Knowing when and if you are in need for outside help and how to hire the best company or consultant could help you save a small fortune.
While SEO is nothing you should fear, some entrepreneurs believe it’s too technical and complicated so they prefer to outsource it. In the case of startups, they usually do not have the resources, know-how and time to implement a SEO strategy that will bring them a return on their investment. Still, while they may not be familiar with SEO, they are aware that having a basic understanding of it could benefit their company beyond belief.
So where should you start?
It’s quite simple, actually. First off you will need to set some goals, see the exact budget of your business and its capacity. This is the best way to see whether your company is truly able to handle the SEO part or if you should outsource it. Should your company not possess the necessary resources to handle it internally, maybe it’s time to pay a closer look at a consultant or an agency that can provide you with the help you so desperately need.
Still, before you go off and choose the first SEO agency that pops up after a Google search, you need to be extremely careful when you choose a SEO agency. While a lot of such agencies promise that your company will be on the first page of Google’s results, you need to know that guaranteeing this to a company is like guaranteeing to a person that you will sell them the lottery numbers for next week. In both cases, it just won’t and can’t happen.
Trustworthy SEO agencies should always have a solid reputation. And this doesn’t come easy because in order to achieve it, they will have had quite a lot of satisfied clients. Thus, you should probably make a point of calling and asking for references. Another easy and fast way of checking for an agency’s reputation is by checking their social media reputation. So make sure to check their Twitter or Facebook profile to see their testimonials or comments on the page. Remember that an agency with a solid reputation needs to demonstrate past achievements.
Also, you should choose an agency that has previously dealt with businesses similar to yours in terms of profile and size. Afterward set up a meeting, where you can discuss exactly what your goals are and ensure you are able to understand the changes they will make to your company’s website. Make a point out of asking them about their previous experience with other clients, their achievements and how they think they are going to improve your company’s SEO. If you’re not satisfied and happy with the suggestions the agency offers, just walk away.
Another key thing you should remember when looking for the best agency is to avoid hiring the cheapest solution. In almost every case, there is a reason why a certain company offers the lowest prices on the market. A good company with solid results and reputation will never sell itself short.
While it may sound weird, SEO is much more than just SEO. When you’re considering outsourcing your SEO, you need to remember that this means you will be outsourcing the internet presence of your business. The search engine optimization process is merely a part of an Internet marketing campaign.
The agency you are about to hire must be able to manage your social media presence, create PPC campaigns, provide email marketing and even recommend technologies that aim to help your company grow. All these actions are the ones responsible for providing you with a return on investment by outsourcing your SEO. Thus, avoid or stop buying spam links.
Before putting your name on the dotted line and paying the money, you will need to reach an agreement with the agency that ensures they will provide the deliverables, whether it’s a list of actions, improved Google rankings, an increase in site traffic, Facebook fans or Twitter followers. By no means should you agree on general terms or non-measurable targets.
Create an action plan. Solid SEO campaigns usually take quite a lot of time. It’s not something that can be done overnight, during a week or a month. Considering the time span of the campaign you will need to create an action plan that includes intermediate targets and milestones.
In order to determine what actions must be taken you should probably ask the agency to do a SEO Audit of your site before the project starts. While this means that you will have to pay quite a pretty penny, the audit could provide you with useful insight which could later be inserted in the action plan.
Remember to monitor the progress on a regular basis. By no means should you do this every couple of hours or daily. Yes, the monitoring process of the SEO campaign is important but doing this once a month is more than enough. And the best way to do this is by asking the agency to provide a monthly report that shows the results they’ve managed to register.
On a long term basis, the SEO budget must be kept low. Although you shouldn’t hire the agency that offers the lowest prices, you shouldn’t pour money into a process that doesn’t bring you ROI. You need to bear in mind that for SEO to work, it will usually take a couple of months or even a couple of years before some good results may come in. For example, if you have a budget of $100.000, instead of spending $20.000 a month for 5 months, you’re better off spending $5.000 a month for 20 months.