You can save time, energy, and money by selecting the right SEO company. It will cost you time, energy, and money if you choose the wrong SEO company. How can you tell if you’re hiring the right SEO agency? When you are not an SEO expert, that can be a difficult question to answer.
Here are the most critical things to look for when selecting an SEO agency. My insights are based on over 15 years of experience as an SEO specialist, agency owner, and more importantly, entrepreneur.
1. There is a proven process and a customized approach employed by a reliable SEO agency.
What do I mean by “a proven process and customized approach”? That’s exactly right. An SEO agency that performs website audits and search engine optimization will adhere to a proven process and principles that can and should be applied universally. It will, however, use an individual strategy based on the client’s unique competitive position.
At my firm, we apply a standard high-level analytical process to identify opportunities and develop strategies for prospective clients. The following five steps were included in this process.
- Analyses of the industry
- Research into competitive markets
- Designing a strategy
- The implementation process
The first step in the SEO process is to conduct industry analysis to determine whether there is an opportunity and whether the value will be created once the SEO objectives have been achieved. Performing competitive research is the second step to assessing the competitive landscape and the probability of success. Step 3—Strategy Design—builds on the understanding gained from steps 1 and 2 to develop a plan to help the client achieve sustainable competitive advantage. As a result of step 3, steps 4 and 5 are implemented and followed up.
The same five-step process was applied to each client, but no two strategies were identical. Each client’s strategy was unique.
A competent SEO agency employs a proven process and a customized strategy.
2. It is imperative for a high-quality SEO agency to be creative and innovative.
Leading SEO agencies are highly creative. I have built and sold multiple portfolios of successful business websites over the last two decades that generate several million pageviews each month. Every time I and my team developed a web property that was offered for acquisition, it was because we were creative and innovative in our SEO approach. With a unique strategy within the industry, we were able to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
It’s difficult and expensive to be creative. While cookie-cutter, boilerplate SEO strategies are easier and less expensive to implement, they are less effective.
A good SEO agency is creative and innovative. When evaluating prospective SEO firms ask them what creative strategies they’ve implemented to help their clients stand out from the pack.
3. Make sure the SEO expert has real-world experience.
Whenever I think about starting over in SEO today without nearly two decades of industry experience, I think I would never succeed. The key to success in digital marketing, especially SEO, is experience. For excellent results, you should work with an SEO who has at least five to ten years’ real-world experience – preferably with websites in your niche. Despite the fact that many SEO principles, practices, and techniques are universal, SEO companies with hands-on experience in your niche will have a better understanding of the competitive landscape, be more creative and innovative in their approach to strategy development, and ultimately deliver superior SEO results.
When evaluating experience, beware of ‘salesmen’. In SEO, there are two types of salesmen. There’s the traditional career sales rep at the front door whose sole responsibility is acquiring new business. There are also salesmen and SEO specialists who promise the world to get you to sign. It is best to avoid both.
There are usually one or more career sales representatives at larger SEO agencies. While career sales representatives may have some SEO experience, they often have very limited exposure. They are responsible for selling the business, not servicing it. After a career sales rep closes a deal, they receive a commission, and the client is assigned to an SEO manager or specialist. You should speak directly with the SEO manager or specialist who will perform the SEO work for your website when selecting an SEO agency.
Unfortunately, SEO is one of the more unscrupulous industries. Launching a website and claiming to be an SEO expert doesn’t take much. In the SEO industry, there are many self-proclaimed or would-be experts who promise the world but lack relevant experience or noteworthy accomplishments. Despite their promise to the world, sales reps rarely articulate the specific optimization process they’ll use for your website. They often use simple, yet compelling language.
How can you tell if an SEO agency has the experience you need? Below is a test you can give them to test their experience. SEO agencies or specialists with adequate experience should be able to answer each of these questions clearly and concisely.
- Is it possible for you to guarantee that my website will appear on the first page of Google?
“No” is the right answer. We’ve helped several clients achieve first-page placement on Google, but no one can guarantee it.”
- When can I expect to see results?
Depending on the level of competition in your niche, it typically takes three to six months to see results.”
- Is any part of the SEO process outsourced?
I will gladly meet with your SEO team if you are interested.” or “We handle all strategy design in-house, however, we do outsource…”
- What’s your process for building backlinks?
Our content-driven approach to attracting quality incoming links is the correct one. In addition, we use initial outreach and content promotion.”