Hiring an SEO agency to perform your website's SEO delegates a lot of work elsewhere and will leave you more time to focus on other aspects of running and growing your business. But hiring an agency comes with a lot of risk and choosing the right agency is an absolute must. Your website's SEO is not something that you should take lightly and if done badly it can cause irreprable damage to your website.
In this article we'll look at some key questions you should ask a prospective SEO agency to help you find the best fit for your business.
What other websites in my sector have you worked on?
A lot of SEO work is common to all websites. An agency doesn't necessary have to have worked on a online t-shirt store to know a lot of what they should, and shouldn't, do when optimising your website.
But a good chunk of industry specific knowledge can make the difference between being on page 1 and being on page 2. Ecommerce SEO has intricacies and special considerations that differ for each sector so any agency you choose should have proven experience in optimising websites similar to yours.
Ask the agency what's other clients they have worked on and what results they are currently achieving for them. And don't be afraid to call or email those clients and ask for a reference.
Each client site is different and will bring the agency unique challenges. The ability to adapt the SEO approach is just as important as relevant experience - it demonstrates the agency's ability to analyse the competition and employ the right tactics.
So don't necessarily write-off an agency just because they haven't optimised your competitors too.
Their link building approach
One of the most important techniques and aspects of an SEO campaign is link building. That is, building links from other websites to your website.
SEO agencies don't wait around for other websites to link to yours, they employ a concrete link building strategy.
Unfortunately link building comes with risks. When done badly, you can be easily slapped with a Google penalty. Bad links also have an ugly habit of giving an immediate boost to your rankings in SEO only to leave much further down the rankings when Google catches onto your tricks.
So you need to choose an agency that is looking to achieve long term success for your business, not short term results.
Any agency proposal for optimising your website should include a lot of information about their link building strategy. What type of links will they build? How many (look for an agency that focuses on quality and not quantity)?
Their content strategy
Content is king. A lot of SEO agencies will be able to produce category descriptions, blog posts and at least assist you in writing other parts of text on your website (like text on your home page).
Whilst you may prefer to handle content creation yourself a lot of you will prefer to leave this to your agency. So you'll want to find out more about how this will be done.
Some key questions:
Who will write the content?
Can they provide examples of content they have written?
How much content will they produce?
How will their SEO strategy for your website fit with your company's goals
Any agency you choose should demonstrate that they understand there will be conflicts between the optimisation work they recommend and your company's own goals and strategy for your website.
Agencies can have a tendency to solely focus on optimisation work and lose track of a company's goals. So it's important to define:
Short and long term goals
What technological or platform impediments might there be
What's your budget
Don't underestimate the importance of choosing the right agency
Evaluate prospective agencies in the same way that you'd evaluate prospective employees. In the same way you might interview 4 or 5 candidiates, get proposals from 4 or 5 agencies.
Look for their experience, integrity and a desire to do things the 'right' way.
A lot of your decision about who to choose can be based on their previous work and results they've obtained for clients so don't be afraid for as many examples as you think you need and call or email those other client's to get their feedback on what it's like working with the agency.