Now more than ever businesses are faced with the increasingly frustrating task of deciding which SEO agency out there to work with. One main reason for this is who to trust. This has become even more difficult now, largely due to the sheer amount agencies and ‘one-man-bands’ there are offering Search Engine Optimisation and Content Marketing. Not only that, often SEO agencies both home and overseas, are offering either a ‘knock-down’ priced service, GUARANTEEING to ‘get you to the top of Google’ (other search engines are available). Or even sometimes specifying the search terms they will be targeting and offering a ‘NO WIN, NO FEE’ service or bonus payments for keywords they are successful with. As any ethical agency worth their salt knows, making this sort of a claim is neither wise nor, more to the point, fair on the client and their expectations.
Quick Fixes with long-lasting effects.
Quick fixes can harm future rankings and create even larger and more challenging mountains to climb, with damaging, long-lasting effects. We know this as we have seen it in the campaigns we have taken over and had to help repair. So, being fortunate enough in having this sort of insight many businesses in the market don’t have, we at Affinity i-marketing thought that we would put together a checklist of what to look for in your new ‘relationship’ with the (Mr/Mrs) right agency.
Who actually is the agency, do they have a good/bad reputation? What size are they and do they have the resources to manage what you are looking to achieve, or will they have to outsource any of this? Have they won any awards of any significance? Are there any reviews online (good or bad) referring to them? Look at the bios of the people in charge, as well as the account managers etc. See what experience they have and what they could potentially bring to the table.
When was the agency/business founded? Have they been in operation for at least a few years or have they, at the very least, got a couple of years’ SEO experience, minimum. It may be important to you to find an agency with experience relevant to your sector. Equally though, a good agency is able to be versatile in terms of the verticals they work in. For instance, if they haven’t yet worked in that specific, sometimes niche sector, they will make it their mission to learn and understand via careful and considered research and analysis, ultimately and hopefully proving this in the final pitch.
What have they done for their existing and past clients? Look at their portfolio and list of services and achievements. Very few credible marketing agencies, if any, will hide their client list and most will be proud of what they have achieved!
What do the existing clients say about them? Look at testimonials and it doesn’t hurt to ask the agency for a recommendation from the existing client list. Speaking to an existing client will give a good insight into the agency’s claims.
How do they go about achieving the results and how do they measure performance? What do they talk about in terms of methods etc? Look at their blog articles, infographics, social media posts, for a lot of marketing agencies their Twitter channel typically being the ‘preferred social channel’.
Even better than this, if you’ve looked at the client list, have a look at where they are for the relevant key terms. Be sure that they are actually managing the SEO for that client as it may actually be another marketing service they look after them for.
Where are they based? It doesn’t make a difference if a client is at the end of the road or the other end of the country, you should be able to meet up and introduce yourselves, the old fashioned way, especially if you specifically request it. Being available at the other end of the phone or computer is all well and good, however, if you are a face-to-face sort of person, then this is what you should get.
Why is this digital marketing/SEO agency the right fit for you? Even if all the boxes are ticked, it’s important you like them and feel you could work with them and trust them. After all, every relationship should be built on trust from the outset.