What to look for when hiring an SEO agency
On average, organic search accounts for the 51% of online traffic that brands receive. SEO is becoming more and more important for any type of business, that’s why experts assume that investments in SEO services are expected to rise to $79 billion per year by 2020. Good quality SEO can make or break a brand, that’s why brands will often hire a skilled SEO agency to help their marketing strategies have a little more impact. There are tons of SEO agencies out there, and every single one will promise you that they can help take your company to the top, but how can you make sure that these aren’t just empty promises?
Most companies will choose to hire an SEO agency that is more skilled in handling the company’s digital marketing strategies. This may cost more money, but if you are able to find an agency that can deliver on all their promises of improving the brand’s business objectives through organic search, then it is a necessary investment, that will help the company grow in the long run.
What exactly defines good SEO from bad SEO?
We don’t have a definitive answer to this, so we only rely on correlative studies in order to draw a conclusion on what is effective and what isn’t. Even Google, has never been clear on how their algorithms work, that’s why it can be difficult to differentiate a legitimately skilled SEO agency from false prophets. Google advices to give the SEO expert at least four months to show some considerable results and nine to twelve months to reach the first page, that’s why a good and effective client-agency relationship is essential in order to benefit both sides
There are countless SEO agencies out there, and all of them are promising that they are the absolute best choice and that they have the “one and only approach that actually works” or something of the like, but we all know that not every single one of them can be the best; now what we need to know is an effective way to choose which one. Hiring the right SEO agency is essential; if you were to choose the wrong agency, it will not only cost money but also time, since it will take a while for you to notice the shortcomings in their strategies. That’s why prevention is better than a cure, so screening the candidates should be taken very seriously.
Before you go out and look for an agency that will make your visions into a reality, you first have to make sure that you have a clear vision. You have to establish what you want to achieve through SEO, and with this you can find the agencies that are specialists in the fields that will be most beneficial to your company. SEO can do a lot of things to help the company such as increasing brand awareness, improve customer retention, or just simply increasing the income, that’s why you have to choose a goal that you intend to focus on, which the partner agency will be focusing on. Once you have a clear goal in mind, is the only time for you to start looking for a new partner SEO agency.
Now, you must be wondering “So how do I find a good SEO agency?” Searching “SEO agency” on Google may not be a good idea. It’s quite ironic, right? The agencies that appear in the top positions on the Google search may be able to demonstrate their skill in ranking high for an important keyword, but the best agencies will be using these efforts to help out their clients rank higher, rather than their own agency. Anything you search on Google may come out inconclusive, so you shouldn’t rely on it. Using paid search results won’t give you any better results, since the ranking via PPC (Pay-per-click) only shows that they can use AdWords, but doesn’t showcase their skill, only their desire to get you to hire them. What you want is an opinion that you will be able to trust. Well, that could be hard, since whom can you trust, right? Well, we’re not telling you to trust us, but we’re giving you advice on how to make the best choice (since we’re confident it will be us). The factors that you should take into account when looking for an SEO agency are:
- Your budget: Every agency will charge differently, but less doesn’t always mean worse. They can charge from hundreds of dollars every month or even up to six-figures for complex international projects. You just have to make sure to find an agency that is within your budget that will prove to be worth the investment.
- The services you’ll need: The most typical and essential services you will be needing includes technical SEO, SEO strategy, content production, link building. We won’t be going into detail what services larger brands will be needing, but they will require a lot more.
- Agency size: The size of the SEO agency is also crucial. Some brands will prefer to partner up with a smaller agency, since they will have less clients so they will be able to take care of you more. While other brands prefer to partner up with a larger agency since they will have more resources at their disposal. Large and small agency both comes with their own pros and cons so you should carefully weigh them both.
- Reputation: It is important to find out the reputation the reputation of the agency you are thinking of hiring. It is a good idea to ask your connections that have a knowhow of the SEO industry to recommend a good agency or to ask for their opinion of the agency you are thinking of hiring.
You can also skip all of this, and just ask for the opinion of an industry insider that you trust; they can also help you make a list of the good agencies to contact. You need a clear view of your SEO goals in order to find the kind of agency you want to work with.
The Pitch Process
A discovery call is a good way for you to learn something about the agencies on your initial list. You should learn about the agency and their culture, and after learning these, you will be able to shorten the list and decide which of the agencies you would invite to pitch. Create a scoring sheet by taking all of your decision criteria, and ask all of the company’s stakeholders to fill it in. This will make the decision making process less biased, and will help to establish a leveled playing field. Running a pitch process can be quite difficult, that’s why it’s a good idea to establish concrete reference points and milestones that will help keep the whole process organized.
Pitching will require the agency to give out a lot of input to impress the prospective clients, so for the best interest of both sides, it is best if the client is transparent so the agency will be able to plan accordingly. This applies to telling the agencies how many others they are up against, providing the details needed for each stage of the pitch process, and the date that the client will be announcing their decisions.
Here are some sample questions that you can ask to the prospective SEO agencies.
Questions to ask:
- How do you usually go through the 10 first days with a new client?
- What would you say would be a ‘good’ backlink for our business?
- For you, would you say that Google’s ranking algorithms weigh differently depending on the nature of the query?
- How can you assure that your technical recommendations will be implemented, and how will you be able to measure if they have had any significant results?
- Do you hire freelancers in order to outsource the work?
- How long will you be spending on the account every month?
- Do you think SEO has an effect on wider business strategies? If so, what roles do you think does it have?
- How long until we’ll be able to see some positive impact in case we we’re to partner with you?
- In order for you to make a successful SEO strategy for our business, how much resources do you think we will need to invest?
We would like to be clear that these are only sample questions, so you can use these but you are also encouraged to think up of your own. What is important is that the agencies answer all the questions honestly, even if it means that they will say something that you don’t want to hear. Disagreements can never be avoided, but some disagreements can actually be constructive if the agency is acting in your best interest.
Why Choose The Fields Agency?
Every agency will want you to pick them. Some will say whatever you want to hear in order to land the client. We can say all those fancy words that the client may want to hear, but we won’t. We’ll make our reputation and skills do the talking. We’re not saying that you should hire us, we’re just asking for the opportunity to impress you. We guarantee that you won’t regret it.