Search engine optimization (SEO) is what every organization or blogger seeks to do on their website usually for marketing reasons. If you perhaps notice constant inflow of visitors in a site, one of the things you can be sure of is that the site owner did take SEO very serious. The first thing you must understand is that SEO is an online or internet marketing strategy. It involves a process which entails consciously influencing the online visibility of a platform in a web search engine. It could either be a website, blog or other media platforms. Perhaps, you are wondering what the real essence of SEO is. Search engine optimization is meant to create awareness and also increase the number of persons who visit a website. It is however important to add that SEO may be inflected or designed to concentrate on specific kinds of search. Some of which may include; video search, academic search, image search among several others.
A lot of people do not know the functional differences in the search engine optimization and its counterpart, that is, the local search engine optimization. This is something you must know especially if you are looking to hire a SEO agency to help boost the awareness of your website. There is a borderline between SEO and the local search engine. The local search engine focuses on optimizing a business online presence so as to enhance the visibility of its web pages on search engines when a user inputs a local search related to its products or services. On the other hand, search engine optimization (SEO) plays in the big league because its optimization focuses on national or international searches. In other words, the local SEO is local as the name implies, while Search engine optimization is international. Nonetheless, they are both search engines and engage in the process of optimization.
You have definitely searched something on the web before, don’t be surprised that SEO takes such searches into account along with how the search engine works aspects such as computerized or programmed algorithms. You should also know that optimization involves some of the following; content creation, adding and editing, HTML, inserting associated codes among several others. This is done to increase the relevance and further aid its visibility by removing the barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Also, the optimization process which began in the mid 1990’s have agencies who initiated, practice and still regulate its activities. However, these agencies with the expansion of search engine activities now exists as organized units or groups that can also be seen as or called a company.
Okay, now, what about SEO agency? A SEO company or agency is set up to offer search engine optimization services to businesses to help them build and establish their online presence. The agency plays advisory roles. That means if you hire a SEO agency to help boost your online presence, they can also give advice to you as to the changes you can make on your website content and design to make it attractive to search engines. According to Lyfe Marketing, the better optimized your site is for search engines the more likely your site will rank on the first page of the search engine results for key words and phrases that are related and relevant to your business, products and services.
When you finally decide to opt in for the service of an SEO agency, there are several benefits you will get to enjoy. These benefits include; exposure, more sales and leads, improved rankings, more traffic etc.
a. More traffic– one thing you must always be aware of is that as oil is important for engine, so is SEO to traffic. This is the reason why an SEO agency’s work is key on improving the figure and quality of the traffic your website attracts. They also help the company’s or business site to rank higher on the search engines.
b. Improved rankings – An SEO agency can help your business improve its search engine rankings. However, you should bear in mind that the result is dependent on the expertise and experience of the SEO company. The more reason why you must choose the best. One of the ways through which the company helps in improving the rank of a business on search engines is by using the most up-to-date tools and strategies including Google Analytics, Google Trends, MOZ. Screaming Frog, BROWSEO, and lots more. Ensure they pay attention to clicks and social engagement with each article. Also make sure that they give you a breakdown of whether and how they use Google Analytics or a related tool to determine the most preferred contents by audience.
SEO agencies know just what it takes to help improve your website to make it look more attractive to search engines like Yahoo, Google and the likes. It is their duty to help you find the right keywords to attract your ideal buyers. Furthermore, they ensure that the structure of the site is optimized for search engine crawling.
They do this by making necessary changes to the business schedule so as to position the site design and content for search engines.
c. Measurable results – SEO can easily be tracked. That is, each step of a business campaign can be measured. The agency helps to grow your business by providing you with measurable results. All you have to do is to request for a monthly report from your SEO agency.
d. More sales and leads – The proof of an efficient SEO agency can be measured on the scale of awareness and patronage. One of the things the agency helps a business site owner achieve is to publicize by increasing the chances of its visibility on search engines. By so doing, the number of people who visits the site increases and if there is an increase in the number of visitors, all things being equal, there should be an increase in demand for the products and services of the business as displayed on the website.
