Hiring an SEO company can positively (or negatively) impact your business in critical ways. Here are some issues to keep in mind before choosing a firm:

Your SEO budget. Though some may find this surprising, SEO is not free. And it’s not a quick fix. SEO consists of both on-site and off-site optimization strategies that take time to develop and implement. It requires resources allocated continuously over an extended period of time. The bottom line is that the larger your SEO budget, the more work you can expect your SEO firm to complete in an ongoing way.

Hiring an SEO company

Your PPC budget. Consider creating a PPC budget in addition to an SEO budget. Even under the best of circumstances, you cannot expect to rank for your targeted keywords initially. With a PPC campaign, on the other hand, you can quickly drive traffic to your website. Whether or not you hire a separate firm for PPC, setting a PPC budget can be the first step toward achieving fast and tangible marketing results.

Your SEO platform. Making the most of SEO requires a team effort, so think carefully about how you’ll collaborate with your SEO firm. An SEO platform offers one solution. It allows you to recognize site problems such as crawl errors; monitor key indicators including site rankings, page optimization and social signals; and keep up to date on the status of your SEO efforts. In sum, an SEO platform can help you manage your marketing channel and turn you into a most valuable SEO team player.

Content collaboration. High-quality, user-relevant content is king in SEO. Just as an SEO platform can make you a better SEO team member, so can your subject matter expertise. You know your business better than anyone else, so look at how you can work with your SEO firm to turn that knowledge into valued content.

Patience, patience, patience. SEO is a long-term strategy. While specific circumstances vary, it could take several months or more to see substantial results. Patience is a virtue in SEO, as in all else.

To summarize, before hiring an SEO company: consider your budget – SEO and PPC; think about your future collaboration with the firm; and keep your expectations realistic. Both you and your SEO company will be glad you did.