Finding and ultimately hiring a great SEO agency to help your small business show up in the search engines can seem like an extremely daunting task. Most small businesses don’t have the slightest idea of what goes into a successful SEO strategy, and it’s not their fault. They’re harassed via phone, email, and stalker/re-targeting ads constantly offering “#1 Rankings!” and “First Page Results!”. They’re called by “Google” telling them that their losing money because their customers can’t find them online. Even website hosting companies are peddling their “SEO Add-On” packages – whatever the hell those are.
It’s time for me to address the elephant in the…blog post. We are in fact an SEO agency, and yes we understand that reading an article on how to hire a great SEO agency for your small business on an SEO company’s website is a bit self serving. The fact of the matter is, I’m tired of this industry taking advantage of small businesses. My point here is not to sell you our SEO services; my point is to teach you how to avoid shitty SEO services.
I should also point out that it’s no accident that this is the very first blog post on our website. It’s that important to us. Remain critical. Remain skeptical. You’ve rightfully earned it and it’s your best defense.
Searching For A Small Business SEO Agency
You do what most anyone would do and start searching “SEO agencies” or “SEO Specialists” or any other variation of “I NEED HELP SHOWING UP IN THE SEARCH ENGINES AND I TRUST NO ONE!” within your preferred search engine (yeah, we know it’s Google).
Instantly, a long list of results come up. The first four are ads – agencies with the budget to pay to get your click. Sounds a lot like cheating, considering you aren’t looking for a PPC agency, so you move on to the mapped results.
Here you see roughly three SEO companies, people or some combination of the two. Some have reviews, some don’t. Some business names seem to match your exact search – that’s convenient.
Scrolling down further, you’ve finally hit the organic, or natural search results. You’ll likely notice directories or websites that rank SEO agencies…10 Best SEOs? Top SEOs? Those surely must have reputable SEO agencies that are worth speaking to. Maybe. Until you realize anyone can submit their agency and pay that website owner to list their company within it. And yes, we do see the irony of Google (a directory) listing other directories in their search results.
Here’s our best advice for relying on a simple Google search to find your next great SEO company: dig further. Try and find out who the person behind the website is. Poke around and assess whether or not there is information on the website that sounds genuine or helps inform you in any way. Don’t rely on their placement as the leading indicator that they will be able to help your small business the right way.
If you do nothing else, please watch this fantastic video of Maile Ohye from Google explaining how to hire an SEO:
10 Questions To Ask A Small Business SEO Agency
Hiring a great SEO agency needs to be a 2-way interview. The SEO agency should be interviewing your small business, just as much as your SMB should be interviewing them. Below are 10 questions you should absolutely ask anyone claiming to be an SEO expert, maven, rockstar or any other overused-noun:
- How do you measure success with your SEO campaigns?
- Can you give me an example of a successful SEO campaign your agency executed?
- Do you have any references we can speak to directly?
- How do you plan on building links and from where will the links come from?
- What other marketing services can your agency provide that will help our SEO strategy?
- How fast can we expect to see results?
- Will we own any assets you build for our SEO strategy?
- Can you provide us with a technical SEO audit?
- What are some best practices regarding SEO?
- How will we hear from your agency?
Their answers shouldn’t confuse you. They should be clear and transparent. If you hear the words “guaranteed”, “Rankings”, or “make sure your page has keywords”…
Once you’ve chosen a great SEO agency for your small business, your job isn’t done. You need to hold them accountable. Like most things in life, you get a lot more out of something the more you put into it. A successful SEO campaign requires an SEO agency to work closely with your business and to understand who you and your customers are.
Interested in talking about how ElevAmp can help our small business with its SEO strategy? Contact us or schedule a conversation and we’d be happy to chat.