Is your SEO agency taking advantage of you?
I’m sure at some point you received a phone call or email from an unknown contact with some variation of this statement:
“We have reviewed your website and you are not showing up on the first page on Google for your keywords. Call me today and we can guarantee you first place.
I certainly see this all the time, as the founder of my own agency. While many reputable companies are legitimately doing a great job of helping their customers, there are also a large number of companies that take advantage of business owners using questionable practices.
To start at the beginning, search engine optimization – or SEO – is defined as “a process of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to a website by achieving high ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine – such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.”
Common practices include updates to on-page factors such as:
- The mobile compatibility of the website;
- Code updates that make the site easier for search engines to read; and
- A review of text (content), images, and off-page factors, such as inbound links to the site and qualified connections to other trusted websites.
If you’re like most businesses today, you contract a service to monitor your website and move you up to the top page of rankings. But how do you know if you’re working with a qualified company or if you’ve hired a hack? Here are some of my best practices:
- Clearly identify what the company will do for you and what the deliverable will be. Set reasonable deadlines, then stick to them.
- Ask them to recommend a list of keywords and explain why those terms were chosen. This will force them to fully understand not only your business, but also your competitors.
- Ask for a plan, or even better an audit. Has your SEO agency identified the main issues and has a plan to fix them? Secure a copy of their analysis and strategy.
- Expect a proposal that includes spot fixes and ongoing efforts. Beware of flat monthly fees for updates, as most projects involve a lot of upfront work and much less effort over time.
- Require a monthly report. This report should include a detailed explanation of the work that was done in the previous month, and the results of that effort. There should also be a recommendation on what needs to be done next to get the desired result and ranking.
- Ask for accessibility. Your SEO team should be available to answer questions and explain report data.
Finally, as with all aspects of business, you get what you pay for. You can’t hire an “expert” at $100 a month and expect them to do anything but take your money. If budget is a concern, hire an experienced company to perform an audit. Instead of paying for ongoing monitoring, review identified issues and work to resolve them. Avoid long-term contracts and monthly fees.
Ultimately, the best way to protect your business from a bad supplier is to set clear goals, ask lots of questions, demand progress reports, verify reviews, and hold the business accountable. , as you would with any other vendor you engage.