“Life would be great if it came with a set of instructions.” – Isn’t that the truth!
Think about how many problems we could avoid if we were all given some sort of guidelines for how to handle stressful situations as they occur. Even better, think about how phenomenal it would be to know ahead of time what stress factors were approaching, and how we could avoid them altogether!
For many marketing executives who are working with an SEO firm to increase their brand’s organic search visibility and rankings, you know just how stressful life can get when working with a less-than qualified agency who promises the world i.e. first page rankings in one month, immediate lead generation, and keyword authority.
Well, stress no more! I have outlined a number of questions and tips that allow you to evaluate and grade your current SEO agency’s performance:
1. How often do you hear back from your agency to discuss campaign progress and/or a particular initiative?
|a.) Once a Week||c.) Once a month|
|b.) Every other week||d.) Randomly|
Ideal Answer: a.) Once a week – Working with an agency that is considerate of your schedule, but keeps you informed at all times with the progress of your digital efforts is essential for your brand’s success! Without proper communication, how will you know about new great opportunities to focus on, what’s changing in your target audience’s online behavior, and how you can maintain your position on search listings?
2. How experienced are the search and paid strategists who are working on your SEO campaign?
|a.) Right out of college||c.) 1-2 years|
|b.) 6 months||d.) 4-7 years|
Ideal Answer: d.) 4-7 years – Make sure your Fortune 1000 brand is working with the best resources available to ensure the type of high quality results you are expecting. Many companies will try to cut costs by hiring young adults’ right out of college and give them some fancy title. However, the results will not add up if you aren’t working with an SEO firm that has the type of experienced, qualified search engineers who know where the SEO industry has come from, and where it is going in the future.
*Tip*Ask for the names of the individuals who are working on your campaign and look up their LinkedIn profiles to view their professional experience!
3. What type of recommendations are you receiving for your brand’s main website?
|a.) Only meta data (descriptions, tags, H1, etc…)||c.) Competitive analysis|
|b.) Blog creation/content development||d.) Online consumer trends|
|e.) All of the above|
Ideal Answer: e.) All of the above – Many companies will boast their credentials for offering the best services to their clients, while those offerings are actually outdated and ineffective for increasing search visibility and traffic.
The key to a successful search campaign is to have a mixture of content that is actively created and published, while knowing your target audience’s search behaviors so that you can continue to create attractive content for them to engage.
So make sure that you are working with an SEO firm that takes the time to research online consumer behavior and habits, provides recommendations for how you can create attractive content to capture qualified online consumers, and knows how to properly optimize your content so that it increases your online authority and search visibility.
Bonus! How to be sure the recommendations are strategic and innovative
Google reports that 16% of daily queries on Google have never been seen before. (Think with Google) In order to stay ahead of the competition and maintain your spot on Google search listings, you need to work with an SEO agency that understands and applies the newest, most effective search strategies.
Companies that offer:
Toolkits that identify and explain areas of opportunity for online growth Search insights and analysis to understand online consumer behavior Strategies that support the optimization of third-party platforms such as YouTube
Are exactly who you want to work with. These services are exactly what you need in order to stay ahead of the competition, know how to adapt your messaging to stay in front of your consumers, and to grow your brand’s reach and online leads/conversions.
4. My SEO Firm justifies and boasts their credentials by:
|a.) Publishing their work in magazines and books||c.) Developing their own blog|
|b.) Speaking at various conferences||d.) Publishing employee’s ideas & successes|
|e.) All of the above|
Ideal Answer: e.) All of the above – The most successful SEO firms are the ones who have built a reputation on providing unique, innovative strategies that lead to success in the form of increased search visibility, traffic levels, and conversion rates. Working with an SEO firm that have employees who are recognized by industry publications such as magazines, publish their own resources on new and exciting search techniques, actively develop their own blog, and are invited to speak at high-profiled conferences is exactly the type of credibility your brand deserves.
5. What type of clients does your SEO firm mostly work with?
|a.) Mom and Pop Shops (1-5 employees)||c.) Niche (One specific industry)|
|b.) Small (50-100 employees)||d.) Fortune 1000 Brands|
Most businesses will accept any form of work as long as it’s attached to some form of payment, so make sure you are working with SEO firms that are built to handle the size of your brand and understand how to develop its long-term goals. You can’t compete with other Fortune 1000 brands if you aren’t in the even in the same arena.
Overall, you want an agency that goes above and beyond with their monitoring so that you have a clear understanding of your niche’s digital landscape, are able to adapt to new discoveries, and can create a more thorough SEO campaign that drives qualified traffic and leads!
So make sure you work with an agency that utilizes numerous platforms like:
Google Webmaster Tools Bing Webmaster Tools Google Adwords Google Search Insights Google PageSpeed Insights Google Analytics SearchLight Comscore SEOmoz Raven Tools Proprietary tools
Making the Grade
If you answered any of the questions with an answer that is not ideal, then you need to reconsider the SEO firm you are investing your brand’s efforts with! Allowing your brand to continue to move forward with an SEO firm and strategies that are anything less than the best will not suffice for bringing your long-term goals to fruition.
The only way to ensure that you are keeping your brand’s digital efforts on the right path for success is Making sure that you work with an SEO firm that:
Keeps you informed and updated at all times Provides experienced, established industry experts to manage your search efforts Offers a wide variety of successful, innovative search strategies that increase search visibility Is seen as a welcomed authority within the SEO industry Aligns with your brand’s size and resources
What are some other tips or recommendations that you have? Let us know in the comment section below.