If you have your small business website already set up, you know that you have only completed one of many jobs.
Specifically, the question is now: how do I drive traffic to my website.
The answer to that question has many parts, including inbound marketing, social media, etc.
But one big one is having great SEO (search engine optimization) so that the search engines can find you and rank you higher on the search results pages.
But SEO can be quite a technical undertaking, and one that takes a lot of time too.
If you’d rather focus on your business at hand, you’ll probably choose to outsource this task to a great SEO agency.
But how do you decide which SEO agency is the best? You should start by asking these 5 questions first.
Question 1: Can I see some references?
One of the most important things for you to do off the bat is ask the SEO agency for references from past customers.
You can check out those customers’ websites, but if you’re new to SEO, you may not know what to look for.
Better than that is to talk to those former customers and see if they saw visible improvements in rankings, traffic and even conversions.
Question 2: What methods will you be using?
What you don’t want to do is get involved in an SEO agency that uses black hat methods. Black hat uses bots, spamming, manipulation and even scamming to get results.
On the other hand, white hat methods will use safe, recommended methods to get results. It requires harder work, but you’re safer.
If search engines, such as Google, find out about your SEO agency’s black hat tricks for your website, they could penalize you.
It may even go as far as getting your site de-indexed completely, meaning you won’t show up in the search results at all.
Question 3: Do you have experience with local SEO?
Depending on your needs, you may need an SEO agency that has knowledge, and even specializes in, local SEO.
Local SEO is different from SEO in general. This is because local SEO is made for more traditional, brick-and-mortar businesses. They depend on local customers finding and walking into their stores or using their services.
If the SEO agency has no local SEO experience, it might be best to look for another agency.
Question 4: How will you measure the campaign success?
If it can be done, it can be measured. One important thing to remember is that your SEO agency should be using Google Analytics to measure the success of your SEO campaigns.
However, you should not be fooled by simple increases in traffic. What you also need is better conversions, meaning better sales.
You may even experience higher sales with lower website traffic, as your visitors will be smaller but more motivated to buy from you.
Question 5: What are your prices?
Lastly, you need to make sure you’re not breaking the bank by checking how much the costs will be.
Some SEO agencies charge by hour, by monthly retainer, or by project. For example, if you want to reach a certain amount of visitors or get a certain amount of links from high-quality websites, then you’ll only pay for that once the project is finished.
This project-based payment is the most common, as it is results based.
Also ask if you’ll get invoices on a regular basis, if there are any discounts for early payment, and if there are alternatively late charges.
The best small business SEO agency
That will depend on what your needs are. Again, you will most likely need an SEO agency with local SEO experience.
If not, then you will open yourself up to a lot more options and have much better choices.