How To Choose The Right SEO Agency For Your Business In 2021
Out of 500 small businesses surveyed by the Manifest, it was shown that 49% of companies invest their time and resources in search engine optimization (SEO), 31% haven't invested in SEO yet but plan to later, and 18% don't find dedicating resources to SEO worthwhile. This survey fairly shows that companies are seeing SEO and SEO agencies (or SEO companies) as rewarding investments to boost revenue and more traffic.
Choosing the right SEO company could be the secret sauce for your success, and it's not just about getting a reputable agency for your business.
How do you know if you need SEO services for your company?
It's important to understand why you need SEO services. If you believe that you're already a truly established brand, like Nike, where people already search for you by brand name and your product, SEO services may seem vague. But that isn't the case for other businesses. Small businesses heavily rely on online presence and online conversions to remain successful and competitive in the market.
Businesses, even established brands, require an online presence so that it can lead to sales. This doesn't come by simply making a website and publishing it on the internet. You want your potential customers to search for their solution on Google (or any search engines like Bing or Yahoo) and find your website.
To make your business's website visible to a large audience or to a specific audience, you'll need to create brand awareness, improve traffic to your website, sales from the website, and provide enough information so that they can visit your physical store.
If all of this is required for your progress, then you need SEO for your company. If you're not sure if your marketing team can do the search engine optimization, you're better off looking for and choosing an SEO company to do the work for you.
What does the SEO agency offer?
When you look for and choose an SEO company, it's essential that you understand what they are offering to everyone and your company in particular. Every SEO company will say they have SEO experts that can offer help boost your organic search ranking, and many agencies offering SEO will also provide a strategy to optimize and contribute to your content, web presence, web design, and blog.
However, it should be noted that the SEO agency you're looking for doesn't offer marketing for your product, but SEO has been a part of the marketing strategy. For example, a blog post posted on your website can keep your ranking higher, because a regularly updated website is also one of the ranking factors.
In a way, it can be seen that optimizing your website translates to SEO companies promoting your business, but the true picture of SEO is far more than just working on the website.
You as the business owner needs to know what your business stands for and what are your goals.
Know your SEO goals:
The goal of your business is to sell and bring your product and website to the people who search for your services and products on your website. Therefore, your SEO goals should be aligned with the goals of your business.
Your goals will include improving organic traffic, leads, customer service, and branding. This means that when you choose the right SEO company, you have to be sure that the SEO agency will provide the right SEO strategy for your company.
Good SEO companies even offer SEO audits for your business so that you could identify areas where your business targets and goals need work, and the SEO company could identify how they can help you best achieve those goals by ranking higher on search engines.
Choosing the right SEO companies:
Why would you want to work with a particular SEO company? You would think about what makes them the best SEO company for you. Here are some of the merits you need to keep a close eye on to ease your decision of choosing an SEO company for you to appear higher on search results.
Check their past performance:
Approaching past or current clients is a very genuine way of seeing how can they perform for you. If past clients have praise for them because of their performance and improved results, then you should consider them as well.
They may bring referrals or testimonials with them to make the task easier for you. Apart from their portfolio of companies they have worked with, they will even have some case studies they have worked on as further proof. Another proof of a good SEO agency would be their awards for their performances in competitions and experience-based listings.
Check for reviews:
Online reviews can act as unbiased feedback from people who have used and endorsed the company. A positive review means that people have seen them as the right company to work with and it's likely that they will be the right one for you too.
Their feedback will most likely be found on Google reviews, their own websites, and the websites of the companies they have worked with. If the company has a social media page, you can find reviews there.
Many companies have said that online reviews from past companies have been a deciding factor when looking for the right SEO company.
Where do you see your customers?
If you feel that your customers reside in your own geographical area, then you would need a team that excels at local SEO. This is because the SEO campaign they will run for you will have to prioritize the digital marketing based on the geographical areas of you and the customers both.
If you're focusing on global sales as well, the SEO campaign could see a major boost with local SEO coupled with it. Not only does local SEO create brand awareness with a certain geographical area, but also increases your credibility online. Global customers will see you as more valuable and credible if you have valued customers in your geographical area.