When looking to hire a SEO agency for your business, you will definitely have a lot of questions and thoughts as to which to choose. This is very much understandable because the outcome of it may have a direct impact on your business. This is why it is crucial for you to know that the quality and range of benefits you will eventually enjoy is dependent on the expertise of the SEO agency. The more reason you have to tread with caution before making a decision. Inquiries about the credibility, terms of service, packages among several other have to be thoroughly considered.
Below are ten things you should look out for while considering an SEO AGENCY to help grow your website and promote your business through the internet.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS
It is important to identify and define your business goals before contacting an SEO agency. When it comes to goals, there are good and “not too good goals”, as such,you have to be sure that your goal belongs to the category of the good. To ascertain this, it is advisable that you have a meeting with the team that constitute the executive arm of your business. Thorough evaluation should be done before making a decision.
Here are instances of good goals;
- Need for traffic from an SEO agency.
- Boost revenue through SEO
- Encourage free trials, downloads, etc through SEO.
Here are also instances of the “not too good” goals
- You just want traffic
Traffic is good but when you can’t really give a good reason as to why you want it then it’s not yet a really good goal. You can’t or shouldn’t just want traffic because you want it. There should be a purpose for it and a goal you desire to achieve through it. If you say you want it for ranking, well rankings alone unfortunately are somewhat irrelevant. Many people want to rank for something simply because they want to rank for it. Wanting traffic for traffic sake or ranking alone should not be on your list when it comes to defining your goals.
- You want to beat a particular competitor out for specific keywords or phrases.
This is not a very great goal too. In business the place of competition is inevitable. However, you doing certain things to just drive at a particular competitor isn’t a really good goal. How about you include it with the aim to generally outwit your competitors?
2. ASK GOOD AND IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
The place of research and inquiry before embarking on a thing cannot be overemphasized. Before you patronize a particular SEO agency you should make inquiry, visit them and ask questions. Below are some of the questions you should ask;
- How is the communication process of the agency?
It is important to ask this question because it births other questions like; What is the cadence of the agency like? What metrics do they report? Why do they collect those metrics? How do the metrics match up to your goals and how do they align?
- What are the roles you will have to play by choosing them?
It is very important that you get reasonable answers to this question before going into any arrangement.
Take for instance, a case when you go into an arrangement without getting answers to necessary questions. What if your SEO agency gives a list of recommendations which happens to be above your development bandwidth, or its the case that you don’t have the content creation bandwidth, the visual or exchange bandwidth to make any of those? In such a case, what would you do?
Hence, the more reason you should do and run a thorough check before starting.
- As a firm, in cases of malfunctioning what do you do?
It is crucial to ask this question because if you eventually become part of the company, in a way the growth and progress of your business is tied to the company. In other words, their failure is your failure and their success is your success. The more reason you need to know if they have the appropriate structure in place, more of a backup in case of unforeseen contingencies. You can also ask questions to ascertain their knowledge of search engines. For instance, you could ask; I would like to know the agency’s approach to SEO and her understanding of Google? you can also ask; how does Google rank results and how do you as an agency influence them?” Listen attentively to their responses because their level of expertise and professionalism will be revealed in the process.
3. ACCESS THEIR PRICE AND CONTRACT STRUCTURE
A lot of people have fallen into series of pitfalls just because they don’t deem it necessary to ask this question. However, you should be fully aware of the terms and conditions of the contract of the SEO agency before choosing them. Every agency has its price and contract structure. It could be monthly, hourly, quarterly depending on how it’s stated in the contract. For instance; we have the hourly SEO cost which ranges from $100-$300 per hour. We also have the by-the-project pricing between $1000 – $30.000, we also have SEO consultants price usually between $100-300 irrespective of whether they are individual or agencies. However, price varies depending on the SEO agency.
It is important to emphasize that the contract structure varies since it depends on the agency. In some cases, you would be required to pay an upfront and then spread the rest over a period of time. There’s usually a time at which the payment will recur and the contract will renew.
