Selecting the right SEO agency is a big decision for your company.
And it’s not always an easy one.
Promises of cheap SEO that will get you to the top of page one in search within 24 hours have done nothing for the reputation of our industry.
With so many people out there promising you cheap SEO services and quick results, it’s important you arm yourself with a bit of knowledge before picking an agency, so you can understand what you’re going to get.
That’s not to say that there isn’t affordable SEO out there that will get you results.
You don’t have to spend mass amounts of money to benefit from SEO.
But SEO success is a long term commitment.
Yes, there are some ‘quick fixes’ you can do from a technical SEO standpoint.
And there’s some best practice principles to follow for on-page SEO that will generate some quicker results.
But sustained success takes a while.
So before you dive in and commit to the first cheap SEO provider you come across, here’s a few questions you should be asking them to figure out if they’re really going to help you, or take your money and leave you floundering in search engine oblivion.
What’s your SEO strategy?
Most people offering you cheap SEO services are banking on you thinking SEO is all about finding a couple of keywords and stuffing as many of them on a page as you can.
SEO is a fast-paced industry.
Google is constantly altering its algorithms and changing the rules of the game.
So your SEO agency should be constantly updating how it puts together your SEO strategy to get your web pages as high up SERP’s for chosen keywords and phrases.
Our process begins with a Free Bespoke Technical audit.
One of our experienced SEO consultants will review your Ecommerce or brochure website from a technical viewpoint.
We have a range of SEO tools that we’ll use to crawl your website and identify any problems with your XML sitemap, your page load speed, mobile optimisation and any keyword cannibalisation or duplicate content on your site.
These are things that can be quickly fixed and get some faster results.
Then we’ll move onto your strategy.
We’ll make sure you’re targeting the right keywords based on your target audience.
We’ll recommend any onsite copy changes that need to be made.
And we’ll build a full SEO content strategy to start creating a regular stream of content on your site that will get you higher in search, but also help you create more leads and customers.
All through the process you’ll have a team of expert SEO consultants and SEO copywriters guiding you through the process and on hand to answer any questions.
If you’re worried about costs, we can be flexible and have a range of award winning, affordable SEO packages available.
Do you track progress and how?
Even cheap SEO can be tracked if you have the right tools.
Here at Paramount Digital, if you strip away the SEO and content expertise we’re basically a bunch of geeks who enjoy getting into the data and analysing how our SEO and content is performing.
If you sign up for one of our affordable SEO packages, you get a full report on a monthly basis outlining exactly what we’ve done, and with access to dashboards which show exactly what results we’re seeing.
If you want to see the results more often (we wouldn’t blame you given what we’ve said about false promises of cheap SEO people) then we can arrange weekly calls with you and your team to run you through results on a more regular basis until you’re confident that we’re getting the results we said we would.
As well as keyword performance and site traffic, we’ll give you a complete picture of how your website is performing by tracking aspects like:
- The number of users (new and returning) coming to your site
- The number of goal conversions (we can help you set these up if you need us to)
- Time spent on each page (which gives us an idea if the content we’re creating is engaging your audience
- Live recordings and heat tracking maps to discover which areas of your website need SEO improvement
What kind of SEO does your agency do?
One of the reasons cheap SEO gets a bad reputation is because it’s often linked to ‘black hat’ SEO practices.
Back in the early days of SEO, before Google really knew what it was doing, these practices included things like keyword stuffing.
An SEO agency would fill the background of a webpage with keywords that users couldn’t see, but Google would read.
Lately though, Google has gotten smarter at understanding these bad SEO tactics, and is punishing those websites using them.
You can usually tell when a cheap SEO agency is trying to use black hat tactics by their content.
For a start there’ll be so many keywords in it that it won’t make any sense to a person trying to read it.
You’ll also get a link report (more on that later) full of spam links.
Or, lots of paid links bought though link farms. These are a collection of websites, owned by the same person, which will promise you links on every site for a fee.
But Google has figured out what these link farms are, and when it discovers one it penalises the link network, and also any website found be getting a link from them.
At Paramount Digital we’ve invested a lot in putting together a team which includes qualified journalists, graphic designers, and SEO experts who are committed to offering affordable SEO, but doing it the right way.
We’ll never subject your readers to keyword stuffed content.
And we’ll never put your site at risk by experimenting with poor SEO tactics that we’re not 100% sure about.
We’re a ‘practice what we preach’ SEO agency so any experimenting is always done on ourselves first.
If it gets results then we know it will get the same results for you.
How will your SEO agency optimise your content?
A tactic of cheap SEO providers is to either take your existing content and stuffing it with keywords.
Or getting you to commit to creating tonnes of new content, without figuring out what you’ve already got.
Content optimisation is one of those quick win tactics that can generate results at an affordable cost.
You will have lots more content than you think you do.
Usually the problem is that it hasn’t been optimised properly for keywords.
Or, you’ve optimised it around highly competitive keywords that you don’t really have a chance of ranking for yet with your website’s current authority.
