Finding an SEO Agency: Dos and Don’ts
There are thousands of SEO providers in every corner of the internet. And out of that thousand, 999 are fraudsters, flimflam men, and hucksters. So, what can a business owner do it ensure that you get professional SEO service instead of a shady scammer?
Today, we look at the dos and don’ts of hiring an SEO agency so that you don’t get burned. By the end, you’ll be an expert at spotting the fake claims and techniques of the shadiest SEO providers.
Here’s the easy answer: you’ve already found a top-notch SEO provider in Fusion Group USA. But don’t take my word for it (that’s one of the “Don’ts” we’ll talk about below – keep reading and decide for yourself!
SEO and marketers are notorious for saying whatever they need to in the chase for clients. So, don’t listen to us when we’re in sales mode. Do the research, dig deep, and find the right agency for you.
Finding the Right SEO Provider
Before you even start down the path of choosing an SEO provider, you should know what you are looking for. There are three levels of SEO providers:
- In-house: An employee or team of employees that focus 100% of their efforts on optimizing your web properties. This is great if you have the budget, but that’s just not always practical.
- Freelancer: A individual who will fit you in somewhere between their day job, family life, and ten other clients. Freelancers are like a box of chocolates. You might get a salted caramel, or you might get a fruit nougat.
- Agency: A business that provides SEO and/or other marketing services full-time. Hiring an agency provides the most flexibility and (some) protection against scammers.
Finding an SEO Agency Don’ts
Finding things not to do is easier than giving constructive advice. That’s because there are so many potential pitfalls when hiring an SEO agency. But don’t worry, I’ll confine myself to the top three ways that people go wrong when hiring an SEO provider.
Don’t Trust Google Results
This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth. Rand Fishkin of Moz fame makes the case better than anyone when he says, “What happens is most of the very good companies, the ones that are in high demand, the ones that do consistently great work and get great referrals, they don’t actually need to rank here. They’re overwhelmed with clients all the time because their clients refer them to people and lots of people in their network refer folks to them.”
Busy SEO agencies don’t spend all day optimizing their own site for every imaginable location keyword. That doesn’t mean that their website will be a hot mess, just that they might not be in the top three when you do a Google search.
Don’t Buy Guarantees
Shady SEO salespeople love to talk about guarantees.
“Get the no. 1 spot overnight!” They say.
“Top 3 for twenty keywords guaranteed!” They promise.
“Lies.” We say.
Here’s the hard truth about SEO guarantees: they’re generally not worth the paper they are printed on. If an SEO provider knew how a shortcut to number one ranking, they’d be getting millions of dollars from Wal-Mart, not charging $500 a month to twenty local businesses.
That’s not to say all guarantees are bad. We guarantee results – but they are for agreed upon keywords that we research and determine are achievable within budget. When hiring an SEO agency, expect results but don’t buy the guarantee.
Don’t Go with Questionable Tactics
As humans, we all love a good shortcut. But for SEO, there are no ways to get around the long, slow slog of hard work. If your SEO agency has a ‘magic bullet’ for overnight success, you should run in the other direction.
There are ways to see results quickly, but the will vanish even quicker when Google slaps your website with a penalty.
Finding an SEO Agency Dos
Finding a bad SEO agency is much easier than finding a good one. But we still have a few positive pieces of advice for finding the right SEO provider for your business. You can use the don’t listed above to weed out the frauds and fakes, then use the dos below to narrow down your remaining contenders.
Do Ask Your Network for References
Most business owners have something of a network of other people in the same role. Before you go running off to scour Google search results, consider asking for references from the people in your network.
If nobody in your network has any (good) experiences with SEO providers, then it is time to turn to more impersonal options like Google or LinkedIn.
Do Find a Good Culture Fit
Even among honest, professional SEO agencies, not every one of them is right for your business. You should put in the work to make sure that the company you hire is a good culture fit. When considering the culture fit dig into their:
- Contract structure: This will tell you a lot about a company. Are there performance guarantees? What is the term? How are disputes handled?
- How they report results: Do you want the nitty-gritty details or just a bird’s eye view? What you expect in data will shape how you get along with your SEO agency.
- How they view the client-agency relationship: Is it a partnership? A dictatorship? How much effort will be expected from you?
Do Ask Lots of Questions
Good SEO providers aren’t afraid of client questions. In fact, we love them! An educated and engaged client is always better to work with than the ones who breeze through and wonder why they don’t see results in the first three weeks.
Any SEO agency that doesn’t want to answer your questions probably doesn’t know the answers. So, if they act like you are inconveniencing them with your queries, then you should run away as fast as you can.
Hire Us Already
Just kidding. But seriously, we’d love to show you what we can for your SEO efforts. At Fusion Group USA, we’re serious about putting together smart campaigns that meet your goals and your budget.
Contact us today to see if we’re right for you and your business!