How to Choose the Right SEO Agency - SEO Services - Clapping Dog Media

How to Choose the Right SEO Agency

So, you  are ready to hire an SEO.

Your business is established. 

You have a roster of happy clients.

You are the subject matter expert in your niche, now is the time to reach more people, now is the time to invest in an SEO.


In this post, we are going to walk through the top questions you should ask before your hire an SEO. 

Should you hire an employee in-house or outsource to an SEO Agency?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

It is a whole lot cheaper to hire an outside firm to handle your SEO then to pay a salary and benefits to an employee. If you hire an employee there is the overhead of salary and benefits, but if you hire an agency then you just have their contractor fee. Plus. if things don’t work out it is WAAAY easier to find another contractor than the HR hassle of firing an employee. 

SEO strategists who work in an agency-setting have the advantage of working with several different types of clients in various verticals. Because they are exposed to a wider variety of SEO challenges, outsourced SEOs  have a deeper knowledge of effective strategies than an SEO who works in-house. 

When you outsource to a trusted SEO partner, you can focus on your internal marketing strategy while the SEO focuses mainly on the organic traffic growth of the business. 

Okay, so you have decided to outsource your SEO strategy, what type of firm should you hire?

There are consultants, comprehensive marketing agencies and specialized SEO agencies — how do you know which one is right for you?

SEO Consultants

SEO Consultants are generally solopreneurs who help businesses by auditing their sites and advise on various aspects of search engine optimization. Most consultants have a thorough understanding of how search engines work and act as advisors or consultants to the business owner. Consultants generally identify the issues and can educate the business owner on how to fix the problems but they don’t actually do the work to optimize the site. They make you aware of the issues, but they don’t actually fix them. 

Comprehensive Marketing Agencies

All-in-one marketing agencies offer a variety of digital marketing services. Marketing Agencies have a layered, multi-channel approach and while this may be appropriate for some businesses, it is often a lot more than most small businesses need. In addition, most all in one agencies “do SEO” but don’t fully understand how to leverage the high-ROI SEO activities that drive highly-targeted traffic. 

Specialized SEO Agency

Companies that only do SEO have a thorough understanding of it. They have years of experience with Google algorithm changes and building strategic SEO campaigns, they also will have exposure to many different clients in an agency setting.

The experience and exposure of an SEO specific agency will allow them to provide the most effective services to their clients.  

What should you expect when working with an SEO Agency?

The biggest thing you should expect when working with an SEO is a high level of collaboration and partnership. It is the SEOs job to dig into your brand and understand how users and Google perceive your business.

During the initial phase, the SEO Firm will research keywords, analyze your competitors, conduct a thorough technical audit, review and update the on-site optimizations. 

The SEO firm should be able to perform necessary technical optimizations that include:

  • Set up Google Search Console, Webmaster Tools,Google Analytics as needed.
  •  Install and configure SEO Plug-in as needed.
  •  Generate & submit a sitemap as needed.
  •  Create a robots.txt file as needed.
  •  Index the website as needed.
  •  Determine if the  site is mobile friendly.
  •  Check website loading speed, page depth, and any .e versions
  •  Ensure site is secure.
  •  Find and fix crawl errors and orphaned pages.
  •  Identify and fix broken and redirect links.
  •  Ensure SEO-friendly URL structure.
  •  Check canonical tags.
  •  Add/review structured data
  • Check for thin content
  • Check for duplicate content

Once the baseline optimizations has been made, the next step is to build a data-driven content strategy. In this phase SEO analysts work very closely with you to determine where there are opportunities for organic growth.

SEOs will look at performance of the site and trends across the internet to build an editorial strategy that will attract targeted traffic to your site. 

How long does SEO take?

SEO is a marathon. It takes time. In our experience, it takes about 3 months of SEO work before there is a measurable increase in traffic.

You should plan on working with your SEO firm for a minimum of 6 months, we have found the clients with the most success have a long term mindset for SEO.

Success is different for each of our clients.

One client, who makes a significant amount of money as an affiliate for a high-end service defined success as ranking #1 for “best coupon “affiliate”) So we worked together and designed a 6 month editorial calendar where they blogged 8 times a month. At the end of 10 weeks ranked #3 for our target keyword and by 12 weeks we reached #1 (still there today 16 months later). Reaching the top spot for this client meant a significant increase in their affiliate payouts.

Another client who offers a high-end service wanted to attract better leads. The monthly traffic to her site was high, but the people who were inquiring were not her ideal client. 

So, we analyzed her site, made strategic SEO optimizations and helped her to create a content strategy that positioned her as the subject matter expert. Now, 6 months later her leads call and ask her for the highest level of service.

The big idea is to work with an SEO who wants a true partnership. A team that not only wants to help increase organic traffic but to help you reach your business goals.

If you are ready to hire an SEO, be sure that you do ask them these 5 Questions. 

Oh, and finally, find a firm that gets excited about your goals and is passionate about helping you reach them. 

Site Design Rebecca Pollock
Site Development North Star Sites