How To Pick A Good Seo Company (Top 6 Criteria You Need To Know)


It can definitely be frustrating and overwhelming to determine which SEO companies are good, decent, and reputable with the wide range of spammy, scammy, and disingenuous SEO agencies out there. While it can be difficult to know how to pick a good SEO company, especially with all the black hat SEO companies, we’ve established a list of criteria to help you determine how to pick a good SEO company. There are 6 main criteria you should consider when picking an SEO company to assist you with your Google rankings and search engine traffic. 

These 6 criteria are: 

  • The company’s SEO pricing
  • Whether the company makes guarantees for ranking
  • The SEO contract
  • The SEO company’s track record & case studies
  • The transparency of the SEO company
  • Whether the SEO company engages in white hat SEO or black hat SEO strategies


To help you determine how to pick a good SEO company, we will discuss each of these 6 criteria in more depth below. 


#1 SEO Pricing

[Source: Ahrefs]

If you’re not sure how to pick a good SEO company, the first thing to pay attention to is the SEO pricing the company offers. 

How much should you budget for SEO services? 

While it might be tempting to go for an SEO company that offers less than $500 a month, SEO companies that charge $500 or less are either Black Hat SEO companies or they are incredibly inexperienced. 

There are different ways in which SEO companies charge, which affects their SEO pricing. For instance, an SEO company could charge:

  • Based on project you request
  • Based on performance of company
  • A monthly retainer rate
  • An hourly rate

Here at Blueshift SEO, we offer two types of monthly retainer rates. Our SEO pricing is dependent on whether you are interested in local SEO or national SEO


Local SEO

National SEO

  • Our price per month: $700 – $1,500
  • Promotion of business products or services that are local to the searchers
  • Focuses primarily on purchase-intent queries
  • Example: “plumbers near me”
  • What the searcher wants is business suggestions based on location
  • Our price per month: $1,500+
  • Focuses primarily on ranking for broad keyword terms vs. specific geographic terms
  • National SEO strategies allow businesses to extend reach across the country
  • Includes advanced keyword research, on-page SEO, and a focused strategy 
  • Example: “how to fix a blocked drain”


#2 SEO Guarantees & Promises

The second thing to pay attention to when determining how to pick a good SEO company is whether or not the SEO company makes certain guarantees for specific rankings. 

Basically, if the SEO company guarantees specific rankings, they are not a reputable SEO company and you want to avoid them.

Why is this? 

Reputable SEO companies cannot guarantee search engine rankings for 5 main reasons: 

  • SEO’s Scammy History


Since 1996, SEO scams are common and serve to lure in gullible and uninformed business owners with promises and catchphrases like: “guaranteed rankings and traffic,” “guaranteed fast higher position,” “guaranteed 1st page results every month,” and “guaranteed website optimization for 100 different keyword phrases.”

Unfortunately, SEO simply doesn’t work like that. 

If an SEO company promises they will help you rank for a specific keyword, run. There are no guarantees that you will rank for a specific keyword simply because that is beyond the control of the SEO companies. These too-good-to-be-true promises and stereotypical marketing claims should be avoided at all costs.

  • Google Warns Against It


Google’s guidelines on SEO and marketing strictly state explicitly, 

“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”

  • Rankings Are Inherently Unstable


Rankings are dependent on a variety of factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Where you perform the search query
  • When you perform the search query

For instance, performing a search query in New York at 9 AM versus one in California at 1 PM the following day will most likely result in a different ordering of results on the SERP.

  • Rankings Are Not The Best Metric 


An SEO company’s success should be measured by their overall ability to increase search engine traffic to your site, not by being ranked for specific keywords or phrases. The metric that should be used to determine the success of an SEO company is the amount of increase of search traffic it provides your site, rather than its ability to rank for a few top phrases. 

  • Ethical Dilemmas 


All in all, it should be clear that SEO companies, though skilled in helping sites receive more search engine traffic, cannot control SERPs or your search engine ranking. 


