Embarking on a new SEO project for your business can be fun and exciting! It can propel your business to unknown heights.
But you need a partner who has enough experience and business acumen to get results without damaging your search reputation.
Here are our top 10 tips for finding and hiring an SEO agency:
1. Do they promise to get you to #1 in Google?
If so, pass. Google’s algorithms change almost daily, and with the shifting competitive landscape around you, it’s impossible to guarantee any specific positions in search. What you are looking for instead is evidence that the agency has delivered solid, long-term results for their customers and a good, realistic appraisal of your site and it’s potential.
2. How do they charge?
Some SEO agencies charge by results (e.g., they charge according to how high they raise your website in search results).
Others simply charge by the hour (like we do at Dotwise).
Yet others charge by conversions – leads delivered to your business through organic search. Yet others charge some kind of hybrid of these methods.
Always look for a clear and predictable charging method. You don’t want to be hit with an unexpected bill!
3. What kind of reports will you get?
Reporting on results is a key part of SEO. You need reports that are clear, easy to read and focussed on results. For example, a report which only shows your positions in search for your keywords is very one-sides. You need to also look at
Make sure your agency is willing to listen to your business priorities. Every business is different and will need measure different things. For example, an e-commerce business selling jewellery will want to measure sales. But a firm of accountants will want to measure form-fills and phone calls.
Your agency should be able to report on your chosen metrics and not force arbitrary ways of measuring success upon you.
You should expect a digital marketing dashboard showing your metrics and outcomes clearly.
SEO is a risky business (in the wrong hands) and the effects of having your website wiped off the search engines can be devastating to a business. To mitigate the risk, all SEO companies should carry adequate insurance and be able to show you written evidence of their cover.
Does your SEO agency carry the necessary insurance? Always ask to see the insurance documents and make sure they are bona fide!
Does your contact at the agency speak in pure web jargon, or do they prefer plain English? One of the key skills of a good SEO is the ability to communicate sometimes complex technical subjects clearly and in plain language. If you feel bamboozled or blinded by science, you’ll want to avoid that agency as there are plenty who are polite enough to ensure you understand everything they say.
6. Time logs and outcomes
There are many ways to work with an SEO agency. Whatever your workflow, you’ll want to be sure that you can get a list of time logs detailing what the agency has done within any given time frame. About 1/3 of all agencies provides time logs as standard. Other provide time logs on request. You might want to consider the motives of any agency which refuses to produce time logs.
7. Skype, meetings and phone calls
With SEO, it’s vital to agree and stick to a strategy.
Nevertheless, the day-to-day tactics on how to achieve your SEO ambitions can change quite quickly.
As such, you need an agency that is prepared to speak to you at any time on the phone, via email or Skype or face-to-face.
Your SEO agency is a partner to your business and you should definitely have a personal relationship with your team. You should have a nominated contact/account manager and they should be proactive in ensuring that your changing requirements are met.
8. What’s their experience?
How many years of experience does the company have in the SEO business? Ask for evidence of long-term SEO practice. Ask for references and reviews. SEO, if done by an amateur, can be devastating to your business. On the flip-side, professional SEO is perfectly safe and risk-free. You need to ensure you are working with seasoned professionals, not amateurs or inexperienced practitioners.
If your website is built on a specific platform, such as WordPress, make sure you hire a specialist WordPress SEO company.
9. Ethics and policies
Make sure your agency adheres to a high standard of ethics. Be familiar with the terms “white-hat” (good) and “black-hat” (bad) SEO. Ask whether they understand Google’s policies on SEO and SEO spam. If they don’t, walk on by!
10. How good is their SEO?
Take a look at how they rank for your local area or your business vertical. If they are nowhere to be found, what makes you think they will be able to help you?
If you like the sound of our tips, why not contact us for more information?