Have you ever had a negative experience using a search engine optimization agency? If that is the case, you are not alone. It seems that almost all business owners have heard horror stories about SEO or have one themselves.
This article is not a talk about bad agencies, nor about the "naming and shaming" of a particular SEO company. The purpose of this article is to educate business owners to choose an SEO agency that will probably provide them with a positive experience.
What is their true reputation?
It may sound simple, but it is not. To know the true reputation of an agency, it is not enough to see the number of positive customer reviews received. Critics or testimonials on an agency's website are probably carefully chosen. The reviews contained in Google Maps and other third-party sites may also not be reliable.
How so? There are rumors that SEO agencies are threatening clients with lawsuits if negative opinions are not removed. Others may use more sinister threats such as negative SEO. Positive reviews can easily be encouraged, or they may have been acquired early in the campaign and may not be a true indicator of the SEO agency's reputation.
To know their true reputation, contact directly some of their customers. You will know early if the testimonials are true or not, and you could receive valuable advice from these clients.
Is it a digital agency or an SEO agency?
An agency offering many digital services is not usually specialized in SEO. Many digital agencies are starting out as web design companies and then expanding their service base to include hosting, AdWords management, graphic design and SEO.
The problem is that the staff that they work on SEO is usually a person familiar with the industry, but not a specialist. To be able to evolve a digital agency, they will probably call on junior staff or off-shore teams under the supervision of a department head.
Given the scale of a digital agency's activities, it is likely that they will have an exhaustive list of regularly performed SEO tasks, but there may be no real SEO specialist work in the project. These digital agencies survive despite the failures of their SEO services due to success in other areas.
For these reasons, it is preferable to work with an independent SEO consultant or an agency specialized in SEO . In the case of an agency specializing in SEO, it is likely that it was founded by a reputable SEO consultant and that it has turned into an agency capable of supporting large scale corporate clients. . SEO agencies have no other services to turn to, so if they succeed, it's a good sign.
What results did they get?
The proof is in the punch, as they say. An effective SEO agency remains effective. It is unrealistic to expect SEO agencies to rank first in all sectors, but they should get a consistent ranking on page one for specific keywords.
Rather than asking them what rankings they have obtained or reading some well-chosen case studies on their website, search the websites of their clients. Look at their testimonials and try to find the website of the person who left an opinion. Visit their website and see which keywords are in the meta-title of the site. Then do a search for these terms in Google and see where they are currently classified.
With all the changes to Google's algorithm, rankings can fluctuate a lot and the fact that an agency was able to rank a website two years ago does not mean that they are still in effect now.
One of the most powerful indicators of the ability to obtain a ranking is the ranking of the agency's website. Certainly, not all agencies attempt to rank their websites for search terms related to SEO. Paradoxically, ranking in terms of SEO does not always produce a significant return on investment and requires a lot of effort and expense. However, if an agency is ranked on the first page for SEO terms in your city, it's a very good sign.
What does their quote process look like?
Monitor pricing levels. It is very difficult to make them work, and in most cases a fixed price structure means that the agency uses a "belt conveyor" approach to natural referencing – not technical referencing.
Also make sure you know who is doing the SEO work they are offering you. Many times, the major SEO agencies will use astute sellers with commission premiums to sell as much as possible. This is the most unforgiving side of the industry. You have to make sure you do not pay for things you do not need. It is also common for a salesperson to present results that require a lot more work than will the SEO staff.
In the best case, you call the SEO agency to be able to talk directly to the person who will do the SEO work and this person will give you a quote. This is usually only possible if you work with small agencies whose owner is the SEO manager.
What KPIs do they sell?
One of the biggest scams in "secured SEO" sites is to convince customers that they will rank according to their own brand or certain search phrases that no one is looking for.
Make sure the keywords you are quoted contain enough monthly research to allow a return on your investment. Ranking your own brand is a joke, as Google normally does anyway. Do not forget that after ranking your website on the first page for a search term, it will only recover a percentage of the monthly search volume – not everything. So be careful not to sell potential conversions from the full search volume of the search terms.
Do they try to control everything?
Some agencies will try to take control of all your digital properties. Generally, they will try to sell you a new website design, ask you to transfer your website to their hosting, transfer your domain to their account, set up your Google properties in their own account, convince you to turn your ads Google. their management and make any other number of requests.
They may try to convince you that it will make your life easier if everything is managed by one company. Technically, they can be correct. But it's also true that it's easier for them to make it a nightmare.
It is far better to use a web design company to develop your website, a reputable host hosting your site, a domain registrar for your domain name registration and an SEO agency specialized for your SEO. Read this SEO guide to learn more about how to protect yourself from such practices.
Are they transparent?
Many SEO agencies like to protect their methods. This is understandable because it is difficult to maintain an advantage in a saturated market. However, there should be at least some transparency as to what they do.
In some cases, they may use methods they would not like to admit, such as automated linking software or the resale of services from another company. It would be interesting to know what methods they use and how these methods will support the campaign. Beware of arrogant SEO specialists who offer no transparency and quickly block any investigation into their methods.
Hiring an SEO specialist is much better than trying to do SEO yourself. There is a lot of conflicting information and a true technical SEO specialist will have a pretty good idea of what is currently working. As stated in this article, however, one must remain cautious and dig a little deeper before agreeing to sign up with anyone.
Even after following this advice, your rankings may seem negative. So be careful not to hurt yourself with a month's notice. You can find additional useful information in this podcast on SEO .
About the author
Webgator is an agency specializing in SEO based in Brisbane, Australia. Search engine optimization is a passion for the Webgator team and she spends a lot of time researching SEO. Webgator provides search engine optimization services to leading local companies and Australian national franchises in a number of highly competitive markets. Webgator has the reputation of being a friendly, helpful and honest local SEO company that gets great results.