small business SEO agency

Small Business Checklist When Hiring a SEO Agency

Hiring a SEO company or agency can be a difficult job – mainly because as a local or small business you’re not experienced in this field and you’re afraid not to spend money and not get any results.

Depending on your business size, you have several options regarding SEO for your projects:

  • You can do it in-house by hiring people.
  • You can hire a SEO specialist or freelancer.
  • You can hire a local SEO agency.
  • You can hire a big SEO firm.

Like I said, it’s all about your finances and goals. If you feel like investing in SEO will increase your conversions then do it, but don’t forget there are other options available. My advice would be not to have all your eggs in the same basket.

Don’t focus just on one aspect of your small business but try to manage them all. For example, you shouldn’t forget about Social Media and you should learn to apply the best practices for small businesses.

Before hiring a SEO firm or specialist for your small business, remember that this won’t be cheap. If you find a firm who does this for the lowest price, you’re probably not getting the best results. After you accepted this, try to check off the following things of your list when you decide to hire a SEO agency.

An established SEO agency or freelancer will have no problems in doing the following:

Know how to improve SEO for a small business.

Every good SEO agency or freelancer has a step-by-step plan to improve SEO on your websites and it won’t be something like “we’re getting links from 10 websites“. No. Their plan should start by making a complete SEO audit of your website(s), identifying problems and coming up with ways to fix them and optimize your content.

A SEO expert will focus on quality backlinks and optimizing content for high-converting keywords. At the same time, they should provide guidelines for future use of your web properties.

Provide information on past clients and projects.

No, I’m not talking about sharing confidential data but a solid SEO agency will have no problem in providing you with a portfolio of their work and some aspects of their tasks. For example, they could give you examples of previous work, how they managed to improve other small businesses and so on, without sharing any confidential data.

Most experienced SEO agencies will have full-time clients so you might want to know who they are working with. This will allow you to discover who you’re dealing with and see if it would be a good match.

You shouldn’t hire the same SEO agency your competitors are working with.

SEO agency small business

Keep you updated while they work on your websites.

When hiring a SEO agency to optimize your projects, they shouldn’t sign the contract then go silent until they finish the tasks. It’s not just about optimizing the projects but also staying in touch with the client and updating them along the way.

This radio silence is frustrating for the client. As a small business, you shouldn’t be kept in the dark, especially when you tend to oversee all the aspects of your company, right? That’s why, a good SEO individual or agency will provide regular updates so you know what’s happening.

Provide you with the tools and tactics they will be using.

Every experienced SEO firm will have a set of tools consisting of web apps or custom software they’ll be using to optimize your projects. At the same time, they will follow the best Google practices when applying changes and they will perform several SEO tactics.

Knowing what tools they’re using will help you understand how they work and find out if they’re serious about what they do.

  • They should have tools for providing reports, building links, research and/or custom software.
  • Next, they should follow Google’s best practices so your website won’t be hit hard by any Panda or Penguin update.
  • Finally, they should do various types of SEO work: technical (website audit, crawling, etc), on-site SEO (optimize your content, URL structure) and off-site SEO (quality inbound links).

Hiring an SEO agency to optimize your web properties can be a huge improvement or a black hole for your income. Checking the above things of your checklist will help you hire the best match for your small business. SEO agencies regularly bill you for whole projects while SEO freelancers will want to be paid by the hour.

My secret when hiring SEO agencies.

There is a trick question that can help you make the right choice when hiring an SEO agency or freelancer. Ask them if they can guarantee the 1st place in Google  for specific keywords. If they’re saying they can guarantee this, just get up and leave the meeting. A SEO specialist knows you can’t guarantee 1st place for keywords. If anyone is saying otherwise, they’re just after your money.

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