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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?