A few years ago, having a website could already give you an edge over your business competition. But things are different now.
You have to think of more innovative ways to push your business ahead of everyone else’s, especially concerning the expansion of your market reach.
One way to do that is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You could choose between hiring an SEO consultant or an agency. Opting for the latter could have a ton of benefits.
However, you can’t just go out and do it. Here are four things to do before choosing an seo agency for your business:
- Know what you want.
This refers to two things: the type of services you’re looking for (whether it’s purely SEO or if you want to try other online marketing techniques), and; who your target audience is.
You can generally tell what your website needs by looking at the issues it currently faces. But if you still can’t pinpoint those needs, don’t fret; a good SEO agency should help you with that, without pushing for unnecessary services and extra fees.
Aside from SEO, an agency can also specialize in the following Internet marketing strategies:
- Conversion optimization
- Personal branding
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
Aside from the type of services you’re looking for, it’s also important to have a good idea of your target audience, whether it’s your local community or the entire population of your state. Heavy traffic on your website will only matter if it’s from the people that your website is for.
Finally, make sure that you can clearly communicate these two things to your SEO agency. See to it that they understand your needs and can come up with a clear game plan on how to satisfy them.
- Specify a budget.
Once you get a clear idea of what you want out of an SEO agency, then you should be ready to hit the books and draw out a long-term budget. When doing this, take note that it could be months before you start seeing progress from your SEO strategies. Having a budget will remind you that they don’t work instantly. You can rest easier knowing that results will come eventually.
- Research on their history.
In an age where it feels like everyone and their mother are experts in SEO, you should be able to distinguish the ones that will get you results from the ones who are just trying to hitch their wagons onto this lucrative profession. You can tell the difference by conducting a background check on the agency. With the Internet’s help, try to find out as much as you can about:
- How long they’ve been in the business;
- How many clients they’ve had, and if notable personalities have ever hired them;
- The type of projects they’ve handled;
- What kind of difficulties they regularly encounter, and how they solve them?
The bare answers aren’t the only things that can help you out. Here’s a tip – try to speak to the representative of the SEO agency in person. Body language, such as eye contact – or lack thereof – and the tone of their voice, could tell you whether they’re being genuine or not.
- Fact-check their claims about being experienced.
Any service-oriented business can tell you how effective their services are, but only the great ones can show you. So, to save yourself the uncertainty of having to take an SEO agency’s word for their experience, ask whether they have a portfolio of previous works that you can check out. This could come in the form of a physical portfolio or, better yet, a website that you can easily access and browse through.
If they don’t have an updated portfolio, you can also ask if they have a list of previous clients that you can call and speak to. You could ask them the following questions:
- Why did you hire that agency?
- How long was it before you saw results?
- Were your goals met?
- Would you work with them again?
Another thing you could do is search for the previous clients’ websites on Google and see for yourself how they’re doing in terms of traffic and ranking.
A friendly reminder: hiring an SEO agency for your business is a big deal. Whichever one you decide to go with, keep in mind that they’ll essentially be an extension of your company and your brand. It will be a partnership that can ensure your business’ success or failure. So take the time to do these things prior to making that possibly life-altering decision.