Nearly 70% of experiences online begin with a search engine. However, only 0.63% of Google users click on options from the second search engine results page (SERP). Without search engine optimization (SEO), consumers might fail to find your website during a search. It can take time to develop an effective SEO marketing strategy, though. Choosing an SEO agency can help you improve your rankings without wasting time or energy.
Not sure which SEO agency to hire? Read on for the qualities you need to prioritize during your search!
Outline Goals and Needs
First, outline your specific business and marketing goals. For example, you might want to:
- Improve organic rankings
- Generate website traffic
- Generate brand awareness and recognition
- Build brand trust and loyalty
- Generate quality leads and sales
- Gain Google Business reviews
- Post content regularly
- Improve your ROI
Outlining your goals can help you find SEO or digital marketing agencies capable of accomplishing those goals.
When you begin vetting your options for SEO agencies, the agency should ask about your marketing goals. If they don’t, they won’t customize your SEO marketing strategy based on those goals. Instead, they might choose a cookie-cutter approach.
Your business, customers, and goals are unique. You need a unique SEO marketing strategy to experience success.
Years of Experience
Turn to your professional contacts to build a list of options for SEO agencies. Ask other business owners if they can recommend an agency that offers SEO services. Look for both digital marketing agencies and SEO specialists as you build your list.
If you manage to gather professional referrals, ask questions about each business owner’s experience with the agency. For example:
- How long has the agency been in business
- What services do they offer
- How did the agency accomplish your goals
- Are you satisfied with the services you receive
- Have you experienced problems with the agency
Building a list of referrals can help you find a reputable agency. It can also help you gather insights that aren’t available online. Once you have a list of options, you can gather your own research.
Visit each agency’s website. Learn more about their history by visiting their “About Us” page. Consider visiting their Better Business Bureau listing as well.
Determine how long each digital marketing or SEO agency has been in business. Find an agency that’s been established for five to 10 years. An established business won’t encounter scheduling, billing, or communications issues a new business likely will.
Consider how long each agency has offered SEO services as well. Find an experienced team that won’t struggle to accomplish your goals. If the company is new to offering SEO as a service, keep searching.
Above all else, it’s important to find an agency that fully understands search engine optimization.
Ask each agency how they plan to improve your organic rankings. They should mention four types of SEO:
On-page SEO involves optimizing your blog content and website pages for search terms. When a consumer searches using a relevant term, your content could appear on the SERP. Ranking for a range of target keywords can help maximize your online reach.
It can also help you appear in front of consumers who already want your offerings, helping you generate more leads and sales.
Off-page SEO involves marketing tactics outside of your website. For example, generating backlinks can improve your rankings. Backlinks appear on other websites and direct consumers to your content.
Technical SEO involves optimizing the backend of your website. For example, following Google’s Core Web Vitals can help you offer a positive user experience (UX). Your website should be fast, mobile-optimized, secure, and user-friendly.
Google uses mobile-first indexing to determine rankings. If your site isn’t mobile-optimized, your rankings won’t improve.
Local SEO can help you appear in front of nearby customers or for location-specific searches. Claiming and optimizing your Google Business listing is part of your local SEO strategy.
If the SEO agency is unfamiliar with these types of SEO, remove them from your list of options.
When vetting your options for SEO agencies, make sure they remain apprised of recent SEO marketing trends, too. Google updates its search engine algorithm constantly. If you’re not appealing to the latest trends, your rankings might drop.
Meanwhile, your competitors could get ahead.
Ask each SEO agency how they appeal to trends like:
- Voice searches
- Featured snippets
- Google’s Core Web Vitals
- User experience website design
- Experience, expertise, authority, trustworthiness (EEAT)
- Audience-targeted/personalized content
- Image optimization
- Long-form content
- Predictive search
- Semantically-related keywords
- Passage indexing
- Search intent
If the SEO agency is unfamiliar with these trends (and how to implement them), keep searching.
The Right Services
For a successful SEO strategy, you’ll need services beyond SEO.
For example, you’ll need to optimize your website to improve your rankings. Consider requesting website design and development services. Make sure the company can optimize your website following Google’s Core Web Vitals.
Nearly 90% of online shoppers won’t return to a site following a bad user experience. Another 75% will judge your business based on your website’s appearance. Improving your website’s design and development can benefit your SEO strategy while helping improve your reputation.
They should also optimize your website for conversions. Otherwise, you might struggle to generate quality leads through SEO.
You’ll also need to generate backlinks with backlink-building services. An agency that offers backlink-building services can help boost your Domain Authority (DA). A strong DA could help your organic rankings improve.
Meanwhile, reputation management services can benefit your local SEO strategy. Generating reviews regularly will help your local rankings rise.
You’ll need content creation services to publish fresh content for your blog. Graphic design and photography searches can help you appear for more image searches, too.
Hiring a digital marketing agency that offers a range of services (including SEO) can benefit your entire digital marketing strategy. For example, a paid advertising strategy can benefit your SEO efforts. As you attract website traffic through pay-per-click (PPC) ads, your organic search engine rankings can improve.
If the company doesn’t offer other digital marketing services to complement its SEO services, keep searching.
A Glowing Reputation
Look for an agency that already has a strong, glowing reputation by reading online reviews. You can find reviews on the companies:
- Better Business Bureau listing
- Google Business profile
- Website testimonials page
If the company doesn’t have a Google Business profile, they’re not using their own SEO services. Remove these businesses from your list
Read a few client reviews from each source to get a well-rounded idea of each agency. Look for complaints that repeat between websites. If the agency has a number of serious complaints against them, remove them from your list.
Look for comments about the company’s accountability. It’s important to find an agency you can reach with questions or concerns. The agency should also provide you with updates regarding your SEO strategy.
If they don’t provide regular updates, you won’t know if they’re accomplishing your goals.
In addition to reading online reviews, ask each agency if they can provide case studies. Case studies will allow you to see proof they helped their clients. Ask each agency what key performance ranking factors (KPIs) they track as well.
A Strong Strategy
Narrow down your options and schedule a consultation with three different agencies. Treat each appointment like an interview. Have a list of questions you want to ask the agency prepared ahead of time.
During the consultation, ask each company about their SEO marketing strategy. They should have an efficient plan in place to help you accomplish your goals.
For example, the agency should take the time to gather keyword and audience research. If they don’t, they won’t create content that appeals to your target audience.
They should also take the time to update your website to ensure it’s user-friendly.
Don’t forget to ask the agency if they provide updates as well. How will you communicate? They might provide email, video call, or phone call updates to prove their strategy is working.
Consider what tools the agency uses as well. For example, how do they build a list of target keywords for your SEO strategy?
Confirm the agency isn’t using any black hat SEO tactics (which could get your site penalized by Google).
Corporate SEO spending has reached $47.5 billion, though it could reach $77.6 billion this year as more companies rely on SEO services. Typical SEO projects can cost $1,250 to $6,000 a month. However, pricing can vary based on the services you choose.
Ask each agency to provide an itemized list of all services they offer. Determine what services fall under their SEO packages, too.
Comparing SEO service costs can help you determine the average between agencies. If one agency’s pricing is outrageously higher than the rest, determine why that is.
Don’t choose the cheapest option available, though. Instead, review your notes and choose an SEO agency that can accomplish your goals.
Simplify Choosing an SEO Agency for Your Business Today
Choosing an SEO agency shouldn’t feel confusing or complex. Instead, prioritize finding a business based on these qualities. Finding an experienced, reliable SEO agency with the expertise and tools you need can benefit your business in the long run.
With their help, you can improve your organic rankings to start reaching new customers. Experience the benefits of SEO marketing firsthand today.
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