SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy guaranteed to bring results. Since it requires consistent output, most eCommerce and online businesses outsource various SEO-related functions. Partnering with enterprise SEO firms is a crucial decision. It is a significant investment, and also plays a vital role in the success of the business. That’s why any company planning to hire an agency has many things to consider. It’s necessary to ask the right questions, screen all the candidates, and set your expectations according to your desired results.
The right questions to ask when screening enterprise SEO firms
Many companies that have gone through the process of hiring enterprise SEO firms already know what questions to ask. Regardless of the company’s experience with a third-party digital marketing provider, there are pivotal questions to ask which will ensure you hire the best team for your company’s needs.
- First, ask what makes the firm different from others in the industry. This question will help you come up with a list of firms that align with the values of your business. You can also better assess if the services they provide as the best fit for your short-term and long-term marketing goals. By asking the firm to highlight their unique methods and experience in the current SEO trends, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of their practices and SEO expertise.
- Second, ask about how the firm measures performance. SEO is a long-term marketing campaign. Since results aren’t immediate, performance monitoring and measurement are two critical aspects of the process. There are many different metrics used to track progress. Enterprise SEO firms can use a combination of tools, depending on the data they want to measure. Knowing which metrics the firm focuses on will help determine if their process aligns with your goals. Of course, it’s possible to adjust this according to the needs of the client. But, understanding how the agency approaches this process is also important.
- Third, ask how often the firm communicates with their clients. An SEO agency communicates with its client by sending progress reports. These reports contain all the data and information you need to gauge whether the campaign is working. Reports are typically sent according to a preferred schedule. This method is also the most reliable and objective way to gauge performance. SEO firms typically use a template for these reports, but some clients prefer to customize reports according to their preferred metrics.
- Fourth, request to view case studies and client references. Every experienced SEO agency has a portfolio containing case studies and testimonials. If the agency is transparent and proud of its accomplishments, it should be willing to provide you with references. Their portfolio as well as feedback from clients will help you better understand if the agency’s work is the right fit for your business.
- Lastly, you can also ask the agency for an overview of areas for improvement in your company website. Ask them if they notice problem areas and pain points for SEO. Enterprise SEO firms should also stay on top of industry trends as digital marketing is highly dynamic and changes all the time.
Hiring an SEO agency: Setting the right expectations
Apart from asking the right questions, every business hiring an SEO agency also needs to set the right expectations. Remember that SEO is only one aspect of an overall digital marketing strategy for your business. As such, you need to know its benefits as well as limitations. At the very least, enterprise SEO firms should be able to do the following:
- Conduct a thorough keyword analysis. Keyword research is a basic function in SEO. It’s the agency’s responsibility to identify the best keywords that will aid the success of your company’s SEO campaign. But, this task isn’t that simple. There are many factors to consider such as your target audience, latest indexing trends, and many more. A professional firm is well-versed with the technicalities and trends in keyword research. Not only that, they also know how to maximize using research tools and other tricks to enhance efficiency.
- Audit content. When the SEO agency first gets on board, the first thing they need to do is audit your website content. This way, they can determine whether or not current content aligns with what your target market wants. Also, auditing content will allow the agency to pinpoint areas for improvement as well as make detailed suggestions and specific steps to undertake.
- Selecting the right SEO tools. Another standard function of every SEO firm is to select the right tools that will help their client meet their goals. There are many tools available for digital marketing, each used for a specific purpose. Your SEO agency may suggest buying some of these tools, if necessary. Once again, it depends on the scale of the campaign and the client’s desired results.
- Audit links. Backlinks remain one of the factors used by search engines to rank websites. Auditing backlinks will help the agency determine and categorize the types of links associated with your website. From here, the agency can proceed with actionable steps needed to weed out spammy links, or those that don’t help with high ranking. Apart from auditing links, the SEO agency will also conduct competitor analysis to identify specific opportunities for improvement.
- Monitoring website and generating reports. Generating reports and monitoring website progress should be the culmination of all the tasks conducted by the SEO agency. These reports will show the campaign progress in concrete numbers. These reports also help in making data-driven decisions pertinent to your marketing goals.
The function of enterprise SEO firms can be simple or complex, and it depends on what the client needs. Hiring an agency is not a one-step process because it involves getting to know the firm and determining if they can meet your marketing goals. Finding an expert SEO agency is a crucial decision for any business. As such, asking the right questions and knowing what to expect will make the screening process easier and allow you to find the best marketing partner for your company.