These basically refers to the promises an agency makes when pitching you as a website or online business owner to hire them. SEO agencies and service providers make all sorts of promises to website owners. What an agency promises to deliver is very crucial as this is what you use to gauge whether or not they are a suitable candidate. Deliverables can be anything from amounts of traffic to position on search engine results pages. Other deliverables include; reduction of bounce rate as well as increasing conversion rate.
What an agency promises to deliver should be realistic and not out of this world. Some agencies tend to promise a lot but they end up delivering less to their clients. The deliverables expected after the specified timeline should be realistic while at the same time appealing to your individual needs and requirements.
There are a wide range of SEO services offered by SEO agencies. This depends on factors such as; the type of website you run and the niche you are in. An SEO agency can offer you a wide range of SEO services to suit your specific needs and requirements. Services range from website development, website design, basic optimization, site layout structuring, keyword research, keyword optimization, content development, social media marketing, email marketing, analytics etc.
In most cases, these SEO services are usually grouped into relevant packages that suit different types of websites and businesses.
It is therefore important that you find an agency that includes as many services as possible into their packages and clearly states each and every service included, the cost as well as the timeline they will be offering the subject services.
Another thing you shouldn’t take very lightly is the agency timeline. SEO involves a process of continuous activity. While some SEO give instant results though with short term effects, a large number takes quite a lengthy time especially if a business seeks to be on the #1 page of google. However, an agency that promises to improve the ranking of your website within a very short time is not recommendable. Search engine optimization does not entail a speedy process. A good and recommendable timeline is one that clearly outlines various stages from the beginning of the SEO campaign to the end. In most cases these stages range from several weeks to months, even up to 6 months. It is therefore important to state your expectations and also know the time frame for optimization of an agency before choosing them to optimize your website.
7. PORTFOLIO AND TRACK RECORD
The portfolio and track record of an SEO agency can provide enough information about their competence. It is all about customers and clients’ feedback. An agency portfolio should show information about previous clients and past projects that the SEO company has done. The information is important because it can help you determine how competent a company is to optimize and promote your website on the internet. An SEO agency should be able to show you some of the websites that they have successfully optimized.
The essence of experience in the search engine optimization world is one that cannot be overemphasized. The internet and the marketing world has evolved and changed a lot over the years. Search engine providers such as Yahoo, Bing and Google have undertaken hundreds of changes and updates to their search algorithms over the years. Working with professionals who have been around when these changes and updates were taking place can be an added advantage for your website and online business.
Experience is therefore a key factor to consider when choosing an SEO agency. It is expected that a competent agency would have a team of internet marketing professionals who have relevant credentials as well as years of experience in optimizing websites for search engines. These professionals can be trusted to deliver on jobs.
9. RATE OF FEEDBACK
The rate at which you get feedback from an SEO agency is very important. It has to do with how a company communicates with you about the progress of your SEO campaign. A good SEO agency should have a well laid out structure and timetable of reporting. This should include periodic updates on how your website is fairing in terms of keyword performance as well search engine ranking.
Reports can be issued on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis depending on the agency’s mode of operation. It is important that the reports are accurate, understandable and concise. Reports should be easy to read and should have the right combination of texts and graphics. It is therefore important to inquire about the feedback performance of an SEO agency before making them your choice.
10. CASH REFUND GUARANTEE SYSTEM
Last on the list is the cash refund guarantee system. It is important to know if an agency has provision for a cash refund guarantee system before choosing them to optimize your website. A cash refund guarantee system is a provision made by an agency where they offer to return payments made in cases or instances where they do not deliver as agreed. A cash refund guarantee is usually an indicator that an agency is confident in its performance as well as its ability to deliver results. Furthermore, it gives security and peace of mind. For instance; if you go to the market to buy some goods. You met two sellers, the first seller is asking you to come and buy while the second says; come and buy and in case anything happens you can return it with the receipt and I will definitely return your money. In such a case who would you rather patronize? It is therefore important to include it on the list of things to consider before choosing an SEO agency.