Find The Perfect Agency For Your Business Using These Simple Steps
Partnering with an SEO agency is a major undertaking for any business. You need to trust the people your working with as they’ll have access to the inner workings of your business (if they’re serious about helping you, this is a must), potentially have access to your budget and, crucially, they’ll be managing your organic, online presence.
Working with a good SEO agency can work miracles for your business, bringing in major leads and leaving you free to run the bits of the business you love. That said, getting it wrong can be a major headache at best, with wasted budgets, wasted time and in extreme cases, long term damage to your organic rankings.
Now we’re not saying the SEO world is full of cowboys, there are some major players out there, with well earned reputations. There’s also plenty of smaller, independent agencies that will always go that extra mile to help get your business front and centre (we’d like to include ourselves in that list), but it still pays to do your research.
But what’s the best way to find a decent, reputable agency? Here’s a few bits of prior research and avenues you can use, to help you find the perfect SEO agency for your business…
Ask Your Colleagues
SEO is just like any other service, so your friends, family and colleagues will be a good place to start if you’re looking for honest advice and recommendations.
Speak to your own colleagues, people you work with in other industries and even your own clients to unearth some gems.
Hit The Forums
Local forums are a great place to look if you’re considering hiring an agency for your SEO. We love the fact that forums can be relatively anonymous, meaning users can speak their mind with impunity.
Sure, you might get the odd extreme comment, but if you want to find out the lowdown on a local agency, warts and all, forums are the place to go.
If you’re looking for an agency in Sheffield, we’d recommend asking on Sheffield Forum, which has it’s own business area, as well as plenty of groups for hobbies and interests. It’s entertaining if nothing else!
(Or, you could go with us of course, we’re a lovely lot. Find out about our Search Engine Optimisation services)
Check Their Credentials
Whilst it’s not the be all and end all, membership is often a good indicator that you’re dealing with a serious business, that’s happy to be scrutinised for it’s practices.
Find out what memberships, affiliations or groups your agency is part of, to help give you that extra peace of mind before you take the plunge.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
SEO is a numbers game, if an agency can’t prove it’s results, using past clients, stay well clear.
Before you go ahead and sign a contract with any agency, make sure you’ve got some rock solid proof they know what they’re doing and they practice what they preach (unfortunately there are a few smooth talkers out there who don’t deliver).
Ask your chosen agency or shortlisted choices to offer up a couple of case studies, which showcase their work. Remember, you’re looking for a company you can work with long term, so don’t just jump on the agency with the best figures, take into account their working practices and approach to clients; these are key to building a long term, trusted partnership which will give you those important, sustainable results.
It’s nice to work with companies that have gravitas, but don’t be put off by agencies that work with smaller clients. Sure, household names are impressive and all, but some smaller SEO teams will go that extra mile to get results, especially if their business really depends upon it! Before you commit, ask your chosen agencies who will manage your account and how they deliver their work.
It also pays to keep in mind, slick operations are all well and good, but you’ll be paying for the extra little touches here and there. There’s nothing wrong with that, just be sure you know exactly what you’re looking for in an agency.
Speak To Their Clients
It may seem a little skeptical, but don’t just take the agency’s word as gospel! If possible, approach some of their existing clients for a brief review; after all, you’ll be making a big commitment so it pays to do that extra research.
Again, try not to be wooed by big names and flashy clients; ask to speak to clients that fit your model and turnover!
If you’re working with a reputable and responsible agency, they won’t take you on as a client if they already manage SEO for a similar business; making it pretty pointless to look to the top ranking businesses and their agencies within your sector.
That said, it does pay to do a few Google searches on other industry sectors. For instance, if you’re a Plasterer in Leeds, you could make a record of the top ranking sites for ‘Plumber in Leeds’, ‘Plasterer in Sheffield’, ‘Tiler in Leeds’, that sort of thing.
Once you have a list of the companies ranking on Googles first page you have a couple of options.
Firstly, you could approach these companies directly and ask them who manages their SEO. You’ll find that a few are pretty happy to help, but some will be a little weary and probably won’t want to share that sort of information.
If you’re struggling to get some answers, don’t worry.
A lot of agencies build websites too (us included, we even have transperent pricing online for our WordPress websites) and often leave their site link in the footer of their work, try looking at the bottom of each homepage for these!
You could also search the business name, including the term ‘SEO’, to potentially through up some case studies, written by the agency you’re looking for.
The Wrap Up
Although the above suggestions are all pretty simple, it does pay to keep them in mind. Remember, taking on an agency to manage your organic rankings should be a big undertaking, so a little research pre-commitment is definitely worth doing.
Most SEO agencies will be happy to help you make a decision, providing client testimonials and results before you commit, so it really shouldn’t be too stressfull, any that don’t, keep well away from.
Oh and, as always, don’t forget about us! We’re super friendly, transparent and live and breathe our clients. Don’t believe us? Just ask.
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