If you have hired an SEO firm, you may not know what to look for to check and see if your SEO firm is working hard at doing the SEO. Here are 6 signs to look for to know if they are making progress in SEO. If you don’t see most of these, call them on it and probably find a new SEO firm.
1) Title, URLs and Meta tags
You should see your main keyword in the title of your homepage and unique titles for each of your pages (with keywords in them). You may see your URL structure change, but your old URLs should still redirect somewhere relevant.
Your meta tags (description especially) should be well-written and concise, and unique for most pages of your site.
2) Analytics code
3) Image Alt Text
When you “view source” your images (not all, but relevant ones like product/service related images) will have an “alt” or “title” attribute, preferably an “alt” attribute according to some.
4) New Links
Go to Yahoo’s SiteExplorer, type in your website URL, and then look at the “Inlinks”. You should have links from other websites you didn’t get links from already, and this number should grow month after month. You should get unique links, from more than just one website, so don’t just look at the number of inlinks.
5) New Content
You (or your SEO firm) should be continually adding content to your site. Whether you add and maintain a blog, develop something for user-generated content, or just add articles to your site each week/month, new content helps keep you in good terms with Google. You can check the number of pages from the Pages link in Yahoo’s SiteExplorer or by using the “site:” operator in Google.
Your SEO company should also be sending you periodic reports and rankings, covering the above items. Most SEO companies send out ranking reports, but be sure to ask for reports on new link strategies, data from your analytics (popular keywords, referrals, goal conversion, etc.) and competitive analysis.
For most of these you should be able to see changes within the first few weeks of starting with an SEO company. Links and content can sometimes take a little longer to see come through, especially if your site is newer. If you don’t see any progress, call up your SEO firm and ask about it. If they give you the “wait 6+ months line” then run away. You can always try do-it-yourself SEO too!