What to look for. And what to expect.

Digital360 on 20 June 2017

After your first year with an SEO company, you and your business should be seeing results. And not just an increase in website traffic. By this stage, your investment in SEO should be impacting your business's bottom line.

However, it's important to remember that SEO performance improves over time, provided you are working with a credible SEO agency. With early and consistent investment, businesses will see compounding improvement, year after year.

What results should you see in your first year with an SEO company?

During the first three months, you should have seen an SEO audit of your website, including research and analysis of your business and competitors. At this early stage, the onus is on your chosen SEO agency to set timely goals and develop a strong content marketing strategy.

Digital asset optimisation is another important task for a newly hired SEO agency. By identifying existing digital assets and mapping out a plan to optimise them, your agency will simultaneously increase your website's search engine ranking and customer conversion rate.

That said, website content is still your most important asset. That means a content strategy should be a central component of an SEO agency’s first-year plan for your business. A good SEO agency will map out a content workflow with the intent to publish relevant and reliable content on a regular basis. What’s more, the best SEO agencies will endeavour to publish across multiple platforms, including social media.

You should also request your agency produce a list of links that point back to your site, as well as metrics on the quality of these links. These ‘backlinks’ are one of the most important factors for SEO. In the eyes of Google, links are proof that your business is a trusted authority in the market.

How do you know if your SEO agency is not producing results?

If you are at all unsure about your SEO agency, have a look at their original pitch. Go through what was promised, and compare those promises with work completed. What has been achieved? Has your SEO agency kept to their timeline? Has traffic and rankings increased? Is this traffic converting into customers?

If KPIs haven’t been met, you may need to reevaluate your agency. But first, it's important to make an assessment of your agency's performance. Look at traffic, page speed, mobile responsiveness, keyword rankings, page metadata, internal and external links, and the quality of page content.

If you are unsure about your SEO agency, have a look at their original pitch. Go through what was promised, and compare those promises with work completed.

Also be aware of your SEO agency outsourcing work overseas. This is a commonplace practice with SEO agencies in Australia and often results in poor quality website content that offers no real value to visitors. This trend has caused many websites to be punished by Google in the past, damaging their search rankings and their reputation.

Spammy or low quality links are another warning sign. While your SEO agency might be boasting that you have 1000 links pointing to your website, these links may not be of an acceptable quality. Often, links are purchased in bulk from cheap business directories and can do more harm than good.

Time to switch agencies?

While it is important to recognise that good SEO takes time, business owners and managers must also be aware of the tactics of cheap SEO companies. You should be able to see a clear strategy that is both measurable and timely, and includes monthly reporting on KPIs. If you don't see positive results in a year's time, it may be time to find another SEO agency.

Talk to an SEO specialist in Melbourne for advice on what you can expect from an SEO agency.