You may be at a stage in your business where you need to boost your search engine efforts, or simply find an easier way to keep up positive rankings so you can focus on other tasks. When a smart business gets to a point like this, they do well to look for an SEO company to work with.
Finding an SEO company isn’t an easy task, especially when there are companies offering you almost identical services left and right.
To give you an easier time of setting up with the perfect SEO company, we’ve outlined a few steps to simplify that process for you.
Step 1 – Know what you want out of an SEO company
The first thing you’ll want to do is to define your goals. What are the gaps that you want this SEO company to fill? What are the tasks that you wish your team could handle if they had the time or the expertise? Are you looking for a short-term or long-term partnership?
We recommend making a checklist of tasks and characteristics you want to see in an agency. This will serve as your guide in creating qualifications for an SEO company, and will help you filter out companies that don’t fit the bill.
Step 2 – Ask for SEO company referrals among your peers
No matter your industry, other businesses like yours are bound to have some experience working with third party agencies. Because most small businesses make use of digital channels, some of your peers may already be working with an SEO company.
Getting opinions from your peers first will give you a sense of which agencies are reliable and trustworthy, versus diving in and hiring the first firm you see when surfing online.
Step 3 – Do a background check for each SEO company you find
Whether you’re working with referrals or leads you found online, the first thing you must do when checking for an SEO company’s credibility is to check if they rank on search engines. You’ll want to work with a company who walks the talk. If they promise that they’ll give you outstanding SEO results, see first if they themselves have done a good job on Google Search.
After seeing how they perform on search, you should also check their reviews on their Facebook page, Yelp, and other review sites to see feedback from past customers. You’ll want to work with a company that’s been tried and tested by other business owners like you.
More than their credibility, you should also be looking at the case studies they have on their websites. They may be credible, but have they done what you want them to do for your business? Are they a good fit for your projects? Their case studies may just provide you the answer and paint a picture of what working with them could look like.
Step 4 – Decide on a budget you’re willing to spend for an SEO company
Before you reach out to potential candidates, you have to be prepared with your budget. Some SEO companies are open to negotiating their rates, while others prefer a fixed monthly rate. Whatever the case, you should decide on how much you’re willing to spend, as this too can help you evaluate the companies you’re considering.
Step 5 – Contact your most preferred SEO company
After doing your research and deciding on a budget, you must already have a list of prospects of SEO companies you’ll want to work with. Before reaching out to the runners-up, you’ll make good use of your time by contacting your best preferred SEO company.
When you reach out to them, have an agenda in mind. Prepare an introduction of your company, your projects, and why you think working together is a good idea. At this point, it’s important to be transparent about everything—you wouldn’t want to waste time going back and forth with a company that may not deliver exactly what you need after all. You’ll also want to have spare time entertaining other candidates, if it means finding a better fit.
Step 6 – Hire the SEO company that fits your needs
Once you’ve reached out to different agencies and sorted out all considerations such as company fit, types of projects, and budget, it’s time to hire your new partner in digital marketing.
Initially, you’ll have reached a verbal agreement on your work arrangements. But before you get started on working, it’s imperative to put everything in writing and have your SEO company sign a contract.
Often, what you agreed upon will be reflected in the contract, and will be signed right away. However, you should also be prepared in case the agency has questions regarding your terms of agreement. The best thing to do is just be open about what your terms mean to ensure a smooth process of hiring.
Step 7 – Integrate your SEO company to your business
With negotiations and contracts out of the way, the next thing you should do is to integrate your SEO company into your business. After all, you’ll be working with them for quite some time. Whether you’re engaged with this SEO company for a single project or keeping them for the long-term, remember that success in SEO usually takes at least 6 months.
At this point, it’s key to create an onboarding process as you would for any new employee or agency you hire. In this onboarding process, you should clearly identify their roles and responsibilities, define which in-house tasks will now be outsourced, and set shared objectives that everyone can refer to as you go along with your projects.
Step 8 – Provide feedback to your SEO company
In order to maintain a good working relationship, it’s important to give feedback from time to time. Your new agency may have multiple clients at a time, and it’s common to get deadlines and deliverables mixed up. Having regular feedback will prevent any possible errors in communication and will ensure that your new partner will deliver their results as promised.
Finding the right SEO company may initially be intimidating, but these steps will help you stay grounded while you conduct your search. It’s really all about finding the right fit in terms of your requirements, budget, and overall goals.
If you’re ready to begin your search, start by looking at agencies over at the Marketing Agency Network today.