Hard pill to swallow but approximately 80% of users ignore paid ads and solely trust the organic results provided by Google. For every click on a paid result on Google, there are 11.6 clicks to organic results. Yes, you read that right. Organic over paid media for the win.
This means, all those marketing funds that you've allocated to boost and promote posts, are only as “effective," as the period of the advertising campaign. If you're reading this, it's safe to say that you've been there, done that, and can attest to how short-lived that form of advertising is.
In the age of Google domination, let's address the elephant in the room, and really understand why your business needs a personalised SEO service. The simple answer is because you’re in it for the long run!
What does the long run look like, and why is tailored SEO the solution?
SEO addresses better visibility to increase traffic which, in turn, would be generating more leads causing higher conversions and hence achieving greater ROI.
There you go, the SEO rationale capsulised.
So what is the abracadabra that SEO Agencies do?
Well, it's a process.
An expert agency would begin auditing, followed by modifying the design and content of your website to ensure it becomes more attractive on all search engines. This would also mean for them to analyse any content that might be negatively affecting your site's SEO.
Hint: If they haven't raised this pointer with you, then this indicates a gap in their knowledge of SEO.
The next step would be embedding on-page optimisations to your website with simultaneous off-page optimisations to build links and increase visibility. When your site is optimised well, it is prone to be ranked on that very sought after the first page of Google. However, this doesn’t happen by luck, and it most definitely isn't easy to do!
They would also have to do thorough keyword research, along with competitive analysis. Another important factor that they would look at would be to ensure your website is optimised for local searches on Google. A legit SEO agency would assert administering reports on KPIs to consistently monitor the ranking, and share the progress report with you.
This ladies and gentlemen is an ongoing process due to the pesky changes in algorithms that Google does ever so frequently.
Keep in mind, just because your website has made it to the first page, doesn't mean that the work stops. You've got to keep working to stay there!
So what do you look for when selecting that precious "One?"
First and foremost, you've got to identify your needs and prioritise them in order of preference.
- Is it conversions that you're looking to increase?
- Is it high-quality traffic on your site that you're after?
- Or is better ranking for your site that's your prerogative?
If you know what you want, selecting the best SEO agency will be simpler for you.
Pointers for you to look out for during your selection process would be the following:
- Service specifics: Don't be illusioned with the fluff of one-stop-shop, "digital marketing agency." That by itself, is too vague. Look into their details, and understand what their strengths are; whether it is industry-specific, location-specific or are they merely experimenting with all.
- Read those reviews, and dive into their case studies. See what their clients have to say about them. By reviews, we aren't just referring to the shiny ones that they flaunt on their website, but the ones that pop up on their socials, and Google, over which they have no control of. Do they communicate well? Are they always on, or do they simply overpromise, and under-deliver? Evaluate what they have done in the past with their clients, and have their brands really seen growth - their case studies are their best indicators.
- Years of practice over experience. This by far is one of the most influential factors when you're deciding an SEO company. Don’t just go by how long the company has sustained but really dive into how many years of specialisation have they been practicing – as an agency, and their employees.
Hint: we recommend you use LinkedIn to do your research here. Look the team members up and learn more about their individual backgrounds. You might even stumble upon a common connection who would be able to share an unbiased opinion on their performance.
- Stay tuned to the ones that you're drawn toward contracting i.e. listen to them. Follow them on their socials, ideally on LinkedIn, and their blogs to gain an insight on their knowledge and culture by reviewing the content they’re putting out.
- Let's talk about money and contracts. Every agency is structured differently, and hence function individually. Some set realistic expectations, and rope you in on a six-month contract for results to show; and then there are those that charge by the hour. Having said this, you should have some comparisons when exploring digital marketing services. Pricing is an essential part of your decision-making process, so it should be one of the preeminent questions you ask during the initial conversations. Remember, you get what you pay for, and as tempting as a "cheap," SEO agency may be, you don't want to sign up for the quick fix sort. Your brand is personal, and the SEO process shouldn't be any less than that.
What do SEO successes look like?
Simply put, this is what you'd be experiencing.
( Source )
Don’t do it, don’t fall for:
For those that don't know what the term black-hat means, it is the ultimate backfire method. In essence, this would be cheap, and would show quicker results at first until Google blocks and blacklists your site. Black-hat agencies go by the keyword stuffing and creating dummy websites for link building which is extremely short-lived, and absolute taboo.
Free website constructors.
A lot of agencies offer to build you your website, and in reality own your site - which means, if you leave their agency, you could very well risk leaving without the site or even worse...be stuck with an inefficient one.
Hazed details of monitoring tools.
If your SEO agency is not monitoring brand mentions, good or bad, you can be sure that this service isn't as personal as they'd like for you to believe. Always ask an agency of their monitoring tools beforehand.
Reservations on sharing strategies.
The outreach targets and reports are essential as the time progresses. If an agency isn't willing to share these with you in advance, it would be safe to assume that they might be planning to cover up their less than honourable methods. The same would apply for their planned campaign strategy for your brand.
Paid > Organic
Lastly, if an agency only requests an elevating of funds during the weekly/monthly catch-ups to grow engagement/traffic or boost visibility, without any initiative on improvising resources, the website (i.e. with blogs, socials, support etc) or strategies, you know you've ended up at the wrong locality. Be sure to evaluate if your SEO agency is helping, or hurting you.
Tips from the gurus
- Use SEO free tools. Yes, you read that right. There's always Google Analytics that can be used to find what search queries and landing pages are performing (or not). Once you have an initial understanding of where your site stands, you'll have clarity on what needs to be worked on, and how.
- Commit to an agency for a minimum of six months to measure the traffic, visibility and growth. Don't just work on SEO tools, but instead apply a mixed combination of PPC along with organic to hit that sweet spot of balance.
- Ask for a workflow before signing up. If it's a retainer model that you've gotten the agency on, ensure you have a short-term and long-term plan in place to be fully aligned in the direction the agency is taking.
- Focus on creating quality content, while maintaining the frequency of releasing them.
Work With An Expert
Now that you know exactly what goes into the SEO formula, you can begin shortlisting the perfect custodian to partner with.
At Blue Beetle, our expert team of marketers has over 16 years of experience designing personalised SEO strategies for clients in a variety of industries. We understand what is required to execute a highly effective SEO campaign, and we’d love to come to your aid.