The world of web marketing is a fantastically complicated place, with thousands of companies all offering similar services and vying for your attention. They are, after all, marketing companies. They’re going to be all in your face trying to get your business, and they have a million different strategies to do it. Strategies they can employ for you, of course, but strategies they use for themselves as well.
I’m not kidding when I say there are thousands, by the way. This review aggregator lists over 13,000 SEO companies with a huge range of different capabilities, skill levels, and client bases. You get everything from the top of the top to individual one-man outfits to local-focused and specialized agencies.
Finding the Best
How does one go about finding the best company for anything? Frankly, with marketing companies, you can’t even necessarily trust reviews. Any marketing company worth its salt will be able to solicit positive reviews and handle negative reviews “off camera” so to speak. It’s not as bad as public relations companies, but it’s still up there. Even more importantly, the BAD marketing companies aren’t going to slack in this department. They’ll have no qualms about leaving their own positive reviews or aggressively removing negative reviews.
My personal recommendation is two-fold. First of all, browse as many top lists as you can, preferably with an industry or local focus. Take advantage of your locale to see if there are any local companies that know your specific area and can optimize for regional benefits you might not otherwise get. Likewise, look for any company that offers specialized services in your industry. I know there are a lot of healthcare-specific agencies, hospitality-specific agencies, and even some gray hat agencies that specialize in working with the unsavory sort of sites other businesses won’t touch, like adult content.
The other recommendation is to ask around. Talk to owners of similar businesses. Sure, sometimes your competitors are going to be antagonistic, but many times collaboration is more powerful than antagonism, so they may be willing to let you in on a few “secrets” that aren’t really secret. Alternatively, maybe you can find the company that lists your competitors as clients.
Before I get to some other recommendations, I figure the first thing I should do is go over the companies we’ve reviewed directly on this site. I’m not going to go deep into reiterating what’s in the reviews, but I’ll link them here so you can read them yourself.
- SubmitShop Review: Features, Pricing, and Guest Post Quality
- Review of Newswire: Does Their PR Distribution Work?
- Review of OutreachMama: Are They a Legitimate Service?
- The Hoth Review: How Effective is Their Link Building Service?
- A Complete Review and Analysis of Content Marketing Institute
As you might imagine, we’ve primarily covered guest post and outreach services more than all-encompassing SEO services. Since the two are often facets of the same marketing schemes, they’re still applicable depending on what your needs are.
List of Lists
With thousands upon thousands of possible companies out there for SEO, and even more when you include guest post specific companies, there’s no way I can objectively rank them all. Even just buying basic packages to test services would take an insane budget I don’t have. Many of the best companies won’t even work with a business as small as mine. I also don’t have the broad-spectrum client base to poll my customers for their opinions, nor do I have the industry recognition to get responses to wide-scale email solicitations for opinions.
Other people do, though, and one thing I can definitely do is make a list of lists. So here are a bunch of lists of the best SEO companies, as graded by various people with more resources than I have.
I already linked to these guys once, but they’re a great information and review aggregator. This chart shows a matrix of the top leaders in SEO, graphing them on two scales; one for their proven quality and one for their focus. Obviously you want to take some of this with a grain of salt, since the top leaders are also sponsors, but their reviews are fairly solid nevertheless.
Names in their top 15 list include Ignite Visibility, WebFX, SEO Brand, Victorious, Straight North, SEO Inc, Big Leap, Directive, Infront Webworks, Searchbloom, Thrive Internet Marketing, SocialSEO, Boostability, The SEO Works, and Outerbox.
Clutch also has sections for other niches in marketing, including content marketing. Top names in that matrix include NeoMam Studios, The Content Bureau, Brafton, Fractl, and Brandpoint.
I’m generally skeptical of exact match domains, and especially so in marketing, since they’re often mid-tier sites at best as fronts for low-tier services. This one, at least, lists a good selection of names for top SEO companies that I’ve seen elsewhere before, and that I agree with in general terms. They list the methodology for their ratings below their chart, and they do more than just list some names and URLs.
Prominent names in their list include WebFX, HigherVisibility, Boostability, SEO.com, Ignite Visibility, Straight North, and Thrive Internet Marketing. Some of these names you’ll be seeing a lot as I go through more lists.
