How to Choose an SEO Agency: 6 Steps to Follow

Choosing the right SEO agency can make or break your business.

That’s why we have compiled a step-by-step guide on how to choose an SEO agency.

Step #1 Find Out Your SEO Goals

The first step in finding an SEO agency would be figuring out what you want from the agency. There are many aspects of SEO and different types of SEO services provided by different companies.

So, before you start finding an SEO agency, ask yourself these questions-

  • What specific areas of your online presence are you looking to improve with SEO? (e.g., website traffic, conversion rates, online reputation)
  • How do you plan to measure the success of the SEO campaign? (e.g., increased traffic, higher search rankings, more leads or sales)
  • Are you looking for a local, national, or global SEO focus? etc.

To sum up, you must first understand the needs and goals that the SEO agency will work on. 

Step #2 Fix Your Budget

The best of things doesn’t come cheap. The same rules apply to the SEO industry.

Based on your goals, fix an appropriate budget you would like to spend on the SEO agency. This will help you narrow down your potential candidates.

However, the pricing of the SEO agencies will vary depending on a lot of factors. For example-

  • The scope and nature of your project.
  • Your location 
  • Business competitiveness 
  • Services provided, etc.

It’s super important to allocate an appropriate amount of budget for your project. If you always opt for the cheapest option, you may not get the result you are looking for.  

Step #3 Research About SEO Agencies

Now that you have defined your SEO goals and fixed a budget, it’s time to find some of the top SEO agencies, shortlist them, and research them. 

To help you find the right SEO agency, here are some pointers-

  • Check What Services They Offer: When you are researching different SEO companies, the first thing you should look for is what type of services they offer and if they align with your goals.
  • Check Their Websites, Portfolios, and Case Studies: Browse through their website, and see how it’s designed.  Expert SEO companies pay attention to how their websites look and feel.

Also, check and evaluate their portfolio and case studies on their website. An experienced SEO company will surely have a portfolio and several case studies to show. 

Portfolios and case studies are evidence of their skills and proven track record.

  • Check Their Own SEO and Content: Check out the blog section of their website and evaluate the quality of the content they produce. While you are at it, check how they rank for the keywords they have covered in their blog. 
  • Check Out Reviews and Testimonials: Find out if they have reviews and testimonials. They will probably show off some of the positive reviews on their site but dig a bit deeper and find honest reviews on other platforms like Trustpilot, Glassdoor,  etc. 

Step #4 Request Proposal

After researching for quite a while, you must have at least 2 or 3 companies left on your shortlist. For a better judgment, it’s time to contact each of them and request an SEO proposal from each of them. 

Wait, what’s an SEO proposal?

SEO proposals are documents created by SEO agencies on how they can help clients reach marketing goals. They contain a roadmap of how the agency can help clients meet their targets.

A proposal can be a crucial indicator of the professionalism and capabilities of the SEO company. 

Step #5 Prepare an Interview

Selecting the SEO agency only based on the proposals will not be good enough. You will need a more personal and up-close perspective to properly critique them.

Which is why, you need to ask for an interview.

As a part of the interview prep, you should have a list of questions you will ask them. Here are some topics you can focus on during the interview-

  • Find Out About Their SEO Technique: The approach of the SEO company towards your problem could be a major indicator of how skillful they are. Also, it’s important to find out if their technique is valid and ethical. 

A proper SEO company will use white hat SEO techniques over black hat, which are ethical, approved, and legitimate. 

  • Understand Their Reporting Process: You should ask about how well they present their findings and how frequently they will keep you up-to-date. 

Also, ask them for previous reports they have used for their other clients. From these reports, you can gain insight into the quality of their work.

  • Consider Culture Fit: Ask them about their work philosophy and if there are any cultural or creative differences between your company and theirs during the interview. 

Although not mandatory, it’s best to work with a company that holds similar value to yours.  

Step #6 Discuss Communication, Pricing, and Service Agreement

By the end of the interview, you should know which SEO company suits your needs the best. 

So, the next step for hiring the company would be to discuss the pricing for their service, method of communication, service agreement, and other nitty-gritty stuff.

  • Pricing: For the pricing, you can choose to pay on a monthly, hourly, or project basis. If it’s a small-time work, going for the hourly or monthly rate would be better for you. For large projects, project-wise payment would be great. 
  • Method of Communication: Although SEO is a long-term process, communicating with your SEO agency regularly is important. Find a method of communication where you can reach them easily for updates, reports, and inquiries.
  • Service Agreement: A service agreement is a contract that will include the terms and conditions of the project. Having a contract agreement will establish more trust and protect the interests of both parties.  

By following all 6 steps, you should be able to find your SEO agency.

Red Flags to Look Out For

At this point, you should now be on top of the characteristics of a professional SEO company. 

However, some frauds claim to be SEO experts too. 

That’s why to pick out the best apple from the basket, look out for these red flags in SEO companies to avoid-

Guaranteed Rankings

SEO is just as unpredictable as the weather. 

So, if someone offers to rank your site on top of the SERP forever, don’t even think about hiring them. 

Google keeps changing its algorithm and rank factors. So, even the best SEO expert in the world can’t make such an outrageous claim.

Lack of Transparency

If some so-called SEO expert tells you that he has a secret technique that he cannot reveal but guarantees results, run the other way.

A professional agency has nothing to hide and will explain its process to land you as a client without any secrecy. 

If the agency lacks transparency, it either uses unethical methods or is lying. 

Lack of Portfolios and Case Studies

Lack of portfolios or case studies simply means the agency lacks experience and probably does not have the necessary skills to get you results. 

So, it’s better to stay away from such companies.

Even if the company has a portfolio, remember to go through it well. Make sure that their words match their action.

Using Unethical or Poor SEO Techniques

You wouldn’t want to hire an SEO agency that uses unethical or poor techniques.

Using poor SEO techniques simply won’t get you where you need to be. You will never catch up to your competitors’ sales and traffic.

On the other hand, using black hat SEO techniques will have a short-term result but with dire consequences. Your website may get penalized or even banned.   

Unrealistic Timelines

Don’t listen to SEO experts who claim that they can rank for you in 24 hours, 48 hours, in a week, etc.

SEO techniques take a lot of time to devise, implement, and take effect. Even after implementing the tactics, SEO experts will have to adapt and improvise to get you the best possible results. 

So, If someone says they can get you overnight results, they can’t. 

Pricing Too Low

If a company promises a lot for a little money, it is probably too good to be true.

Proper SEO needs a lot of manpower with specific skills for a certain period. That’s because SEO is a combination of different aspects such as competitor analysis, keyword research, content writing, link building, and more. Each of these tasks requires a different set of skills.

If a company is charging a suspiciously low amount of money, then it’s either a scam or they are doing a subpar job.    

Get the Best Result From Your Ideal SEO Agency

Congratulations! We have armed you with every weapon in our arsenal so that you can find the SEO agency that is perfect for you.

Hopefully, with the above tips, the journey of finding your SEO agency will be easier than usual.

With the expert SEO agency at your side, it’s just a matter of time before you increase your organic traffic, sales, and growth in revenue.

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