Most of the time, we hire people to help with search because we're unsure how the mystery of Google and other search engines work—and we need someone else to help us figure it all out.
For the few who do feel confident in search yet need to outsource it to others to make room for other important tasks, it just so happens that as soon as they give the game away, Google and other search guidelines tend to change, meaning their once top-tier knowledge quickly becomes outdated.
So, how can we be sure that we're getting the best search service for our money if the work is, in itself, an enigma?
Only bona fide search experts really know what it takes to run successful SEO campaigns, presenting a modern-day Catch 22 situation. Unlike Joseph Heller's 1961 novel, our position in search isn't at war, but it often feels this way when we're vying for user attention against our closest competitors.
We might be taking it too far if we claim, Anthony, Danielle and Adrian are akin to army generals, yet in this 40 minute episode, they do their best, letting you know the best plan of attack when it comes to choosing an agency.
Find out what to avoid when hiring a search specialist as well as the specific questions you should ask to weed out the pretenders from the pros.
SEO agency red flags
According to the team, SEO agency no-no's include:
- Little industry experience (less than a year in SEO)
- Black hat SEO advocates who solely focus on short-term success
- No access to case studies or an unwillingness to talk about how they've achieved previous success
- A limit on company contact and next to no goal setting
- Out-of-this-world ranking promises (namely, a guarantee to get you to Google's #1)
If you spot any of these warning signs, you've probably come across what Anthony likes to call a search cowboy—someone taking advantage of the booming search industry.
What to put on your SEO wishlist
Enough about what you don't want, here's what you do:
- Those who understand the different elements and components of SEO, on-page, off-page, technical SEO, keywords, meta tags, you name it, they should know it
- Ethical SEO's who follow Google guidelines
- Agencies exclusively producing in-house SEO work that's never outsourced or diluted with robust quality control
- A benchmark and expectation for Return on Investment (ROI) so you can quantify the value of your search spend
- People who will work alongside you to research the most valuable keywords and agree on expectations
The offering might not sound as immediately exciting as some others, but being open to a long-term working relationship and doing all the right things to rank will pay off in the long run and keep you free from trouble.
The team teach you how to test an agency to sniff out the real search experts. From gauging their knowledge of Google guidelines to sending industry professionals to help with the interrogation, you can use our tactics to protect your initial investment.
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