Look, SEO, or search engine optimisation is most definitely not an easy game. In fact, if you’re relatively unschooled in digital marketing, or just a busy business owner who really doesn’t have time to do this yourself – your best bet is most definitely to get an SEO agency on board who can do the hard, annoying and technical stuff that SEO is – for you!
But, do be wary here, because there are many people and agencies that are offering the world, and simply cannot deliver.
The thing is, like all things in life, digital marketing agencies are not created equally. Some are suited to differently sized businesses, some can help out at the beginning and some are better at the real nitty gritty technical stuff.
Shopping around before you make a commitment to one particular SEO agency is incredibly important, however, as it can save you from big mistakes and overspending, as well as just being left downright disappointed with the job that’s been done.
So, what should you be looking for, or even looking out for, when you’re on the hunt for an SEO agency?
1-Have your own goals in mind.
Before getting any SEO agency or even an SEO consultant on board, you need to have a loose idea as to what you want them to do.
It’s okay if you have absolutely no idea when it comes to the technical stuff but …
What’s the purpose of them even being there? Do you want to scale the business? Do you have a specific number in mind when it comes to increased revenue? Do you want to solely focus on brand awareness for the moment?
That’s the overarching goal.
When you have that in mind, you can work from there with the SEO agency at your side. They are the ones that can tell you what strategies you should be pursuing in order to achieve your goals.
2-Ask for a thorough technical SEO audit.
You might have to pay for this. In fact, I’d even recommend trusting the ones you have to pay for this more than the ones that offer it for free (unless they are simply running a promotion or it’s a one-time thing).
This is most definitely helpful when it comes to understanding how their SEO processes generally run. You need to see what their strategy for your website and business would be and see if it aligns with your overarching business goals, and to a lesser extent, the culture of your own organisation.
You can also very quickly tell when people are bluffing about the kind of expertise they have.
3-Look at their previous work.
Take a look at the SEO agency’s previous work. Are they able to share case studies with you? Look deeper into these. What size clients do they have experience working with?
What have they been able to achieve for these clients? Are they the same goals you have in mind for scaling your own growth?
What sorts of businesses have they previously worked with? Does the SEO agency specialise in retail/ecommerce businesses, for example?
Can they actually provide tangible results and evidence of work achieved for these clients? If not, that is most definitely a red-flag to run from.
4-Location, location, location.
Likewise, investigate where the businesses are that the digital marketing agency has previously worked with. Do they work with global or local clients?
This is important as if you’re a smaller business, you might find you are more suited to working with a local SEO agency. For example, if you’re a small to medium Sydney-based business, you’ll be in good hands if you were to pick an SEO agency in Sydney.
This is because it allows for seamless integration of the two teams as one. Even in these times of physical distancing and meetings via video, there is still an argument to be made for how great it can be to truly have the teams side by side and working with one another.
The SEO agency should simply be an extension of your own core team with values and goals aligned.
Be very careful when it comes to SEO agencies or SEO consultants online that are prepared to offer you the world. Huge lines like ‘get your website ranking at number one on Google in a couple of days’ will never be offered to you by the real professionals.
2-Trust your gut instinct.
When something seems to set your alarm bells off, simply steer clear. Since COVID lockdowns forced many businesses online, the number of people offering clearly dodgy deals hiding behind the guise of online anonymity has only increased.
That’s another reason it pays to look for those SEO agencies who are working in your local area.
As always, look for reviews and proven prior work to back up any claim made by anyone at all.
Lastly – best of luck in your search!