You’re probably excited about the potential that SEO holds for your business. You do need to be methodical and deliberate about how you go about hiring an SEO agency.
Failing to do your due diligence could result in a lot of damage to your business. Here’s why.
In today’s digital world, being at the top of search results can make or break your business. There’s serious potential in SEO increasing your bottom line.
People generally look for information or will conduct product research on a search engine. Out of those searches, most of them will click on the first few search results.
Before you go hire an SEO expert to do the work for you, you want to make sure that you’re partering with the right company.
Would you like to know more about vetting an SEO agency? Read on to find out why vetting is vital to your business and how you can make sure you find the perfect SEO partner.
Why Vetting SEO Companies Is Critical to Your Business
The majority of SEO agencies out there have industry experts who know their stuff. Yet, there are digital marketing companies out there who have a business model that’s based on ‘churn and burn.’ These companies will work with a customer, get them quick results, and then the client will burn out and move on.
(Pro Tip: A simple Google search to see and read reviews will do the trick to filter these bad agencies out.)
These results are usually based on what’s called “black hat” SEO methods. There are white hat SEO methods and black hat SEO methods. White hat SEO is based on a long-term strategy that falls within search engines’ terms and conditions.
Black hat SEO relies on gaming the system using old methods that used to work over ten years ago. Things like using awkward sounding keyword phrases like “mortgage broker CO” dozens of times on one page is an example. Another example of black hat SEO is to funnel low-quality links to your website to increase search result rankings.
Search engines have transformed more sophisticly in detecting these methods, but people still resort to them to get a quick result.
Think your business is immune to such efforts? Think again. Even large companies like J.C. Penny get caught using black hat SEO methods.
That can hurt your business, your brand reputation and get your site penalized or removed entirely from search results.
Top Questions to Ask When Vetting an SEO Agency
Now that you know why vetting an SEO agency is an essential step in the hiring process, how do you go about vetting an agency? Use these questions as a guide to vet an agency.
1. What Are Your Initial Thoughts About Improving My Site’s Rankings?
When you contact an SEO agency, they’re going to want to know more about your company. They’ll do a little background investigation into your website, and understand where SEO fits in with your
You want to see that the SEO agency does their homework and they have a process in place to get results.
2. What Will I Need to Do to Support Your Efforts?
SEO doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a team effort. You are hiring an SEO agency to improve your site’s results, but that doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook.
There are some things that you may be responsible for to improve your site’s rankings. For example, you might have to produce regular blog posts, have your website design updated, provide the agency with photography of your business and/or products, etc.
You’ll want to be clear as to what’s expected from you to maximize your return on investment.
3. How Do You Stay on Top of Digital Changes & Trends?
Search engines evolve and become more advanced every single day. Google is said to tweak its search algorithm 600 times each year to produce the best search results for its users.
The way people search has changed, too. In one sense, we’ve evolved from using the yellow pages to find businesses to find the information we need on our phones. Voice search and assistants like Siri and Alexa will continue to change how people search.
You want to ask this question to make sure that the SEO agency you use is using the best practices now and is ready for the future by knowing what the SEO trends are.
Here at Direction Inc., we start the day off by reading a new article on Search Engine Land or Search Engine Journal, then discuss what each of us found internally.
4. Do You Have Case Studies and Referrals?
An SEO agency with a credible track record will have proof that they’ve been able to help businesses achieve success in search results.
They may not be willing to provide their entire book of clients to you, but they should have a few clients that you can call or documented cases studies to show that they can do the work.
5. Do You Even Rank, Bro?
Ok, maybe you can leave out the word “bro.” But, see if the agency you’re vetting ranks for their own services. If they’re local, it’s easy to type in “SEO + CITY” and see who’s at the top there.
For us, we outrank all of our competition in our own location of McLean, VA, but go beyond that by also outranking our competitors in every surrounding city.
6. Do You Guarantee Results?
It’s pretty much impossible to guarantee your business will rank #1 for any particular keyword. There are so many variables at work in SEO that it can be challenging to predict the end result. If someone claims that they’ll get your business to the top of search results in a month, you should run as fast as you can from them.
That’s a clear sign that that’s a firm that is using black hat SEO methods to get your business results. What the top SEO agencies will say is that “there’s no guarantee to get results, but based on our experience, results, and expertise, we’re confident that we can get your business to rank high for certain keywords and grow your brand.”
They’ll also be upfront about which keywords are likely to be a challenge, especially if they’re highly sought-after or competitive keywords.
They’ll also be honest in terms of a timeline. You don’t want to see a sprint to the top of search results. You want to see small increases month over month.
Hire the Right SEO Agency the First Time
You know that getting your business to rank highly in search engines is necessary if you want to grow your business. Your customers are using search engines to research and buy products and services.
That’s why vetting an SEO agency is essential. It can play a huge role in your business’ success. They’ll be sure to use the most up to date and transparent processes to make sure that your site is prepared for visitors and search engines.
Want to know how we can help your business get the most out of SEO? Contact us today to find out.
President, Direction Inc.