A recent article from Michael Transon from Search Engine Land has led me to write my take on the subject of what make an ideal SEO agency for a client!
Here are 6 strong points that make an ideal SEO agency/consultancy:
"The CEO/Sales person works or has worked on SEO"
Often times CEO's or agency's sales people are focused just on sales. Their knowledge on SEO has been passed to them from SEO people. Their priority is to sell. You've been sold and promises were made to improve your traffic, sales with SEO. After that you will rarely hear from the CEO and your project will be passed to team members - an account manager and a SEO person. The problem is you never spoke to these people before in your sale meeting. As the author says, you might end up with an intern with 2 weeks or months in. The worst part in SEO is when a new client is handed to your desk out of the blue. Especially when the client was promised a 50% growth and after some research you have strong doubts that you can achieve that!
The ideal SEO agency doesn't over promise big things (SEO is not engineering, it is almost impossible to accurately predict), the sales person is also an SEO person.
"Allows you to have direct contact with your SEO person. "
Most agency CEO's are truly afraid to put SEO people in a client facing situation as their main contact. That's why they have account managers. Account managers are well trained in "handling clients" on calls. This makes the SEO person's life a bit easier if things go south, because they won't be facing the client.
However you would ideally want to have direct communication with the person that is actually working on your SEO. That will keep the SEO person more engaged and there will be less communication loopholes and lost information in a 3 way communication between you, account manager and the SEO person.
The ideal SEO agency allows you to have direct contact with your SEO person.
"Will work closely with you on achieving your goals. "?
Gone are the days where you can just leave the SEO company to work on its own. A good SEO company will look to include SEO activities in your company's everyday marketing activities. SEO should be set to help you achieve a goal and it should be about getting more sales. So your information about your target audience is something an SEO company should look for, not just focusing on getting any traffic to the site.
The ideal SEO agency will show an interest in your business and work regularly with you on achieving your goal.
The one thing all agency owners hate, no matter how successful they are, is dealing with clients that are unhappy. Every agency I know has unhappy clients at some point and most of the issues arise because the agency wasn't completely honest & humble at the beginning.
How do you get a client? By promising them growth. What does happen when the growth doesn't come? The client gets upset or disappointed. This is a double edged sword, if you don't promise growth you might not get the client because someone else will guarantee growth and get the client.
SEO is a bumpy ride, the rankings and traffic goes up and down after some time. Remember that SEO is a unique job that has no official rules of success. It's not like building a road where you have 3,4 "ingredients" to make a road. There are over 200 ranking factors and Google.
The ideal SEO agency or consultant is honest.
"Is experienced in SEO & makes a detailed yearly SEO strategy"?
Experience is super important in SEO. Make sure to research if the agencies people are experienced enough. Because SEO has changed so much in the last 5-10 years, having over 10 years of experience isn't that beneficial as the techniques from back then are useless today. You don't want interns to work on your SEO, so look for someone with at least 2+ years of just SEO experience. Check their previous clients and look out for fake reviews or fake team members. Creating great strategy is the most important part of SEO. To map out all the things that will be done for SEO and when they will be done is key.
The ideal SEO agency is experienced and knows where it is heading with your SEO.
"Works on all components of SEO"?
An agency that knows how to do all components of SEO. SEO is made of a few different parts/activities- On page SEO, technical SEO, off page SEO (link building), user experience. Ask the agency how would they do link building for you or to give an example form the past client. Just focusing on on page SEO won't get the maximum out of your SEO.
The ideal SEO agency works on all components of SEO, not just one or two that are the easiest.
It's definitely not easy to find an ideal SEO agency out there. If you can get an SEO agency that is: experienced, their CEO/sales does SEO, where you have direct contact with an SEO person, they work closely with you to achieve your goals, sets up a good, long term SEO strategy, does all parts of SEO and is honest - then you have an ideal SEO agency or consultancy. ??