This is another page that I wouldn’t necessarily call an authority, but that does a decent job of rounding up some of the industry best SEO companies. Rather than a top 10 or top 15 list, however, they list a whopping 50 companies with contact information, descriptions, and basic reviews.
Prominent names in their list include WebFX, PaperStreet, Yando, Skynet Technologies, Kern Media, LLT Group, Streamline Results, and Gvate.
Many of the companies on this list are smaller or more locally focused than the global top lists on other sites. They’re also found all over the world, from a suburb of Detroit to India and beyond. It’s a decent list to browse and check out to see what all manner of SEO companies look like.
Another exact match domain with another list of top SEO companies. This one lists the name, website, location, general hourly rate, rating, and number of employees for each company on the list. For the most part, many of the names are the same, but there are a few others on the list that you might not have seen before.
Prominent names in their list include the usuals like Straight North, Ignite Visibility, and Boostability, but some others include Big Leap, Vertical Measures, SharpNet, Elevated Marketing, and Social Fix. Overall, there are a few names you might not have seen before due to their locations or their scale, but may be worth checking out. Despite the name, there are 20 on this list, not just 10.
This list focuses on local SEO, which is a subdivision of SEO that puts heavy emphasis on local publications, outreach, and quality. Any small business, and any mid-sized business that isn’t stretching to be a national or global presence, can make good use of local SEO to gain grassroots support. This list includes only companies in the USA, which limits its utility for clients outside of the USA, but it’s still a great list. They published their methodology for rating each site as well, linked at the top of the list.
Prominent names in this list include Victorious SEO, ClickFirst Marketing, Higher Visibility, 97 Switch, and Directive Consulting. The list as a whole has around 20 entries on it, complete with pricing information and basic reviews.
DAN, the Digital Agency Network, publishes this list to capture the same sort of traffic as everyone else on this list. Their list isn’t that much different from the others, but they do go a bit deeper into individual companies with case studies, graphs, and other information.
Prominent names on this list include the ever-present Ignite Visibility, but others like Be Found Online, WEBITMD, Single Grain, Blue Fountain Media, and Flightpath.
BrightLocal is itself a good local SEO company, but this page provides not just one list, but another list of lists. They have lists of the top local SEO companies available in major cities like Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, and Phoenix. You can click on each list to expand it and see several dozen companies in each location.
For example, names from the Los Angeles list include SEO Direct, Read2Learn, SEO Services USA, Apex Web Firm, NoxsterSEO, and Tesla Media Group. There are many more as well, all with contact information in a nice table for you to peruse.
This is a list we put together last year full of companies that provide guest blogging services, either as their primary offering or as a secondary service as part of a rounded SEO effort. It is divided up into sites where you can buy content, sites to edit content, sites that list guest posting opportunities, and finally outreach assistance companies.
Prominent names in guest post outreach include OutreachMama, Fat Joe, Linkredible, and The Hoth.
This is a local SEO company reviewing various guest posting services. Many of their top names are general SEO companies, and they provide reviews of the company along with contact information and links to their blogger outreach services.
Prominent names on this list include Stellar SEO, Fat Joe, MagFellow, BlogDash, and Linkredible.
Quora is a Q&A site that allows users to answer questions, and as such is frequently used as a marketing platform for many small businesses. You can’t always trust the recommendations, since people come in to recommend their own businesses to the exclusion of all others. That said, there are a bunch of different options here you can check out, assuming they all still exist.
Prominent names mentioned in the answers include TechMagnate, Guest Post Tracker, LinkBuildingCorp, GlobalGuestPosting, and BloggerSutra.
This is one of those top lists produced by an agency providing the service that, as you might expect, lists themselves as their own number one. A bit full of themselves, I would say, but hey, maybe people won’t realize what domain the post is on?
Prominent names on the list, other than itself, include Outreach Mama, The Hoth, and Submit Core. Whether or not Traffic Crow is up there in quality with those others is something I haven’t tested.
I don’t necessarily have one specific recommendation for an SEO company or a guest posting agency that I can give you. Everyone has different needs, different locations, an different budgets. Some of you might prefer Outreach Mama, while others go with Ignite Visibility.
What about you, though? I’m interested to hear your recommendations. Please don’t just recommend your own company, though; I want to hear from the non-marketers who have hired agencies to manage their SEO and outreach. What agencies have you hired, and how did they work out for you?