How to find the Best SEO Companies?

Sandy Rowley
3 min readJun 12, 2024


Some larger SEO companies pay directories to be listed as top SEO companies, despite often having poor SEO themselves.

How to find reputable SEO firms?

Buyer Beware: The Truth About “Top” SEO Company Lists

If you’ve ever searched for “best SEO companies” on Google, you were likely bombarded with paid directory listings claiming to showcase the top search engine optimization firms in your city. However, the ugly truth is that many of the companies listed have simply paid thousands of dollars per month to have their name featured prominently.

These paid directory listings create a mirage that obfuscates which SEO providers are actually good at their jobs. Ironically, many of the companies headlining these “best of” lists have subpar SEO for their own websites. A quick search for terms like “SEO company Dallas” or “SEO services Boston” often won’t even show these supposedly elite firms ranking in the organic results.

So how can you cut through the paid placement charade and find a legitimate, effective SEO company? The best approach is to go straight to Google and search for something like “SEO companies in Reno.” Skip the paid ad listings at the top, as those are essentially more paid directory placements. Instead, take a look at the websites organically ranking in the top 5 organic results.

An SEO firm that can rank themselves well for a competitive local search term has a track record of doing effective SEO. From there, vet the highly ranking companies by looking at their client testimonials, case studies, and third-party reviews. A long history of positive reviews from real customers is a good sign you’ve found a winner.

Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors of paid directory listings. Anyone can buy their way into those “best of” lists, regardless of their actual SEO abilities. The true top SEO firms demonstrate their talents by ranking organically. With some diligent research into the organic rankings and customer feedback, you can cut through the noise and hire an SEO provider that delivers legitimate results, not just an artificially inflated “top company” stamp.

Verifying an SEO Company’s Expertise

Even after identifying SEO firms that rank well organically for relevant local searches, you’ll want to take an extra step to validate their skills and experience. An easy way to do this is to analyze the keywords their own website is ranking for in Google.

Simply take the SEO company’s website URL and plug it into a keyword research tool like Ahrefs, Semrush or UbberSuggest. These tools will show you all of the terms the site is currently ranking for on Google, along with their position.

From there, filter the keyword data to only show terms ranking on the first page of Google’s search results (positions 1–10). Carefully look through those top rankings — how many of the keywords are actually related to SEO, like “SEO services”, “SEO company”, “search engine optimization” and similar terms?

A legitimate, knowledgeable SEO agency should be ranking well for numerous relevant keywords in their core service area. If you only see a handful of scattered SEO terms on page one, or the top rankings are completely irrelevant to SEO, that should raise a red flag about their proficiency.

On the other hand, if an SEO firm has successfully achieved page one Google rankings for dozens or hundreds of premium SEO keywords, that’s a strong signal that they deeply understand search engine optimization and have put that knowledge into practice on their own site — a quality you’d want from any potential SEO partner.

Between checking a company’s organic local rankings, customer reviews, and analyzing their domain’s keyword footprint, you can gain clarity into which local SEO firms are truly worth hiring versus those relying on gimmicks and paid directory listings alone. A little extra due diligence goes a long way in finding an SEO provider that can walk the walk.

SEO Companies Secrets…coming up next!