Search engine optimization is a cost-effective marketing channel. Though it is really tough because SEO requires experts who know both marketing and web development techniques. It may be a big challenge to hire professional experts.
At this point, finding a professional search engine optimizer (SEO agency) does save time and energy. But at the same time, don’t neglect the damages that an SEO agency might bring to your brand and reputation.
In this article, I am going to explain the steps and tips to find an affordable and great SEO agency for your company.
This is Eva, who has worked in Google Search Engine Optimization for about 2 years. During this time, I work hard to master all the SEO processes and knowledge frames. And my blog aims to share some findings and thoughts about my work. It can both help me summarize my career and inspire those who are in the same field as me. You can follow my Twitter: https://twitter.com/EvaChen67936203 and communicate with me on the platform.
After outsourcing your SEO marketing business, you only need to pay for the service and focus on the SEO metrics, such as organic traffic, keyword ranking, number of high-quality blogs and posts, conversion, etc. Definitely, you pick an SEO agency once and for all. Your SEO service company will set criteria for high-quality content, backlinks, and site health. And it will strictly follow the regulations. Definitely, it saves time and labor.
SEO is not totally free. You need to recruit an SEO expert, a content copywriter, a web designer, and a website developer to constitute a complete SEO team. Then what is your budget for such a professional team? Assume that you pay $150,000 for one in a year, you need to pay $600,000.
Besides, SEO tools cost you a big deal every month. In 2022, small businesses need to spend at least $99 for Ahrefs and $119 for SEMrush. Before implementing an SEO plan, it takes you $2616 to buy the top website analysis tool.
According to accelerateagency.ai, small firms tend to spend $300 to $5000 per month. It costs $60,000 per year at most. You don’t need to pay for SEO tools.
It is often said that: “Let professional people do the professional things” and “Don’t compare your weaknesses to others’ strengths”. Hiring a professional SEO service team facilitates your SEO channel.
But it is not advised that you outsource your SEO work if you want to build your own brand. In this case, the employees need to think about the relationship between the brand and content. The content becomes the carrier of a brand.
Above are three reasons that you should choose an SEO agency for your company. And below goes checklists when finding the best SEO service.
Here I rank expertise first. A professional SEO company analyzes your website, audits competitor websites, and checks industry trends. Then it feedbacks to you on the feasible plan. It applies white hat SEO to build your website reputation and drive traffic.
Usually, you can check their expertise from the SEO professors, cooperated partners, SEO tools, and authoritative reviews.
- SEO Professors: Check the team members and their work experience in SEO.
- Cooperated Partners: Check the partner website and partner review.
- SEO tools: Usually, make sure the SEO company is using SEMrush and Ahrefs. SEMrush is good at keyword research while Ahrefs is helpful in backlink building.
- Third-party authoritative rate: You can check the rate and review for DesignRush and Clutch.
- Local SEO: If a local and professional SEO agency exists. You can talk about cooperation face to face. It can be more than convenient.
- Vertical SEO: Check which SEO company your competitors are cooperating with (Confirm the vertical work experience).
Set your budget. When you get the SEO company quote, try to negotiate till the cost meets your budget. On average, cheap SEO costs about $500 to $3000 per month. Mid-range SEO costs about $3,000 to $15,000. High-end SEO costs $15,000-$30,000. After knowing the industry standard, you can set a reasonable budget considering your company’s condition.
Generally, your SEO payback may depend on the industry competition, market trend, SEO expertise, etc. Though it is decided by various factors, a mature SEO agency needs to forecast the payback period to clients. The gradual pickup may be seen after about 6 months to 1 year. Doing SEO you are learning the art of patience.
There are varieties of SEO metrics as you can see I list below:
- Conversion metrics: inquiry, download, installation, order, sales
- On-page metrics: organic traffic, keyword position, keyword coverage, bounce rate, duration, pages per session
- Off-page metrics: backlinks, keyword position, page authority, domain authority
- Technical metrics: site health, mobile-friendly, core web vitals
You can measure the SEO work of the agency in all aspects. But you had better not! Why? Because you will get distracted by the minutiae.
It is advised that you closely follow the metrics highly related to conversion. Besides that, organic traffic trends, keywords, domain authority, and site health should also be emphasized.
Most SEO service companies provide a full range of marketing services like SEO, Google ads, and social media marketing. Search engine optimization is not a marketing method that lives alone. It needs to combine with Youtube video marketing, Google Ads, Facebook marketing, etc to reach a better brand effect.
In general, SEO services will include platform SEO such as WordPress SEO, Shopify SEO, Woocommerce SEO, and so on. The specific platform requires that SEO experts be skilled at the platform operations.
When divided by SEO elements, an SEO company will provide on-page optimization, link building, site audit, and more.
Just keep in mind! For SEO, a successful SEO strategy requires all on-site SEO, off-site SEO, and technical SEO.
There are some signals showing the SEO company may be immoral. When the following signals appear, you should become alert:
- They promise that will optimize your site to rank #1.
- They try to apply a “shadow domain” trick to ruin your site.
- They use keyword stuffing.
- They provide links to other sites from your homepage.
- They rank only for obscure and verbose keywords, which is not helpful for your brand and conversion.
- They use fake WHOIS information.
- Their domain has been removed from Google.
Source: Whether You Need a Search Engine Optimizer? by Google
Even though you have taken all the aspects into consideration, the cooperation with the SEO agency may fail due to all kinds of unforeseeable obstructions. For example, you discover that they are using a “shadow domain” trick. In this case, make sure your company and SEO partner have a 30-day out clause agreement.
If an SEO company guarantees 100% success. It must be telling a lie. As it is known in the industry Google updates algorithms thousands of times. In these circumstances, websites may experience downhill due to content quality, poor backlinks, etc. Therefore, if the downhill has severely affected your business, you can ask for optimization and compensation for the drop in sales.
Hiring an SEO company means that it becomes part of your team. You may need to be transparent in the traffic and conversion. Also, your site permission is handed over to them. It ruins your business if the SEO company discloses your information to competitors. What is even worse? It copies your business model and makes a great deal by itself. To circumvent the risks, signing a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement can well protect your business.
Hiring an SEO team brings convenience and challenges. You must consider aspects such as SEO expertise, cost, service, and legal risks. Meanwhile, learn to recognize and avoid unethical SEO companies. Hope you can find your professional and affordable SEO agency after reading the blog.