TechsPlace | Most business people today are familiar with the notion of SEO. Search engine optimization is a group of practices that aim to get your website to rank as high as possible on the search results pages, thereby boosting your traffic and—hopefully—conversions. It sounds straightforward but it cannot be argued that the delicate, ever-changing algorithms do not allow digital marketers to slack off even for a minute. Unless a business has considerable capacities, SEO might not be fully manageable in-house, which makes SEO agencies high in demand.
SEO agencies can lend you their years of expertise, giving you a shortcut to the first page of search results. However, the matter is not as simple as contacting the first SEO company you come across and calling it a day. Before you sign any kind of contract, there are a few things to take into account.
Even though you are outsourcing this important marketing aspect exactly because of your lack of expertise, it’s still worth devoting some time to studying the ins and outs of SEO and how it all works. This will help you not only ask well-informed questions during the vetting stage of finding the right SEO company but also better evaluate their offer and promises.
What do you need in particular?
Another reason why you should tap into the world of SEO beforehand is so that you can determine just what exactly you are in need of. Are you aiming to boost the amount of local footfall your business gets? You will need an SEO company that places a great focus on local SEO. Do you not have the resources to keep creating high-quality content consistently for your website or blog? Find an agency that particularly excels in content creation. When talking to an agency, ask them what kind of services they offer that tackle your needs.
Getting more involved
Another thing you should be aware of prior to entrusting the future of your business to an SEO company is that your work does not end there. As we said, you can’t just outsource SEO and be done with it. SEO is an ongoing process and for the best results, your cooperation will be necessary. Whether it’s about keeping a close eye on the reports the company will send back to you or designing a new marketing campaign, SEO will always have to be at the back of your mind. It’s best if you ask the company about how you will be involved in the process so there are no surprises.
Now, once you know just what you are looking for, you will probably shortlist a couple of agencies that seem to fulfil your criteria. Of course, the first impression you will get of them will be through their website. Rest assured, a good SEO agency will have a spectacular website so if what you’re seeing is less than adequate, you can rule them out right off the bat. However, what will give you a better, more in-depth idea of whether it’s worth stepping into a contract with the said company will be their credentials. SEO agencies that know the tricks of their trade will openly showcase their success stories.
Look for their past clients on their site and read their testimonials. Even better if there are quantitative results presented that give you an accurate estimate of what you can expect. In fact, you can even do your own background research. How prominent is the search engine presence of the companies the SEO agency has worked with? How are their current rankings? You can even ask these things from the company and they should have no problem giving a transparent answer.
Getting an audit
While you do know what kind of services you are looking for, by and large, you will still need an expert eye that tells you just where your website is standing. Get audited by the SEO company you chose and see what kind of solutions they offer to your current shortcomings. A reliable SEO company will show expertise by suggesting modifications to your website besides the usual off-page SEO services. This is also a great opportunity for them to exhibit their concern for a tailored approach.
Tracking and reports
When negotiating with an SEO agency, it’s extremely important that you tackle the topic of reporting. Ask them who will be in contact with you, at what frequency will they report, and through what channels or tools. A good SEO company will always keep you updated on your progress and any adjustments to their strategies. In fact, some even offer real-time tracking services so you always have access to what’s going on. They will also be ready to explain to you what kind of results you can realistically expect in the short term.
The next important topic to cover is, of course, the contract itself. An SEO agency may offer one or a variety of options: month-to-month contracts, six-month contracts, and one-year contracts may be offered, possibly with an auto-renewal clause. Some agencies may also offer ongoing programs with a certain minimum length of time before you can cancel them.
A shorter contract does not necessarily mean a better deal since results take time and it would not be beneficial for either party if you were to pull out too soon. However, pay special attention to auto-renewal options as the prices may increase as your needs as a growing business increase, too. In any case, you must cover the topic of what happens, should you decide to terminate the contract.
Besides the financial implications of contract lengths, the actual contents of the contract should also be tested against the time interval. Google’s SEO factors are constantly changing and while one thing may be a decisive factor in ranking today. It may become less relevant tomorrow. This is why it’s important that the contract speaks in broad terms—so you don’t end up with a subscription to services you no longer benefit from.
As we already said, you should not expect to magically shoot to the first spot of the search results. Considering this, remember that if an agency indeed promises you to achieve that, you might want to be wary of their promises. In fact, you should take every kind of “guarantee” with a grain of salt. Can they really guarantee you that your traffic will double? You shouldn’t expect instant leads, nor should they promise that if they are to keep it real.
Skipping contracts altogether
Some businesses may be reluctant to step into contracts. What if the services won’t fit your needs after all but you’re stuck in an agreement? There is also the solution of seeking out an agency that offers a variety of SEO services without complicated and restricting contracts.
You will be able to leave when you want to without getting the short end of the stick. At the same time, you may find that this is what works best for you and decide to employ their services long-term.
With SEO being the ruler of the marketing world, it is no wonder that SEO companies abound. Finding the right one may not be as easy as doing a Google search, though. Remember these tips before you sign your contract and it will be easier to make the right call!