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Things to look for Before You Hire a Local SEO Agency For Your Business

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Every week, it seems like a new local SEO firm opens its doors, promising rapid ranking results for modest prices. This may sound appealing at first glance, but like with most things, you get what you pay for, so knowing what to look for when choosing the appropriate agency is crucial.

How can you tell the difference between "white hat" and "black hat" agencies? What red flags should you be on the lookout for throughout your investigation? You could question if it matters which methods a Local SEO service uses as long as your site ranks. Hiring a local SEO company that employs black hat methods might result in a Google penalty and damage your online reputation.

Before Hiring An SEO Agency, Keep These Things In Mind!

How Your website's marketing approach should be centered on generating new visitors. Your website must be optimized for your buyer persona. You'll need to use a variety of strategies to drive targeted, "free" traffic to your website that will help you meet your business's objectives. You could want to entrust your digital marketing efforts to local SEO professionals while you focus on other parts of your business to achieve this. Unfortunately, many of these "experts" are far from qualified and can cause more harm than benefit. By selecting the appropriate SEO agency for the task, you can safeguard your investment and get the most out of your website by asking these below-mentioned questions.

1. What's Your Research Process?

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The backbone of SEO is research. Any Seo company worth employing will place a high priority on research. When interviewing a potential agency, inquire about how they conduct research and the types of data they collect. The importance of research stems from the fact that you won't be able to create a thorough customer persona without first spending the time to find particular keywords and rivals in your niche or sector.

Something to look out for from the beginning is whether an agency spends more time talking about their services or your needs. If an agency isn't focused on your needs, they may be offering cookie-cutter, generic marketing services. Each Local SEO campaign is unique. Your marketing strategy should focus on your company, its goals, and the type of consumers you are targeting.

2. Can You Back Up Your Talk With Results?

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The results are self-explanatory. Buy a domain and announce to the Internet that you're the greatest. Your claim to be the "#1 SEO Agency In Chandigarh" isn't supported by statistics. ASK ABOUT THEIR MEASUREMENTS Does the company have a case study to share? There will be opportunities for agencies to demonstrate their work if they have had excellent results with clients over the long term. The outcomes of an SEO agency that refuses to reveal them cannot be trusted!

3. Can I See Your Rankings And Traffic?

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The position of a keyword on a search engine results page is not everything. Working with experts who can prove that their tactics work for clients is crucial. It's important to make sure they follow through on their words and actions.

4. Will They Tell You The Truth?

There is no magic formula for ranking on Google. Every site will have times when their traffic will fluctuate. Many industries have busy seasons and slower seasons; for example, in the summer, a pool repair company may have higher traffic than in the winter. An algorithm update can also impact site traffic. As your traffic shifts up and down, a good SEO agency will implement strategies to address decreases.

It's important to hire an agency that will be open and honest about the ups and downs in site traffic. They should have a working understanding of the calendar flow for your industry, as well as the impact algorithm changes can have on search. Google makes anywhere between 500 to 600 updates each year. Each one can cause some fluctuation. Look out for any agency that promises you'll never lose a ranking position. They can't make that promise.

5. What Is Your Reporting Process?

Communication is vital. Any Local SEO agency you're interviewing should be able to show you how they will communicate with you and that they have completed different tasks outlined in your contract.

6. How Do You Measure Client Success?

Speaking of key performance indicators (KPIs), it's vital that the agency you work with measures the right analytics and doesn't send you vanity metrics. For Local SEO, some of the KPIs to measure include:

  • Sessions
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pageviews
  • Average Session Duration
  • % of New Users
  • Search C.T.R.
  • Impressions

It's helpful to see where the traffic is coming from as well. If the majority of your traffic is referral traffic from one source this is important information you can leverage.

7. Do Your Clients Need To Meet Certain Criteria?

An SEO Agency should spend as much time interviewing you as you do them. Both parties' expectations must be clear before signing an agreement. If an agency says they will work with any budget, in any industry, and meet any standard, that should raise a red flag. It takes an allotted number of hours to accomplish specific tasks, and each task costs a certain amount of money.

Working with an agency that charges you what tasks are worth will reduce the chances the majority of work is outsourced. When an agency uses in-house team members that work with dedicated account managers tasks are streamlined, and there is continuity with management.

For agencies to provide highly specialized care that doesn't take a cookie-cutter approach, they will need to limit the types of industries they work with or employ enough account managers to accommodate any specialty.

Just because a Local SEO agency has improved the rankings and visibility for several B2B companies in your area doesn't mean they will have the same success with B2C industries.

8. What's Your Approach To Link Building?

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Local SEO agencies must incorporate link building into their marketing strategies. As we talked about earlier, there are white hat tactics and black hat tactics that SEOs use, and when it comes to link building, this is an area where many SEOs take shortcuts that can harm your website.

At SMA Marketing, we use a varied strategy for link building that incorporates incoming and outgoing links.

9. Are There Other Services Your Agency Offers?

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The fewer agencies you need to interact with, the better. If your intent is to expand and incorporate PPC, social media marketing, email marketing, or content marketing in the future, why not work with an agency that will work with you to expand your marketing goals? You will save time by reviewing one report each month, and as an added benefit, you may save money by grouping services.

In A Nutshell

Any agency that tells you to expect to see immediate results is not telling the truth. Even if they can implement a strategy immediately, there isn't a guarantee Google will read your sitemap and register updates as quickly as the agency has implemented them.

Additionally, since rankings fluctuate, it will take several months to show that the changes made are creating a lasting positive impact on rankings. The only way to know which updates are working is to deploy A/B tests or to make incremental changes one at a time and monitor rankings for several weeks.

Hiring a local SEO agency for your marketing goals is an important decision. Take your time and make sure you ask the strategic questions to ensure you will work with an agency you can develop a long-term relationship with, like SMA Marketing!

Is your website optimized for local search? Connect with us today to learn more about how you can improve your local search rankings.

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