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Your Guide To Choosing An SEO Agency

SEO. We bet you’ve heard that acronym before, Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve either been told that it’s essential or a massive waste of time. “What does SEO mean anyway, what do they even do?” Yeah, we get that a lot. 

Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of optimising your website for search engines, such as our wise and powerful overlord, Google, and it’s lesser-used but still absolutely lovely cousin, Bing. In fact, the general term means the optimisation of your website for organic listings on search engines. Google and Bing tend to get the most attention because they generally bring in the most organic traffic. Naturally, you’re going to want to appear on those. 

Do I Need An SEO Agency? 

That’s the big question, isn’t it? Generally speaking, you can do your own research into the practice and potentially receive results. There are many tools and guides out there to get you started on the basics. However, running a successful business takes time and effort, and a lot of busy business owners don’t have time to focus on the in’s and out’s of SEO as well as their day-to-day activities. 

If you want to improve your SEO without putting in the effort yourself, choose an SEO agency to do it for you. If you care about your organic rankings and want to give your website the best possible chance to appear, choose an SEO agency. The results are not instantaneous, it’s a practice that you must work on to see the benefits, and the benefits are often amazing. For a paid strategy with shorter-term benefits, PPC advertising might be what you’re looking for. 

What Should the SEO Agency Do for Me? 

Your agency should be treated as an extension of your business. You still need to provide them with relevant information relating to your services and accounts, but they should also be able to operate with a large level of autonomy. After all, they are the experts. If you’re expecting to be on the first page of Google in the first month, prepare to be disappointed. If you specifically want a certain keyword to be top of the first page, you’ll find that it doesn’t quite work like that. SEO is about improving a website as a whole, which over time results in higher organic rankings, higher impressions, higher CTR and ultimately a higher organic conversion rate. 

You should be looking out for the following when you choose an agency to work with: 

  • Do they communicate regularly with you? 
  • Do you regularly see reports and updates on progress? 
  • Do they monitor specific channels for you, such as Google Analytics and Search Console? 
  • Do they explain information to you in understandable terms? 
  • Do they set objectives for the service?
  • Do they keep you updated about changes that Google makes?

A general process is usually followed to gain information about your website too, which allows both you and the agency to cooperate to get the best results. As a digital marketing agency, we’ve outlined a process below in the hope that it helps your search. 

The Initial Audit

This is the big first step. If you can’t separate your backlinks from your anchor text, this audit should help you out with SEO terminology too. The audit should cover the three core aspects of SEO; technical, content and links. Each aspect works together to improve the overall health of your website, and so increase its organic rankings. No site is 100% perfect, as SEO is a continuous strategy that is never finished. Updates happen regularly that change how it all works. Once you have your audit, you can then decide what to do next. 

Meeting Your Needs

This is often the most crucial step. After the audit is received, you should have an idea of what your aims should be. A discussion then needs to happen between yourself and the agency, with objectives at the forefront. These need to be realistic, there’s no point in shooting for the first page if you’re not on Google at all at the moment, but the agency should be able to tell you how to improve. Think of questions, no matter how silly they may seem, and send them to the agency. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help. 

On-Site Content 

Most people think of SEO as solely on-site content, and while it is a crucial part of SEO’s charm, it needs to work in tandem with others. On-site content relates to anything that the user can see, such as page titles, product content, category descriptions and even the menu names in your navigation bar. Each is read by search engines, and the content can be optimised using keywords with high search intent, or long-tail keywords that have low intent, but a higher chance of a click-through. Your agency should be able to recommend and track changes to your website, with the aim of improving overall rankings.  

Technical SEO

This is often uncharted territory for the average business owner. One mention of HTML or Javascript sends many people running for the hills, and rightly so. It often takes not only technical aptitude but also previous experience with technical issues to solve problems. Your SEO agency should have a technical expert within its ranks, who is adept in analysing indexed pages, improving mobile usability (we’re in a mobile-first world after all), conducting site crawls, and increasing the page speed of your website if necessary. Sitemaps and robots.txt files need to be correct too, and if those words don’t mean anything to you, chances are a technical SEO expert is exactly what you need. 

Links. Links, and More Links

Search engines love it when sites work together. If one website is receiving a lot of high-quality links because it’s content is useful, chances are, the search engine will rank it higher than others. You might have heard tales about link-building schemes that promise 1000s of great links in a flash. If your SEO agency offers you this, kindly decline and maybe lock the door behind you. Good links take time, and great content takes planning, commitment and a willingness to work with others. You’ll need an outreach expert in your SEO agency if you’re to succeed in this area. Make sure that you ask about this before signing the dotted line. 

Results-Driven Services

If your agency has the 3 pillars of SEO in place, you might be onto a winner. But hold on tiger, there’s still one thing to consider. As we mentioned earlier, you need to set objectives in order to gauge success. If you’re not receiving regular, monthly updates on progress or on tasks that have been completed, chances are, you might not be getting the best value for money. Set some targets from the off, and work with your agency to achieve them. They are an extension of your business remember, so it does need to work both ways. 

What about Advertising on Google? 

SEO covers the organic aspect of search engines. However, the paid content is just as important, especially for shorter-term goals. PPC advertising is a great way to get your content in front of users that matter to you. We may create an entire blog post on this in the future, but as we’re a digital marketing agency, we do provide PPC services. If you’re struggling to decipher your shopping ads, or if Google Ads has you in a twist, contact our PPC team for assistance. 

Choosing Your SEO Agency

Now that you’ve wandered through the different aspects of an SEO agency, we’d like to offer you a convenient option. As a digital marketing agency, we offer everything under one roof, including SEO. We have content, technical and outreach experts within our team, who are more than happy to help if needed. Simply contact us today and request a site audit. (They’re free, why not?) We’re also happy to provide advice if you need it too, as we understand that SEO is often seen as a mysterious force that is hard to grasp. 

In reality, it’s about improving the content and technical aspects of your website, while working on outreach to procure high-quality links. Search engines may seem like an unclimbable mountain, but you just need a guide to help you to the summit.