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You’re keen to grow your company online, and you’ve taken that all-important first step. You may be left scratching your head now that you’ve decided to use an SEO agency to boost your online presence and grow your business. There are many available providers, and you’ll come across a bevy of promises, guarantees, and in some cases, red flags.

To clear up the confusion, we’ve put together a simple guide on the most important factors to consider when finding the agency that’s right for you.

7 Things to Look for in a Quality SEO Agency

Search engine optimization (SEO) provides a wealth of benefits for any online enterprise and is indispensable for businesses and websites seeking to grow their customer base and traffic organically. Above all, SEO can help to improve your rankings in searches, allowing you to reach a wider audience, driving more traffic to your website, and improving your brand’s awareness.

The best agencies go above and beyond, working closely with their clients to improve the user experience of visitors to their sites, enhance mobile friendliness and site accessibility, and ultimately, increase conversion rates and sales. This growth is built brick by brick over time, providing long-term, sustainable results that can help your business get a leg up over the competition.

1. Strong Portfolio

First and foremost, your chosen agency should have readily available results that speak volumes. They have a strong portfolio of success stories and satisfied clients that they aren’t afraid to show to the world. This demonstrates not only their openness in working with new clients but gives you a chance to look at their work history with a critical eye.

Don’t be afraid to dive in headfirst. Consider their broader strategy – how do they implement on-site and off-site SEO? What is their approach to social media? Are they capable web designers, content creators, and graphic designers? Are they able to improve your brand development? The broader the skill base, the less you will have to work with third parties, which translates to better cost efficiency and a speedier workflow.

2. Metrics for Success

You need to know whether or not your marketing campaign is working. Any agency worth its salt will offer you impressive-looking data that speaks to the efficacy of its efforts, yet not all data is created equal. Keep an eye out for empty metrics and focus on the ones that matter.

Overall visitor count, page views, and number of new users are good baselines, but your chosen agency should offer more than that. Do they offer up data on the average session length and the bounce rate of visitors? Are they able to show where your traffic is coming from?

3. Adaptable Approach

The cookie-cutter, cut-and-paste service offered by many agencies is something you will want to avoid. Agencies that rely on predefined SEO implementation may appear cheaper at the outset, but this is only because the service isn’t up to scratch. Every client is unique, and your business deserves the help of an agency that respects this.

Look for those organizations that work closely with their clients. In an initial consultation, they should be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. Be aware of the questions they put to you. Are they intuitive, responsive, and critical? Or, does it sound more like your correspondent is lazily reading from a script? Naturally, it should go without saying that they should always put the needs and wishes of their clients first.

4. Realistic Timeframes

Companies that promise near-instant, guaranteed results are throwing up a major red flag. SEO is built on time-tested and proven theory, but each case remains different.  Search engine rankings fluctuate and change all the time, so nobody can promise a percentage of growth, increase in user base, or improved traffic flow with absolute certainty.

Instead, pay attention to the timeframe specified by your SEO provider. In most cases, it takes up to six months to see and analyze results. This is because the only method of assessing results is to implement incremental changes and evaluate them over time, over periods of several weeks.

5. Shining Reviews

A portfolio is a selection of satisfied clients from the past. Yet, nobody in their right mind would consciously advertise disaster cases. This is where independent review sites come in. When it comes down to it, SEO is a pretty subjective business, and it varies highly on a case-to-case basis. Your first port of call is the reviews available on search engines like Google, and social media sites like Facebook.

However, if you’re feeling on the fence, there’s no reason to stop there. It’s perfectly acceptable to browse the available references you find on a portfolio and contact past clients directly. From there, you can collect first-hand references and endorsements. Satisfied clients won’t be reluctant to sing the praises of the SEO agency you’re considering, and a quality SEO provider will not have any qualms about you doing your homework before working with them.

6. Other Services

You will save yourself a number of headaches by working with an experienced agency that caters to many needs. You won’t have to coordinate between different service providers, and will see your wishes and requirements acted upon faster. Consider what services are provided that you may need to rely on in the future. Grouping services will undoubtedly save on marketing costs, and as an added bonus, you’ll only have to review one report every month.

7. Core Values and Team Spirit

Lastly, when searching for the right SEO agency to suit your demands, look beyond the professional sphere and assess the people you’ll be working with directly. This is a step that many tend to miss, but it’s a vital one. While you may be tempted to use LinkedIn, much of the information you’re after is probably already available on the agency website.

Honesty and integrity are the paramount factors to consider here. With an energized and passionate team, the outcomes you desire are almost guaranteed, while on the flip side, unmotivated employees won’t be dedicated to service or their clients. On top of that, a code of ethics will help to ensure that your SEO strategy doesn’t rely on underhanded shortcuts to improved website rankings, which can harm your business in the long run.

Search engine optimization is a paramount aspect of your online business, which in today’s world is your most important asset. You should view your SEO team as an extension of your own, and they’ll need to be a good fit in terms of not only their professional aptitude and experience but their interpersonal skills.

Your ideal candidate will have a proven track record and know-how to show it. Their past clients will speak volumes, their reviews will be stellar, and their strategy for your business will be unique and well-tailored to fit. Ultimately, you’ll want a highly skilled team of experts who are easy to get along with and responsive. After all, you will be communicating with them on a regular basis – and things run smoothly when everybody gets along. Contact Life Improvement Media today for more information about the wide range of services we offer.