hoosing an SEO expert to help your business grow can be risky business. Find out how to tell if an agency is ethical and effective before you hire one.Ready to grow your business? Finding an SEO agency can help.
Better SEO can considerably expand your reach. But as with many industries, there are plenty of charlatans out there who will take you for a ride. So, how do you separate the good from the bad?
Below, we’ve put together 8 tips for choosing an SEO expert that delivers.
The Long Game
How long staff has been doing SEO is a great place to start when you’re trying to figure out if a company is worth your time.
If an agency has folks that have been doing SEO for several years, it tells you a few things. First, it tells you that the agency has experience. It tells you they have a business model that works and maintains customers. Conversely, if the agency frequently changes names and staff, it can be reflective that the agency has a bad reputation.
To help inform your decision, do some research. The company should have plenty of positive testimonials. Remember to ask for a list of current agency client referrals that you can talk to you. This allows you to hear first hand what it’s like to work with the agency and what level of service you should expect to receive.
Tools of the Trade
You don’t need to know exactly how the sausage is made–but you do want to figure out if your SEO expert knows how to actually make sausage.
Asking what tools your SEO agency will use can be a real eye-opener. If it fumbles for an answer or gives you a list of outdated SEO apps, it’s time to look elsewhere.
If an agency says it uses a few cutting-edge tools and techniques (and can prove it) then it’s more likely to be worth further investigation. The better the tools at its disposal, the more informed decisions the agency will be making on your behalf, and the better ROI you should expect to have.
The Shape of You
SEO isn’t one-size-fits-all. Knowing how to boost your business means understanding your business in the first place.
Your SEO agency should be inquisitive. It should ask you questions and even request data on previous SEO campaigns you’ve run.
It needs to do this to build an effective plan, one tailored to your business.
If your SEO expert wants to sell you a “package” with no options and no flexibility, he or she is likely just handing you a product off the shelf. That might do for groceries, but it’s useless for SEO.
What works for other businesses might not work for you. The more tailored the approach, the better your chances of making real changes.
The right certifications show you that your SEO experts take their jobs seriously. They’ve studied and passed exams to achieve those qualifications.
Some qualifications are worth more than others. Ideally, you’re looking for a Google AdWords certification above all. Google offers this certification and takes it seriously – certified partners need to refresh this yearly.
Although an SEO agency can sometimes show its chops by what has been achieved for previous clients, looking for the Google Partner badge will help you further decide on its credibility.
There’s a good reason the business world is obsessed with figures. Figures give you information that words alone can’t communicate.
Your SEO expert should provide genuine figures and statistics to back up what is being claimed. Using real figures shows that your SEO expert is confident. He/she knows what tactics were deployed, what was achieved, and what the ROI was for you, the customer.
It’s this data which helps the expert put together a vision for your SEO campaign.
A bad SEO company will likely fob you off with vague statements and superlatives. Ask it to back up what is being said using data. If you hear nothing but silence, it’s time to move on and find a new candidate.
Break It Down
When you’re spending money, you want to know exactly what you’re getting out of it. It’s no different with an SEO agency.
Your agency should not only give you a quote for the work you want done, it should be in terms you can understand. You should know where your investment is going.
This gives you a clearer picture of your budget. It also helps you negotiate and track progress. Without a clear idea where your money’s going, you’re placing all your trust in your agency. If you’re lucky, they’re worth it. If not…well.
Seeing the breakdown of your SEO strategy and its costs leaves less to chance. Outsourcing any aspect of your business can feel dangerous, so the more informed you are, the less paranoid you’ll feel.
Is your SEO expert falling over themselves to promise you the moon?
Well, it might be time to reconsider. It’s easy to overpromise – and just as easy to underdeliver.
Realistic predictions about what you’ll receive back for your budget aren’t as sexy as grand promises, but they’re a lot more attractive in a business sense. Look for an SEO agency that can give you facts and figures, not bold predictions.
This goes back to understanding your business. A good SEO agency will consider your budget, reach, and size of your business– then provide you with an estimated attainable result.
And the word “believe” is important, too. The internet is chaotic and predictions don’t always pan out the way you expect. Find a company that understands this and you’ve found one that understands its job.
Analytics and reporting are the secret weapons of good SEO. A lot of preparation goes into a good SEO campaign but it’s just as important to get live feedback.
Strong analytics skills will let your SEO expert make adjustments on the fly when it sees what’s working. This means you can get the maximum ROI for money spent.
Ask your SEO agency what kind of analytics it uses and how it uses that data to inform client campaigns.
Find Your SEO Expert
Unsurprisingly, finding an SEO expert comes down to two things: knowledge and the level of confidence in that knowledge. Avoid the flim-flam and look for facts and figures. The more of these little checks your candidate passes, the more likely he/she is to be worth your time.
Interested in learning more or chatting with a Bear Fox Marketing SEO expert? Schedule a free consultation today.