What To Look Out For When Hiring An SEO Agency?
We know... Hiring an SEO Agency can be a complicated and daunting task. Especially when there are so many options out there and with the different packages each digital marketing agency offers, you're not quite sure which is best suited for you.
That is why the team here at Absolute Digital is writing this short guide in hopes that it will give you a clearer picture of what to look out for when hiring an SEO Agency.
What is Google SEO?
Google SEO or Search Engine Optimization ranks websites based on the relevancy of the keywords searched on Google. If you're searching for something online, you're probably going to use Google. Google has the supermajority market share of the search engines in the world and is currently ahead with well over 75% of market share.
How Do I Rank On Page 1 Of Google Search?
When someone wants to rank their website on Google, they have to play by the rules of Google's Algorithm. To increase your probability of ranking higher on Google, you have to increase the Domain Authority (DA) of your website. The DA is how Google's Algorithms determine the credibility of your website. And how to increase your DA would require optimization of a myriad of factors.
Here is my attempt at breaking it down for a simple step-by-step guide to SEO for Beginners. Firstly, you need to know the difference between On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
This is everything that happens within your website. It includes things like the number of website traffic, choosing the right platform to develop your website on, meta-tagging, posting content through blogging, creating backlinks to other relevant and credible websites, converting your website to a mobile-friendly version, linking your social accounts to your website, and many more...
The right agency will evaluate your existing DA and determine the steps to take to achieve the desired results and execute them for optimal results. It is important to note that SEO ranking takes time (months) and you should not expect overnight results. Should you prefer immediate results, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) would be a better alternative.
This is whatever happens outside of your website. Optimizing for off-site ranking factors involves improving search engine and user perception of a site's popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. This is accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet (pages, sites, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website, and effectively "vouching" for the quality of your content.
To optimize your off-page SEO, you need to consider the factors Google takes into account when ranking your website, the DA of the other websites you build your backlinks to, and the relevancy of keywords you are targeting to appear on Google.
SEO is not simple and takes time and effort to manifest. There are shortcuts like Black Hat SEO Methods which are frowned upon because whilst they get fast results, these unethical tactics don’t solve for the searcher and often end in a penalty from search engines. Google may ban your website once they realized you are using Black Hat techniques. These include keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks.
Now that you've got a basic understanding of what is Google SEO and how it works, here's what you need to look out for when hiring a professional SEO expert or digital marketing agency to help with your SEO optimization efforts.
Things to look out for:
Their Understanding Of SEO A basic understanding of how SEO works is a must. However, it is good to see how in-depth your agency knows about the inner workings of Google SEO, such as technical SEO, as this gives you a sense of confidence that they are doing a proper job and will not risk your website being blacklisted by Google.
Their Experience (In Relevant Industries) SEO is a very specialized skill set that is in itself unique for every industry. This means that an SEO plan for one industry might not work well for another different industry. It would be best if they can show you an example within the same industry as yours when pitching for your project.
Their Long-Term Results Most SEO plans can be working well in the short-run, however, to accurately see if an SEO plan is effective, you must also consider the long-term effects such as how long will your website stay on page 1. If your SEO is not done right, it may come down (in rankings) faster than it went up.
Their SEO Methodology Make sure that your SEO agency is not using any black hat SEO methods which will risk Google blacklisting your website in the long run.
Support / Resources Go through your SEO agency's 'resources' page to understand what are the resources available for you to better understand how they manage their SEO campaigns. Compare these with online articles or YouTube tutorials and judge from there.
Once you've met with the shortlisted digital marketing agencies and received their sales pitch and/or proposals, you can assess them based on these factors and rank which agency you would most likely want to work with.
That being said, transparency and comfort when speaking with these SEO agencies is also an important factor as SEO is a long-term campaign and you would most likely be working with them over a period of some months, or longer.
Bonus - Be sure to check out any SEO case studies or online reviews about your SEO agency.
If you'd like to read more about Absolute Digital's SEO methodology, please read this article - Google SEO Audit Report.