Selecting a full-service S.E.O agency is no easy task — choosing a good S.E.O company is even harder. It’s tough to find a company you trust with something as valuable as your web presence, but, there are a lot of great firms out there!
Explore how businesses like yours choose S.E.O agencies, plus get advice for what to look for in an S.E.O company, below. You can make the research and vetting process even easier by browsing our tips for how to find the best S.E.O company too!
Why companies hire certain S.E.O companies
Factor 1: Referrals and previously established relationships
Referrals and previously established relationships turned out to be a key reason, cited by 45% of reviewers. This makes sense, as companies may not be experienced with S.E.O services, and they, therefore, rely on the experiences of friends and colleagues they trust.
Factor 2: S.E.O company knowledge and processes
The second-largest factor in choosing an S.E.O company is company knowledge and processes.
This includes customer service, thought leadership, staff experience, reporting, and transparency. These are all attributes that can help make a company successful for their clients, as they were mentioned by 43% of reviewers.
Factor 3: Case studies, client references, and online reviews
Closely related to company knowledge and processes, the past performance includes specific evidence, such as case studies, client references, and online reviews, all of which indicate previous success. About 14% said this was a deciding factor in their decision.
Are businesses choosing S.E.O companies the right way?
In the process of digging into our reviews, we also noticed that 19% — almost one in five companies — had a negative experience with an S.E.O firm in the past before finding the right fit.
This tells me a couple of things:
Great agencies still have work to do in educating potential clients on what a successful S.E.O strategy and partnership should look like.
Businesses need to take more time vetting their prospective partners along with many criteria to find the right fit.
To be more specific, the companies that select an S.E.O firm based primarily on factors such as location, price, or culture fit, as opposed to company knowledge and performance, are not doing enough homework before entering into a partnership.
Learn how to choose an S.E.O company (and avoid the above scenario) with these three steps:
1. Look at the S.E.O agency’s past performance
Performance matters for not only S.E.O agencies but also businesses like yours.
People look at what your company’s done to determine if you can deliver. You should do the same when choosing an S.E.O company. Look at their past performance, whether through portfolio examples, case studies, industry awards, or client testimonials.
With concrete proof of an S.E.O agency’s performance, your business can go into a consultation or partnership with confidence. You know that you’re choosing a good S.E.O company for achieving your goals for growing your business.
2. Ask past or current clients about their experience
Next, you want to connect with past or current clients.
Reading testimonials, as well as in-depth interviews, can help your company get insight into the client experience. You can learn about the agency’s strengths and weaknesses, plus preview the strategy and reporting process.
A list of common questions for how to choose the right S.E.O company
- How fast does the agency return calls or emails?
- Do clients receive a dedicated point-of-contact or different ones?
- How much time do clients have to set aside to review reports and strategy decisions?
All this information can help your company choose the best S.E.O agency for you. It can also make narrowing your list of options easier. You can focus your efforts and time on the S.E.O companies that check off every requirement on your list.
3. Meet the S.E.O company and ask questions
The final step in how to choose an S.E.O company revolves around meeting your potential agencies.
Before you sign with an S.E.O agency, you want to meet them. Whether you meet in-person or virtually, like through a video conference, that face-to-face meeting can help your team determine if they are the right S.E.O company for you.
When you meet with your potential agencies, make sure to compile a list of questions.
A few examples of some questions to ask when choosing an S.E.O company include:
What experience do you have with our business’s industry?
When should we expect to see results?
How much do your S.E.O services cost?
For the best meet-and-greet, brainstorm various questions with your team and company leaders. While your team may have questions about strategy and reporting, your decision-makers may have questions about pricing and return on investment (R.O.I).
3 big mistakes smart businesses make when choosing an S.E.O company
Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes the best businesses. That’s why, before you start choosing an S.E.O company, you should review the common and big mistakes that organizations often make when finding an S.E.O agency.
These three mistakes include:
1. Choosing a “cheap” S.E.O agency
Price does matter when it comes to S.E.O services and agencies.
You want to set a budget and find an S.E.O company within that budget. The mistake, however, is that many businesses set unrealistic budgets. They see agencies offering S.E.O for $100 per month, for instance, and think that’s a reasonable amount.
Businesses spend an average of $750 to $2000 per month on S.E.O company services
2. Browsing only local S.E.O companies
Getting to work with a local S.E.O agency is a bonus when choosing a good S.E.O company.
When it comes to what to look for in an S.E.O company, however, the location of your agency shouldn’t be your top factor. You want to prioritize experience, performance, and client experience over location because that will impact the quality of your service the most.
Limiting yourself to a small area can stop your business from achieving the kind of results you want.
3. Selecting a black-hat S.E.O agency
S.E.O doesn’t deliver immediate results, though. In most cases, it requires three to six months to start providing a return. This feature can lead to frustration, as well as smart companies falling for black-hat S.E.O strategies.
Black-hat S.E.O describes unethical (and ineffective) long-term S.E.O tactics. While you can use black-hat approaches to rank in search results quickly, you will fall from page one fast. Worse, Google may even ban your website from ever appearing in its search results again.
In addition to the above how-to process, use these tips for how to find the best S.E.O company.
These tips come from the key factors that we heard over and over again in our interviews with businesses already partnering with S.E.O agencies.
So, when you’re wondering what to look for in an S.E.O company, look for the following:
- Evidence of successful past performance
- Strong transparency and reporting
- Customer service and attention
- Thought leadership and knowledge transfer
- Customized, fair pricing
- Specialization in the service you need
Make sure you also feel comfortable with the agency. You want to feel like you can ask questions, voice concerns, and more. If you don’t, it can lead to problems with developing a long-term partnership, which is critical as S.E.O is a long-term, ongoing strategy.