Getting your site to the shiny heights of Google’s first page is a dream for most businesses; imagine grabbing the attention of everyone who’s interested in what you offer.
According to one study, the first page of Google captures 95% of web traffic, while 67% of searchers go straight for one of the top five listings.
And, even with new trends and fads cropping up by the day, SEO has remained a stalwart part of every marketing strategy. In fact, marketers see SEO as more effective than ever, with a huge 82% claiming it’s only going to get more effective as time goes on.
You know you need to get SEO under wraps, but it’s difficult to know where to start and, let’s face it, trying to master it all yourself is both daunting and incredibly tiring.
In light of this, we’ve put together a manifesto of sorts that shows you how to lighten the load and choose the right SEO agency for your business.
Key Mistakes Businesses Make When Choosing an SEO Company
In order to get it right and choose an SEO agency that feels almost like they’ve been sent from heaven, you need to know where you’re going wrong.
1. Trusting Google as a Filter
It’s ironic really.
When you’re looking for an SEO agency, chances are you’ll start with a Google search - it’s where all great web adventures start, right? And it makes sense that a good SEO company should be able to get themselves a good ranking.
But those top companies that pop up when you search for agencies in your locality or industry might not be the best fit.
Because most decent SEO agencies will be too busy working with clients and helping them rank on Google to worry about their own positioning. So, take Google’s results with a pinch of salt.
That agency that keeps appearing first? They might have too much time on their hands (and not in a good way).
2. Believing There’s a Secret Answer
If an SEO agency promises you the world, run away - fast.
Empty promises are unfortunately a big part of the SEO world and many agencies will try and lure you in with their “secret answer”.
The reality is there’s no secret sauce to high rankings, it’s a game of hard work, strategy, and perseverance.
3. Focusing on Vanity Metrics
Knowing why you want to hire an SEO agency in the first place in the first step towards great things, but if that reason is because you simply want more traffic you might find yourself sorely disappointed.
While higher rankings in Google do lead to an increase in traffic, SEO is about so much more than just numbers.
5 Things to Take into Account When Choosing Your SEO Agency
1. Longevity in the Industry
First things first, a company that’s been around for a long time has seen the ups and downs of the SEO industry and weathered the multiple storms that have hit it over the years.
New SEO agencies might seem all shiny and spritely, but have they got their hands metaphorically dirty in dealing with everything the industry throws at them?
Before you hire an agency, ask yourself these questions:
- How long have they worked in the SEO world for?
- Have they worked with a range of companies, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies?
- Have they worked with brands you admire and know?
Agencies that can harness the needs of both big and small businesses aren’t just one trick ponies.
2. Goal Alignment
Each and every business has a different end point in mind: maybe it’s a percentage increase in conversions or a boost in industry authority. Either way, the ideal SEO agency for you is one that understands your goals and needs and puts those first.
On top of that, their practices and their own goals should mirror yours so you’re both on the same page at all times.
3. Honesty and Transparency
The SEO world has been marred from a past of “black hat” tactics, many of which are still going on today. These tactics are detrimental to your business and, with Google’s constantly-updating algorithm, could harm any chance you have of getting to that much-coveted top spot.
You want your SEO agency to steer clear of these questionable techniques and be honest about how they’re going to get your website ranking.
Today, content and incoming links are two of the most important factors when it comes to ranking, and a good SEO agency will understand this and support you in building a solid, authentic link network and high-quality content.
4. Proven Results
Spending out cash on an unknown result is a terrifying prospect, but there is a way you can find out if an SEO agency gets outcomes like they say they do.
First of all, check the agency's website for a sizeable list of testimonials and case studies. These are words that come straight from the mouths of previous clients, and are the most trustworthy review you can seek out.
However, one of the best ways to get unbiased opinions about an SEO agency is to take a look at online reviews left by employees and past clients. For this, you can check out sites like Google, Yelp, or Glassdoor or, for more thorough information about their working process and the explicit results they achieved for past clients, request to see a case study.
Alternatively, you can go one step further and request a reference from a past or present client. Any reputable SEO agency will happily put you in touch with one of their valued clients so you can find out more about their experience and how satisfied they were or are with the service.
The majority of SEO experts will tell you that this is a vital part of seeking out the right agency, including Rand Fishkin who says that it's important that you look at the kind of results the agency has got for businesses in the past and determine whether those align well with your goals.
5. Ask Questions
Before you hire anyone - SEO agency or not - it’s key that you ask as many questions as possible so your working relationship gets started on the right foot.
The answers will help you determine whether the agency understands what you’re looking for and the goals of your business, but it also gives them a chance to get to know as much about you as possible so they can go into the process with as much knowledge as they can.
Consider asking questions like:
- What processes do you use and why?
- What work and resources do we need to do internally?
Educate yourself on everything you can and you’ll be able to make a strategic decision on which agency is the best fit.
Choosing a Good SEO Agency is Vital For Success
There are millions of SEO agencies out there, each one touting a different set of services and results.
While this can seem overwhelming, all you need to do is find one who’s processes align with your business goals and who operates in a transparent and honest way so you can avoid any unnecessary hassle further down the line.