Ranking on the first page of search engine results is a critical factor in the prosperity of any business. Think of when you did your last search online, how often did you scroll past the first page results? If your site isn’t amongst the top results, possible customers might not even know you exist.
Visibility online can increase your visitors, brand awareness, and ultimately, sales. But if you do not have the “know-how” optimizing your site can be quite tricky. Not to worry, there are countless agencies specialized in SEO help. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one?
Hiring an SEO company can either make or break your business. Keep reading to find out what to consider when choosing an SEO agency.
Reputation, Past Work
A reliable SEO agency should be able to share a list of some of their current and previous clients. These references will allow you to verify whether this agency has walked the walk. Even if clients don’t provide you with specific analytics, they may share the positive or negative impact the SEO agency had on their website.
Methods of improving rankings
There are no results without a strategy. Do not trust any agency that does not want to talk about their practices. They should easily explain their approach and expected time frame for delivering the agreed optimizations.
Initially, the SEO agency should review your website and provide a technical analysis of all problems that could lower your search engine ranking. These problems include items like broken links and error pages. Their proposal should extend to include optimizing your website’s URL and internal linking structure, also page titles, headings, and HTML tags. All these are important factors that search engines check to rank pages.
Search Engine Guidelines
Search Engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo all have published best practices, essential guidelines to ensure that your website is adhering to community standards.
Not following these guidelines can have severe consequences on your website. At best the search engines would lower your rank, at worst your site might be banned from appearing in search results altogether.
Ensure that your agency adheres to these guidelines or risk worse results. Recovering from a penalty is heinous work that requires months or even years.
#1 Rank on Search Engines
No agency can guarantee the number one position for your site. If they do, consider it a red flag for you to find other agencies. There is no insider trick or strategy or relation with the search engine that can deliver that spot.
Only search engines control the ranking of websites in the search results, based on various guidelines and algorithms. Agencies can through strategy, and best practices rank your site to the first page of the search results.
Improving Local Search Results
For many small and medium businesses ranking higher in local search results is extremely important. Such a company should choose an SEO agency specialized in local SEO techniques. If your website is optimized, it should appear when some nearby is searching on relevant keywords.
The SEO agency can add your business location to your website’s title tags and meta-descriptions, and even get it listed on local business listings. This listing is similar to an online business directory based on location.
Changes to Your Site
Search engine optimization will most likely require several changes to your existing web page codes. It’s essential to know what modifications the SEO agency is going to make and on how many web pages. The agency should get your permission before accessing and altering your website code unless you agree otherwise.
Adjustments that the agency will make can be adding new title tags to existing HTML code or changing the existing one. They could also redesign your website navigation, fully or partially. You should be aware of all these changes.
KPIs of SEO Campaigns
Usually, measuring the impact of SEO efforts can be done by tracking how much traffic is visiting your website and where it is originating. Experience SEO agencies use tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster for tracking improvements on your search engine rank. They can also see the number of links from other websites driving traffic to your site, and the different keywords the searchers are using to reach your page.
Agree with your agency on how often these analytics are shared with you, and how you can continually use them to improve and optimize your website for search engines.
It all comes down to how information is shared, and ideas passed on. If your agency fails to communicate with you in the way that fits your needs, then maybe they’re not the right fit. There is no standard for how it is then, but there is a preference. Pick an agency that can be agile and flexible and doesn’t mind skyping, texting, or even meeting in person. Agree on periodic meetings where you can be on top of what is happening and what is expected.
Fees and Payment Terms
Different agencies use different payment structures; it is, therefore, necessary to know precisely how much you will pay, when and for what. Knowing, that will allow you to factor this within your budget.
Some studies have found that many agencies operate on project-based payments, that can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. Whatever the price, it is essential to know how often payments are due and how they align with the delivery of results.
Terminating the Contract
Your SEO agency has most likely carried out changes on your website. When the contract expires or terminates early, maintaining ownership of all your content is essential.
In the contract, you should ensure that the SEO agency will not change or remove any of the content they added, adjusted, or optimized. Also, note that some SEO agencies charge fees for early termination.
SEO is a long-term investment, so if you expect rapid results, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It can take months before results start appearing, and it’s for this reason that many shady SEO companies can remain in business. Following the guide above will save you time and money when choosing the right SEO agency for you.