An effective SEO agency can have a significant impact on brand visibility, lead generation and profit, but what can you do to make sure you identify the agency that can help you deliver results?
There are 10 key questions you should ask an SEO agency before you choose to work with them.
How will you improve my website’s Google rankings?
An effective agency should have an approach in mind which will boost your website’s authority and search engine ranking.
It’s reasonable to expect to see a plan for the first 3 months of activity.
A technical review or audit of your website should be carried out in the initial stages of working together on in order to build strong foundations for further SEO activity. Technical SEO provides the foundation for a search engine to crawl and explore your site easily.
In addition, your SEO plan should include activities intended to optimise both the content and the HTML source code of a page. You should also see content production and link building featured in the strategy.
An overly detailed plan which stretches beyond 4 months should be viewed with caution as a good agency will be responsive to the performance of the website’s SEO and to client input, adapting the plan as things progress.
How much does SEO cost?
A good SEO agency will be transparent about costs and the services you are paying for. It’s reasonable to ask for the number of hours spent, plus the deliverables you can expect from the time dedicated on your account.
Be aware that initial set up fees for the first month can be higher as there will be startup and set up activities required on your account.
How long does SEO take?
There are many factors at play which make it impossible to unequivocally answer this question. There is no definitive answer tohow long it takes to see SEO results.
SEO is a long term marketing strategy which takes time to mature. Be wary of agencies who promise you top Google rankings within a couple of months.
Asking this question provides a prospective agency with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the influences involved in effective long-term SEO.
What clients have you worked with?
It’s a good idea to find out about the calibre of clients a prospective SEO agency has worked with in the past and to understand the scope of the work that was undertaken.
Most reputable agencies will welcome the opportunity to showcase work they have done for other clients and will have case studies they can refer you to.
What will you do to make sure that SEO aligns with our business objectives and marketing strategy?
A thorough onboarding process will give your agency the opportunity to get to know you better. It’s during this time that you can expect to be asked a lot of questions about your company’s business goals and existing marketing activity.
The agency will want to understand your products and service offering and the audience you’re targeting. These conversations will feed into the keyword research which prefaces much of the SEO activity which will help your website be discovered via searches performed by your customer base.
Ideally, you should look for an agency who assigns a dedicated account manager to your company account. Having regular conversations with a primary contact at your agency will nurture a collaborative working relationship. Ask about quarterly reviews, as these meetings look over account performance and strategy at a high level, keeping focus on you overall business objectives.
How do you decide which keywords to target?
As a starting point, the agency may ask you to provide a list of keywords you would like your business to appear for in user searches.
The agency should then seek to understand more about your business and potential customers before performing keyword research using specialist keyword planner tools to uncover search terms which draw high search volume with comparably low competition, thus increasing your chances of ranking well.
How do you link build
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to yours. It’s an important factor in how search engines determine which sites rank for keywords.
There are various link building strategies available and not every backlink is a good backlink. A non-reputable SEO agency may buy poor quality links and your website will run the risk of being penalised by Google
A reputable agency will certainly include content production as part of its strategy for you, outreaching content to relevant websites to generate natural links.
How is SEO performance measured?
Data is crucial for SEO success. Keeping a close eye on the numbers means that your strategy can be changed responsively to improve and maximise performance.
Agencies will use software and online tools to gain insight into campaign success. Google Analytics is a must of course, but there is also a plethora of other tools with particular specialisms.
As a client you’ll want to see how campaign performance is shared with you, so ask to see a sample client report.
We report on performance every month, providing detailed insights into performance metrics including organic traffic volume, growth, goal conversions and keyword rankings. We also provide a concise executive summary which evaluates significant data trends and findings for the month.
How does your SEO expertise change to adapt to Google’s algorithm changes?
Google changes its search algorithm hundreds of times a year. Make sure that your prospective agency stays up to date with the latest algorithm changes and SEO best practice.
SEO is ever-changing and an agency will fall behind unless they are constantly evolving their strategies. Look for evidence that your agency is constantly adapting and developing.
Will you advise me of all changes made to my website?
It’s important that there is clarity around what changes are made to your website. A credible SEO agency will seek sign off from you before extensive updates are made to your website.