What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a competitive tool that can help boost brand presence online. Often, companies partner with an SEO agency to increase their website performance on search engines, such as Google.

There are many SEO agencies locally and globally who have built their credibility on providing effective SEO strategies for businesses of all kinds. A lot of them claim to be the top-performing or leading agency in selected regions and countries. Do such claims matter when looking for the most suitable SEO agency for your business?

Here are some points to take note of so that you can narrow down your long list of SEO agencies and pick the best one that not only suits your needs but also deliver goals proactively.

#1. Know the difference between a black hat and white hat SEO company

Black hat and white hat SEO are terms to describe whether a tactic or a group of techniques are ethical. You must be able to identify the difference between them.
Black hat SEO refers to shortcuts and quick hacks meant to manipulate search engines. Agencies that engage in black hat SEO tend not to give importance to clients’ target audience. Instead, their tactics are targeted at bots and are aimed at delivering fast results only. This is a problem as search engines like Google penalise such websites that employ these tactics. This will impact your website’s performance on search and put all your investment to waste. Some examples of black hat SEO tactics include keyword stuffing and duplicated content from competitors’ sites.

On the other hand, agencies that employ white hat SEO tactics ensure that the campaign is tailored to their clients’ goals and materials produced are relevant to the target market. They follow proper search engine guidelines, such as using high-quality and well-optimised content after conducting comprehensive keyword research. They also make concerted efforts to improve the user experience of the website. These companies ensure that they do not include harmful and irrelevant materials to your site.

Ensuring that the SEO agency you intend to hire only uses ethical practices is very important. You can find out more about their approach and success rates by requesting for case studies and asking detailed questions. A good agency will also require a reasonable amount of resources to deliver what you need – if an agency charges you significantly low prices for a bulk amount of work, you might want to check their credibility before proceeding.

By choosing the right SEO agency, you can rest assured that your business will reach out to the right target market on search in a reliable and ethical manner.

#2. Identify feasible goals and be detailed in your needs when reaching out to agencies

No company starts with a blank paper. Its foundations are dependent on a specific vision that guides the workings of the organisation.

Know what your short and long-term goals are for your business. With these, a good SEO agency will be able to define the right approach to suit your goals. Whether you need to boost your local SEO, require more backlinks to your site or need a new website design, your company goals will give the agency clarity on what you need. If you are unclear, you can request for an audit to understand the areas you need to tap on to improve your search visibility.

What will help is posing questions to the potential agency vis-a-vis your needs and listen to what solutions they have to offer. Some agencies give vague and abstract proposals to their clients with no measurable outcomes, and this is what you need to avoid. You need to be able to envision what you can achieve with a solid SEO campaign and the steps that will be taken (and why they are important) to achieve your goals.

#3. Get referred by trusted individuals who have experience working with the agency

The best way of knowing the performance of an agency is to make a background check. You may gather information by contacting their current and previous clients if you have access to such information (i.e. agency website or Google reviews etc.). It is also advisable to put more weight on referrals made by your trusted acquaintances who have worked with the agency you intend to hire.

Do not limit your choices on the firms that you find online. Remember that agencies themselves are optimising their websites to attract their target audiences like yourself and position themselves as the best. You should go beyond their search ranks by seeking out case studies and authentic reviews. Simply put, you need to rely on the achievements of the agencies you are eyeing.

#4. Look for agencies who
are systematic in tracking
progress against timelines

Always ask the agency what their timeline is in achieving your goal so that you can see if it fits well with yours. It would be best if you understood the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) they will utilise for your campaign and how they can translate to success for your business. If you already have set KPIs to meet, provide these to the agency and look at how they propose to fulfil them.

You should choose to work with an agency that follows a set process in achieving your goals. This will require transparency. A good SEO agency consistently monitors the progress of your campaign, reports them to you regularly, rectifies abnormalities quickly, and recommends approaches to further boost your website’s performance.

#5. Have the ability to establish a stable and comfortable working partnership

Beyond the details and results, you should also establish a strong relationship with your chosen agency. This is crucial for a long-term trusted partnership. A strong relationship also means that open communication can take place in a friendly and professional manner, even when issues surface during the campaign. Failure to make a good connection with your agency may strain the partnership.

Wrapping up

There is no single agency that you can call the best, but there will be one that will suit your needs the most. From transparency and proven methods to authentic feedback and communication channels, a right SEO agency is one that is committed to taking your business to greater heights.

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