The only guarantee SEO companies can and should make is that they will provide the best personalized advice for your site to help increase traffic. Any other promises or guarantees are unethical and, frankly, made to be broken.


#3 The SEO Contract


When determining how to pick a good SEO company, it is important to understand the distinction between SEO companies that require a contract and no-contract SEO companies. 

SEO Contract Companies

SEO contract companies will ask to sign a contract, which would typically last from 6 months to 3 years. Additionally, they will ask you to pay 30% – 50% up front before they begin working on your SEO. 

Though it is true that it takes a while for white hat SEO to make noticeable changes and to increase traffic to your site, SEO contract companies are designed to keep you with them for a designated period of time whether or not they produce the desired results. Thus, you are stuck with them without the ability to leave even if you are unsatisfied with their work.

No-Contract SEO Companies

No-contract SEO companies are rare, since most SEO companies prefer you to sign a contract for at least a year. No-contract SEO companies provide you more flexibility to leave if you are dissatisfied with their services. This way of dealing with SEO is beneficial to those who are truly invested in increasing traffic to their site, because it allows them to find a good SEO company quickly and to stick with that company that provides the best results.

Here at Blueshift SEO, we are a no-contract SEO company. We want you to decide if we are right for you. We are not interested in charging an inordinate amount of money up-front while providing sub-par results. 

We are interested in increasing your traffic each month for a price that makes sense to the services we provide. 


#4 Track Record & Case Studies


The best way to get an unbiased opinion about an SEO company (or any company) is through their past history of successes or failures. If you’re not sure how to pick a good SEO company, pay attention to their track record and their case studies. Good SEO companies should not only have case studies on-hand for you to look at, but should be ready and willing to share them with you.

To help you decide how to pick a good SEO company, you should request to see case studies of the SEO company’s past successes. This is a great way to see what the company is capable of, and should also give you a time-frame to apply to your site. Additionally, an SEO company’s case studies should provide concrete examples of their performance, validating the company’s skill level and acting as a testament to the company’s ability to perform for you.

Interested in our case studies? 

Request our case studies here, and we will be more than happy to provide them for you!


#5 Transparency of SEO Company

Not sure how to pick a good SEO company? The transparency of the SEO company is definitely one of the top 6 criteria you should consider when deciding on an SEO company. An SEO company’s transparency includes several factors: 

  • The scope of work
  • Who they are
  • Where they are located
  • Whether work is done in-house vs. outsourced

Interested in working with us? 

Our aim is to be as transparent as possible: we are a small SEO team located in Phoenix, Arizona. All of our work is done in-house; we do not outsource any work at all. The scope of the work we will provide for you is partially dependent on whether you are interested in local SEO or national SEO. 

To learn more about us and what we can help you with, contact us and we’ll be happy to provide more information. 


#6 White Hat Vs. Black Hat

If you’re not sure how to pick a good SEO company, do not be afraid to ask the SEO company you are considering what type of strategies they use to get results. An ethical, good SEO company will have no problem explaining the strategies to you in ways that are understandable, rather than confusing you with incomprehensible jargon. 

So, what is white hat SEO? 

What is black hat SEO?

The general distinctions between white hat vs black hat SEO are outlined below. 


White Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO

  • Follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
  • Focuses on a human audience & on making changes that are beneficial to a site’s users
  • Takes a long-term approach: strategies that follow Google’s guidelines and create a positive user experience take more time and effort than black hat methods
  • Violates Google’s guidelines
  • Relies on manipulating Google’s algorithm to improve rankings
  • Example: a tactic designed to make Google think that a site has more value to users than it really does
  • Focuses on exploiting loopholes in Google’s algorithm to provide quick rankings with very little effort put in
  • Results are short-lived


Put plainly: we offer white hat SEO strategies and do not employ black hat SEO strategies. 

Want to talk more? 

Get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can help increase search engine traffic to your site. 

We hope you feel you have an idea now of how to pick a good SEO company! For questions, concerns, or a consultation, contact us today.