If you are an entrepreneur who has recently brought your business online, you must have come across explanations and terms from the world of SEO. The search engine optimization process is multifaceted. The goal behind these procedures is to help your business website appear in the top Google search results. And this ultimately makes it visible to your potential clients or consumers.
Have you just dipped your toes into search engine optimization and plan to select a reliable agency for your business? Here are points that can guide you in filtering the best agency.
#1. Planning goals and expected outcome for your business
What would be your reaction if you book a last-minute flight from New York to Beverly Hills in California but end up booking a ticket for Beverly Hills, Texas? You would feel like cursing yourself for wasting time and money, wouldn’t you?
Choosing a specialist for SEO is just like buying the ticket for the right destination. Before choosing and on-boarding a digital agency, you need to be aware of goals and desired outcomes from the campaign.
What are the outcomes that you expect? Do you wish to rank specific keywords or want better rankings for the entire website? Do you want to get more qualified traffic, leads or use organic search to drive sales? Let the key decision-makers in your business note down answers to these questions.
#2. SEO types
Search engine optimization procedures have a lot of nuances and details. There are subsets or types like mobile, local, content, technical, off-page, and on-page SEO.
Experts break the SEO procedures into subsets as small portions remain easy to manage. Their goal is to improve website visibility and to make it user-friendly.
Some companies also fine-tune and customize SEO strategies to suit your business needs. For example, agencies offer B2B SEO, enterprise SEO, eCommerce SEO, and content SEO.
#3. Consider the agency’s specialties
A one-size-fits-all approach may not work. Thus, selection needs to be done based on the industry verticals that the firm specializes in.
SEO players specialize in the service line, location, and specific industries due to their clientele base.
Agencies are also pro in voice SEO, eCommerce SEO, Local SEO, link building, and SEO-optimized content marketing. Taking a look at the organization’s services, specialties, and case studies can help.
#4. Background check on the agency’s clients
Marketers share success stories on their websites in the form of testimonials. You should not show much interest in these and seek an honest opinion from past and existing customers. Ask the company to share names and numbers. These run-of-the-mill clients can offer a glimpse into how the SEO agency performs.
#5. Ask three questions to the agency’s former and existing clients:
- After how many months post-starting the campaign did they witness an increase in business coming from search engines?
- Did the company keep its commitments made from the start?
- Were they happy with the level of communication provided by the agency?
Also, ask the client about the cost incurred to achieve results and maintain the same.
Consider checking their list of certifications and awards. You surely don’t want to deal with agencies that use underhand methods. So, Googling their name and reading reviews can help you make a fair judgment.
#6. Metrics from current projects
Digital marketing agencies do track and measure results for all their campaigns. They use this data to refine strategies for achieving optimal results.
Tracking the following metrics is crucial:
- Organic click-through rate
- Average page loading time
- Bounce rate
- Keyword rankings
- Organic traffic
- Leads generated
- Search rankings
Ask the company representative to share key SEO performance indicators for existing clients. The confidentiality clause confines them from sharing specific details. They may prefer to share stats sufficient enough to prove how good they are in their job.
#7. SEO guarantee
Has any agency shown the willingness to offer a guarantee for specific outcomes? If so, it is best to avoid such proposals and do not let them access details for your site. Google algorithms keep on updating each month. Thus, no one can assure a success percentage.
The company can undoubtedly promise a positive outcome. But there is no way any professional can predict or guarantee rankings.
#8. Request a technical and search audit
Eliminate the names of companies that do not show much interest or curiosity in gaining your business. Select the top two options and delve deeper into their capabilities. Request them to conduct a technical and search audit for your website.
The agency will ask you to pay a small fee for the service. You should be willing to pay and allow the team to look under the hood. Show a certain level of trust, but offer a restricted view into Google Search Console rather than full or write access.
- Search audit
Search audit aims at finding and listing possible problems in the site that are hampering rankings. Auditors also provide a list of recommendations for resolving these issues.
The advice consists of links to videos, articles, and other support documents published by Google. So, there is no need to cross-check their relevance.
The SEO team will also interact with your firm’s in-house developers, administrators and note down any technical constraints that they experience.
The report will include the implementation timeline and cost for implementing these recommendations. It should also highlight positive outcomes that your business website can expect after making suggested changes.
- Technical audit
A technical audit involves a quick look at response codes, server connectivity, URL parameters, crawlability, and internal linking issues. Like in the case of a search audit, the expert will offer recommendations, along with timelines and costs for fixing problems.
#9. Checking details for fees and contracts
Agencies offering professional SEO services have different fee structures and contracts. Most of them charge clients on an hourly basis, monthly basis, or a six-month contract period.
Seek details about fees, charges, and deliverables that you can expect in exchange. Also, check the procedure for the early cancellation of the contract.
Pricing is a crucial aspect, especially for SMBs. Thus, it is best to include the price factor in the initial conversation.
Interact with the company’s employees and team leads. The interaction can help judge if they believe in offering a personalized experience. Always go with a company that listens to clients’ goals, objectives and offers reliable SEO services.