agents as these professionals match businesses with the right experts they need.

5. On-Going Monitoring
SEO is not a one-time task but rather an ongoing business activity that delivers measurable results. Instead of just visiting a website, a successful SEO firm will closely monitor a broad range of metrics in its quest to improve the impact of a brand's website and online presence.

To conclude, SEO is a long-term effort for those who want to succeed at it. Choosing the right SEO strategy is largely knowing that the SEO company and you are prepared to put forth a long-term effort and know what that effort will involve. The SEO provider you choose will play a leading role in determining your online business  success so choose with care. Many people today are choosing to work with buying agents for search engine marketing that advise, negotiate and manage campaign contracts to ensure their clients get the best SEO and internet marketing services at the best price.

David Moses and Max Helmer are seasoned executives who can help you grow your business. Please contact us to setup an evaluation with them.

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