How to choose the right SEO agency - Business Works
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How to choose the right SEO agency

Keredy Andrews of Punch Communications W hen companies have very little knowledge about a specific business area, such as marketing or PR, it can be difficult for them to know how best to identify an agency or consultant that can provide the necessary expertise. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) sounds rather techy, but it is important to understand what it's all about. Keredy Andrews of Punch Communications offers some pointers and advice on how best to approach the problem.

Finding the right SEO agency is no different. It can be tricky to choose from among the many SEO agencies out there to find. However, the problem lies in how well they are suited to your SEO needs and how can you be sure the agency will deliver, providing satisfactory ROI.

Before appointing any third party to handle your SEO campaigns, consider the following points:

1. Set goals

Before making any big appointment decision, it is essential to set out what you want to achieve. Setting goals from the outset makes it easier to select an agency as their proposal should outline a campaign and activity schedule based on your requirements. However, be prepared to discuss your goals and rationale in some depth with the agency as they must be realistic; if you insist on gaining visibility for tens of keywords in a just a month, youíll probably be disappointed, lose faith in the agency and end up going through the recruitment process again.

2. Be aware of unrealistic promises

Any company trying to sell their services will talk very positively about what they can achieve and, of course, this is true of any industry. However, when choosing an SEO agency, be wary when they promise to get your site to a certain position within a certain timeframe. SEO often comprises both short and long-term activities and as search engines deliver results pages based on hundreds of factors, nobody can make this guarantee. Therefore, avoid agencies that make such unrealistic and outlandish claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Always meet with them face to face

While a company can have a professional looking website, sound great over the phone and respond quickly to e-mails, it is always a good idea to meet face to face. Requesting to meet some of the people you are going to be working with will give you a better feeling about the company and help to build an early rapport. During this time you can cover and negotiate the terms of the contract, establish exactly what services the agency will provide and set key performance indicators.

4. Establish what the agency can provide

Right from the start it is essential to know what the agency can and will provide as part of their SEO services. For example, is the fee based on monthly hours, meaning activities can flexible to your requirements or are services, such as providing fresh webpage copy text something that would need to be outsourced at additional cost? Also, at this point it is essential to understand how the agency will keep you up-to-date with any progress. They will most likely provide regular reports, but make sure they are easy to understand and digest, allowing the information to be shared with other stakeholders.

5. Make sure they are up-to-date with the latest trends

Google is in the habit of frequently changing its algorithms in order for it to deliver the most relevant and useful search results, but this means SEO agencies have to constantly be on their toes. Therefore, when choosing an SEO agency, itís always good practice to do a little research into the latest updates, for example regarding Google Panda and Penguin, then ask how they foresee various factors affecting their future campaigns. If they answer without hesitation and can clearly explain any recent industry changes, it is likely the agency has pre-planned and is well equipped to deal with resultant issues. Furthermore, ask for specific examples of how they have solved other companiesí SEO problems.

6. Always look into their past clients

A good indication of what to expect from an agency is their past clients. Ask the SEO companies for further information about their range of clients, what work was undertaken and what keywords they focused on. This will allow you to check where they are positioned in search engines yourself and review their on and off-site copywriting ability. Always ask for past success stories and how they have helped similar companies of a similar size and industry. Again, if they make outlandish claims that canít be backed up, then beware.



Keredy Andrews is an account director at Punch Communications.



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