We have discussed SEO many times here, mainly because it is a topic of such magnitude. We could fill our whole blog with SEO content, and we would still not even scrape the surface on the topic. It is not surprising then that business owners and other groups with web based presence turn to SEO agencies. In general terms, SEO agencies are expensive, and are usually reserved for larger organisations. Little Billy with his blog readership of 300 people will not be engaging their services for example. Let’s say though for the purpose of this article that you have lots of dollar to throw at an agency. What makes a good SEO agency and what should you avoid? Here are five tips to help you make the decision.
False Promises – AVOID
“We guarantee to get you to page one of Google ranking” – Have you seen something along the lines of this sentence? If so, avoid at all costs!!! The reason is that there are over 200 factors according to Google that effect ranking and of those 200, there are more than 10,000 variations. Thus, I call BS on any company that reckons they hold the recipe to getting you to page one. The very best an SEO dedicated company can do is make educated guesses on what they need to do to get you to the top, and implement their guesses through a variety of strategies and use of various SEO tools.
Working with your competitor
If your agency of choice is working with your competitor, this has both positives and negatives for you. On the plus side, you can be a little more confident that your agency knows your industry. Meaning they will be a little more clued in on what is going to work for you. On the other hand, they are a business, and their best interest is making money. So, what if your competitor has a higher spend with your agency? Do they perhaps have the edge over you? Something to think about.
Ambiguity around strategy
If your SEO agency is not willing to give you a breakdown of what they are costing you for, it is best to find another agency. A blanket charge for SEO services is incredibly ambiguous. What are you being charged for? More over, SEO strategy evolves and progresses as your business does, so if you are paying monthly and payment is consistently the same, this is worth investigating. Your SEO requirements will change, so your payment should change with them.
In the first point, I strongly advise steering clear of the rather large promises of page one rankings. This is not to say that you should have no visibility over what you can expect. Nor does it mean, that there shouldn’t be some sort of KPI’s in place. Your SEO agency should be able to give you an indication of expected number of back-links per month for example. There needs to be transparency around their plans for your business; a carefully crafted strategy based on your needs. And the agency needs to freely share this information with you. If there is any reluctance around this, then you know what to do.
As SEO is a work in progress, an SEO agencies work is never done. It is likely then that you will be engaging an agency on a contractual basis, where they provide you with ongoing services. Payments are therefore likely to be debited monthly for example, so it is important to understand the limitations around cancelling such a service. If you find for example that the agency isn’t working for your needs, there should be a get out clause. SEO is an expensive business, so there is nothing more disheartening than being stuck in a contract with an agency that is just not meeting expectations.
The most important thing when choosing an agency is to take your time, and not make any rash decisions. Meet with a couple of different agencies, and chose the one that will fit best for you.
For the smaller fish, with absolutely no SEO budget (my hand is raised), why not look at Twoggle SEO plugin as an option. Completely free to download and install, it acts as your own SEO personal assistant.
Any other feedback on SEO agencies fellas? Let us know.