SEO is an extremely lucrative marketing channel when executed correctly, bringing in targeted traffic with higher conversion potential to your website.
Therefore, it goes without saying that hiring the right SEO agency can be crucial to your business’ success.
When choosing a suitable company to do your website’s SEO, separating the wheat from the chaff and dodging shady firms who employ underhand tactics can seem like an impossible task at first.
However, there are things to look out for to help you choose the right experts to take your internet marketing strategy to the next level and boost your business.
Finding agencies that already have experience in your industry is first and foremost.
SEO doesn’t have a one size fits all approach and some industries are trickier than others, requiring a more specialized strategy.
So, it is important to ensure you use an agency with experience in your particular niche if you can.
Keep an eye out for red flags
There are plenty of red flags to look out for when you are shortlisting potential agencies, so keeping eyes open for these will help you when whittling down the list to filter out unreliable agencies.
First of all, be sure to steer clear of agencies that overpromise, usually by saying they will ‘guarantee number 1 rankings’ in order to secure a sale.
No one can guarantee number one rankings, simply because no one knows Google’s exact algorithm and how it will change.
Updates like Google Penguin and Panda came in and penalized sites who employed black hat SEO tactics by deindexing them or lowering their rankings, leaving many websites with a significant drop in traffic almost overnight.
Due to the everchanging landscape of SEO, no SEO agency can say for sure that your website will be at the top spot after they have worked on it, and any agencies that make these impossible promises to should be avoided.
Of course, some websites may offer a guarantee, but it is important to distinguish here that providing a guarantee means that if the agency can’t get the results they promised, they will refund some or all of their fee.
This is different from agencies that make too good to be true claims that they can help you rank on the first SERP for specific, highly competitive keywords.
Any SEO agency worth their salt should be able to increase your web traffic steadily over time, but beware of those who over-promise speedy results.
This could be an indicator that they may be using underhand SEO tactics that will ultimately result in a penalty.
A foundation of trust
Trust is essential when employing an SEO agency.
This is because you are handing over access to your website and marketing resources, knowing they could either make your business a lot more money, or destroy any previous SEO efforts you have already made.
When employing someone to do a service for your business, especially one as vital as SEO, you want to ensure they will be receptive of feedback from you as well as keeping you updated on results and progress.
Therefore it is important to find an agency that is happy to communicate regularly.
Ask them about their reporting and how often this will be, and what format they will send their reports in.
Ideally, you want to find an agency who will update you regularly on search traffic, search rankings for your target keywords, conversion rate.
Additionally, you want the agency to send you a summary of their activities, such as content creation and link building, as well as any improvements to your website.
Ensuring you find an agency that keeps you updated with regular reports (usually monthly but some agencies do weekly reports as well) and keep track of what changes they may make to your website is essential.
Any good SEO will want to do optimization work on your website, making it more user friendly to get a better retention rate of visitors who land on your site with the intention of this leading to a higher conversion rate.
Things like content production and building a stronger internal linking profile generally helps to improve your search engine optimization.
However, ensuring the agency you use is meticulous in tracking website changes and in reporting means that if anything goes wrong, you are able to pinpoint what caused it and fix this.
“Content is king”
On the subject of communication, it is also important to check their policy on content ownership.
If your agency does tail off their communication or disappears for any reason, you want to make sure that any content they may have produced for you belongs to you.
Content is always one of the key factors for SEO, so you will also need to check their track record with content production, particularly in your niche.
Having good content will help you get good backlinks, and thus help your website move up search rankings.
Backlinks are a crucial part of any great internet marketing strategy, so it is also important to ask your potential SEO agency what their strategy for getting backlinks with positive ‘link juice’ is.
Again, if they start making overblown guarantees or sweeping statements, it might be best to back off.
Some shady SEO companies may use software to build spammy backlinks or buy multiple low-quality links, which can easily lead to a penalty.
If your website is penalized, it will take a lot of time and effort to recover.
However, good backlinks are worth their weight in gold in helping to improve your rankings, so when link building is done right, your business will reap the benefits.
The search is worth it
Finding the right SEO agency may take time, but when you are investing money into a service so vital, it is worth persevering with research to find the right agency for you.
SEO can make or break your business, but with the right agency, you can get on the right path to significantly increase your profits and turnover, making the investment of time and money completely worth it.