How to pick an SEO Agency or Service Provider for your business?

Three scrabble squares placed in line, making the word SEO.

The reason you are interested in an SEO agency for your business (or SEO in general) is probably this:

“68% of online experiences begin with a search engine,” reports Bright Edge.

Yup, that includes Google, too (that you and we love to bother every time we need to look something up online). So, when we search it up on Google – say, companies providing us with that info try turning that experience into paying customership (well, in most cases).

So, it all begins with Google (or “a search engine,” if you don’t optimize for Google searches).

But how do we start our love story with Google (or the search engine we optimize for)? 

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you (as the content producer) first,” says Wendy Piersall.

And when Google loves you, you are ranked higher.

When you are ranked higher, you get a chance to catch most of that 68% starting at the search engine. 

And that’s the beginning of sales, profits, and growth. And, that the happiest of the endings we have witnessed in the stories of businesses to date.

Admit it or not, we all love to be a part of stories with such happy endings, especially if you are the business that has to create the story.

So what’s the bottom line?

Each one of us, businesses, needs high ranking on the search engine results pages to build 2Rsrepute, revenue. And most of us companies need the services of an SEO agency to mark the desired (happiest) end of our stories.

Which brings us to the question of the day: How to find the right SEO Agency for your business?

Let’s get down to it:

How to pick the best SEO service provider for your business?

Know what SEO is before you begin the hunt

It goes without saying that knowledge sparks wisdom. So, educate yourself and be equipped to make the right and wise decisions.

If you know nothing about SEO yourself, how do you expect to see if you are being burnt in the name of SEO service or have the sincere and the right efforts going on? To understand what you are being sold in the name of service, it’s best to equip yourself with at least the necessary level of knowledge.

A hand with a pen pointing on a bar graph on the paper, which has line graphs and other information too.

For instance, you should at least know the basics – like:

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of driving organic (unpaid) traffic to your site.

What happens when you draw traffic to your site?

You can convert that traffic – i.e., make them perform the desired action that supports your business goals and flourishes your business. For example, make them:

  • click on a specific page
  • sign up for your newsletter
  • download your guide
  • opt-in for a webinar series
  • make calls to your business
  • purchase tickets for your upcoming events
  • buy your products
  • inquire about your services
  • book a consultation with you

And the list of conversion options goes on and on. What conversion step you want them to take depends on your business model and product/service type, as well as your business strategy and the campaign/s.

Can all the traffic coming to your site convert?

NO! However, to have a higher conversion rate, you need to ensure high-quality traffic. 

To achieve that, you need to reach the audience, that is your real target. What that means is your product or service is designed to solve your target’s problem. Thus your content should reflect that and must revolve around the keywords that they are searching for. 

If your website doesn’t have some content or solution for an audience (non-targeted audience), but you manage to attract them (skid loads of them) – that would be a wasted SEO effort.

Does the same SEO formula apply to all businesses?

NO! There is no one-sock-fits-all formula in SEO. Every business is unique and needs different SEO services. The right SEO agency would know better what services your companies require and at what time.

Services? Is SEO a collection of services?

Yes. SEO is a massive process with many subcategories. Each one comprises of different tasks and presents different features, for instance: 

What services – in part or full or in combination with other services – you get depends on your business, and it’s goals.

How do these services relate to the frequently talked about hats?

All SEO service providers or firms might fetch you the promised results differently. As long as you are getting results, you’re good. Yes? NO! You should also be concerned about how they do what they do!

While getting SEO results is sluggish – often frustrating, many people get around this with inappropriate, unethical means that deliver roughly the same as desired results – only quicker! Such black-hat techniques are not only temporary but also penalized – if caught by the search engine (rest assured, they DO get caught).

Alternatively, doing things right and waiting up for a while longer, never hurts. In fact, the search engine rewards such white hat SEO with the results you crave the most. 

A part of a woman's face wearing a white head on the head.

Set reasonable SEO goals for your business

And now that you understand what SEO is and what it does for you and your business, time to answer the foremost question an SEO company would ask you?

What is your SEO goal? 

The company shouldn’t tell you what you would want to achieve out of the contract between you and them. You are in charge of telling them what you want. 

As long as you set reasonable, achievable goals, you are good to go.

Ask yourself, what is it that you want to improve?

Is it the website traffic, or is it the number of sales you want to optimize? Would you like to get a new website from scratch or just the content that ranks high on search engines?

You could have one to many goals, but make sure they are achievable. 

For instance, more traffic is not an achievable goal; but 30% more traffic compared to the last quarter is.

That being done, you know exactly what you want from an SEO agency or service provider.

Make a list of SEO agencies using all your resources.

Finding all your options is the next important task for you. While doing so, make sure to be thorough. However, make sure to make this painstaking process count.

How so?

1- lookup the agencies online and offline. Get lists, recommendations, references – get a number or two from every source possible and add them up in one big list. 

2- Did the list you created from different sources add up to a great reservoir of all the great SEO agencies or service providers of the world?

Heck NO! 

So how do you make the process count? How do you pick the right options?

Do your preliminary research. Ask your source the reason for the recommendation. 

Did they recommend you because they want to help that company out, or did they experience and witness something good? Results, recommendations, anything?

Pick the ones that have a good reason for your consideration.

Check for reviews and the expertise the online resources depict

Now that you have shortlisted a few names based on positives you heard about them, dig into each one further.

Take a look at their website. Having the guts to have asked you to try their SEO services, they must themselves have a great website that speaks loads about their stellar SEO skills. 

That ranges from:

  • high search engine rankings
  • names in the top listings and profiles on online sites and platforms with great reviews
  • great content about SEO – mostly answering the questions you have in mind as a business needing SEO services
  • to the parts of their website internally linked to and smoothly leading to other parts of the website. 

