Businesses are spending an estimation of over $80 billion on SEO services. The question is, why?
Well, apart from being a cost-effective way than having an in-house SEO Consultants, hiring an SEO agency benefits you in the following ways:
- Expertise: They have the required knowledge of the best tools and strategies to keep up with the ever-changing SEO landscape.
- Save time: An SEO agency performs time-consuming tasks, such as keyword research, meta-data customisation, LSI keyword check, content optimisation, internal link optimisation, and monitoring your website for indexing problems.
- Experience: SEO agencies know what to look for to avoid big issues, such as black-hat attacks, bad backlinks, manual actions, or security vulnerabilities.
- ROI: They help you generate sales and drive revenue by targeting keywords that lead to concrete sales and optimising CRO and CTR to get the best results.
11 tips for hiring the best SEO agency
Before you blindly hire an SEO agency, here are eleven tips that will help you in your quest to find a reputable agency partner.
1. List down your SEO goals
The first step is to define SEO goals so that your SEO agency knows your expectations from the SEO campaign. For example, driving qualified traffic to your website or boosting revenue through sales.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you sell your products or services directly, over the web, or through leads established online?
- Does your organisation require direct sales, traffic, or branding?
- Is your organisation subject to potentially harmful content (I.e., reputation management)?
The best agencies try to understand your organisation’s goals and can build result-driven and strategic SEO campaigns. Setting up your SEO goals also helps you to see if an agency aligns with your goals.
While defining your goals, stick to the SMART method, which is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Basing your goals on historical data will help you to set realistic and achievable goals.
Here are the goals that you can adapt to start the process:
- Increase organic traffic by X%.
- Get the website ranked for a selected number of keywords.
- Acquire high-quality backlinks.
- Improve domain authority.
- Maximise page speed.
- Capture more featured snippets.
- Reduce bounce rate.
- Increase visitor time on page.
- Optimise internal linking.
2. Improve your knowledge of SEO
The process of hiring the best SEO agency can turn out to be daunting if you are not familiar with SEO yourself. Before you can interview the SEO agencies, you need to brush up on your SEO knowledge.
As per a recent survey by Search Engine Land, around 10% of business owners are not familiar with SEO and related terminologies.
There is a need for considerable education about SEO and its techniques before you start researching SEO agencies. A few types of questions that you should try to answer are:
- What are the terms related to SEO?
- How to measure SEO success?
- How to approach keyword research?
- What are backlinks?
- What is link building, and why is it important?
- What is page speed, and why does it matter?
- What are meta tags, and why do they matter?
- Which SEO factors are not in your control?
- What are some black hat SEO practices to avoid?
- What are rich snippets?
Understanding key terms and knowledge of SEO trends allows you to ask more relevant questions to an SEO firm.
3. Identify SEO agencies that are inadequate
There are several SEO agencies out there in the market. However, you will find that there are more lousy SEO agencies than reputable ones.
Hence, it becomes crucial to be aware of such inadequate agencies and choose the right one. Here are some warning signs to look for that will help you to identify a shady SEO agency:
- Keyword stuffing: Is a spammy approach that manipulates search ranking results by stuffing keywords into a web page’s meta tags, content, or backlink anchor text. Avoid any agency that has a history of using this technique. Here is an example of keyword stuffing on a page:
- Over-promising: Any agency that offers dead giveaways, such as guaranteeing a number 1 Google ranking or promises to triple your traffic in 3-4 months, should be avoided. The search algorithm is ever-changing, and rankings constantly shift. Improving your ranking is a natural process that takes time.
- Poor content on their site: Please do not go for an agency with thin or poor content on their website. The logic is simple. How can an SEO agency do the same for you if they cannot create solid and valuable content?
4. Know whether you need an SEO consultant or an SEO agency
Once you have defined your goals and understood the types of SEO service providers to avoid, you should recognise if you need an SEO consultant or an SEO agency.
An SEO agency is a firm that has a large team of multi-talented individuals in the field of SEO, such as semantics, keyword research, site design, link building, and content. On the other hand, an SEO consultant is an individual or an independent expert.
Here are the some of the pros and cons of an SEO agency:
- Qualified experts handle your website.
- An agency provides SEO auditing services, link building services, local SEO assistance, image, and video optimisation.
- Offer better commitment to the success of the project.
- More costly than hiring an SEO consultant.
- Limited to business hours in some cases.
Here are some of the pros and cons of an SEO consultant:
- Able to provide support outside of business hours.
- Cheaper than hiring most agencies.
- Specialist in a particular domain.
- Tendency to take more time to complete a project.
- Generally, they do not have a range of skills.
But the question here is how to make your choice?
The first step is to look at the scope of your projects and company goals. Understand your current state of SEO. Analyze whether you need a lot of optimisation and content development or little work to be done. Plus, be sure to consider your budget.
5. Look at their team
Confirm whether an SEO agency has a diverse team of specialists, designers, and developers. There are many steps involved in executing SEO for a company, which require skilled and experienced talent.
An agency with dedicated teams for different tasks, such as link building, on-page optimisation, content writing, and technical SEO, proves beneficial. An SEO agency can deliver all your company needs with an entire team of writers, expert SEOs, skilled link builders, and developers.
A reputed SEO agency also specialises in running value-driven SEO campaigns for small businesses. Look for your SEO agency team, have a chat with them, visit their office, and realise whether you are handing over your business website to the right people.
6. Ask for a summary of the SEO processes
It is good to ask about the SEO process or approach an SEO agency takes to refine a website and drive traffic. A good SEO agency can always explain its SEO process and how it can support the overall success of an organisation.
Knowing an agency’s SEO process helps you spot any red flags in its strategies. Several agencies use black-hat strategies, such as content automation, doorway pages, hidden text or links, keyword stuffing, sneaky redirects, or rich snippet markup spam. These strategies can give you good SEO results. But it can also penalise you for violating the search engine’s terms of service.
Quality SEO companies follow a tested process. They define their winning process to provide organisations with an overview of how they deliver results. Below is an example of an SEO agency in Sydney that outlines its SEO process on its website. It is a characteristic of a good SEO firm.
Ensure that you are aware of the SEO processes that an agency will implement for the success of your business.
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