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How To Tell A Good SEO Pitch From A Bad One

December 09, 2015

What you will learn: How to tell whether the agency pitching your SEO campaign is a good one or a bad one.

Who should read this article: Anyone involved with hiring an SEO agency.

SEO pitches can get rather technical, making it difficult for clients to distinguish truly competent agencies from ones that are all talk and no results. Here are six things to look for that make it easy for you to separate real contenders from agencies that will take your money and run.

1. Terminology

  • A good pitch explains its services in plain language, going the extra mile to make sure you understand what will be done in your campaign, and why.
  • A bad pitch hides behind industry jargon and makes you feel dumb by asking questions.

2. Promises

  • A good pitch does not make extravagant claims about results. A good agency knows there are too many variables and too much preparatory work yet to be done to project how your campaign will turn out.
  • A bad pitch promises hefty increases in rankings or traffic, usually based on some secret formula it has created.

3. Fees

  • A good pitch includes a monthly fee that is probably larger than you expected! This is because a legitimate SEO campaign involves far more work and expertise than many companies realize.
  • A bad pitch includes a monthly fee that is too good to be true — and you know the adage about that. Often these fees are packaged into canned “bundles” of service options — a telltale sign the agency is selling a cookie-cutter solution.

4. KPIs

  • A good pitch focuses on the truly important metrics for an SEO campaign: increases in relevant website traffic and sales leads.
  • A bad pitch focuses on the wrong KPIs — in particular rankings, which have very little meaning and value in SEO today, and traffic, with no regard to relevance. Having a lot of non-relevant traffic and high rankings for terms that don’t convert will produce zero ROI for your SEO investment.

5. Service Details

  • A good pitch describes the campaign activities in detail. A legitimate SEO agency operates with transparency — it wants you to understand what you are getting for your investment.
  • A bad pitch is sketchy about service details. You get the feeling this agency is saying, “Just give us your money and let us worry about it.”

6. References

  • A good pitch includes several client references with SEO campaigns similar to yours in scope and objective. Good agencies are eager for you to talk to their clients.
  • A bad pitch does not include client references, or provides references not relevant to your SEO needs. This is either because the agency has no satisfied clients, or because its strong suit is somewhere other than in your niche. Either way, this is a huge red flag.

Check References

It always pays to talk to the references the agency provides. Hearing from actual clients about the results of their campaigns will confirm (or contradict) what you heard in the pitch. Either way, careful reference checking will make you much more confident that you made the right choice.

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