Top 10 Qualities To Look For In An Effective SEO Agency

SEO is a fundamental part of customer acquisition and retention. It’s also a lot more than performing keyword research or link building. For that reason, many businesses choose to work directly with an enterprise SEO agency to gain and maintain a strong digital foothold in their vertical.

Working with an SEO firm can help you raise brand awareness, conversion rates, and revenue. Even yet, getting the best return on investment—both online and offline—requires selecting the correct resources. That work can be difficult with over 2,200 digital marketing agencies around the country.

If that statement feels all too relatable, you’re not alone. Sifting through and narrowing down your options is easier when you know what to look for (or what to avoid). Here are a few characteristics or traits any reputable enterprise SEO agency will bring to the table.

1. Positive Reviews and References

It’s unlikely that any marketing agency, SEO or otherwise, is going to highlight their short-comings. The best way to find an honest evaluation of any company is often by seeking out reviews from past or existing clients.

Thanks to social media and Google reviews, finding high-level feedback about an agency is relatively easy. Don’t rely solely on publicly-available reviews, however. A reputable company can provide you with client testimonials or references that you can contact for further feedback.

What to Ask/Look for:

Many agencies list clients or portfolios on their websites, and that can be a great starting place. If they don’t, ask to see a client portfolio or for the name of clients you can contact as a reference.

2. Experienced Leadership

Everyone’s professional path starts somewhere, but in most cases, leadership positions require years of experience or an impressive track record. That is particularly true for enterprise SEO, where strategy development requires a nuanced, in-depth understanding of SEO and how it relates to broader digital marketing initiatives.

As you investigate an agency’s leadership, take note of their past and existing experience and industry engagement. Have they held positions that would give them insights into the needs of large corporations? Do they have a presence in relevant professional communities, publications, or related outlets (e.g., conventions, podcasts, etc.)?

SEO is a constantly changing business, and successful agencies are run by people that understand the need of continuous learning in their sector.

What to Ask/Look for:

Many agencies, including enterprise SEO firms, have a leadership list on their website. This information is likely to be found on their About page. If you can’t find it, you may always ask about their leadership. It’s also a good idea to look for information on Google and professional social media profiles.

3. Practicing What They Preach

Keyword research, backlinks, carefully curated content. Most agencies will tell you these—among other things—are required for a successful SEO marketing strategy. But is there evidence that they employ those same tactics for their brand?

However, as you evaluate an agency, don’t assume that ranking for keywords like “best SEO agency” indicates success.

Backlinking and keyword strategies may not always be the easiest to identify. Instead, check out more tangible proof of their efforts, including their blog and social media sites, both of which should show regular activity and updates.

What to Ask/Look for:

Before you contact an agency, thoroughly review their site. That includes that may not seem relevant to you. Always look for a link to their blog. If they have one, check out the content, quality, and frequency of their posts.

4. An Expert Resource

Any SEO firm can create a website, stuff it with great words and statistics, and call it a day. High-performing agencies, on the other hand, boldly display their expertise and position themselves as a resource. White papers, case studies, films, and ebooks can all be useful indicators of expertise, knowledge, and, ultimately, predicted results.

Don’t just assume that the presence of a few case studies or an ebook is enough. Take the time to read and analyze what they have to offer. Clean, well-written content built off tangible facts and years of experience indicate an agency is worth considering.

What to Ask/Look for:

Like a blog, additional white pages, case studies, and eBooks are usually easy to find on an agency’s site — after all, they do want you to read them. If you can’t find them or there are too many to sift through, ask the agency to highlight some of the most relevant content to your industry or needs.

5. Avoid Impossible Promises or Claims

Every company would love to spring to first page results within days of executing their SEO strategy, but that’s not how it works. Google’s algorithm is complex and ever-changing, and that, along with other factors, makes it impossible to pinpoint a specific time frame for success.

If an agency promises they can secure your brand a first-page ranking in a week or month, chances are they’re not honest. The same is true about any agency that claims to know the innermost details about Google’s algorithm. It’s just not possible.

