Critical tips for selecting the best SEO agency
Selecting the top search engine optimisation agency to meet your needs is a daunting, yet necessary, task. We crafted this guide to help you select a partner that will suit your company culture and help you achieve your SEO goals.
Tip #1: Set your organic SEO goals.
This sounds anecdotal, however goal setting is a crucial first step that is often glossed over.
Start by setting the goals for your organic search strategy. Define what you want to achieve with your SEO program and by when. For example, do you want your SEO program to generate x number of leads (email and calls), $ amount of sales or both? We recommend setting your SEO goals per month, quarter and for the year.
Note: SEO rankings are an important metric to track. However, we recommend you treat rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as a key performance indicator (KPI), rather than a goal. Ultimately, rankings generate clickthroughs from Google to your website, though those clicks won’t always translate directly into a lead or a sale, for reasons such as usability issues with your website.
Goals are key for tracking the return on investment (ROI) of your SEO program and identifying what needs to stop, start or continue. Goals are also a key reference point for trying to pinpoint why your clickthroughs from search are not translating into leads or sales.
Finally, presenting your SEO goals to your potential SEO partners allows them to estimate what approach and investment is required by them to achieve your goals.
Tip #2: Define your primary SEO requirements.
Conduct a high level audit of your existing SEO strategy before you contact potential SEO suppliers as your findings will help filter out SEO suppliers that don’t have the SEO expertise you need.
Consider contracting an SEO expert to audit your website against key SEO factors, such as the following, before you approach SEO agencies.
Does your website need SEO friendly content?
Does your website have deep content, that answers a variety of questions your audience is searching for? Does it provide content such as videos, podcasts, blogs, FAQs, product reviews and product guides. Or is the content on your website too thin or outdated.
Does your website have major 'technical SEO' issues?
Is Google struggling to understand the meaning of the content on your web pages? Have your pages being tagged correctly and is Google able to index the key pages of your website, in priority order? How long does it take your website to load on a mobile device?
Tip #3. Invite three SEO agencies.
You are now at a point where you can invite a few SEO agencies to pitch to be your SEO partner. We suggest inviting no more than three agencies, or you will end up getting confused.
Consider using the following questions to filter out agencies you don’t think will be a good fit for your company culture and SEO requirements.
- How long have they been incorporated / in business as an SEO agency?
- What do they see as the main focus point for your SEO strategy (see previous section)?
- What is there core focus, content, technical SEO or backlinks (see tip #2 above)?
- Do they mainly work with small, medium or large websites?
- Do they service competing companies?
- Where are they based?
- Who will service your account?
- What is the notice period / term of the contract?
- What experience do they have working with your Content Management System (CMS)?
- What other services do they provide e.g. copy writing, design, training, Google Ads?
- What is their recommended price and what is included (see next section) and excluded in their price?
- Do they provide advisory support only or do they also provide SEO related implementation services (see next section)?
Most New Zealand SEO companies provide advisory services + link building only. This means you need to also budget time and money for implementing the recommendations your SEO provider makes. Be sure to clarify with the SEO agencies on your short list which of the following services they implement and which you will need to budget for over and above what you pay them.
- website content creation (videos, blogs, web page copy, etc)
- onpage implementation, such as loading header and image tags into your content management system
- making changes to your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager tracking system if it is not tracking accurately