It is a must now for a business to have a sound online marketing strategy. Not having one would leave your business at a terrible disadvantage, because other businesses in your niche are sure to develop their own digital marketing strategy.
This is where a SEO agency can help you out. How do you go about picking a SEO agency for your business? How do you know that an SEO firm is actually a good one?
Just like other types of firms, SEO agencies have their secrets. Some are more open with how they do things, but others are more secretive.
Some agencies only go for short term results. They would go for black hat techniques that can really give you some positive results at first. Your site could get some good rankings initially. The problem is that black hat SEO techniques can bring in long term problems. Your site can get penalized by Google. That could cost you more in the long run. That’s why it is very crucial that you pick a firm that would act as your partner.
Before You Begin
Before you start searching for a good SEO agency, you have to decide on what it is that you want to achieve first. Even the best SEO agency in the world will not be able to help you, if you cannot tell them what your goals are.
Clear goals are needed in order to develop strategies and plans that can be used for the long term. Here are a few things that you have to determine before you start searching for an agency:
Why do you want to rank for certain terms?
How do you plan on measuring the success of your steps?
How would you know if you have achieved your goals?
Are you ready to take risks?
Here are eight secrets that you should keep in mind when choosing the best SEO agency for you:
Not All Firms Are Equal
You want to work with a firm that has a track record that has been proven. Also, it should be on top of what’s happening on within its industries. More importantly, the firm should be committed to white hat tactics only. There should be ifs and buts with this one.
Some Use Black Hat Techniques
We have used the term black hat earlier. Now, if you are still unfamiliar with the meaning of that term, you should know that it refers to the shadier SEO practices that are used by some firms to get results. This used to be more common in the past, but it is now heavily penalized by Google. This does not take away the fact that there are still some firms that practice it.
You might be wondering now, if it can bring results is it not worth the risk? The problem is getting penalized for some of the black hat practices would be very difficult to recover from. It could spell the end of your site as a marketing tool.
Some Firms Cannot Deliver
All firms would promise positive results, but not all of them can deliver. You just cannot take their word when it comes to their performance. They should be able to give you proof that they have been able to provide the results that they have promised before.
They should be able to give you the following:
Case studies that highlight their achievements with existing and previous clients.
Strategies that are driven by data which would show you how they plan on achieving results.
References to existing clients that you can talk to.
You should consider it to be a red flag if they cannot deliver those things. It does not mean anything if they have a long list of clients that they can show you if you cannot verify the list.
Some Firms Count on You Not Doing Research
Firms will be counting on the fact that you probably will not be conducting a research. If you can, try to speak personally with an employee of the firm. There are ways that you can find them. If you cannot talk to an employee of a company, then you should speak with a client.
You Get What You Pay For
Initially, going for the cheapest firm may seem like the best decision. But like with anything else, you get what you pay for. When you go for the cheapest firm out there you are likely to get poor service. It is always a smart thing not to go for the cheapest option.
SEO Firms Outsource Work
So you are outsourcing the SEO of your website to a firm, but did you know that the agency that you are hiring will probably outsource some aspects of the services that you will be paying for. You should know how this would affect you.
You should ask about the following:
How will your payment be divided?
Will they do all the work in-house?
What part of it gets outsourced?
How much will they pay the freelancers?
Where are the freelancers located?
Some Firms Will Cut Corners
Some firms will go for shortcuts and will cut corners to save time and money when they can. This is dangerous because shortcuts can result in poor results. It’s important to know what an agency’s policy is towards shortcuts. You have to be sure to be sure that it would not affect the service that they will provide you.
Bad Firms Are More Like Suppliers
SEO firms that deliver poor service rely on getting a ton of clients that are willing to pay cheap for their services in exchange for poor performance. Firms like these use the same solutions for the problems of their clients. You need to find a firm that will have a customized solution for your problems.
The right SEO firm can do wonders for your brand or business, but you have to be careful in which one you would be picking. All firms would say that they can do wonders for you, but as it has been pointed out, not all of them can deliver.