Finding a reputable\u00a0SEO (search engine optimization) company can be a daunting process if you're not sure what to look for. You need a team that can not only strengthen your search engine rankings and manage your paid search advertising campaigns \u2014 but also one that you can trust. Here are some important questions to ask when shopping around for a trustworthy agency. 1. Are they certified\u00a0and established? Because the nature of SEO changes every day, experts must always have their finger on the pulse of new trends. It's also vital that they have ample experience and knowledge of all the industry-standard tools required to execute campaigns. That's why any professional you work with should have current certifications in Google Analytics and Google AdWords. 2. Do they use "white hat" SEO methods? Steer clear of any company that makes lofty promises, such as guaranteeing a #1 rank for very competitive keywords. If it sounds too good to be true, then it's either a bald-faced lie or they are utilizing below-board tactics that are unlikely to produce sustainable, long-term results. Excellent search engine rankings often take a fair amount of time and effort and are produced by careful implementation of holistic "white hat" methods, which are designed to improve your search performance without compromising the integrity or the user experience of your site. 3. Do they have developmental capabilities? So much of digital marketing is tied up in design and coding, which is why having access to a dedicated team of developers is so critical. For example, when your SEO partner recommends highly technical changes to a client site, having the ability to turn to an in-house development team for insight and assistance assures that changes can be made both effectively (the first time) and efficiently. 4. Do they offer flexible strategic planning? When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, there is no "one size fits all" approach. Every industry is different, and each campaign requires a customized strategy that aligns with your unique goals as a business. While many companies have a rigid set of standard services that they dole out to all of their clients, look for a team of experts that offers a diverse array of tactics and options for strengthing their service. For example, when a company makes strategic recommendations, they should be able to draw from their SEO "toolbox" that includes everything from custom content creation and on-site fixes, to more involved developmental efforts like site speed optimization, landing page creation, and\u00a0UI\/UX implementations. 5. How meaningful is their reporting? When your agency works with you to set strategic goals at the beginning of a campaign, the reporting stage should directly illustrate how those goals are progressing. Whether that's breaking down the development of keywords you're aiming to rank for, evaluating a campaign's impact on site traffic, or illustrating the ROI of leads and conversions. A key reporting characteristic that you should look for in your SEO partner is the amount of emphasis they place on the importance of conversion rate optimization (CRO), which leverages analytics to improve site performance and increase the number of valuable conversions on your website. After all, site traffic means little if no meaningful action is ultimately taken by the visitor. Honing in on CRO transforms passive website visitors into active and loyal website users. 6. Do they offer call tracking? One of the best ways to analyze your conversions and track your leads is by setting up call tracking, which can reveal which campaigns, websites, and search keywords are driving phone call conversions. In turn, this will help you determine how well your campaigns are performing. It's important that your call tracking service is recordable and HIPAA compliant to ensure your customers' information is properly attended to and kept private. 7. How\u00a0easy is it to evaluate your relationship? While the effects of SEO can take several weeks or even months to reflect in search engines, that doesn't mean you need to be held hostage by a long, drawn-out contract. Choose an SEO company that offers opportunities to evaluate the relationship at every step. Kickstart your SEO campaign today. At SiteCare, our dedicated SEO experts take the mystery out of your campaign with one-on-one consultations and strategic planning. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services.