Tips for Choosing A Search Engine Optimization Agency

Date: July 9, 2021

Don’t just pick the first SEO firm on your search engine results page.

Most people looking for an SEO agency do the same thing everyone else does—type “SEO agency New York,” “SEO company New Jersey” or “best SEO agency near me” into the search bar.

But because one of the things SEO companies specialize in is getting a site to the top of a search engine results page (SERP), the first company you see may not be the company that’s best for you.

Check out our tips for finding the right fit for you.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing an SEO Agency

Knowing which SEO firm will work for you starts with knowing yourself. If you do the legwork to know exactly what you want, you’ll be more successful finding what you need.

Here are a few questions you should know the answers to.

1. Is What They’re Telling Me Realistic?

Before we get into anything else, let us just say this: 

Claiming to have a secret formula that can magically and quickly get impressive outcomes is an enormous red flag. 

Good SEO management is complex, and the results are worth taking time to get. SEO should be an ongoing process, not a destination. 

If someone is promising immediate improvements in SERP rankings, they’re probably using techniques like unnatural links, keyword stuffing, cloaking, and duplicated content.

These practices may deliver a quick initial bump, but they can also do serious damage to how search engines view your site in the long term.

TL;DR? If someone is promising an SEO miracle, walk away.

2. What Are My Business Goals?

Think about why you want your website to do what you want it to do. And we mean specifically. 

Do you want to increase ad revenue or conversion rates? Do you want visitors to spend more time on your website? Do you need to drive sales? Is Google not indexing your site correctly?

Saying you want to “get more traffic” or “improve domain authority (DA)” or “rank for (fill-in-the-blank) keyword” isn’t good enough. Even if the SEO firm makes all that happen, you probably won’t be happy with the results because you haven’t tied those goals to any business objectives.

TL;DR? Your fundamental business goals should be what drives your SEO strategy, not the other way around.

3. How Much Can I Spend on SEO for my firm?

Setting a budget for SEO work helps you in several ways:

  1. It forces you to prioritize your SEO goals.
  2. It will show you if you have realistic expectations.
  3. It can help you narrow your pool of potential SEO firms.

TL;DR? Knowing your budget helps you know your priorities.

4 Questions to Ask Potential SEO Firms

Once you know what you need, you’ll be ready to ask the right questions at your first meeting with a potential SEO firm.

1. Can You Explain SEO to Me?

You don’t need to understand all the technical ins and outs of SEO, but listen to how the experts you talk to talk to you about SEO. Do they make the basic concepts understandable? Do they use a lot of jargon-y, circular explanations? Do they ask you about your needs and goals, or do they just make grandiose promises?

The SEO firm you hire is going to be a close partner with you, and you need someone who is as interested in your company as you are in theirs.

TL;DR? Pick someone who treats you as an equal partner and doesn’t hide behind SEO-speak.

2. What’s Your Process Like?

After you tell the SEO firm what your goals are, it’s fair to ask them what steps they’d take to accomplish those goals. They may not be able to give you specifics for every situation, but they should be able to outline their standard operating procedures or steps they’ve taken with clients who have similar needs.

An SEO agency that can’t explain how they do their work may not be as organized or as experienced as you need them to be. Or, if they are, they may not have a communication style that matches yours. Either way, it can be another red flag.

TL;DR? Make sure they can tell you how they do what they do.

3. What’s Your Communication Policy?

There’s nothing worse than hiring someone to do a job and having to hound them for information about your project. To make sure everyone is on the same page, ask what their policy is for communicating with their clients. Do they send weekly reports? Schedule regular meetings? Ask for what you need and make sure they understand your expectations.

TL;DR? Set clear expectations for regular communication.

4. Do You Have Specialists at Your Firm?

SEO is more than SERP rankings. Just like doctors specialize in different aspects of medicine, SEO specialists can focus on linking campaigns, keyword use, technical SEO, and local SEO in addition to SERPs. Meeting your goals will likely require work across these SEO functions, so make sure you hire an agency that can cover all those bases. 

TL;DR? Make sure you hire a multifaceted firm so you can run a multifaceted SEO program.

Ask Around

One more tip that can make or break your search: what do their customers say? Ask colleagues in different industries what their experience has been like with their SEO agencies.

Ask the SEO firms for testimonials or contact information from their clients so you can get a feel for their work style and capabilities. Read reviews posted on authoritative directories like Google My Business, Facebook, or Yelp.

Because let’s be honest. You don’t want to hire someone who overpromises or who gets the job but is a nightmare to work with.

Need Help with SEO? We Can Answer Your Questions.

If you are a law firm looking to improve your website’s SEO, 9Sail can help. We have experience in all aspects of SEO and take pride in partnering with our clients to meet their needs. Drop us a line today to get started.