Before you searched for “how to choose an SEO agency,” we bet you did your research and found an overwhelming number of SEO agencies available for hire on Google.
No surprise there. SEO is said to give the highest returns among leading marketing methods, based on the latest SEO statistics. And because of this, more businesses want high-quality SEO…
Which is why so many SEO companies are popping up, all claiming to be the best in the field.
You want to end up working with the best SEO agency for your business and avoid those that signal a bad business deal, wasting your time and ending up costing you more down the road.
In this blog, we’ve shared some tips and things to think about so you don’t stress out finding the right fit for your business. Let’s dive right into it!
1. Realise that SEO is not an overnight solution.
There’s not a doubt that SEO brings a bunch of benefits, as many businesses have seen and talked about. But, these benefits also come with a cost…
SEO is a strategy for the long run, where patience is not only a virtue – it is a requirement. It requires commitment and consistent effort for it to grown steadily and achieve the outcomes you’re after.
So, if you’re not willing to put in the effort, save yourself the hassle of finding an SEO agency. Better skip SEO altogether and explore other marketing channels.
And don’t waste your time signing up for those promising “quick SEO results” or guarantees. Trust us, they often end up being more expensive and could even lead to your website getting banned on Google (more on this later).
2. Know your business goals.
When searching for the best SEO agency for your business, start by figuring out what exactly you want to achieve.
You must understand that there are different kinds of SEO expertise, including (but not limited to):
- content marketing SEO
- technical SEO
- Google My Business SEO
- backlink acquisition
- SEO copywriting
Knowing your goals helps you choose an SEO expert with the knowledge and skills to solve specific issues you’re facing, ultimately helping you reach your objectives.
For instance, say you’re crafting top-notch content that struggles to surpass those lousy ones ranking on Google’s first page. The issue may be that your website has low domain authority.
A backlink specialist can help you secure high-quality backlinks that elevate your site’s authority and enable it to compete with those on page one.
Or, if you’re seeking to get more conversions, an SEO expert that specialises in content marketing can help. They’ll give you a comprehensive but easy-to-understand strategy to guide your potential customers smoothly through the buying journey.
As you can see, understanding your goals is key to finding the right one from the thousands of SEO agencies available.
Once your goals are clear, an SEO expert can better grasp your situation and figure out the best way to get your desired results.
Trustworthy SEO agencies are often upfront and honest about whether they can help you or not, saving you time and money. If they can’t help, they’ll guide you to find a better fit elsewhere.
3. Assess what your team can (and cannot) do.
Understanding your in-house skills allows you to choose an SEO company that complements your existing strengths and addresses your weaknesses effectively.
For instance, if you already have a team member who’s excellent in writing blogs and other content formats, an agency that’s strong in technical SEO or backlink acquisition can fill in the gaps.
With this approach, you can avoid any redundancies or overlaps in skill sets. This frees up your budget, allowing you to fully capitalise on the agency’s expertise (and helping your team learn more about SEO too!)
Below are some important questions you should ask yourself when assessing your team’s capabilities:
- What SEO-related tasks does my team already excel at?
- Are there areas where my team is already stretched thin?
- What SEO skills will my team need to develop in the future?
4. Don’t chase after the cheapest SEOs.
As a business, our first instinct often tells us to go for the cheapest options – the one where we can save the most money. While that makes sense in a lot of contexts, it’s one that we consider a “bad idea” in the world of SEO.
We’re not saying you completely ignore all the affordable options. Rather, we advise that you exercise caution when dealing with them…
See, a lot of sneaky SEO agencies out there market their services as affordable and low-budget to lure in unsuspecting businesses, especially those new to SEO.
These cheap SEOs often use black-hat tactics to tweak search engine rankings. While these unethical methods can show speedy improvements and a boost in rankings, they are temporary and usually lead to lasting problems – for example, getting completely banned from search engine results!
And reversing it can be complicated, not to mention time-consuming and costly.
Tactics like keyword stuffing, spinning or plagiarising content from other blogs, private blog networks (PBNs), and excessive link exchanges are just some examples.
If you’re unsure about the right budget, you can simply Google for “how much does SEO cost?” to get a baseline range to start with.
