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SEO Agency – Good to Great

SEO Agency – Good to Great

I have deliberately chosen the above image – not because it’s trying to tell readers that eapb can ‘get you to the top of Google FASTER THAN ANYONE ELSE’, but rather because it illustrates the main thrust of this article!

Borrowing a term coined, in the context of business, by Jim Collins in his work Good to Great, we ask the question ‘what are the factors that move an SEO agency from good to great’?

However, historically where SEO agencies have been concerned, starting at good might be considered a bit presumptuous. Through working in the digital marketing sector for over 10 years I have witnessed many an agency or consultant for that matter who would be breaking the trade descriptions law by calling themselves even just ‘good’.

With the help of Google and social media it is thankfully now a lot easier to spot an SEO company who is simply trying to lock you into an unnecessary or overly long contract, or take your hard earned money with little or no intention of actually doing any productive search engine marketing work.

Use the following check list as a guide and rule of thumb for steering WELL CLEAR of any SEO agency who offers or promises the following:

• Free Trial Services
• Under Priced or Overpriced Services
• Promises that Your Site will be indexed in 24-48 Hours
• Guaranteed Page Rank of X, or Top Ranking in Y Time
Hundreds or Thousands of Search Engine Submissions
• Hundreds or Thousands of Links to Your Site
• Agencies That Ask for Copyrights to SEO and Meta Data
Surprisingly Low Monthly Fees to Optimise and Promote Your Website
Reluctant to Answer Your Questions
Claim to Know Someone (normally in Google!)
• Unsolicited SEO Contact or Offer(s)
• Threats and Extortion Campaigns

The good news is there are far fewer bad apples in the world of search engine optimisation on the agency side then there has been in the recent past. Many, of the businesses that promised or ‘guaranteed to get you to the top of Google‘, have thankfully disappeared as clients and business owners have become more sceptical and wise to the disingenuous approach of the firm that proclaims to be able to ‘get you overnight success‘.

So, what makes a good SEO agency a great one? Well, firstly there are the basic technical aspects of SEO and the relative proficiency of the agency to understand what needs to be done and then having the skill set to be able to execute the correct work. A good agency should fully understand, be conversant with and be capable of explaining to the client the latest thinking on the following three building blocks of search engine optimisation:

1. On-page optimisation
2. Link building
3. Social signals

A great agency will ALWAYS enable you as the owner of the business to not just focus on rankings and traffic but also on keywords. Whilst rankings and traffic are very important the ultimate goal of any SEO program is to generate more revenue for the client. This in turn dictates that ensuring the right keywords are targeted will maximise the conversion rate of website visitors to sales = more revenue.

Great SEO agencies focus first and foremost on selecting the right keywords (search terms). Everything that can be successful flows from here. Great agencies will also research relevant long tail (3 words and over) search terms where the rankings are easier to attain, competition is lower, and conversion rate is quite often higher.

In addition a great digital marketing agency will understand User Intent: The Key to Better Conversions. It is very often this initial level of in-depth research that sets apart the great agency from the merely good. Great agencies will distinguish between research keywords and buying keywords.

Your best agency partner will also be open and forthcoming in helping YOU to understand the most salient points of search marketing. A great agency will openly discuss to the level of detail you require the work which is being carried out, why it is being done and the desired outcome. You can expect not just a ‘ranking report‘ on your chosen keywords, but also an up to date ‘statement of works‘ detailing the SEO work carried out on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Lastly, a great search engine optimisation partner doesn’t have to be a BIG agency! Bigger is not always better. Less sometimes, but not always, is more. The right SEO agency for you might have one or two employees working from a home office, or it could be a business with 200+ employees operating from central London. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing one or the other.

Paul Brewster, July 2014