What to look for in the early days of hiring an SEO agency

Digital360 on 20 June 2017

Optimising for search engines should be part of a long term strategy for growing a business. But search engine optimisation (SEO) takes time. It's unlikely a business will see overnight results.

So, when an SEO company promises things like 'guaranteed results in just thirty days', it's important to remain sceptical. More likely, these SEO companies are cutting corners and putting their clients’ websites at risk.

This is why SEO can be such a tricky industry – and that makes it a daunting prospect for business owners and managers. But there are some things to expect in the first few months with an SEO agency.

Why does it take so long to see results?

Google's algorithm tries to surface the most trustworthy and authoritative source in search engine results. This source could be a reputable news organisation reporting current events. Or it could be a market-leading company in a particular industry.

Depending on the industry, it can take time to establish authority in the eyes of Google – especially if your competitors have been investing in SEO for years.

What can you expect in the first three months?

Implementing an SEO audit

An SEO audit evaluates the search engine friendliness of your website. In simple terms, an SEO audit is like a checklist, providing a detailed analysis of your website’s performance across multiple formats, such as mobile.

An audit should also check your website’s on-site features like page speed, off-site features like external links, and whether your website is integrated with Google Analytics, AdWords, Google My Business and social media.

Segmentation of products and services

Segmentation is about creating a focussed digital strategy. Business segmentation is the process of breaking down products into categories, then aligning these with customer types, key competitors and target keywords.

When hiring an SEO agency, their ability to establish your company’s niche within market categories is a critical factor to your success. The more focused or targeted a campaign, the better the results for your business.

Creating and optimising new digital assets

When hiring an SEO agency, one of their first goals should be developing and optimising your website’s digital assets. This process should go beyond webpages and traditional text-based formats like PDFs.

A review of digital assets should extend to images, blog posts, video, books and eCommerce systems. For example, digital asset optimisation involves labelling assets with relevant alt-text and reducing file sizes for faster page load speeds.

Developing a content marketing strategy

Content strategy is one of the most important considerations when hiring an SEO agency. A competitive content marketing strategy will include keyword research, a content roadmap and distribution plans via social media.

Creating this strategy will involve planning as your SEO agency researches your business, market and competitors. That means you may not see results from content marketing straight away. However, you can be sure that if your SEO agency commits to creating quality, targeted content, SEO performance will follow.

What will be the results?

Every business is different. Without initial analysis, it's hard to know what to expect from the first three months of hiring an SEO agency. Some businesses will see positive results during this time: more traffic, higher click-through rates and better rankings. But this is not always the case.

It is important to be aware that after implementing early SEO tactics, website traffic can sometimes decrease. This often will depend on the state of your website. For instance, duplicate content and poor quality links will need to be removed, which may require significant website restructuring.

While it's possible these optimisations might reduce traffic initially, they will improve the quality of your website and ultimately increase conversion rates and SEO performance in the long term. What’s more, after an intervention by a quality SEO agency, your website will no longer be at risk of incurring a penalty from Google.

Finding the right SEO agency

During the first three months, it's important for a business to keep in regular communication with their new SEO company. If they have done their due diligence in selecting an SEO company with experience and integrity, business owners and managers should trust their SEO agency to build the foundations for a long-term SEO strategy.

Interested in finding out more about hiring an SEO agency? Contact a Melbourne SEO specialist today.