Remember that mistyped email you got the other week asking you if you wanted to get to the top of Google in two weeks? Yeah about that- those people aren’t probably best for your SEO. But if you are looking for a credible SEO provider for your business- what are the crucial things you should expect from them? What do you need from them in terms of reporting, marketing and metrics? How can you tell a SEO wolf apart from a SEO sheep (and we are not just talking about the color of their wool here)? Let’s run through the eight things your SEO agency SHOULD be doing and WHY.
SEO-reporting can be handled in a number of ways, and it’s totally fine if your agency decide to focus on certain key areas instead of piling on an 18-page report every few days. In fact, those over-long reports can be irrelevant and may even be an attempt to pull the wool over your eyes.
What you should never settle for is stuff that is just blatantly copy-pasted from Google Analytics or Search Console with no effort at explanation or analysis. Anyone can log in and print this stuff off, so why should you settle for an SEO agency that has no real desire to explain SEO to you?
You want an agency who are ready to get granular with their metrics, as well as actually explain things to you. You want an agency who are willing to adapt their reporting style to the needs of their customers, not a lazy ‘one size fits all’ blanket approach.
No credible SEO agency worth their salt will be peppering their marketing literature with phrases like ‘we guarantee to make you top of Google in 2 weeks’. Even if they are saying things like that, and delivering; good luck getting converting site traffic off the irrelevant four-word phrase they have selected to rank you for. Put simply, there are no SEO rankings guarantees for competitive keywords; what you are looking for instead is significant and sustained improvement.
You want a SEO agency who can give you rankings results (not promises) for:
Just guest posting? Run a mile! SEO is more than just churning out content, and any SEO agency worth their salt will be doing a wide range of link-building. During SEO strategy sessions try to sound out how they actually plan on building links: put them on the spot to see what they say. Still feeling unsure? Check out their current clients’ sites with Majestic to see their full backlink profile; this should give you a pretty solid idea of their link-building credentials.
A real credible SEO agency should also be a search marketing agency, getting on board with your long-term business goals and the rest of your marketing efforts. This is important for great keyword research, and it means you will have an SEO team who are able to adapt their techniques to your industry, integrating optimization with other marketing campaigns. You want a reactive agency, ready to learn more about your business, not just an agency fixated on search engines.
Because let’s face it, if they can’t do SEO themselves or write credible content, why trust them with your business and your brand? Sometimes SEO agencies will be so busy with clients they might neglect their own site for a bit, but there’s only so much that you can excuse. Look out for a good SEO blog lto see how they REALLY talk about the industry. Can you still sense their passion? Have they lost their edge?
These details shouldn’t be that hard to find: start by searching for “the name of the agency + reviews” in Google to see what comes up. Monitor social media and local media mentions for any sign of customer complaints. Ask them who their longest standing client is and see how they respond.
No SEO clients that have been with them for longer than six months? This could be a big warning sign. Often shady agencies attract clients and then leave them with an awful backlink profile that another SEO agency will have to come in and clean up later. Churn rates can be telling so pay attention to their client profiles.
You want an agency who are upfront about who will be doing SEO work for you. We have heard of some truly woeful outsourcing tales where customer relationships have completely broken down due to miscommunication and even wilful deception. Nothing wrong with outsourcing, but be clear from the off on who is your main port of call. Make sure you can always get hold of someone on email or over the phone. Ask questions about how they handle their customer service.
Link-building is only part of the bigger SEO picture; you need an agency who can advise on the technical and content aspects of onsite SEO too. Be ready to have negotiations and talks regarding your site’s HTML, copy and design. A proper SEO agency should have the technical knowledge to advise on development issues, as well as the writerly skills to help with optimising on-site copy. You don’t just want a silent link-building farm, but proper SEO experts with passion, expertise and know-how to take your business to the next level of digital success.
Think your SEO agency might be failing the credibility test? Tell me why below.