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How to shop for the right SEO agency

This is an article ‘How to shop for the right SEO agency’ by Marc Primo Warren


In today’s fast-paced digital age of marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is as essential as the workforce a company has in its fold. For years, companies have benefitted from how it increased online website traffic, which consequently translates to higher conversion rates. Much more, 68% of online experiences begin with a simple search. With how SEO offers flexibility with costs for businesses and cuts the time to reach and engage potential customers, digital marketing is never always the same and continues to change.



However, there is more to SEO than securing a high Google ranking on page one, even if 75% of Google searches don’t get past it. This is where SEO agencies differ in what they can really do for your company. Whether you’re gunning for stronger awareness, improved brand authority, or better online visibility, shopping for the right SEO agency means they should also understand how your company works to attract more customers. Hiring on a whim won’t solve your digital marketing problems, and it would take a few months to know if your SEO agency’s performance gets you the right bang for your buck.


To find the right fit for your SEO requirements, you need to focus on five things about the agency you’re planning to work with for your business. Aside from doing the necessary background checks and reviewing case studies, learning about what motivated them as an agency will tell you a lot about their work ethics and objectives.


Find an agency that you can collaborate with


Most SEO agencies will tell you they are willing to work with your marketing team. Sadly, some end up doing their own strategies without looping in the management on the technical side of things other than general key performance indicators (KPIs). In short, you’ll seldom find an agency willing to take on an in-house approach to operating your business, which means they are eager to be on call and explain things when it matters. Fortunately, there are a few out there for sure.


One quality you need to ensure that your SEO agency has is the attitude of collaboration and transparency. With boutique SEO agencies of a few team members, it may seem easy to know what everyone’s job is. Unfortunately, most companies don’t take the time to understand how SEO works and expect unrealistic results in short-term windows.


Noting how 70% of online marketers say that SEO is better than PPC when it comes to driving sales numbers means you can cut costs by playing things organically rather than resorting to paid ads. A good SEO agency will make an effort, to be honest about how they can help you achieve your business goals. Some may suggest a leeway of three months to build brand awareness before they can measure KPIs, while some may suggest other digital marketing strategies that you may need, such as search engine marketing (SEM) which can support your existing SEO campaigns.


Hire a team that is passionate about your business and what they do


These days, hundreds of SEO agencies say they can take on the job for your company. Unfortunately, more are motivated by profit instead of having a passion for helping their clients. Few will deny that the main objective of starting a business is to earn a profit. Still, if your SEO team is only motivated by long-term engagement with your company rather than the goal of streamlining your campaigns, then you should think twice about retaining them.


Some agencies hire more team members comprising web developers, designers, and copywriters to cater to clients of various niche markets. But even a team of five can help your large business if they are passionate enough. Try reviewing a potential SEO agency’s portfolio and case studies to determine how passionate they are about your business goals. After all, SEO is not a ‘one shoe fits all strategy. Clients need the proper attention that can cut costs and make faster turnarounds, similar to how butlers provide personal service. If they are passionate about achieving their results, you may have found a trustworthy agency for your company.


Be keen on important factors


One of the most important things you should consider when hiring the right SEO agency is how they will perform to achieve your business goals. But how can you measure KPIs when more data is needed when starting new campaigns? The answer is you usually can’t measure an outsourced team’s performance on the fly.


Of course, it helps if you are familiar with the basics of SEO and how strategies can help your business. That way, you can get down to brass tacks on whether you need to focus on content management, boost your Google ranking, multimedia production, or keyword optimization. You can ensure that you have hired a reliable agency when they open up about what you need and make you understand why you need them.


Typically, SEO strategies are interconnected, with the ultimate goal of broadening reach, increasing engagement and visibility, and driving higher organic search traffic. Ask about such factors and when you can deliver measurable results, then base your decision on how they answer them. Don’t rely on what’s on paper, as some seasoned SEO practitioners aren’t even college graduates. Instead, look for those who are updated on current trends and can easily explain why they matter to your business.


Ask even the stupid questions


Lastly, while it may seem a bit awkward to hold a meeting with a potential agency without knowing the nitty-gritty of SEO, firing away with all the questions you can think of is always the right way to go. If the agency laughs at your unfamiliarity with SEO, finding another one that can better relate to your business predicament might be best.


Don’t get intimidated by the big-name brands in their clientele sheet or how they have years of experience doing SEO strategies. Down the line, what will matter is having a team of skilled professionals who can make you understand and appreciate the objectives and processes of SEO. Make sure they are amenable to giving you weekly or monthly reports and proposed strategies such as voice search, which 39.4% of internet users in the U.S. do, so you can learn more about how they plan to help your business. The more frequent you get involved with your SEO agency’s processes, the more you can be comfortable with putting their strategies to the test moving forward.

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