Attempting to hire an SEO agency has proved to be a headache for many a company, even to the point of prompting the question: Should I hire an SEO company at all?
The reasons making it challenging to hire an SEO firm include:
- Lots of agencies from which to choose; SEO agencies and freelancers are all over the globe.
- The technical nature of SEO — for the average business professional, understanding SEO is like trying to understand how a team of surgeons performs a heart transplant.
- The problem many SEOs have in explaining SEO essentials in language the average business professional can understand.
- The knowledge gap just described causes clients to ask the wrong questions or judge SEOs on the wrong criteria.
This article is intended to help you learn how to hire an SEO that will get the desired results.
Know What You’re Looking For
Knowing the results you’re looking for in SEO goes a long way toward helping you hire an SEO company.
The purpose of SEO is to drive qualified traffic to your website from Google’s organic search results. It’s not your search rankings or even the amount of traffic that matters most; what does matter most is the number of sales leads or online revenue your SEO campaign produces.
Why? Because in the long run, you will invest in SEO only if it generates revenue. Rankings do not generate revenue. Traffic does not generate revenue. Sales leads generate revenue. Online orders generate revenue.
Simple and obvious, but you would be surprised by how many companies completely overlook this in their searches for an SEO agency.
Now You Know What to Zero In On
By keeping your focus on an SEO’s ability to generate sales leads or online revenue, your efforts to hire an SEO agency get a lot easier. The review process will now focus on what matters:
- Does the SEO company focus on lead generation or e-commerce revenue generation? Few agencies do both equally well, but some do. In any event, you don’t want to be the first lead generation campaign for an e-commerce SEO firm, or the first e-commerce campaign for a lead generation SEO firm.
- Does the agency’s pitch focus on lead generation or e-commerce? This is a case where listening beats talking, even talking that consists of good questions. Let the agency give you its pitch. If all you hear is talk about rankings, traffic, technical expertise or other peripherals, be careful. You want an SEO agency that will continually hammer home its ability to generate sales leads or e-commerce revenue.
- Can the agency document results? It’s easy for an SEO to say it can increase sales leads or e-commerce revenue, but can the agency prove it? Does it have case studies or client reviews that specifically state increases in leads, revenue and associated metrics? Asking for data on client retention also helps you understand how well an agency produces ROI for its clients — the longer clients stay, the more likely they are seeing a payoff on their SEO investment.
- Does the agency have the ability to granularly track and validate sales leads and online revenue? In order to measure ROI, your SEO agency must be able to track and validate leads or online revenue its campaign is producing. In order to do that, it must install the proper form and phone tracking on your website, and then have a system for analyzing the raw data to qualitatively separate non-leads from true sales leads. This gets a little technical, but it’s worth understanding. It’s fairly easy to flag an inquiry form submitted as a result of a Google search. However, about only half of such inquiry forms are true sales leads — the rest are spam, customer service questions and many other things. If your SEO lumps all of these together in its reporting, you’ll think your campaign is doing much better than it actually is.
Beyond the Basics
Once you’ve established strength in the areas noted above, your search process is still not over. You now have to make sure the SEO you want to hire has a solid business, with a strong financial foundation, strong leadership, a strong team and a strong commitment to the future.
Some companies looking to hire an SEO company like to proceed the other way, establishing the company as a sound business and then delving into the SEO-specific details. This is perfectly fine. Whichever way you go about it, you’ll arrive at the right choice as long as you cover both bases.
To learn more about our SEO firm, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.