How to choose the RIGHT SEO agency: A Quick Guide
If you’re here, reading this post, I am certain you already know the importance of SEO and the impact it can make on your business. Whether a small business, a start-up, an established multinational, all strive for creating visibility amongst the people that matter the most to their business i.e., the potential customers. In an age, when the search landscape is constantly evolving and competition getting fierce with each passing day, only creating visibility is not enough. You need to put the best foot forward each time you are being found by your audience.
Hence, the need for a RIGHT SEO agency is paramount, the one who can cut through the noise, stay ahead of the changes, and deliver meaningful results. SEO is an ongoing, long-term process, so getting trapped with the wrong SEO agency will lead to the waste of a lot of precious time and money. Most importantly, brand reputations are extremely fragile and damage repair is overwhelming. Thus, going wrong with picking the SEO company for your brand can do more harm than not doing SEO at all.
Let me take away your woes, below is a guide to evaluating and selecting the right SEO company that helps you achieve your goals.
First things first, do initial work at your end before initiating dialogue with SEO agencies:
1. Set Clear Goals
Begin with; realizing your needs, why you would do SEO, what are the kind of results you’re looking to achieve. Break your goals into short-term and long-term. Of course, you want your revenue stream flowing and scaling up, but having more crisp goals will help you know if you are moving in the right direction at each stage.
Have a clear roadmap of what you want to accomplish through SEO. Are you looking to reduce the bounce rate or increasing the CTR on search engines? Do you want to rank on a search engine for some specific keywords, that can help increase qualified traffic to your site and conversions? Is your traffic descent but conversion rate extremely low? Are you looking at creating a presence on different websites with high-quality content?
Setting up clear goals will be crucial for your potential SEO companies’ evaluation process.
2. Set a Realistic Budget
Now that you have set up your goals, determining a reasonable budget would be easier. It is pivotal to plan out your budget ahead of time and effectively. Going off guard can either pull you towards SEO companies offering very cheap services or you might overindulge. Be informed about the SEO pricing in general and then set up a feasible and realistic budget which aligns well with your goals.
3. Understand the true benefits of SEO
Knowing the power of SEO and what it has to offer, will help in driving the conversation with potential SEO agencies in the right direction. Getting a search engine ranking is only one aspect of SEO. It rather serves as a platform to build meaningful connections between you and your audience, which are endured and lasts long. A great user experience on your site, generating high-quality content, search engine top rankings, qualified traffic, and amplifying conversions are all benefits of a rightly implemented SEO.
Now that you are all prepped up and willing to hit a dialogue with the potential SEO companies, you must know about the ones that are a straight ‘NO’.
Signs of a BAD SEO:
1. Guaranteed results
SEO does not have any shortcuts to get your site ranked number 1 and certainly no magic spell available to get qualified traffic to your site instantly. Anybody guaranteeing Google’s 1st-page results in a short period of time may actually end up using black hat techniques. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and requires thorough knowledge, data analysis, and improvisations. In most cases, you may see potential SEO benefits in 3months or more.
Word of caution: Stay away from agencies promising unreasonable results.
2. Shady, Black-Hat Techniques
Black hat SEO is manipulative and goes against the guidelines of Google. In the long run, using shady techniques can result in a penalty from Google which is difficult to reverse. Keyword stuffing, using spammed content, sneaky redirects, etc. are all part of the unethical techniques being punished by Google. You would certainly not want to make “how to remove Google penalty” as your next search. So avoid engaging with agencies using Black hat practices, not worth it.
3. One-Size-Fits-All Approach
SEO agencies with a standard checklist of activities and zero interest in your business goals, may not be able to help your brand rise above the clutter. Your business is unique and so should be your SEO strategy. The basic structure of an SEO program remains almost similar for all websites, however with different product features, values, and marketing goals even your closest competitor would not be exactly the same as your business. Not necessarily what worked for them, may also work for you. This is why having a bespoke approach that aligns with your goals and is designed only for your business is a requisite for a successful SEO.
Narrow down your list of potential SEO companies by avoiding the one with the above warning signs. Reach out to the rest and refer to the below steps for choosing a reliable SEO partner for your business.
Process for Choosing the RIGHT SEO Company:
1. Find SEO who is genuinely interested in your business
A Good SEO goes beyond search engine rankings. Instead of just talking about SEO, they would pose multiple questions about your business and goals. What is the USP of your product/service, understanding about your target audience, knowing your competitors and finding out what they do online, what are the other marketing channels you use, and much more? The right SEO Company would want to learn about your business from a holistic standpoint and make efforts to align your business goals with their SEO strategy to attain the desired results.
2. Ask for review, references, and case studies
To determine if the potential SEO can match up to your expectations, you can refer to their past work. Request them to share case studies of their previous clients. Also, online reviews could be a good way to check what clients have to say about the agency. Moreover, get the references of their current clients and speak to them to understand if they are content with the results and overall services delivered by the SEO.
3. Request SEO to conduct an audit, share insights and implementation plan
A qualified SEO looks at the entire search experience, and crafts a comprehensive strategy based on facts and data. You must evaluate the potential SEOs on how thorough they are with conducting audits, drawing inferences from the findings, and effectively bringing them into action. Here are a few important audits they must perform:
Technical audit: In here, the SEO must review each and every aspect of the website structure carefully to make it both user-friendly and search engine friendly. Site load time, accessibility, internal linking, URL structure, thin content issue, etc. are all part of the audit.
Search Audit: While performing the search audit, the SEO must not only perform keyword analysis and create keyword buckets but also analyze the post click user experience against each keyword and accordingly make recommendations for content enhancement or edits.
Competition Audit: Analysing the online competitive landscape and determine what they are doing better and how those learnings could be implemented in your SEO plan, to achieve better results.
A competent SEO will be able to share an extensive view of the current issues, their suggestions, stipulated time for implementation, and an estimate of their positive impact on your business with setting up KPI’s.
4. Choose an SEO company working with integrity and communicates effectively
This is crucial. Your website analytics and search console are your property, partner with an SEO firm that provides you complete access to real-time data. Not only do they share the numbers but the team should efficiently share insights and plan of action based on the data. Ensure your SEO only uses White Hat and ethical SEO techniques to deliver results. Choose to work with a team that is thorough, transparent, and keeps you informed.
Successful SEO is a result of an integrated partnership between you and your SEO agency. To avoid any ambiguity in the future, you must determine your SEO KPIs well in advance and the same shall be mutually agreed upon between the two of you. This is the best way out to know if the SEO for your company is headed in the right direction.
Also remember, when you plan to take a plunge in SEO for your brand, be ready to invest time in recommendations made by your SEO firm. If you are being reluctant to do so, irrespective of the SEO Company you choose, the results would not turn out to be desirable.
Ensure to choose an SEO company that focuses on your company’s growth and works alongside to forge a successful path for your business ahead.