In 2020, for any company to truly succeed it must possess an excellent online presence. Having an effective search presence is essential for a business to attract customers, increase sales, and thus, profitability. Therefore, it is crucial to find an effectual and legitimate digital marketing agency that provides exceptional search engine optimization services. Likewise, a company must also think about high rankings for local listings with effective local SEO services. Yet, given how crucial SEO has now become for the success of any business, it can be an overwhelming prospect attempting to find a legitimate digital marketing agency. In this article, business owners and SEO experts discuss the best ways to tell if your agency is legit.
Ranking Example, Sales Process, And Results
“The best ways someone could tell if your agency is legit is by the agency’s own local rankings, sales process, and results they provide. These types of strategies will weed out the amateurs from the professionals.
Ranking example – Common claims by local SEO agencies are “I’m the best in town”. If they were, they should be ranking in at least the top 5 on Google for SEO, insert your city here. How as a legitimate digital marketing business can you claim you are an expert in your space if you can’t beat your competition? Digital marketing is a very competitive arena with all categories. As a small business owner, you need to make sure you are protecting yourself by hiring only the best for the best price.
Sales Process – Is the SEO agency actually taking the time to get to know your business and its needs? Are they setting up a discovery meeting before giving you a price? What is their presentation and pitch like? The amateurs and the professionals are truly separate when it comes to this.
Results – What type of results have they generated? If you have a question about this, they should immediately show how they grew another business as part of their portfolio. Their clients should be their biggest fans. As a small business owner, you should be able to pick up the phone and ask does this actually work?”
What Data They Collect And Analyze, And What Their Focus Is Outside Of Just By-The-Numbers SEO
“When looking for an SEO agency, I believe it’s most valuable to look for two factors in how they do business: What data they collect and analyze, and what their focus is outside of just by-the-numbers SEO. The first is probably self-explanatory, but I’ve hired companies and individuals before that either collected no data at all, or just collected metrics of overall traffic as proof that they were doing their job. I like to see agencies that break down traffic data to determine what’s working and what isn’t, then make changes based on that data.
As for the second point, an agency that’s solely focused on keywords, meta-data, backlinks, etc is missing the bigger picture. None of this is useful to me or my business if it doesn’t serve the customer. Every part of SEO should be done to support content, not as an alternative to it. I want an agency that understands the content my business offers is the real draw, and that the SEO is there to get eyes on that content.”
Conduct An Interview With Your Potential SEO Consultant, Check References, Then Request A Technical And Search Audit
“Hiring an SEO specialist has the potential to improve your site and save time. But you also risk damage to your website and reputation if you hire someone who gives you bad advice or recommends terrible practices and wrong shortcuts.
Here’s a general set of recommendations to have in mind as you go about hiring an SEO specialist:
First, conduct an interview with your potential SEO consultant. A good SEO specialist doesn’t focus only on search engine ranking where you appear, but rather on how they can help your business through improving how you appear.
Good SEO Consultants tend to ask questions like, what makes your business, content, or service unique and therefore valuable to customers? What does your typical customer look like? How do they currently find your website? How does your business make money and how can search help with that? What other channels are you using? Do you use offline advertising? How about social networks? Who are your competitors? What do they do well online and potentially offline?
If the expert doesn’t seem interested in learning about your business from a holistic standpoint, consider finding another expert. It’s difficult to optimize properly without knowing about a business’s goals, their customers, and other existing marketing efforts. Be wary of an expert who gives unrealistic guarantees of ranking first on Google. No one can guarantee that.
And often those who try to guarantee that do so by engaging in practices against Google’s webmaster guidelines, like creating unnatural linking and doorway sites. This could result in your pages or web site being permanently removed from Google’s results, if there are particularly strong violations.
The second step in hiring an SEO is to check references. You want to check with past clients and confirm the SEO expert was able to provide useful guidance and worked effectively with their teams. You want to ensure their results are sustained rather than temporary. A good expert will help SEO become a part of your general business operations. They should be focused on long-term plans and improving your brand.
Step three is to request a technical and search audit, if you trust your SEO candidate give them restricted view not full or write access to your Google Search Console data or analytics data before they actually modify anything on your website, have them conduct a technical and search audits give you a prioritized list of what they think should be improved for SEO.
In the audit, the SEO experts should prioritize issues and suggested improvements. These suggestions should be based on data about your site.”
When I Shop For SEO Partners, The Best Partnerships Come From Conversations Around Philosophies And Methods
“Having been both on the agency side and in-house side of SEO, there are a few immediate red flags that come to mind. Any agency that tries to promise you specific numbers – whether it be revenue growth, traffic growth, new backlinks, etc. – is not one I’d work with. SEO is a trade with far too many variables for absolutes in KPI expectations. Typically, when someone is pitching SEO services and they guarantee specific numbers, I’d be worried about the methods through which they’re achieving those numbers, or the accuracy of what they’re reporting back.
When I shop for SEO partners, or have been pitching, the best partnerships come from conversations around philosophies and methods. I want to know my SEO partners understand how to use keywords in a user-focused way. I want to know they understand how to use data strategically and avoid wasting time on superfluous reporting. Do their technical SEO methods and philosophies enable our site to be better found by searchers in need of what it offers? Is their priority to fulfill needs and answer questions for end-users? If they can’t live in the in-between of art and science to serve users who turned to search engines for answers, then I probably don’t want to work with them. SEO is all about doing a million little things right every day – and that needs to be a prominent part of the conversations with potential partners.”
Kelly Stanze, Marketing & Communications Manager, KURU
In 2020, it has never been more vital for any company to rank well in a Google search. In fact, one could wager that it is critical for success. Possessing an exceptional online presence with SEO optimized website design and a solid content marketing strategy will attract customers, improve search rankings, and maximize the growth and success of your business.
Sarah Bauder is a senior content specialist at IronMonk Solutions. Sarah has a degree in journalism and has a decade of experience writing content at numerous renowned publications. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, business, entrepreneurship and more.