Hiring the best SEO agency is the ultimate way to improve the ranking of your company website. A reputable consultant or firm specializing in the current search engine optimization strategies is an amazing way to promote brand awareness, and therefore, grow your business. But what happens when the SEO agency you’ve hired falls short of your expectations?

This actually happens quite often. There are so many SEO agencies and consultants in the world, claiming to possess expert knowledge and powerful connections in the world of SEO. But how can you actually know if this is true before signing a contract and making a payment? Here’s what you need to know on deciphering the best SEO agency from the worst.

Listen to the Promises and Guarantees

It is completely normal for an SEO agency to offer up a list of expected results. But if they start making definitive promises and guarantees, it’s time to move on to another option. There’s a fine line between an expectation and a full-on promise. It’s important to know that an SEO agency cannot actually promise any definitive results.

The most common promise made by SEO agencies around the world is this: we can give you the #1 ranking spot on Google. This is, of course, the main goal of hiring an agency in the first place, but there is no way of knowing whether or not it will actually happen. Instead, listen for something like: we will do x,y, and z to improve your company’s ranking on Google. We cannot make promises, but we have had much success in helping companies to gain the #1 spot.

Even though hearing that you will soon be in the #1 Google ranking spot sounds much, much better, it is not something that can ever be promised. This doesn’t mean that an SEO consultant who makes these promises is bad at his or her job. Just be aware that this is a loaded promise, and there is no promising or guaranteeing anything in an industry that changes as rapidly as SEO.

Consider the Firm’s Previous Experience

Another helpful way to tell whether or not an SEO is to look into their experience. How long has the agency been in business? How many clients do they currently work with? What have the success rates been like for the agency? These are all questions that you need to know the answers to before hiring an agency. Try to gather info from a variety of sources, and not just from the agency.

Take a Look at Case Studies and Testimonials

While you research an agency’s level of expertise, do your best to review a few case studies from previous client cases. These case studies should be from recent months; SEO changes so drastically that reviewing case studies that are over 1 year old is a futile effort. Find recent information on the agency’s success, successes that have happened within the past 3 to 6 months.