It’s no secret that search engine rankings are make or break for the growth of modern businesses. In fact, in 2015 alone, 86% of Australians visited Google at least once a month. That number has only grown since then, and customers now expect businesses to be discoverable online. Therefore, more SMEs have been engaging SEO agencies to help improve their search engine rankings. But how do you tell the difference between an SEO agency that’s all talk, and one that will actually help grow your business? Today, we’re sharing some questions you can ask them to find out.
#1: What is your strategy for improving my rankings?
The right agency will be transparent on their SEO services. This should all be outlined in a proposal that also includes an audit of your current website. A good SEO strategy should include:
- Technical SEO, which looks at improving search engine indexing
- On-page SEO, which refers to the optimisation of the content on the site, including page content and meta tags
- Off-page SEO, which involves generating inbound links and raising awareness about your website (usually via blogs or social media).
#2: Can you guarantee a rank one position for my website?
Any SEO agency that answers “yes” to this question should be avoided like the plague. No one has the power to guarantee rank one positions, even if the target keyword is feasible. Search engine algorithms are always changing. No one can predict what may be penalised in the future. And anyone that claims to guarantee rank one results is probably just trying to grab your attention (and your money).
#3: What kind of SEO agency are you?
Some SEO agencies will outsource certain tasks, and others will be all in-house. The best kind of agency you can engage is one that offers both web design and SEO. Not only is this more harmonious and better for your ranking, but it also means you’ll find it easier to communicate changes.
#4: Can you tell me about your current and past clients?
Asking for case studies is a great way to see what the SEO agency has been able to do for other businesses. It’s also a good way to figure out how long their clients typically stay with them. Look for providers that have a few longstanding clients; this will indicate that they care about long-term results, not short-term ploys.
#5: What is your process for implementing changes to my website?
Your SEO provider should have a clear implementation process that involves you at every step of the way. If they do not tell you about key changes as they’re happening, you could be left with a butchered website and damaged rankings long after the provider is gone.
#6: Do you follow Google’s best practices?
If there’s any question on the list you need to pinpoint the answer to, it’s this one. Following search engine best practices is absolutely crucial for the growth and long-term success of SEO, because it prevents your website from being penalised. If your SEO provider says “no” to this question, beware: they’re probably using black-hat SEO techniques. Websites they work on will eventually be penalised (and possibly removed) for not abiding by the rules.
#7: How frequently do you provide SEO reports?
This will differ between agencies, however, most providers tend to report at least once a month. Reports usually include changes in key metrics (such as rankings, conversions and traffic), so it’s important to receive them on a regular monthly basis to track your return on investment.
#8: Have you had proven results in improving local search results?
Local search results are important for everyone: from small to medium businesses, to large enterprises. If you want your business to be discoverable to potential customers in your area, it’s important your next SEO provider has proven success with this. Common local SEO techniques include:
- Optimising and updating NAP data (name, address phone number) on all relevant online profiles and directories
- Improving your Google My Business listing
- Creating a location-based keyword strategy for website content and meta tags.
#9: When can I expect to see results?
There is no magical “instant SEO” strategy that will guarantee results in 2 weeks. Most SEO strategies take at least six months to grow, depending on how competitive your industry is. However, if you’re willing to play the long game for top results, then it pays to go with a provider that is realistic about timeframes.
Choose an SEO agency that has all the right answers
AWD Digital is a Melbourne-based digital agency that specialises in growing small to medium businesses online. We’re a team of digital strategists, SEO specialists and creatives. We’re strictly a best-practice-only agency. And we build SEO along with digital marketing, branding and web design for a holistic approach that gets proven results for our clients.