Posted at Apr 2, 2019 4:25:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
There's a misconception about what makes the best SEO firms. Business owners think they're hiring a purely technical position. Getting your website to the top of Google isn't a matter of programming or being a tech head, though. Knowledge here helps, but you need an SEO firm that knows how to communicate first and foremost. They need to know market targeting, visual design, effective communication, and social media management before they even lay hand to tool.
Think about it this way: if you only could hire two positions, you'd do much better to hire a good writer and a layout editor than a pair of programmers. Getting your website to the top of Google isn't a secret tech exploit. It takes sustained work in developing content that Google keys on and prioritizes. Here's how to identify the best SEO firms in your interview process:
1. Are They Interested in Your Business?
This might seem like an old-fashioned priority for such a tech-heavy era. Yet SEO focuses heavily on content production. Google can't key off of SEO if there isn't content to feature that SEO in the first place. If you get to the top of Google with that SEO and customers click through to your website, the content still needs to be valuable and interesting in order to convince customers to explore more.
A firm that's developing content and tying it into SEO needs to be producing content that makes your target demographics interested in buying. If the firm you're working with doesn't find it interesting, your potential customers won't either. A firm is like a salesperson. If they aren't curious, the customer never will be. Try asking:
How will they passionately sell your product or services?
How will they target customers?
What part of customers' interest do they prioritize?
Where do they plan to focus on sharing content and marketing?
How does that stand out from what your competitors are doing?
2. Experience is a Must
The best SEO firms often specialize in particular industries. They'll have related experience. The more knowledge they've earned marketing for these industries, the more efficiently they can boil that knowledge down for customers to understand.
A shocking number of businesses do not thoroughly check the references provided to them by marketing firms. Make those calls – someone else's experience with a firm can give you more information than any other single step of the hiring process.
You need to know what the working experience was like, where that firm offered undeniable strengths, where they were weaker and needed to improve, if they delivered work regularly, and whether they improved the level of content on their site. More than anything else, you need to know what effect it had. Did the work on SEO produce an improvement in their Google rankings?
3. Get a Search Audit...
A search audit asks the firm to assess your site and its search engine rankings. This should contain findings on issues that hold the site back on rankings and how these issues can be solved.
It should also contain references that source evidence that back up these suggested solutions, as well as a list of any unique limitations of your site that may restrict other potential solutions.
Finally, a search audit will include a strategic plan for the search firm's recommendations. This will list goals and costs for implementing each step. These timelines take months – SEO often takes at least four months for its impact to start being felt. The advantage of it is that every single piece of content that generates SEO hits is an asset – it will continue to generate SEO hits for as long as you keep it on your site.
4. ...and a Technical Audit
A technical audit is more simple and is often done in conjunction with your search audit. This gets into the technical side of your site and greatly expands on the limitations and restrictions in site design that a search audit identifies.
It also includes recommended fixes for each element. These may range from internal links not functioning and common errors to URL issues and server demands. A similar plan of attack is provided here, also listing solutions, as well as cost and schedule for implementation.
These four steps combined give you everything you need to know. Can your SEO advertising firm communicate passionately about your business? Have they done so effectively for others? What is their plan for how to improve traffic by generating content and using SEO? What is their technical plan to ensure your website is optimized to capitalize on increased SEO traffic?