It has begun; you’ve done some research and a general understanding about what SEO entails has formed and you have decided to start using an SEO agency – or change your current agency. You’ve identified a few to choose from and a couple recommended to you, but which one is right for you?
You not only need to find an agency that will do what they’re paid to do but also one that fits with your business. If you end up working with an SEO team that don’t understand who you are as a business you are going to fall at the first hurdle. Getting this team right is key: They are going to be the ones in control of one of the most fundamental channels and gateways to your business.
Clearly, you need to be asking the right questions to really understand whether an SEO agency is right for you. To help with this crucial process, us lot here at Rooster have decided to share some of the key questions that we would be expected to be asked ourselves when being decided upon:
Finding out whether they feel as though they can improve on the structure of your website and the currently linking structure (both internally and externally) will really give you an idea of the types of changes you’re likely to see being proposed in the future.
It is important to ask whether they think content will need to change and whether they will work with you to create that content and any future content. You want to know the long term goals and where and how an agency is planning on getting you there so that you can work with them.
With SEO being pushed and stretched with the sheer competition, it’s likely that a lot on a site that is current performing badly will need changing, just discuss the changes that you will be happy with.
If you don’t think any of them are possible or plausible, it is likely that they’re not the agency for you.
If someone is drawn to talking about paid links and you paying for the ability to link to thousands of unrelated pages, run! Black hat linking strategies are extremely frowned upon. You should be asking what strategy they suggest. Typically, you’ll find a content-based strategy will improve your link profile. Although this will normally take time but, in the long run, it will benefit you greatly.
Ask about the types of businesses they have and continue to work for and with and how it worked out for them? By seeing other success stories, you can come to see what to expect from them, likewise, If they’re working with one of your competitors, that means that you’ll be competing against them (again, the wrong agency for you). Typically, agencies will not take on competitors for the same marketing work – but it’s always better to be safe and avoid this if possible.
Quite simply if your answer isn’t an immediate yes, they shouldn’t be doing SEO. The sole purpose of Search Engine Optimisation is to improve your rankings and ultimately leading to more customers to your website.
However, be understanding when asking this question as SEO is almost impossible to predict. There is no set checklist that will guarantee you to be in the top spot. Instead, there are lots of factors that will influence your positioning, even things out of your and an agency’s control. But by them agreeing to see an increase in traffic over time, you’ll have a simple aim and objective to monitor the success of the SEO agency.
Your keyword strategy should be informed by your business objectives. This question should be asked simply to grasp their understanding of your business and industry. If they don’t give the exact keywords that you think are best, it’d be a great time to outline what you do want to target and also give an SEO agency the opportunity to outline their thinking and methodology behind some more seemingly unusual suggested search terms.
Get them to show you exactly what software they use, how they monitor it and how they feed it back to you. This will give you a clear idea of how they work and whether they work in a way that will suit you.
They should give you weekly/monthly/quarterly report on the change of your search positioning in a simple and accessible report and in a requested format if possible.
This is where their answer could affect the outcomes of your SEO spend with an agency. Typically, Google leads. This is because Google has the largest market share. However, if you are top on Google and notice that on Analytics, 75% of your customers are Bing users, then maybe Google isn’t the engine you should be focusing on and this should be discussed with a potential agency.
By asking this, you’ll find out if they are a small, medium or large agency. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. A smaller agency can be extremely targeted but can struggle when it’s a busy season and likewise a large agency can have vast knowledge but can also treat you like a toy factory and just push you to the back.
Some agencies will show you their best talent in the initial meeting but you may not even be working with them during your contract. Make sure to be clear on this! If you don’t think you can work with the account manager or the SEO specialist you will run into problems. Transparent agencies will always bring the person – or people – you will be working with to every meeting.
So you’ve asked them, but are they asking you the right questions in return?
Your perfect SEO agency should be getting to know you, understand your products and services and invest into your customer driving forces. So you should expect some of these questions coming your way:
What are some of the keywords you want to focus on?
Who are your main competitors?
How many domains do you know and for how long?
Do you have a Content Management System (CMS) to edit your site content?
Have you invested in SEO before? What happened?
Are you doing PPC Advertising?
What are your objectives for the Business?
Can you provide access to your web stats or Google Analytics account and Webmaster if you have it?
Do you have any other websites that link to this one?
What other marketing activities are you doing?
If you’ve asked all the above questions, had a lot in return and feel comfortable with the agency then chances are you’re on your way to a perfect match. Your new agency should make your feel supported, ambitious and excited and this is exactly what we aim to instil at Rooster:
Talk to Rooster and we will happily answer your questions and ask the right ones in return. Get in touch today to discuss your next SEO project.