As part of the research phase of your strategy, you should expect your SEO agency to carry out a content audit.
This will include every bit of content you have from web pages, to blogs, to guides and whitepapers, and product descriptions and even videos.
Even your non-digital content assets should be examined.
When you know where you stand with your SEO content, you should expect to receive a full content calendar.
This will show you at least three months of content that needs to be created, complete with deadlines and requirements that need to be met to complete the content to a high standard.
If you’re not getting this information, then you ask for it.
Has the SEO agency worked in your industry before
This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.
Unless you’re approaching an industry specific SEO agency, there’s a chance they won’t have worked in your industry before.
But it’s useful to know if they’ve worked with similar companies before, and what results they got.
Many SEO practises transfer across industries.
Things like optimising meta titles and descriptions, creating clear XML sitemaps and optimising for mobile have to be done no matter when industry you’re in.
But there might be particular nuances with keyword research or persona development that an SEO agency would know if they’d worked in your industry before.
Ultimately this comes down to your preference.
If you want to work with an industry specific SEO agency you can look for one.
Just remember a specialist SEO agency will likely cost more.
Either way, you should ask to see case studies of previous campaigns to get an idea what results you can expect to see from your agency.
Will you make technical SEO changes to the website?
Again, if you’re going to go down the road of cheap SEO, you need to understand the process of improving your site’s SEO.
if you’re presented with a bunch of changes your agency wants to make, with no explanation why, you should be worried.
Any technical SEO changes made to your website can have a big impact on search, both positive and negative.
Any changes should be guided by an SEO audit.
All of our affordable SEO packages start with an audit.
This saves us time not focusing on aspects of your SEO that are already performing well.
And it saves you paying for things you don’t really need.
Our in-house team of SEO specialists has dealt with hundreds of websites.
We’ll advise where you could make changes to content, design, functionalist or layout based on our SEO audit and guide you through the process.
All through the process we’ll be analysing results of the improvements we make and ensuring you’re kept up to date at every step.
It’s commonplace for cheap SEO agencies to sign clients and, once under contract, keep minimal contact.
This is where the bad reputations have come from.
You’re spending money on SEO, your agency isn’t keeping you up to date, and you’re not seeing any results.
At Paramount Digital, we keep you informed at every step of the way.
Either through weekly reports or calls with your team, or our end of month reports (whichever is best for you) you’ll always know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what results you’re getting.
If you’ve ever got a question or are struggling to understand something in a report, one of our SEO consultants is always just a phone call away.
What are your fees and payment terms and what happens after our work together?
Before working with an SEO agency it’s important to outline the fees and payment terms.
This can be a balancing act.
Especially if you’re a smaller company just getting started with an SEO agency.
There’s different ways you can approach SEO.
Project work – if you only need an SEO agency for a specific task, like an SEO audit, or to optimise your new website, you could negotiate a project fee.
Retainer – this is how most SEO agencies operate. You can still get affordable SEO on a retainer basis, just be sure what you’re signing up for.
At Paramount Digital, we don’t tie you into lengthy contracts.
Instead we offer affordable SEO services, provided on a month-by-month basis.
We’ll do your SEO audit and work on your website to get results. At the end of the month, if you’re happy with what we’re doing and the results you’re getting we can agree to carry on.
If you’re not happy with what’s happening, then no hard feelings.
How quickly will your SEO agency get me to the top of Google?
This is probably the most important question to ask when meeting with a potential SEO agency.
It’s also where most cheap SEO gets its bad reputation from.
These providers have become known for over promising on results.
Listening to them, you’ll be out performing your biggest competitors in a few days.
In reality, your SEO agency probably won’t be able to give you an exact time-frame for this.
Again, this is why many companies struggle when it comes to SEO.
Because results take time.
Especially if you’re a new, or small, business in a competitive industry.
Google is always changing how it ranks websites and what worked yesterday can suddenly stop working today.
What you should expect to see is a consistent improvement in search rankings for the keywords you agreed to target with your SEO agency.
At Paramount Digital, your dedicated SEO consultant will review your rankings on a daily basis and suggest potential improvements.
We won’t offer promises on when you’ll get to the top of Google, but we’re transparent in what we achieve and our goal is to keep you moving in the right direction.
Why should we hire your SEO agency?
You will be able to discover a lot form an SEO agency and their ethos by asking why you should work with them.
Those who give time frames on your improved rankings and those who simply can’t fathom an answer are ones to steer clear of.
And remember, what seems like beneficial cheap SEO on the face of it, can quickly cost your company big in the long run.
At Paramount Digital we ensure that our multidisciplinary team works hard and ensure your website progresses.
We can guarantee reliable reporting.
We’ve got a range of affordable SEO packages available if you’re a smaller business with a tight budget.
And the success of our previous clients proves we get results!
If you would like any advice on the SEO for your website or are interested in a free consultation call us on 01744 88 1876 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org