5. Avoid SEO firms that guarantee results.
As you go on searching for an SEO company to work with, you might come across those that promise some sort of SEO guarantee like:
- guaranteed rankings in x days
- x increase in traffic
- money-back guarantees
Who wouldn’t be tempted by such offers, right? Guaranteed traffic and rankings give you a sense of control, and money-back guarantees sound like a safety cushion. But the truth is, it’s all a bit misleading.
No one can guarantee SEO results. And there two main reasons for this:
- No one can control the algorithm. The algorithm is smart and constantly evolving. SEO experts can only stay vigilant for these shifts and adjust their strategies accordingly.
- What works for business A may not work for business B. Every business’s unique case requires a level of personalisation. So, if an agency guarantees results using the same cookie-cutter strategy, it’s bound to deliver different results for each business.
Rather than achieving significant results for you, these unethical SEO providers focus on presenting “evidence” of success, even though the showcased deliverables don’t drive any actual growth or improvements.
For instance, let’s say there’s a company that assures you the top-ranking spot. Your blog may indeed land first on Google, but what if you’re unaware that it’s ranking for a keyword or query with zero monthly searches?
Sure, they fulfilled the guaranteed result, but the impact on your business is essentially nonexistent.
With all considered, the only real guarantee in such deals is this: one side gains the money, while you end up losing it.
6. Check the SEO’s track record.
You wouldn’t trust a fitness coach who doesn’t lead a healthy lifestyle themselves, right?
The same principle applies when choosing a quality SEO company.
With many claiming to be the “best” in the field, it’s all the more important to do your research and see if they truly walk the talk.
Here are some things you can do:
- Start by checking out the SEO company’s portfolio on their website’s home page.
Read available case studies, take a close look at the businesses they’ve worked with, and see how they’ve produced results for them.
You can even go the extra mile by analysing the results of the companies they’ve helped, such as rankings and traffic.
- Look into customer reviews and testimonials.
Checking what past clients say about their experiences can give you an idea of what to expect in your own partnership with the SEO agency. It provides insights into the quality of the service they offer and their ability to fulfill their promises.
- Check if the company has done well with SEO for their own site.
After all, why would they need paid ads if they’ve mastered SEO?
See if they pop up on the first page of organic search results or if they’re pulling a healthy number of visitors. These are green flags suggesting that if they’ve done it for themselves, chances are they can do it for you too!
With the six steps discussed so far, you should be able to filter your choices and come up with a list of the best ones.
7. Evaluate the fit further by booking a consultation.
Most SEO agencies offer a free discovery call, an opportunity for you to get to know them better and get a feel of what it’s like to work together.
During the conversation, look into the “intangibles” – those aspects you can’t see in a portfolio. Are they approachable and easy to talk to? Do they speak clearly and understandably?
But of course, it’s not just about communication styles. Ask them how exactly they’ll take your business from point A to point B, and if they’ve handled similar cases in the past. This helps you understand their thought process and, overall, how their approach closely aligns with your vision and goal.
If everything seems good, ask for a custom quote. This document puts everything in writing and outlines expectations between you and the agency, giving you a clearer view of the partnership’s value.
8. Ensure the agency is focused on SEO.
The thing with teaming up with an agency that does a bit of everything, like paid ads, email marketing and social media alongside SEO is that it often leads to subpar SEO results.
Their time, focus and financial resources are likely spread thin across these different marketing channels, making your SEO progress slow and inconsistent.
On the other hand, working with a team that’s purely focused on SEO means your’re partnering with individuals who are laser-focused on maximising your SEO ROI…
Plus, these dedicated SEOs not only bring expertise but also a genuine passion for sharing their knowledge. They often go the extra mile to break down SEO concepts into understandable bits for their clients.
Thus, you can expect a more tailored SEO strategy that is not only clear, but also practical and actionable.
Final words on how to choose an SEO agency
Once you’ve narrowed down the options, you might still have a list of SEO agencies with impressive portfolios and accolades. It’s a good problem to have, but still one that needs solving, nonetheless.
In this case, go for the one you can trust—one that puts your vision before theirs and values transparency.
At KBA Web, our focus is on SEO and SEO only, which means we can genuinely assess what’s going to work and how we’ll exactly guide you to your goals.
If we find that we’re not the right fit for you after looking into it, we’ll let you know. We want to make sure you don’t spend your money on a potentially bad investment.
Book a free SEO consultation today and find out if we’re the right fit. Our friendly team will give you insights into your site and discuss how we can boost your online visibility.