As we all know, SEO is vital if you want your website to perform well. If your site doesn’t show high up on Google, the chances of you getting any organic traffic are minimal. The trouble is though, SEO is pretty much a full-time job. It’s not just a case of optimising the site once and leaving it – it needs constant monitoring and refining, plus regular content creation and a good backlink strategy. Plenty of companies with an in-house marketing department have more than one person working full-time on their SEO.
If you don’t have the resource or knowledge for it within your existing team, and you don’t want to make a new hire, then outsourcing to an agency is the ideal solution. An agency will have the specialist knowledge required, can spend as much time as is necessary on your campaign, and will most likely cost less than one full-time member of staff. But how do you choose the right agency to work with your business, and what can you expect from them?
Choosing the right SEO agency
There are a lot of agencies out there offering SEO services, so it’s important that you find one that aligns well with your business.
Do their values align with yours? You’ll be working closely with your agency, and as with any other partnership, you want to make sure that they share your vision. If you’re a business that prides itself on being sustainable and eco-friendly, then look for an agency that aligns with that.
Do they have a proven track record? Ask to see their portfolio and the results they’ve obtained for previous clients. They should be able to demonstrate previous success, and if they’ve achieved results for other businesses in your sector then that’s a bonus!
Are they within your budget? Costs for SEO agencies vary wildly, depending on a number of factors as well as the amount of time they’ll be spending on your account. As with anything, you may need to spend a bit more to get the results you want, but that doesn’t mean you have to commit to something you can’t afford. Be wary of anyone offering SEO services at rock bottom prices though; chances are they’re using old school black-hat techniques, which are not sustainable and can hurt your rankings in the long run.
Do you feel like you get along with them? This is something that can often be overlooked in the business world, but before you commit to working with an agency, make sure you meet with the key people that will work on your account. You’ll be working together closely, and you need to feel comfortable with them as well as confident in their ability.
So what can I expect from my SEO agency?
Managing your expectations
While you should have high expectations of your agency, it’s important to remember that SEO is a slow burn and it can take a while to see results. If your expectations are too high, the agency should tell you that rather than promising the earth and not delivering. They should let you know what a realistic target is, and how they plan to achieve it.
They respectfully challenge you
You don’t want an agency that just takes your money and tells you what you want to hear. If they feel like there’s something that might impact their success, like your websites UX for example, they should tell you so. Likewise, if you have an idea of what you want but they feel it’s not quite right, they should tell you that! Of course, you don’t just want constant negativity – they should also offer suggestions and solutions. But a good SEO agency should always be upfront with you, even if that means a difficult conversation.
They’re completely transparent and honest
A good SEO agency will be completely open with you about their work and how it’s going. They shouldn’t sugarcoat it if they’re not seeing great results; if this is the case, they need to tell you so you can work together to fix the problem. Likewise, they should be transparent about their methods – you should be kept informed of what activity they’re carrying out and why, as well as how successful it’s been.
The admin side
You should know who they key people are within the agency that work on your account. You’ll usually have an account manager who is your main point of contact, and possibly one or more account executives who support them. Your account manager should always be around to answer any questions you have, deal with any concerns, and keep you up to date with progress. You can expect to receive a regular report – some agencies do this monthly, some less regularly. However, if you feel like you need a report more frequently, especially in the early days, then you should ask! A good agency will go out of its way to give you what you need, even if that means weekly reports or phone calls.
They get results
Most importantly, you can expect your SEO agency to get you results. After all, you’re paying them to do just that! A good agency will have the skills and knowledge needed to get your website where it needs to be, and they’ll be able to put a quality strategy in place to make sure they get it there. You should see slow, but steady progress on a month-by-month basis – as we’ve said, SEO takes a while and if you’re seeing massive quick wins, it might not be sustainable growth.
Hopefully this blog has gone some way to helping you with how to choose the best SEO agency for you. If you’d like to chat about our SEO services, then get in touch – our marketing superheroes are waiting to help.