How to Choose an SEO Agency
What Not to Do
When shopping for an SEO agency, one of the worst things you can do is to simply Google “SEO companies” and choose one of the top ad results that pops up. Not all SEO agencies are paying for ads. Much of the time, they receive so many new customers by word of mouth and other referrals that they never need to focus on promoting their own brand. Similarly, many lists of “Top 10 SEO Agencies” and the like are comprised largely of companies who paid to have their names listed. As a general rule, you’ll want to skip these rankings and dig a little deeper into your own research.
Beginning the Search
Before you dive into hardcore research, it’s important to understand what you’re hoping to achieve with an SEO agency. Everyone wants to boost traffic and rank higher, but what is the overall reasoning behind these goals? The answer can be as broad as wanting to increase your revenue and brand awareness, or it can be as focused as wanting to drive more clicks to a specific promotion in hopes of raising the sales of an individual product.
Once you have your main goal in mind, you should also consider other logistics such as your budget and location relative to the SEO company. This latter point is especially important: if you want to option to meet with a consultant in person, you need to choose someone relatively close to your business.
With these elements in mind, start sifting through reviews for agencies that fit your criteria. If someone you know and trust made a recommendation, you can probably accept that as a solid choice, but if you’re starting from scratch with an online search, be sure to cross-reference reviews across as many different websites as you can. If an SEO agency has fantastic reviews on one site but mediocre or even bad reviews on others, then there’s a decent chance that they paid the first site for the positive press.
Evaluating Your Options
Once you have chosen three to five possibilities that fit your criteria, it’s time to consider how you will decide which one is best. There are several key areas to explore when interviewing SEO agencies, the most important of which is how exactly they plan to increase your rankings. Discuss what metrics they will collect, how they will evaluate the data, what their basic timeline for growth looks like, and anything else that will help you understand how they plan to promote your company. If a consultant is intentionally vague or refuses to explain processes that they consider a “house secret,” walk away immediately. SEO is an incredibly open field, and there is no such thing as a magic loophole that will get your results any faster.
From there, consider other important questions such as what the SEO agency will do in the event of a major problem. If it helps you feel more comfortable, create a few hypothetical scenarios and gauge how the consultant would react to each one. Throughout this entire process, make note of smaller details such as how well you get along with the consultant, how professional they act, etc. Remember, you are essentially conducting a job interview, so even if you plan to handle all your SEO remotely, you still need to make sure you hire someone you can trust and who puts off an air of hard work and professionalism.
SEO agencies come in many types, so it’s critical to find one that works for you. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to finding a great SEO professional who will boost your business in no time.