4 Things to Consider Before Signing with an SEO Company
So you’ve taken the plunge and are officially the Director of a start-up. You’ve registered the business and purchased a domain. Suddenly you’re inundated with emails and calls from SEO ‘experts’, ‘companies’ and ‘agencies’. It’s so instant that you may think that they’re psychic but they’re not. There are bots that scan the domain registers and as soon you hit confirm with Go Daddy boom, your details are easy pickings for any marketer to get their hands on.
Welcome to online baby!
Most Entrepreneurs understand the importance of digital marketing but how to you get through the snake oil, cowboys and unprofessional professions? Below are my top 4 things to consider before jumping in and signing a contract with an SEO provider.
What are your goals online, and how can the provider help you achieve those goals?
Apart from registering your business and domain, you have probably also developed your business plan. It’s important to set realistic goals that you would like to achieve for the business in the short and long term. Some obvious metrics for tracking success of digital advertising are growth in traffic, sales, enquiries, followers, database and page 1 rankings. Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve you can partner with a Company that not only shares your dreams and is ‘on the same page’ but has a strong plan and strategy in place. This should be verbalised to you clearly as well as any milestones and KPI’s.
Is your product or service something that users are actively searching for?
Search Engine Opimisation is fantastic if your product or service is one that your potential clients and customers are looking for. If you’re offering a ‘new’ concept, product or service that hasn’t been done before, or it’s an impulse buy product then the chances are that SEO will not work well for your business. As Entrepreneurs, we’re always exploring new ground and ideas which is great but it doesn’t mean that everyone else out there is on the same page. If this is the case, more ‘passive’ online marketing channels will harness better results, such as Facebook and Instagram Ads.
Can your business make a long-term commitment financially?
While the experts might bamboozle you with technical phrases such as canonicals, robots.txt and sitemap.xml; one thing that they should tell you about is that SEO is long term. The way that the algorithms (another term that’s thrown around!) work is that it takes time to build up authority with Search Engines, which means that it takes time to draw in traffic. If your plan is to fund one month’s administration fee then hope that by the time the first month as finished you will have achieved ROI to fund the next month it will get you into trouble. Do not listen to any sales person that tries to convince you that that is achievable! Make sure your funding is in a place that you can finance 12 months of SEO and be prepared to make that commitment.
“Focusing on digital marketing and SEO has been one the key areas that has helped us grow as a business.”
Stuart Clayton, Founder of Digital Pigeon
Doing SEO and only SEO is like ordering a steak with no sides.
Ever been to a restaurant and ordered the medium-rare sirloin, only to find out that you’ve got a lonely steak sitting in the middle of the plate when it hits the table? Your meal doesn’t feel complete and your taste buds will not be fulfilled! Just like a steak needs sides, Search Engine Optimisation needs to be done in conjunction with other forms of marketing (traditional as well as digital) to form a complete strategy. We never recommend doing SEO and only SEO. Successful businesses utilise multi-channel and multi-faceted marketing strategies.
KT’s quick bonus tips:
- Read, reread and read your contract again before signing. Understand every detail of what you’re signing up for
- If promises have been made, make sure they’re in writing
- Ask to see an example of the reporting you will receive
- Ask for case studies, and a current client you can call
- Ask if you can meet the personal that will be handling your campaign prior to signing up
- Ask your other business-owning-buddies for a referral
So there you have it! Good luck running the gauntlet in the online Kingdom.
Author: Kristina Trood, General Manager at Results First
Kristina Trood (AKA: KT) has been in the digital space (more specifically an SEO expert and team Manager) for almost 6 years. She is passionate about helping small businesses succeed online, as well as nurture her team members.