How to choose an SEO Agency
- 30 May 2017
When deciding how to choose an SEO agency, there are some important questions that you need to ask to ensure you are chasing the right SEO agency for your business. Equally, there should be questions that your SEO agency should be asking you also before they get started.
Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. If you are being offered SEO for $99 per month (or less) and you are considering going with this then you might as well give this money to charity.
You will then feel good about your donation and be helping someone less fortunate rather than lining the pockets of an unethical SEO agency. The strategy of the majority of these agencies is to get enough people on a 12-month contract that then hopefully forget to cancel the renewal after they realise that their SEO has not improved whatsoever.
We work with clients all the time that have been caught out by the “SEO for $99 per month” companies. So, now I’ve got that out the way – let’s get down to helping you choose an SEO Agency.
To follow, here are some questions that you need to ask and also some questions that hopefully you will be asked. Of course, this is not a golden rule and is just a guide. Hopefully, this will give you a feel of what to look out for to help you make the best decision when choosing an SEO agency that suits your business.
Sample questions that you should ask your SEO Agency:
Can you work with my current website, the platform it is on and the way it has been built?
The way in which a website is built and the platform it is built on can seriously affect the work that can be done to improve your SEO. If this is not checked then how on earth can people promise results?
What Search Term Research will be carried out prior to starting SEO?
Targeting search terms that there is no traffic for is pointless. You may rank No.1 for something but if there is no traffic for it what is the point? On the other end of the scale if a search term is too competitive then it can eat up all your SEO budget trying to compete for it, and you are still not in the top 100.
This always depends on your budget and expectations – but we must be realistic. If you are told you will rank No.1 for “car insurance” for example then you better have deep pockets! High volumes of searches with low competition are good targets to start with.
How much time each month will they be working on your account?
The more time that is spent on your SEO, the better the results will be (as long as you are doing the right activities!). Find out how much time you are paying for as it may seem a bargain but is very expensive on an hourly rate.
Do you use any automated SEO activities?
Be cautious of any automated SEO activities as these types of activities are always the ones that will be penalised by search engines in the future. Search engines are looking for genuine companies with genuine websites and if you are chatting the system in any way you will be dropped like a stone at some point with regards to your rankings.
Will you be creating any content for us?
“Content Is Key” is starting to sound very tired as a catch phrase but still very true when it comes to SEO. If you don’t have the content on your website to optimise, then it’s impossible to get results. Content can be copy, images, video or animations, and all this content needs a home on the website that can be optimised. Ideally, it needs to be added regularly and at a manageable, consistent rate.
What is the order of the activities?
When starting on a client’s SEO, we have an order of priority. There will be basic, but fundamental fixes that we would start with before we start creating content that will boost your SEO as an example.
Do you think I need a new website?
The website you are optimising needs to have the structure, technical flexibility and creative style to make it worth investing in SEO. If you have a 1-page website then you are never going to rank well for lots of keywords, fact. If you have a website that is not mobile responsive then you will always be penalised for SEO, fact. If your website ranks well but looks awful then people will quickly leave your site, fact. There are much more examples why your website might not be suited for the SEO investment and we would not take a client’s money for SEO unless we have a good website that we can work with.
Is there anything I can do to help my SEO?
When we work on our client’s SEO, it is very much a team effort. Every client has the ability to create great content but it needs to be created in a way that search engines can find it and understand the value in it. We constantly educate our clients and this is an ongoing process as the rules can be changed overnight.
Sample questions you should be asked by your SEO Agency:
What are your expectations from SEO?
Be honest in what you think you are going to get from SEO. If you make this clear from the start then your SEO agency can either say they will meet your expectations – or get you to be more realistic. Working in this way will not leave you feeling disappointed, so get this clear from the start is crucial.
What locations would you like to target?
If you add locations to your search terms then they can become a lot more relevant and a lot less competitive. What are the locations you would like to cover and what are the locations you are most likely to win business in? Be realistic. Aiming to target the world when you are a local company is unrealistic and will be a total waste of money.
How involved do you want to be?
Some clients just want you to get on with it with little or no involvement where others want to be involved every step of the way. Being too involved can slow work down but this is worth discussing from the outset.
What search terms do you think are of value?
There will be search terms that you think are of value and this will enable your SEO agency to research if they are of value or any alternatives to suggest. Make sure any suggestions are backed up with factual data as to why they are of value.
What is the priority of the search terms you would like to target?
Start working on the most important search terms to your business. When you are No.1 for something then start to work down the list.
Who is your main competition?
Looking at your competition can be helpful in setting the standards and budgets required to beat them in the rankings.
Can we have access to your Analytics?
It is always helpful to look at existing data to understand the good and the bad from your existing site so this can be improved upon. If it ain’t broken, don’t try and fix it! Build on the good and change the bad.
Have you invested in SEO before?
If you are looking at changing your SEO agency then there must be a reason. This may be a clash of personalities, poor results, change of location etc. Understanding this will help to meet your expectations.
What social channels do you use?
If you are being social then this can help boost your SEO if being done in the right way. We can learn from what has worked from your previous activities and make some new suggestions.
There will always be new questions dependent on the client and their business but this will be a very good start. We hope this will help you choose the best SEO agency for your business and of course we would be more than happy to help.
Posted by Chris Tyler-Smith on 30 May 2017