Choosing an SEO agency

A website is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to your company. There are thousands of potential customers searching for your products and services every day; the only trouble is if you’re not in first page of the search results, only a small handful will ever find your website.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of tweaking a website to make it more search engine friendly and therefore appear higher in the search results. SEO is not always a simple process and should ideally be left to the experts.

Whilst there are a lot of people out there who claim to be experts, you need to be careful when choosing an SEO agency. This is a list of what to look for and why to make sure you’re finding the best SEO agency for your website.

Budgeting for SEO
Before speaking to any agencies you need to set a budget, and make sure you find an SEO agency that will work to your figures. If possible, don’t always set your budget in stone. If the SEO agency does a good job, and start getting a good return for you, investing more might be a good option.
 
Ask to see results
The first thing you should always do when looking at an SEO Agency is ask to see what results they have achieved for other clients.  If they are a reputable SEO Agency then they should be able to produce some examples of page 1 listings for a range of clients.

You should also ask what increases in traffic and business they have seen from gaining these positions. Top positions are great, but if no one searches those keywords then you won’t see any return on investment.

How do they charge? What do you get for your money?
Charges can vary a lot. Some SEO agencies will charge out their time on an hourly/daily basis. Some will charge you per acquisition, and some will charge for the positions they achieve you. You may even find agencies that will combine all of the above.

However they charge, you need to make sure their fees will work out to be cost effective for you. You should also ask what you’ll get for your money, how the time will be spent and exactly what they will do to get your site to those top spots.

Black Hat SEO Agencies
Be on the lookout for Black Hat SEO agencies and avoid any agencies that use “doorway” or “redirect” pages. You’ll also want to avoid any automated link building schemes. These schemes are frowned upon in the industry, and will soon see you banned from the search engines completely.

You can read more about this in our post about choosing the right hat for SEO. This should help you spot the cowboys.

SEO Guarantees
Guarantees are a much discussed topic in the SEO industry. Some SEO agencies will guarantee you positions in the search results; however there will always be small print. You can read more on my post on SEO Guarantees.

No one can realistically guarantee you search results. You can however guarantee levels of service. You should find an SEO agency that is happy to set targets for your website.

Think ahead!
If you’re building a new website, get an SEO agency involved in the design and build process. You could even look for a full service agency that will build you a search friendly site, and continue to market it in the future.  Don’t get into the horrible situation of building a site then realising it needs reworking to be search friendly.