Everyone loves the idea of seeing their business at rank one in search engine results pages (SERPs). But doing the necessary search engine optimization (SEO) work is challenging, to say the least.
If you’re doing the work in house, you’ll probably need to hire multiple experts to coordinate your campaign, and then scout for other freelancers who can help you tackle the hundreds of little tasks that need to be accomplished.
For most businesses, it makes more sense to simply hire an SEO agency and let them do the work for you. But how do you hire the right SEO agency for your needs?
Evaluate Your Needs
Before you start the research and hiring process, you should know what your needs actually are. Think about:
- Required services. How much do you currently understand about SEO, and what services are you going to need help with? Are you pursuing other digital marketing strategies? If so, it may make sense to hire a full-service marketing agency that can do a bit of everything. Are you able to do all the content writing and technical work yourself? If so, you may only need help with link building and/or analytics.
- Level of competition. How much competition are you going to face? Is your industry a highly competitive one, and are you planning on competing at a national level? Or are you operating in a relatively new industry on a local level? Generally, the more competitors you have, the more work you’ll have to do to compete.
- Current resources. What access do you have to existing SEO resources? Are there professionals on your team capable of handling some search optimization responsibilities? Or are you going in empty-handed?
- Long-term vision. Are you looking for some short-term help to boost the visibility of your company, or do you plan on practicing search optimization consistently for the next several years? If you plan on scaling and continuing to pursue SEO, it’s important to find a relationship that can last indefinitely.
- Budget. How much are you willing to spend? Some of the hottest SEO agencies in the world may have ample credentials and plenty of services to offer, but they may also be out of your price range.
With these needs and limitations in mind, you can begin your search.
As you start looking for options, prioritize local agencies. For example, if you’re operating in Fremont, a Fremont SEO agency could be the right choice. Local agencies might have a better understanding of your area, giving you a leg up on local SEO. Even if you’re not interested in competing on a local level, these local agencies may have superior pricing and more connections to your local economy.
Consider Niche Specialists
Generalist and specialist agencies have two very different approaches. Generalist agencies are able to do a little bit of everything, and they attempt to serve the widest range of possible clients. Specialist agencies are limited in what they can offer, and their client range is much more restricted, but they tend to be extremely good at what they do.
Specialist agencies may focus on a specific type of service, like link building, or a specific type of client, like law firms. If you have highly specialized needs, a specialist agency may be a better fit for you both in terms of service and pricing.
Research and Vet Your Options
Once you have a handful of agencies worth considering, research and vet your options.
- Compare pricing. Obviously, you’ll need to take pricing into consideration – especially considering how expensive SEO can be at the higher levels of service. But when you compare pricing, make sure you do it apples to apples. Different SEO agencies offer very different service packages, and in many cases, higher prices enable you to see better results.
- Find case studies and proof of results. How do you know each agency is capable of doing what they claim to do? Look for case studies, statistics, and other forms of proof of real results. Has this agency helped plenty of businesses in the past?
- Look for reviews and testimonials. Similarly, take a look at any reviews and testimonials you find. What kind of reputation does this SEO agency have? And are its clients typically satisfied?
- Talk to an agent. Finally, have a conversation with an agent attached to each agency you’re considering. Transparency, good communication skills, and availability are excellent signs that you should consider moving forward.
Making Your Final Selection
At this point, you understand your needs, you understand the options available to you, and you should feel confident moving forward with the most viable candidate for your unique situation. Consider starting small, with a trial run, so you can see what this agency can really do without spending an exorbitant amount of money.
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