You’ve identified that your search engine rankings aren’t where they need to be. It’s a pretty common problem for businesses and why SEO services are so sought after. After all, snagging that top position on Google is important since 32% of clicks go there.
However, like most things in life, not all SEO agencies are created equal. Remember, you’re talking about marketing experts, so they can all probably make themselves sound pretty great. But how do you know you’re getting the right agency for you?
Most SEO agencies have similar skills, but their approaches can differ. So, an agency that helps one business to grow may not necessarily have the same impact on yours. Here are some questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line.
Am I involved in the process?
This is a pretty important question to ask, but the desired answer will be different for everyone. That’s because some people want to hire an agency and just let them do their thing.
Others want to be heavily involved in the process with monthly meetings to discuss performance and strategy.
There is nothing wrong with either, but it all comes down to personal preference. You should be looking for an agency that’s happy to work with your individual needs. They should be readily contactable when you need them, but they shouldn’t bother you with constant meeting requests if that’s not your thing.
What’s included in my monthly package?
This is a pretty standard question when hiring an SEO or marketing agency. What are you actually getting for your money?
Every organization, large or small, has different business goals, and SEO activity should align with those. So, it’s fairly important that your agency can deliver what you want.
Having a specific monthly package also helps with clarity. Both you and the agency know what’s required and what to expect.
But perhaps most importantly, you’re looking for an agency willing to tailor a package to suit you. That’s the only way you can expect to meet your clearly outlined business goals.
Can my monthly package be changed from month to month?
You should also ask if the package can be changed from month to month. Let’s use a furniture store as an example.
As the owner of a furniture store, you might have a monthly SEO package that gives you all the keyword research and competitor analysis you need, some on-page or technical SEO fixes, and a set number of monthly blogs.
Everything might be going well, but you’ve decided to have a month-long sale soon and want to promote it like crazy. Leading up to your sale, is your agency able to pivot its attention to some PPC advertising and landing page creation? You would hope so, but that’s why it’s important to ask.
Who will be producing my content?
It might sound like an invasive question because you’re essentially asking about an agency’s staffing. However, if you’re paying good money for content marketing, you’re entitled to know who is writing your content. Why is this important?
Unfortunately, some agencies outsource content creation to the lowest bidder. This often means your content is developed by someone overseas, and English may not be their first language. The results are sketchy at best and downright terrible at worst.
Written content, in particular, is designed to captivate and engage your target audience. So, you’ve got a right to know that a professional is providing your content writing services.
According to Terakeet, SEO can increase the business value of a blog by 429%, so it’s worth getting right.
What is your approach to keyword research?
Even though we’ve just touched on the importance of asking for details of search engine optimization techniques, there is one specific task you should dive a bit deeper into; keyword research.
This is important because there are a lot of agencies that don’t give this aspect of SEO enough attention. Ideally, you want the people conducting your keyword research to really understand your business.
Think about how many keywords and search combinations are out there. And while some may be loosely associated with your business, not all of them are entirely relevant.
Many keywords might have good metrics but are entirely irrelevant to your business. Remember, keyword research is about finding the words and search terms that your target audience is most likely to use.
You should ensure your agency understands the different types of keyword intent, outlined below:
Commercial intent: This type of keyword indicates that the searcher strongly intends to take action, such as buying, joining or subscribing. They will usually incorporate enticing words such as “free,” “cheap,” or even “near me” searches.
Informational: These search terms are more likely to use phrases such as “how to.” It indicates the user wants specific information that isn’t necessarily related to making a purchase.
Transactional: In simple terms, transactional intent means the user isn’t quite at the commercial stage, but they’ve gone past the informational stage.
Essentially, they want product information. Topics are likely to include reviews and lists of products.
Navigational: These keywords are usually branded, meaning the user knows your name already. They’ve heard about your business and are trying to find you online.
What types of strategies do you use?
This is where you get into the nitty-gritty of how an SEO agency operates. You can usually get a good feel for this by speaking to them; however, beware of agency reps who are just really good salespeople. Ask for details.
Every agency has a style. Some are more focused on beating your competitors; others have an approach that aims to fix many SEO problems before worrying about adding new content.
When asking about strategy, you’re really trying to determine if the agency knows what it is talking about.
What technology do you use?
All SEO agencies use technology to get more and better information and make their lives easier. Nothing is wrong with that, but it’s worth asking what tools and software they use.
To be honest, it’s not even super-important what tools they use, as long as they’re using some. This question is designed more to check the transparency of an agency.
Are they happy to share their processes, or are they vague and aloof when questioned? Transparency indicates a level of trustworthiness, while vague answers can be a bit of a warning sign.
What deliverables do you report on?
Last, but certainly not least, is the measurement of success. Ideally, you want your agency to tailor monthly reports to suit your business goals. They should give you the data that means something to you.
Some common metrics include:
- Number of impressions
- Number of clicks
- Search engine ranking positions
- Number of unique visitors
- Number and quality of backlinks
These are just a few, and some or all may apply to you. Ultimately, you’re trying to get more website visits that turn into sales. So, try to agree on a key set of deliverables and reporting metrics to monitor on a monthly basis.
Hiring an SEO agency to help grow your business makes a lot of sense. But choosing the right agency can be the difference between genuine business growth and a whole lot of wasted money. Always do your research, and choose carefully.
Optimize Your Understanding
While it might seem like a lot of work, it’s essential to ensure that the internet marketing agency you choose to work on your business’s SEO is transparent about how they’re going to help you.
The right agency will demonstrate they understand the requirements of SEO in your industry and that they’re willing to work with you to meet your needs and understand your vision.
Search engine optimization is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. You can’t afford to take risks by working with a company that will take your money and not produce results.
That’s why it’s important to work with a team of marketing professionals that are not only experts at what they do but are also willing to go the extra mile to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need to help your business grow.