Hiring an SEO agency can be fraught with pitfalls. Many will promise to get you to the top spot on Google and then not deliver. SEO is complex and ever-changing activity, you need someone who knows what they are doing. You also won’t see results overnight, it takes time.
There are a lot of agencies claiming to be SEO experts, unfortunately, most are not. If you are not very familiar with SEO it’s easy to get bamboozled with jargon. They will produce multiple statistics and figures to justify their fee, but you may not see the results where you want to see them. They may be able to produce results in some areas, but not the important ones that will generate higher inquiries.
So how do you find a good SEO agency, one that will get you the results you want? Here we have some tips to help you.
There is no magic wand to get you the top spot for all your keywords
If a company offers this, run a mile, no one can guarantee it. SEO is a nuanced and lengthy process involving a lot of different activities, none of which are guaranteed to get you to number one. Don’t fall for anyone who says that they have a special relationship with Google either.
Do your research
Are they able to get their own website to rank for key terms? They may talk the talk but cannot put it into practice. Avoid agencies that are not transparent about what they are going to achieve and how they are going to do it. You don’t want someone who uses suspect practices, these could see you getting a penalty from Google.
Ask for references
Ask to see case studies and for contact details of other customers. Any decent agency should be happy to provide these. If they can’t, ask yourself why not? Remember that SEO has changed dramatically over the past 5 years so ask to see recent case studies. Anything more than a few years old will be out of date.
Look for testimonials
Any business that has been around a while will have reviews on the internet. Search for them on Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and Trustpilot and read some of their reviews. A few negative reviews are inevitable but if most of them are bad that should be a red flag.
Ask for their approach
Find out exactly what they intend to do to improve your rankings and how they are going to report it. You need to make sure their approach is correct and likely to get results. If they conduct an SEO audit, ask what steps this will involve. Ask how they determine the keywords to use. If they mention technical SEO, ask what this will consist of. They should be able to explain, in plain English, the processes they will use.
Ask about their reporting tools
A reputable SEO agency will provide reporting tools to demonstrate results. What metrics do they report on? You should get access to reporting tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz. They should report on backlinks, search engine rankings for key terms and organic traffic improvements. A really good agency will link these to revenue for your business.
Meet in person and see their set-up
Check out the employees who will be doing the work, do they have enough staff? There are many skills required that are essential to your success and you need to make sure that an agency can meet your needs.
Be realistic about budget
You get what you pay for. An agency who says they can get you to number 1 for £2000 is not going to deliver. You should view taking on an SEO agency as taking on a new employee and expect to pay the same.
Set clear goals
Make it clear what you hope to achieve. Set goals and targets within certain timeframes. This will give an agency something to work towards and may put off agencies that aren’t up to it. Once you go with an agency, keep the momentum going by keeping in regular contact.
Find out what is expected of you
Some agencies will expect you to do a fair amount of work to reach the targets, others will demand little. Be clear about what you are prepared to do in-house to help achieve the goals. Some agencies will just get on with it, others will need more input from you.
Choosing the best SEO agency to meet your goals is a challenging process. Exhibition stand contractor Quadrant2Design has just been through it. MD Alan Jenkins said ‘It was a tough process, you’re never quite sure who to believe. But in the end, after a lot of research, we went with our gut instinct. So far it’s going ok’. That may be good advice, if something seems too good to be true it probably is, you need to have realistic goals.