SEO companies are like sextuplets: 10+ tips to help with RFPs. Picking the right search partner.

Hmm, what sparked this one? I have received numerous RFP's lately, and as I read them, I can tell that the people writing them spend some major time assembling them. I almost feel bad for them, because you can tell that someone really spent time trying to ask just the right questions, only to get back responses that sound very similar (to their disappointment).

I would think that hiring an SEO company these days is just like being a judge in a beauty pageant where the final participants were sextuplets. Everything on the surface looks exactly the same. The same applies with SEOs – you don't know if one company can get you a top 10 for a competitive term or if they are not able to do so until you work with them for a while.

Think about it. These are the typical questions we see in RFPs:

  • How many people are in your firm?
  • Give examples of terms you have optimized for.
  • Provide references.
  • What is your process?
  • How do you bill for services?
  • Do you offer guarantees?

Many of these questions don't really matter much. Let's break down a few:

How many people? – The SEO firms that I think are the best are smaller. If I couldn't do SEO anymore and I had to ask someone to do it for me, I'd hit up people like Rand, Andy and Aaron, each with companies under 10 people (I think), or I would at least ask them for a reference. I wouldn't go to iProspect, iCrossing, 360i, or any of the other I's. Nothing against them, but I think I would get better service and more passion from the others. (more…)

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Wil Reynolds
Wil Reynolds
CEO & Vice President