The 7Rs of what to look for in an SEO Agency

What to Look For in an SEO Agency

If you have a great website and you’re generating regular content but not getting discovered by prospective clients, it’s likely you’ll need to improve your search results. The most effective way to achieve higher visibility is to seek out the services of an experienced Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) agency. But what do you need to consider when selecting the right digital agency? And how can an SEO agency achieve the desired impact on your natural search results?

SEO Agency Checklist: The 7 Rs

1. Requirements

First of all, before you start to consider what an SEO agency can do for you, you need to establish what you need.Typically, there are a number of factors to take into consideration such as the technical side that incorporates the structure of a site, on page optimisation (through keywords, labels and metadata for example) and off page optimisation through backlinks from other sites. If you’re not sure what you need, think about the task – is it about increasing your page rank, local search results or sales growth?

Typically, there are a number of factors to take into consideration such as the technical side that incorporates the structure of a site, on page optimisation (through keywords, labels and metadata for example) and off page optimisation through backlinks from other sites. If you’re not sure what you need, think about the task – is it about increasing your page rank, local search results or sales growth?

2. Reputation

As with any industry, experience is key. Who have they worked with previously? A quality SEO agency will have a portfolio of clients – either in a single category or across a range of categories. If the breadth of an SEO agency’s client list is predominantly within a specific category, this demonstrates expertise in that field with a more varied client spread highlighting their ability to adopt varied SEO tactics. Regardless of their clients, both current and historical, any digital marketing agency must be willing to share success stories and testimonials.

3. Retention

It’s important to understand the tenure of an SEO agency’s clients too. How long have they worked with this particular digital marketing agency? Typically clients that have remained with the same digital agency for a period of time, either retained or on a project basis, will have great trust in each other, ensuring a better partnership which in turn leads to a more measurable return on investment. On the flip side, SEO agencies that do not deliver results will have a low retention rate.

4. Realism

It’s important to have realistic expectations and goals when looking for an SEO agency. Agencies offering a guarantee they can get you on page 1 of Google, not adhering to Google’s webmaster best practices and not willing to share methodologies should be avoided. (We address this in our article How Do I Rank Higher on Google?)

You can always do your own research and see where an SEO agency appears in search rankings. It takes time to climb search engine results and it’s competitive.

Think about the size and locality of your SEO agency too as they will dictate fee level. Fees should be transparent so find out exactly what you’ll get for your budget.

5. Rigour

An SEO agency should have a clearly defined process that is implemented following strategic thought based on an analysis of your needs – not an ‘off the shelf’ solution. A digital marketing agency of note should be able to talk you through their approach and how they’re going to achieve your objectives. Their methodology should leverage all SEO/SEM angles such as the structure of your site and on page optimisation like keywords, labels and metadata to off page backlinks which raise awareness of your content on other websites. Find out if the digital marketing agency has expertise in maximising visibility at a local level too.

Find out if the SEO agency has expertise in maximising visibility at a local level too.

6. Reporting

Your SEO agency should agree on measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with you. These should include SEO campaigns goals you agree on with a technical review at the outset.

Performance and Return On Investment (ROI) should be reported regularly (ie; monthly) using the likes of Google Analytics to track improvements. If there’s a drop in search engine rankings, this can then be tracked with measures put in place to push it back up. Search strategies often require frequent content updates so it’s important your SEO agency is accessible and able to offer guidance where required.

7. Relationships

Digital marketing agencies play a vital role in that they should educate and inform, providing you with a greater understanding of the process, in turn enabling you to work closely to ensure overall objectives are achieved.

A good SEO agency will also be able to help develop external relationships such as other site owners and influencers.


Clever Marketing, full service digital agency.Looking for SEO management services? Need an SEO agency to handle all the digital marketing that you can never quite get around to doing all of?

Get in touch and discover why Clever Marketing is the right SEO agency for you (in Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire and London). Call 01276 534 680 or complete our contact form now.

Outsource to a digital marketing agency. How about Clever?

To Outsource or Not to Outsource?

When you own a business, it’s common to have your fingers in many pies, to be part of its every function and process. You do the bookkeeping. You’re in charge of sales. You pioneer the product development. But when your business starts to grow, you might find yourself a little… stretched. It might no longer be possible to take on every single job within your business. When you’ve built it from the ground up, it can be tough to let go.

But it’s so, so worth it when you do. Not only do you suddenly have more time to dedicate to the growth side of your business rather than the day-to-day management, you suddenly get a better perspective, both in terms of the bigger picture and your competition.

To get to this point, you might consider taking on some more employees to help you out. However, full-time employees can be expensive to pay salaries to, not to mention the time and money-consuming qualities of recruitment, pensions and paid leave. You might not feel your business needs a full-time employee just yet. In any one of these scenarios, a better option might be to outsource.

What is outsourcing?

When you outsource a business function, such as website design, accounting or SEO, you give the job to a freelancer or external company. The work is taken on by someone who is not employed directly by your company. You can either pay that party a monthly retainer or pay them by the work or particular projects they complete for you. The internet has meant that it’s more and more common to outsource things digitally.

What can I outsource?

Anything. Well, most things. It’s really down to how much you feel comfortable sharing with an external third party. A lot of freelancers or companies may have contracts drawn up, or you can have them sign your NDA (non-disclosure agreement) forbidding them to pass on any confidential information if you do share it. Here are just a few ideas of things you might choose to outsource:

  • Website design and build
  • Print design
  • Print collateral
  • Copywriting
  • SEO audit and management
  • PPC management

What are the Advantages of Outsourcing?

You can bring the best experts out there into your company only when you want them, and pay them only for the time you need them. This can save you a lot of money in yearly salaries and other employee-associated benefits. If you’re not keen on one person’s work, you simply don’t have to work with them again, without the need to dismiss them.

Outsourced parties can also bring a wealth of experience with them, and they are likely to be highly skilled and specialised in one particular field. They can offer fresh perspective and ideas as they’re a little bit further removed from the day to day running of your business.

On the other side of the coin, you might choose to outsource the dull, repetitive tasks that are crucial to successful management of your company but don’t really warrant a full-time job role. Things like one-off data entry projects can easily be picked up by agencies or freelancers.

What’s the problem with Outsourcing?

The main issue with outsourcing lies with choosing your freelancer or partner business carefully. If you’re trusting them with company information or an important project, you need to make sure they’re reliable and can deliver. Read plenty of prior testimonials and speak to them about working together on a trial basis. Most good freelancers will expect this and welcome it.

In addition, it’s easy to tell if an employee isn’t pulling their weight, as you see them in the office every day. You need to have good, open and constant communication with your chosen company or freelancer to make sure there’s no disconnects or misunderstandings which could cause a project to derail. Be clear about deadlines and establish where everyone stands from the start, as it isn’t always so clear without the hierarchical structure of an office.

Where do I start?

If you think it’s time to start outsourcing, get in touch!

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencyAs a full-service digital agency serving London and the home counties (Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey), Clever Marketing are the perfect partner to outsource your print, web design or digital marketing needs.

Just call 01276 534 680 to see what we can do for you.