If you are wondering how you should choose an SEO company for your blog, business, project, or company, we've done all the research for you to make sure you get your money's worth.
A successful partnership with an SEO agency can rank you higher on search engines, raise brand awareness, drive traffic to your site or landing page, boost your website speed, build brand credibility, and when implemented correctly, can become your primary source of lead generation.
The most critical question now becomes which SEO agency will deliver on their promises for a maximum ROI for your business.
SEO is a full-time job that requires clear communication and goal setting, on-time delivery of established and agreed-upon KPIs, constant monitoring of SEO trends and updates, and market analysis in an ever-changing economy.
When you hand over your SEO management to an agency, you can focus on other parts of the business you know best.
Make sure you select the best agency for your business by following these steps.
1.) Define your goals and KPIs
Different SEO agencies offer different packages. Some common deliverables include:
- Content ideation, creation, and implementation
- SEO audit
- On-page fixes (meta titles, HTML, page descriptions)
- Technical fixes
- Website speed optimization
- Keyword research
- Backlink building
- User experience research
First, define your own goals. If your immediate goal is to drive traffic to a landing page, then a complete SEO audit, keyword research, and landing page speed optimization may be a good set of deliverables for you.
If your immediate goal is to become more of an expert in your field, a full suite of SEO-optimized content, keyword research, and backlink building work better.
What part of your online presence needs work? Are you missing opportunities within your target market because your visibility is too low? Do your web pages have enough content on them to make them valuable in the eyes of search engines? Are you getting potential clients to your website but can't convert them with your CTA?
Once you figure out what problems you have, you'll be better able to communicate with prospective SEO agencies to get specific deliverables and outcomes tailored to your business.
2.) Avoid SEO wizards
SEO is not abstract art. Those who promote SEO secrets and inside scoops to new algorithms are usually being mischievous. If your potential SEO agency is selling you on a modern blend of secret SEO spices, run for the hills.
SEO is hard work. It is more of a science than an art. Successful SEO agencies have a deep and profound understanding of how search engines work and precisely why a particular webpage or website ranks on top of search engine pages.
Successful SEO agencies also are hyper-attentive to detail, are technically adept at fixing both on-page and off-page issues, and are continually consuming SEO-related news and updates.
Be wary if your potential SEO partner promises you top Google rankings within one month or consistent content that will bring you £X amount of sales within the first two weeks.
Shortcuts such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, and buying links are considered Black Hat SEO strategies, or, in other words, illegal.
Black Hat strategies are accessible, rarely effective, and can put you on the most wanted list of search engines within weeks.
3.) Look at the agency's reviews and past performance
Start by looking for unbiased online reviews. Start with Google and Yelp first. Look at the most recent reviews first to see how other clients like yourself have found the services with your potential agency partner.
Avoid finding reviews on any company-run content. This includes on the client-facing agency website, most social media sites, and agency-run content articles.
Many companies have friends and family fill out their initial reviews to get a 5-star rating out of the gate. Some companies buy reviews from online services to appear better than they are. The comments are usually generic without specific evidence of services delivered.
In addition to Google and Yelp reviews, Facebook and Reddit can often be the exception to the social media reviews rule.
If you search for a business on Facebook specifically for reviews, send a message request to the reviewer and ask for specific examples of the working relationship.
Reddit, on the other hand, has a dedicated community of no-nonsense users who ban fellow users accused of unscrupulous reviews, spammy agency advertisements, and unsolicited links. Head to the r/SEO feed and type in your question about the agency you are curious about, and wait for the answers to come rolling in.
4.) Check out the agency's portfolio and case studies
Once you've zeroed in on a few well-established and highly-ranked agencies, get information about past clients and how effectively the agency operates by requesting proof of works completed.
Although the agency may not be able to give you all of the information you seek due to non-disclosure clauses, they should be able to provide you with some metrics that show what they can do.
Standard key metrics may include:
- Ranking growth
- Content reach
- Organic CTR
- Pageviews per session
- Organic traffic increase
- Backlink increase
- Bounce rate
Often, big-name agencies will have case studies on their website for the general public to see. However, the agency's best work can be misleading. Public-facing case studies may not directly correlate to your specific business, and asking for a more relatable case study would benefit both parties.
You'll be able to page through specific real-life examples of services the agency can pitch, implement, and execute for a business like yours.
This way, you can look at metrics and numbers and the style of services provided.
Many SEO agencies offer paid advertising (PPC) campaigns, social media marketing, content creation management, user experience design, user interface design and website design.
If your business is interested in these services immediately or in the near future, forming a relationship with a company that offers a wide array of services may benefit the long term.
5.) Find out pricing and payment structure
Don't fall in love with one agency and commit right away. If you were looking for someone to design your new bathroom, would you hire the first guy that reached out to you on Facebook? Probably not. Most likely, you'd look around at some interior design portfolios to see which designer matched your style.
Your business is unique and different from the rest. So are SEO agencies. Some want hourly pay, and some want a three- or six-month contract. Some give you a single dedicated account manager, and some give you a small team of SEO professionals.
Have a conversation about pricing and deliverables. What will you get for the cheapest package? Will that be enough? How much is the top-of-the-line package, and what promises can you get for that much money?
Compare prices from your top few agencies and weigh the pros and cons of each. During your conversations, how does each agency make you feel?
It's essential that you work with an attentive company that listens to your goals and objectives, gives constructive feedback, and provides specific examples of how they can get it done better than the rest.
Invest in a London SEO agency that invests in your successes.
6.) Think beyond SEO
Companies with technology, growth, and marketing skills likely have a skill set that ranges beyond SEO alone.
Once your online presence is more visible on search, traffic increases, and your products or services are being shown to the masses, you may consider how to optimize your conversion funnel next.
A crucial part of advanced SEO campaigns, conversion optimization is the constant tinkering and gradual improvement of your website to shoot your sales through the roof. A/B tests for landing pages and email marketing initiatives are often conducted, giving you actionable insights into what's working and what's not.
Part of conversion optimization inevitably deals with your website's user experience. User experience (UX) and user interface design (UI) are not the same.
UX refers to how visitors interact with your site and how seamless the experience is. Once a potential client comes to your site, they shouldn't be confused, frustrated, or annoyed with what they see. Ideally, they would immediately click or push your CTA, sending them to your most important page. UX writing is also a high-demand skillset that allows professional writers to produce persuasive, inspiring, and click-inducing copy to make your visitors do what you intend.
UI refers to the interface in which your users interact. This design includes everything from colour palette and typography to button size and header layout.
Additionally, agencies often have social media management services available for both B2B and B2C business goals. Agencies that have these types of services can help your business in various ways long after your first SEO campaign is finished.