You want more visitors, more transactions, and more profit, so you’ve decided to call in the help of an SEO agency. To make sure you pick the right one, you’ll need to assess their performance. Here are three things to look for when hiring. Comparing how candidates perform on each of them will help you identify the right agency for you.
If you can relate to business owners who need SEO but don’t have the required expertise in-house, investing in the support of external experts should be your first priority. With so many SEO agencies on the market, it’s hard to know which one is the right fit. While we could write a book on the do’s and don’ts, we’ve distilled it into a few easy points to keep in mind when hiring an SEO agency.
Look at Their Process
First, look at the agency’s process.
Every agency has a method: how they collaborate with their clients, set up and execute marketing strategies, perform daily chores, measure the results, keep you informed, and many other components. Even if they switch up some details between customers, the general process helps ensure a consistent customer experience. The way an agency presents its process is just as informative as the process itself.
There are specific signs that are very telling. If an agency rep can present the basic process rundown in 60 seconds or less, and it makes sense, that’s a good sign. If they talk your ears off and it still doesn’t make sense, that’s a red flag. If they’re cagey or elusive about their process, run the other way.
Given that their process makes sense, the next step is asking them how the way they work would align with your business goals.
Look at Their Results
Next, look at an agency’s results. There are two things to look for in this step.
First, see if the agency publishes its results. Agencies worth hiring always do. If an agency isn’t willing to discuss results, that’s a sign that they might not have any worth publishing. Along similar lines, take a look at an agency’s customer reviews and testimonials.
Second, examine the promises an agency makes around its results and how it arrives at those results. If an agency promises quick results, that’s a bad sign of reckless or unethical SEO practices.
Look at Their Maintenance Plan
Finally, examine the agency’s maintenance plan for your site.
While it would be nice to land in the #1 Google SERP tomorrow, the reality is that SEO is a long game. It requires ongoing practices and a slow-and-steady mentality, and consistent updates to keep up with the game’s changing rules.
If an agency doesn’t have a maintenance plan beyond getting you fast results, that’s a huge red flag of black hat SEO.
And don’t forget the human side
If you’re looking to hire an SEO agency, you’ve made an important step. You’ve acknowledged that expert input is the best way to set yourself up for success.
Processes and results are indeed crucial considerations, but it’s also about people. Is there a ‘click’, a real co-makership? Are your SEO experts the kind of people you can call on a Sunday morning to kill a bug? You’ll only find out when they stop talking and start doing. That is why at 0ptim1ze we make it a habit to present our credentials with a practical exercise: a free SEO scan of your website and our first suggestions for improvement.
In the end, the question to ask is not ‘What can you do?’ but ‘What can you do for me?’