How to choose your SEO agency?

Business managers, marketing managers or webmasters, you want to improve the visibility of your website and increase your ROI but you don’t know which SEO agency you want to work with?

Choosing the right SEO agency to be in charge of the referencing of your showcase website or your e-commerce is a key element of your visibility, and therefore of your activity. So, what criteria should you use to find the right agency? How to get an idea of its expertise? What are my needs? What will a professional agency never offer you?

Before looking for a good SEO agency

Learn more about SEO

Before embarking on the assiduous search for an SEO company, it is important that you become familiar with the different facets of this profession. Find out beforehand about the different techniques for optimising a website from the gurus of the profession. Take a look at the Google “guidelines”. These offer a wealth of information on the best practices to apply to a website, these principles are of course issued by Google itself, world leader in the search engine market and which centralizes 90% of web requests.

Introspective study of your case

Asking the right questions also means knowing how to analyze your needs, define your objectives and understand the issues related to your site. Is it in the process of being created? Are you planning an imminent redesign? Ask for quotes on the Internet to find out the rates of the various professionals in the sector and compare offers. Having done some serious research at the outset, you will be able to understand more about what is behind the services offered by the agencies you have contacted.

How to ensure professionalism from an SEO agency?

In 2019, there are many SEO agencies or specialized consultants on the market. Admittedly, seen from the outside, it may seem difficult to recognize an SEO expert from a charlatan. However, there are ways to identify a quality company that will do a good job for you and your site.

Before you engage with any SEO agency, including ours, it is essential :

  • to test your own search engine positioning;
  • to check its notoriety (e-reputation);
  • to check the references it provides on its own site;
  • make sure it is in good financial health;
  • to have an interview on the premises, by phone or even via Skype.

All of this information is a set of clues that will allow you to form your own opinion and serenely select the right professional.

Test the positioning of your future agency

You wish to entrust your visibility on the internet to a web agency? It is wise to check if it is well positioned on the keywords directly related to its activity in search engines.

Indeed, if it is not able to appear in the best Google results, will it manage to do so for your company?

Checking the reputation of a team of SEOs

The online notoriety of any structure is a good indicator of its expertise, particularly in the field of natural referencing.

To test its e-reputation, you can check whether it :

  • has a company blog on which it shares its experience;
  • participates in or sponsors events;
  • is active and monitored on social networks.

Note that an absence of activity is not necessarily a bad signal, at least for freelancers. This is less true for agencies.

Testing customer references

It is quite normal for an SEO agency to provide a number of references in order to demonstrate its know-how and the results obtained. If this is not the case, you may very well ask them to provide you with a few references.

Do not hesitate to contact some of the entrepreneurs mentioned to get direct feedback on the quality of their services, support and customer relations.

Always keep a certain distance from all the testimonials. Some clients are sometimes more difficult to manage than others, regardless of the agency.

Check the financial health of your future partner

Checking the financial health of your future web agency is a much more important step than it seems. Indeed, a natural SEO service takes place over several months, or even several years.

You are thus committing yourself to a new partner for a certain period of time. It is therefore essential to check the solidity of the latter so that you do not find yourself without a service provider overnight and lose the investments already made.

With an interview with the agency

Final step with the selected agency(ies), have an interview. If you are interested in an agency located near your premises, you can arrange an appointment at their offices or yours. You can just as easily save time and opt for an exchange by phone or even by Skype.

Therefore, listen carefully to what your contact offers you:

  • Does he or she ask about your sector of activity and your structure?
  • Does he or she listen to your expectations?
  • Is he or she able to carry out a quick analysis of your site and identify areas for improvement?
  • Does he or she present you with references in your sector of activity? Examples of results?
  • What tools does it offer you to evaluate the results of its services?
  • etc…

If you miss any technical points or language elements during the conversation, ask for clarification. This will allow you to identify the skills of the person you are talking to and whether they are able to explain things to you in a simple and accessible way.

