As an informed business owner, you know that you need to do everything you can to maintain your company’s online presence. You already know that you’ll have to hire an SEO company to optimize and maybe even redesign your website. But how should you go about choosing the SEO company that is best for you? There are a few aspects you should consider before you decide.

How much does it cost to hire the company?

Good SEO costs money. Depending on your SEO goals and how long it will take to achieve them, you’re looking at spending several thousand dollars for the setup of a comprehensive plan. However, this investment will be well worth your time if the company can improve your search engine rankings, and the steepest fees are typically only charged for the first month.

The expenses associated with quality SEO are a key reason why it is so important to choose an SEO company that suits your needs. If you go with the company that is simply the cheapest, you may still end up spending thousands of dollars in the long run… without seeing results. You need to thoroughly research the SEO companies you are considering before making a decision.

What kinds of credentials does the company have?

How do you know that the SEO company you’re thinking of hiring is actually going to be able to increase your rankings or improve your conversions? This is one question that makes investing in good SEO seem so risky to many business owners.

Look at the credentials and awards the company has listed on its website. If the SEO company has received any recognition for its work, the specific titles will likely be listed on the website homepage and in an additional “Awards” or “Recognition” page. If the company doesn’t have any credentials listed, you can consider looking at the company’s portfolio of past clients’ websites. If neither of these resources are available on the company’s website, you may want to consider looking into a different SEO company: trustworthy companies will always publish this information.

How many people work there?

When it comes to choosing a SEO company, more employees does not mean more results. A big part of SEO is time. To practice good SEO that won’t get you penalized by Google, your website has to create unique content and attract links that will slowly improve your website’s rankings over time. So the number of people working on your site doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of work that they are producing.

In addition, consider the level of cohesion that should go into your website’s SEO. If it’s obvious that you have a hundred different people creating disjointed content for your website, Google’s going to find out. Choosing a SEO company on the smaller side usually guarantees effective inter-office communication, good teamwork, and seamless strategies.

Why does location matter when choosing an SEO company?

Surprisingly enough, location does play a role in the effectiveness of your SEO company. Companies that are located close to you are not always better, but neither are companies that are located farther away. The best location from which to seek an SEO company really depends on the kind of relationship you want to have with it, and how that company functions as a part of its surroundings.

For example, in our best SEO companies list, we found that rural companies may have some leverage over companies based in urban areas. We suspect that there could be a number of possible causes for this. Decreased rental fees or property taxes could free up more money for rural companies to arrange face-to-face meetings, less distractions from the surrounding environment might improve work ethic, and lower costs of services could be the result of a lower cost of living. Regardless of your preference for an urban or rural SEO company, the key takeaway here is to consider location carefully when choosing an agency.

What additional services does the company offer?

Many SEO companies offer additional services aside from on-site or off-site optimization. Good SEO companies provide services like online advertising, website design, content marketing, and social media setup or monitoring.

When choosing a SEO company, you definitely want to work with one that offers more than just SEO. The reason? If you should later decide you want to redesign your website or implement some additional internet marketing strategies, it’s much easier to work with a company that already knows the ins and outs of your website. You’ll also have a great idea of the kind of work you can expect from the company, which can enable more productive communication between both parties.

In the end, you have to decide which SEO company is the right fit. The important thing is that you choose wisely, and make the decision that is right for your business — not just the cheapest solution out there.

For additional insight into the world of SEO, check out our SEO blog, or view our list of top SEO companies for 2017.