Peep into their Social media. Analyze the kind of engagement you see and the reviews you read.

Give their blogs a once-over. Is that a feast for your eyes to look at? Is the content valuable for you? Does it give you all the information that you’d be interested in? Does it answer SEO related queries that you keep looking online? You know the basics of SEO yourself. Do their blogs reflect a high level of knowledge and expertise?

If all these resources indicate the same way, take that way – be it towards or away from them.

This leaves you with fewer names than the last step. 

Book a consultation session with the shortlisted SEO agencies

Now that some of the options look too good to you, too bad, you can’t work with them all.

So, the next logical step is to book appointments with them – with each one you have shortlisted.

And ask them whatever question you have – as if they are your only option. 

See what they ask you? Does the discussion reflect the same level of expertise as your research? How do they narrate the process?

Now that you have data from several SEO experts and firms, time to analyze that data.

What are the deal-maker and deal-breaker features to keep an eye on?

What are the factors you need to pay attention to in this discussion (and in your overall analysis)?

Well, there are many, for instance:

Is the SEO Service provider/agency or the expert reasonably priced?

Compare the prices of all the companies you have shortlisted. Are they expensive or reasonably priced? Are they cheap? What kind of cheap? An SEO firm offering services for – say – 5 dollars is low-priced. But an agency getting no results even in 50 dollars is cheap. 

Steer clear of the cheapness that some SEO agencies might depict.

But, hat by no means shows that we are encouraging going for low-priced options. Oh, dear! Are we priming for and publicizing going all expensive and royal-extravagant then? Err…none of them falls in the case of reasonable price. Right?

The locality is one prime factor that often contributes to the price add-ones. If you are approaching a local SEO agency, they might charge you low compared to a global SEO firm or the one that operates across the borders. But does the locality show anything about the quality and expertise of the services? 

In a word, NO!

Does the SEO agency have an excellent portfolio to show the expertise they proclaim?

The cunning ones know their tricks. They know how to present their lack of experience as a great experience to you – the first time hunter. But, do they know how to get around the lack of knowledge now that you know quite a lot yourself? Oh, there you caught them!

But wait! Getting that knowledge wasn’t difficult now. Was it? Wouldn’t they have tried that when they are running a business in SEO? Why don’t you check their portfolio? Check all the customers they have had in the past and everything they were able to achieve for them. 

If Anything sounds weird or uncanny, ask them how they achieved a particular goal for a specific client? Unveil the details.

Your time is important, but so is your hard-earned dough!

Is the SEO agency presenting a fit-for-all model or paying attention to your goals?

It is not uncommon to fall for the pleasant-looking one-sock-fit-all model of the agency (though they won’t tell you that). 

Here’s the thing: 

One sock never fits all! Surprise, surprise!

If they tell you what they are going to do for your business and how they are going to achieve that, perfect!

You say “right”? 

We say, “WRONG!”

If they do this, they have probably learned just one thing that has probably worked for some businesses. What about all the brainstorming you did? What about your own business goals? Would you keep working hard to achieve them yourself and let your business keep suffering from your negligence on that front?

So, you hear them say that – get all the bells ringing in your ears and run as fast as you can no matter how amazing their big-plans-for-you sound! 

Are the SEO service providers using the right hat for your business?

While you are approaching a legal, registered SEO service provider or agency, the chances of black hat SEO application are slim. But you can’t rule that out entirely until you are sure.

Why care when you are getting results?

Here’s why!

  • You do not pay the agency to get you short-lived results. Get ready to wait!
  • You do not pay them to get you penalized.
  • When you never consciously did anything unethical in your life, why do that in your business life?
  • Oh! And you are not paying those monthly bills to spoil your user’s experience. Are you? Well, in the case of black hat SEO, you are!

Bottom line: Make sure you are not being mugged in the name of SEO. Beware of heads wearing black hats in open or in hiding.

A quick test: Ask them about the turnaround time. You got it!

How focused is the SEO team on keeping you posted?

Well, it is your business that they are working on. If it is anybody’s business knowing the updates, it’s you.

But what does the service provider plan on doing? Would they let you know in 6 months or so to get ready to bag the rewards? Well, what is the guarantee that they started working the day-one of being paid? 

2 black telephone receivers directly with a wire while the third one with a long lead is placed separately.

You understand it is a process, and you won’t start bugging them towards the end of the first month. All you want is an update on the “progress.” They need to understand your concerns, though! 

Make sure you are hearing “a regular report” (preferably – weekly) on the steps they are taking towards your ultimate SEO goals.  

So how do you pick one SEO Agency?

You already would have gotten an idea, probably made up your mind as well in favor of a few. But you need to come down to one.

So here’s a quick wrap-up on how to finally pick one of the many SEO agencies you still have on your hit list. The best SEO service provider for you would depict many of these attributes:

  • They have a strong portfolio to vouch for them, backed up by excellent knowledge.
  • They wouldn’t promise to build a Jurassic park for you that becomes the center of the world’s attention or the Disneyland park-II that is flooded with your targeted humans from across the attention. Their claims would be rational, doable, and would complement your goals.
  • They would probably refine your goals, not ignore them or super-impose their own ones that they deem fit for you.
  • They would ask for a realistic time frame to meet your goals. Neither is “too fast” too good, nor is “being sluggish” a very desirable trait.
  • They’ll promise to keep you updated regularly, even if things do not go as planned. In that case, they’d promise a back-up plan which is also not fishy. In all cases, you’d be on the same page as them.
  • With all those skills, track record, customer services, the dedication of the team, and whatnot, their pricing plan would appear justified.

Now that you are all set to find your business, the RIGHT SEO agency, especially in the USA, check CANZ Marketing out. Your search shouldn’t necessarily end here, but you do need a good starting point!

Happy hunting 🙂

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