Finally, ask for a free quote and, if necessary, ask for an explanation.

After researching potential agencies

Objective analysis of potential candidates

The next step is to investigate and form an opinion about the agencies. Evaluate the reputation of your future partner. They are SEO professionals. Therefore, they must be positioned on keywords related to their activity. Type “SEO quote”, “SEO agency”, “natural SEO agency” to get an idea of the companies that litter the market, at least those who manage to position themselves on competitive keywords in their field of activity.

If you would like to have an indication of the financial health of an SEO agency, you can go to www.societe.com and enter the name of the manager or company in the search field. In the “Financial Analysis” tab, you will be able to access important data about a company such as its turnover or net income.

You can perform this search for each of the companies that you have put in competition.

interview with the agency

Final step with the selected agency(ies), have an interview. If you are interested in an agency located near your premises, you can arrange an appointment at their offices or yours. You can just as easily save time and opt for an exchange by phone or even by Skype.

Therefore, listen carefully to what your contact offers you:

  • Does he or she ask about your sector of activity and your structure?
  • Does he or she listen to your expectations?
  • Is he or she able to carry out a quick analysis of your site and identify areas for improvement?
  • Does he or she present you with references in your sector of activity? Examples of results?
  • What tools does it offer you to evaluate the results of its services?
  • etc…

If you miss any technical points or language elements during the conversation, ask for clarification. This will allow you to identify the skills of the person you are talking to and whether they are able to explain things to you in a simple and accessible way.

Finally, ask for a free quote and, if necessary, ask for an explanation.

In short, ask yourself a lot of questions, which should give you an indication of the integrity of your interviewer. A good SEO is generally based on a long-lasting relationship and trust between the SEO agency and the client. The choice of service provider is therefore not to be neglected if you do not want to be quickly disappointed and disillusioned with natural SEO.

What a good agency never offers

In the jungle of SEO agencies, you will find all types of speeches. Some promise you Google’s first place in just a few weeks, while others, much more cautious, remain very vague about getting results.

If it is essential to ensure the professionalism of an agency, it is just as important to know how to distinguish passionate SEOs from those who promise mountains and wonders. Here are a few answers.

Promises that are too tempting

Before the deployment of Google updates such as Panda and Penguin, massive external link creation (netlinking) alone was enough to propel almost any site to the front page of this search engine.

These practices are now a thing of the past. In addition to being inefficient, they are dangerous because they are sanctioned by search engines. However, some unscrupulous people continue to use them in spite of everything, with no regard for the consequences for their clients.

Today, thousands of parameters influence the positioning of a site. If we know a few of them, Google is careful not to reveal the secrets of its algorithm. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is therefore an inexact science, which requires a lot of expertise and patience to achieve a convincing result and, indeed, to have a significant return on investment.

Some promises are therefore untenable, so it is wise not to be tempted by the siren song:

  • a doubling of traffic in a very short period of time;
  • Google’s first place in a few weeks on competitive queries;
  • referencing campaigns without any intervention on your site (you must therefore understand that it is only netlinking);
  • an explosion of your turnover: beware, good positioning does not necessarily rhyme with conversion!

The use of black hat techniques

The “black hat” techniques, literally “black hat” techniques, aim to position a site on competitive queries in a very short time. To achieve this, they contravene Google’s best practice guidelines.

Like a straw fire, this allows for a very fast result, but it is also ephemeral. Google quickly discovers the deception and punishes the offending site, which is simply excluded from the search results.

Some examples of black hat practices:

  • buying hundreds of links from low quality, non-themed sites;
  • spammy comments on foreign forums that have nothing to do with the theme of the site.
  • use of programs to generate hundreds of pages of no interest to the user;
  • use of content spinning;
  • mass publication of content with no added value for the user in order to integrate keywords.

Black hat therefore runs counter to good SEO practices, which offers a slower but lasting result without risk for your site.

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