You own a small local business and you’ve decided you need to grow your online presence. So, you search for an SEO or marketing agency and the suggested search includes Search for ‘SEO services near me’.
Perhaps your mind is torn between the convenience of a local agency, but potentially lesser experience or using a bigger agency, which is bound to cost more but will be possibly more experienced.
So, what helps you make the choice?
Ultimately an agency with a good reputation and who is willing to work with your business (and that understands your business) should be a good fit regardless of its experience level.
Take a look at the following. While they are generalisations it’s definitely worth checking them out before agreeing to anything or parting with any money.
Does it Rank Well?
Perhaps the most important question is ‘does the agency practise what it preaches?’
Would you take business advice from someone who has no experience of business? Likewise, would you take SEO advice from an agency that doesn’t rank for any important keywords (don’t be fooled by the sales pitch that ‘we’re too busy working for our clients to focus on ourselves’.
When you start the process, it should be one of the first things you look for, and certainly before you’ve signed anything.
If an agency doesn’t rank for the right keywords for itself, it’s probably not going to be much use for your SEO plans either.
Do They Do What You Do?
Something else to look for in an agency is that they have businesses on their books that are similar to yours. This will help you gauge how much experience they have when it comes to working with you.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that if you’re a florist you need other florists. But when it comes to the agency focus, an agency that only has clients in a B2C environment might not be a good fit for your business if you work in a B2B capacity.
In all fields, many small agencies have grown into world leaders thanks to adopting the right approach and having the internal talent to deliver the best, so there’s no reason why a smaller local agency should be discounted. It’s always worth considering this when you hit that ‘SEO services near me’ link. Certainly don’t be afraid without first checking them out.
But, it won’t hurt to get a list of case studies and clients and to see exactly what they’ve done for other companies. The red flag would be if they couldn’t provide you with any examples, similar or otherwise.
Training and Communication
A good agency will talk to you on a regular basis, or at least on a basis that you’ve agreed on beforehand. And there’s a clue in that statement. Any agency, local or national, should be happy to agree terms around how and how often you communicate with each other.
What’s more the agency should also be happy to define what success looks like. Without clear goals you won’t know what’s working and won’t have any means of checking the agency is doing what it promised to get you on board.
In the same vein, the nature of the internet and SEO practises change. A lot. It’s estimated Google makes in excess of 500 algorithm changes every year. And that’s on top of the major updates that get published in the press.
That means your agency must be up to date with the latest changes, training and thinking around what makes a site rank, and what doesn’t. Knowing this is not only crucial for your success, but also means your budget can be spent in the most efficient way.
Ask yourself… Does the agency have the staffing to manage your account as you want?
Even big agencies don’t work out well all the time, regardless of their talent and experience. If you’re a smaller business, you might find yourself getting put on the back burner for a bigger client. And that’s no good even if your agency is the biggest and the best.
A smaller agency with the right attitude and approach, one that fits your business goals, can be far better than a bigger agency where you’re just a number.
Ask the right questions before you choose, then make your choice based on which one you think best fits your needs. It’s that easy… ?
While some traditional marketing methods may be becoming obsolete, SEO is here to stay in 2021. Whether you invested in SEO early or are just getting started, it can still be a major driver of traffic and leads to your website.
So, the short answer is that you need SEO services because they will help send the right signals to search engines, and push your website up the list of results into the top spot.
SEO is not dead, it’s just changing. Sure, click-through rates are going down and Google keeps adjusting its algorithm but that’s to be expected. Google has made it so you can easily target your ideal customer through SEO or paid ads. It used to be much more difficult before they came along.