Many aspects go into a successful SEO strategy and its subsequent results, some of which are specific to the industry as well as to a company. A reputable enterprise SEO agency understands this and is clear about deliverables and expectations from the beginning.

What to Ask/Look for:

As you peruse their site, watch out for specific statements about how quickly they can get your site ranked. Questions like, “how fast can I see results?” or “when will I get first-page ranking?” can also be a good indicator of an agency’s transparency.

6. They Have a Clear Process in Place

What happens when you onboard? What can you expect from the agency within the first week, month, or year of starting your partnership? What specific steps do they take to pair you with the right account manager?

A reliable SEO agency has a tried and true process in place and understands the essential role processes play in enterprise strategies. That doesn’t mean every client’s path is the same, but they should be able to offer you a clean, high-level overview of their process.

What to Ask/Look for:

Asking how they evaluate your site and develop a strategy can be a great way to get the conversation going. It’s also a good idea to inquire about communication channels, report frequency, and what implementations or changes you may need to make to get the most from your relationship.

7. More Than an SEO Agency

It’s tempting to think that your best bet would be a company that only focuses on SEO, but in this case, narrow expertise can leave gaps in your overall digital marketing strategy.

A positive SEO agency recognizes the role SEO plays in the larger digital landscape, and therefore their enterprise services tend to include more than SEO. Most notably, strong contenders typically show expertise in paid media and a strong understanding of video’s role in any digital marketing agency, specifically SEO.

What to Ask/Look for:

An agency’s website and its list of services is a great place to start. They’ll likely mention additional service opportunities in preliminary discussions, but if you’re interested in anything in particular, always make it a point to inquire.

8. There’s Time for You

Do they respond to your inquiries quickly and thoroughly? Are they interested in your needs and concerns? Your initial experiences with an agency can say a lot about how your relationship will grow (or stagnate) after you’ve signed a contract for services.

It’s typically not reasonable to expect email responses within an hour or a lengthy discussion without a set meeting. Still, a reliable SEO agency has respect for clients and potential clients alike. That includes returning phone calls and emails promptly or providing thoughtful feedback to your questions.

If an agency is leaving you hanging or brushing off concerns or inquiries you or your team bring to the table, you may want to consider any future partnerships.

What to Ask/Look for:

Aside from a timely response to your inquiries, another great question to ask is, “will I have a dedicated account manager, and if so, how many other clients will they simultaneously manage?

9. They Have a Footprint

There are hundreds if not thousands of business and marketing-specific publications, podcasts, and websites out there. Many of them actively seek to invite, interview and engage with industry experts.

Many of these sites routinely feature successful SEO agencies, or more specifically their leadership and top-level personnel.

Before you make a decision, do some research to determine if the agency you’re considering has a media presence in the marketing area. Having one demonstrates to the digital community that the agency and its workers are well-liked.

What to Ask/Look for:

You can ask the agency to point you towards any articles, interviews, videos, or podcasts their employees—particularly leadership—may be featured in.

If you’d prefer not to be so direct, you can easily do some sleuthing on Google or by visiting their professional social media profiles for insights.

10. Open & Honest Expectations

Finally, and maybe most crucially, a credible firm will tell you straight up if and how they can help you achieve your marketing objectives, as well as how they can assist your company succeed.

In the end, a strong collaboration is built on both parties’ transparency and trust. Anything less could result in frustration and missed chances throughout your contract.

What to Ask/Look for:

There’s no secret here: trust your gut. If you leave conversations feeling optimistic about the future, that’s great. If you leave confused or with significant reservations, it may not be the right fit for you, your team, or your company.

The appropriate agency may add tremendous value to your business. That is, assuming the person you hire has the experience, commitment, and knowledge to take your SEO approach to the next level.

Get In touch with our SEO Agency London today!. Reach out to us today if you’re ready to receive the services of an award-winning London digital agency.

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