If you have an SEO service provider that can handle SEO by targeting the local market and creating sales from there, then they can be a game-changer for you. Local SEO can prove to be a major milestone for your business when scaling from the ground up. It's also been advised to hire local SEO companies in this regard.
For targeting local customers, a local SEO agency (or even a few local freelance SEO experts) can prove better in scaling your business than the best SEO agency that's willing to work from abroad, simply because they better understand different consumer expectations within their own geography and on social networking sites.
What techniques are they using?
Given the portfolio of the SEO company and the customer base they will have to target for you, it's best to check which SEO techniques and practices are they using.
Do they make good use of the best SEO practices provided by the search engines? Google provides webmaster guidelines for everyone to follow if the websites want themselves to rank higher, and so do Bing and Yahoo. What best practices do they adopt when focusing on local SEO? You probably know your customers best, and so should the SEO company. These practices will provide you a great boost in your digital marketing strategy.
Also, a part of your decision to choose an SEO company and digital marketing plan should be gauging the performance of your website and the customer base. For that, what strategy and reporting process does the SEO company have in place? Communication between you and the SEO agency you're getting should be crystal clear.
Reports should be backed up by details of analytics. During the monthly or annual contract with your SEO agency, you would want regular reports. Have them weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Google Analytics has made effective and substantiative reporting a lot easier because it keeps track of all the necessary key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs include those which help your company judge and analyze your traffic and whether the strategy of the SEO company creates an effective conversion rate optimization. Google Analytics has been a standard for nearly every search engine optimization company all over the world (unless they have their own proprietary analytics tool).
Are they involved in black hat SEO?
Something no good self-respecting SEO firm in the world would do is claim that they know some shady practices that can increase organic traffic to your website. For instance, they might stuff a few very specific keywords just so you could effectively rank higher. This can prove detrimental to your website and such practices are called black hat SEO practices.
More popular black hat practices include:
- Duplicating content: having the same content on multiple pages of the same site
- Article spinning: twisting words of your earlier
- Paid links: While obtaining strong and reliable backlinks can make a huge difference for your SEO and online presence, getting paid links can kill your site.
- Spamming: this includes spamming comments or even creating spam links
If you see any SEO agency involved in such practices or if they recommend these practices for your website, never hire them. The right SEO agency for you will want the best for you and your site, and they are well aware of black hat SEO.
They might claim that they have some insider at Google who will help you gain more traffic by helping you rank higher without much hassle. On hearing this for the first time, it might sound like the best SEO choice for you, but this might be another black hat SEO technique in disguise.
No amount of insiders can guarantee your site to rank higher in search results, just because the SEO expert who's about to work with knows someone at Google or Microsoft. Proper SEO takes time, but if you're regularly involved with your SEO team in measuring the metrics of their performance, you might not even need an insider.
If your prospective SEO mentions this even in the slightest sense, this is your cue to stay away from them.
Businesses prefer getting an SEO agency for themselves because they want to focus on their products and services, all the while assigning the SEO tasks and digital marketing to different teams. Because businesses operate on a budget for marketing, when choosing an SEO agency, it's also key to understand who would be willing to work within your allocated SEO pricing budget.
The best SEO agencies can deliver your desired outcomes but they would come with an expensive price tag. However, if there are local SEO agencies that show a positive attitude towards your targets, then it would be better to choose them
Choosing the right SEO agency to work with your budget is vital for your company. You can try negotiating, but SEO agencies that go beyond your budget might not be beneficial for your success. You don't want to gain sales and more traffic to your business and, later because of it, spend an unreasonable chunk of the revenue on diminishing returns.
Don't go above the budget, and don't be too cheap. You get what you pay for. The desired outcomes of your business matter more.
Don't buy into false promises:
When you choose the right SEO company, beware that no good SEO company would ever promise overnight rankings and results. As opposed to inorganic methods, an effective SEO strategy is always an ongoing process and it takes time to attract organic traffic.
Choose an SEO company that provides realistic expectations and milestones for your business.