How to choose an SEO agency

Picking the right SEO agency can be difficult. There are so many different companies out there, not to mention freelancers. With so much misinformation, outdated techniques and DIY blogs available you could be in danger of signing up to a 12-month project that leads to little or no results.

A few years ago, Google released a video on what to look for in an SEO agency and the considerations you should take. This video was created by Maile Ohye, who has worked at Google for over a decade. We’ve gone through and pulled out a few key points to consider (and maybe even convince you Fanatic is the best choice for your business).

“A successful SEO also looks to improve the entire searcher experience from search results to clicking on your website and potentially converting.”

This is crucial! You don’t want to pick an SEO agency who are only interested in increasing the number of users to your website, you want to select one that will be invested in your site’s success. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) is at the heart of everything we do for our clients and is something every business needs to consider. What is a user doing once they enter your site? Are they navigating to a valuable section or submitting an enquiry? If not, why not? 

“Good SEO will recommend best practices for a search-friendly site, from basic things like descriptive page titles for a blog or small business to more complex things like language markup for a multilingual global site”

SEO is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Factors such as site size and audience need to be considered. Make sure your agency has taken the time to consider your business needs and what goals you want to achieve.

“In most cases, the SEO will need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see the potential benefit”

This is an extremely important point and one to make sure you’re happy with before investing in SEO support. Depending on your industry, ranking well on Google is a hugely competitive undertaking. With dozens of ranking factors to consider and regular algorithm updates, it can take a number of months to start to see results. We let our clients know that they might begin to see some results within 3 months when search engines have had an opportunity to index the new changes and update the site’s standing. 

Many of your competitors may have been following best practice SEO for years, so your new agency will need to find the best ways to outperform them – not to mention the new competition. It is estimated that approximately 380 new websites are created every minute!

“One basic rule is that in a majority of cases doing what’s good for SEO is also doing what’s good for your online customers: things like having a mobile-friendly website, good navigation and building a great brand”

This point has become more important recently as Google’s Web Vitals update scheduled for 2021 focuses on a good UX (user experience). So good SEO is always user-centric. When considering your website content, for example, you need to consider what problem the user has, how you can solve that and even what they expect that solution to look like (long-form content, media-heavy, a download, infographic or video).

Taking the UX into account can lead to higher engagement rates, better time-on-page, a lower bounce rate and of course more enquiries and sales. A good SEO agency will use the data they have available to understand how users interact with your site. Analytics offers a good insight with the Navigation view, Search Console can highlight which pages rank for which keywords and Heatmaps can track users’ scrolling and clicks. 

“A good SEO doesn’t focus only on search engine ranking but how they can help your business”

Simply working with you to optimise your website for search engines is not enough, and in the long term will not work.

“It’s difficult to do good SEO without knowing about a business’s goals, their customers and other existing marketing efforts. SEO should complement your existing work… a good SEO should feel like someone you can work with, learn from, experiment with and who generally cares about you and your business. Not just getting your site the highest rank as ultimately those techniques rarely last long if they work at all”

You want your SEO agency to feel like an extension of your team. People you can turn to with questions and who will even say no to your ideas. Our digital marketing team pride themselves on taking this approach with our clients. We will always be open and honest about our work, and if we don’t believe in a project we will never accept money to do it.

If your SEO agency doesn’t understand your business then they can’t optimise your site for the right type of users. Audience profiling, search intent and keyword research are key to success but it varies between industries and businesses. If you write an article or create a content hub for a search intent that doesn’t match your product or service then that jump in traffic is meaningless. 

Our approach at Fanatic is to get a real understanding of our client’s business, and when we begin work with a new client we will always ask what the goal (or valuable action) is for you. This can vary significantly between clients, from a job application or event enquiry to simply downloading a document or accessing a resource. Without knowing the valuable destination, it’s impossible to create a clear pathway.

“If the SEO doesn’t seem interested in learning about your business from a holistic standpoint look elsewhere…”

You can watch the full video here