You’ve started the process of looking for an SEO agency that would conduct appropriate activities and you already received a few offers. They include various pieces of information, however, not everything is fully understandable. How to compare offers to select the one that suits you best? What to pay attention to?
Table of Contents:
- How to compare offers of SEO agencies?
- SEO offer comparison – a brief takeaway
How to compare offers of SEO agencies?
Choosing the SEO company you wish to cooperate with isn’t a piece of cake, especially if you have never had anything to do with this industry. An offer of every agency probably includes numerous pieces of information saying what elements you can expect in exchange for a given amount. But how to determine which offer is the most profitable?
We’ve devised a special tool facilitating the process of comparing offers of SEO agencies. We highlighted the most important elements you should pay attention to. The tool comes in the form of a table that can be filled in with appropriate data and should make it easier for you to make up your mind.
The tool can be opened online or downloaded in .xlsx format:
What information should you expect to receive from a quality company? Read our entry and find out how to compare offers of SEO agencies!
Start with familiarizing yourself with elements of the offer and the scope of activities performed by SEO agencies. These are the aspects you should pay attention to:
- Monthly budget – the amount you’ll be required to pay for activities each month. You’ve probably determined a certain amount you don’t want to exceed. However, remember that a low price shouldn’t be the factor deciding whether you choose a given company or not. The things you receive as part of the service are relevant. It’s likely that a particularly cheap offer doesn’t include activities crucial to achieve the results you expect. What budget should you prepare?
- A number of specialist’s work hours per month – which means the time an SEO specialist will spend working on your website, without the time devoted to link building. What will that person do during this time? Optimize your website from a technical point of view, analyze and select keywords, monitor positions or errors, prepare reports or consult activities with you? Theoretically speaking, the more time the specialist devotes to your website, the better. However, the scope of performed activities is the most important as it affects your visibility in Google.
- The amount of content created each month – how many product or category descriptions and blog entries will complement your website each month? Content development and optimization are an integral part of an SEO campaign, therefore, they’re must-have elements of a quality offer. The offer can also include information about specific numbers of characters or texts the agency will prepare for you every month.
- A number of links per month – acquiring links leading to your website is an important part of the SEO process. Remember that in this case it’s mainly about the quality, not the quantity. Thus, apart from the number of links, you should also care about their source. According to the study conducted by aira.net, content marketing (76%) was the most popular technique of acquiring links in 2020. Analysis of the link profile of competitors and choosing linking websites on this basis was ranked in the second position.
- A number of sponsored articles per month – apart from being a source of links to your website, such content can directly translate into sales. Once you know the number of articles, you can ask about the principles of selecting websites for the publication. What parameters are taken into account? SEO? Traffic or other?
- Costs of the audit – analyzing your website to determine changes it needs and to make sure that it meets the requirements of Google algorithms should be the first step of an SEO agency. Your page will be optimized based on this information. It’s crucial to check the HTML code, meta tags, internal and external duplicate content, website loading time and others (learn more by reading: What should a proper SEO audit include?). Check if the audit is included in the offer or whether it requires an extra fee. Then, analyze what it includes. Does it cover all website elements that affect visibility in Google?
- Implementation of the audit – when the audit is completed, you should receive a list of recommendations that should be implemented to make sure that the website meets the requirements of Google algorithms. However, determining what needs to be changed is one thing, and bringing it into life is another. Will the agency deploy technical modifications when you approve them or does it expect you to find a specialist willing to do it? Perhaps you wish to hire web developers specializing in such tasks and you don’t want anyone else to perform the activities. Does the agency offer you such a possibility? In real life, modifications implemented by specialists working for the SEO company are the key to success, as they’re performed much quicker and according to the plan.
- Contract duration – SEO agencies offer various principles of cooperation. One can be stated for sure, don’t choose a few years contract with no termination option. The best conditions mean having a contract for an indefinite period of time and with an affordable termination date. Remember that business is unpredictable. The agency may do an excellent job, but you may still be forced to close the company for other reasons which were well evidenced by the ongoing pandemic. On the other hand, you may find out that the selected agency doesn’t meet your requirements and you don’t want to continue the cooperation. It’s also acceptable if the agency allows you to terminate the contract after 3-6 months because the results of the SEO campaign are usually noticeable after this time. The agency, being aware of this fact, may want to “protect” itself so that clients have a chance to evaluate the results of its efforts.
- Keywords – does the contract include SEO for a specific number of phrases? If so, how many phrases and how are they selected? Limiting the number to a certain quantity of keywords (e.g. 20-30) may lead to a situation when the agency focuses solely on chosen phrases, which may be perceived as an attempt to manipulate the ranking. Consequently, it may have a negative impact on the way Google perceives the site. On the other hand, it’s not about having as many keywords as possible but about choosing the ones that precisely describe your website and are frequently applied by users (a keyword may be related to your website but if nobody searches it, it won’t bring you any measurable benefits). If the offer doesn’t provide information on the number of searches for a specific keyphrase, you can check it with the help of Senuto. Remember that doing SEO for previously determined keywords doesn’t mean that your website visibility for other phrases doesn’t improve. The positions of long-tail keywords will also improve, moreover, they can attract traffic and customers.
- Web development support – the changes implemented at the beginning by the SEO agency are necessary, however, various Google algorithm modifications or website requirements may necessitate further implementations. It’s an asset if the agency hires a web developer ready to deploy vital changes. Thanks to it, everything will be quicker and you won’t need to look for the right specialist on your own.
- Tool setup – information on the effects of your SEO campaign can be obtained for free thanks to tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console. However, at first, it’s crucial to provide a special code (in case of GA) and confirm the ownership of the site in GSC. Who is going to do it? Will it be your responsibility? Who will own the platform? It should be assigned to your account and the SEO agency ought to have permissions, it shouldn’t be the owner. Thanks to it, the accounts will remain in your hands after the possible termination of the cooperation.
- Content plan – will the company devise your website content structure and prepare a publication plan? Articles, descriptions and other pieces of website content are crucial elements of every SEO campaign. It’s a good idea to constantly develop your website in this respect which will surely translate into improved visibility. The SEO agency should come up with a content plan including entries that will appear on the page.
- UX optimization – will you receive any tips on improving your website usability? It’s a quality element of the offer as traffic obtained thanks to improved visibility should translate into a bigger number of queries and customers. This is possible when the website meets the requirements of Internet users. Thus, choose solutions that are crucial for achieving this objective. An SEO agency suggesting you what to do is an extra advantage.
When comparing offers of SEO agencies, consider elements such as:
- Contact person – will it be an SEO specialist or an account manager? Being able to write/call and talk to the person responsible for your project is very important. You may have a number of questions and doubts, it’s crucial to ensure that the contact person knows your website or in case he/she is on vacation, informs someone else about the project.
- Frequency of reports – how often will you receive a summary of activities performed on the website and information on achieved results? What data should such a report include? A consolidated document after each month of cooperation is a good solution. It’s important to ensure that the report includes a detailed description of the performed activities and modifications. Information about the prepared content, changes in website traffic, or positions for specific keywords is also relevant. Don’t start cooperation with an agency claiming that it can’t reveal the types of activities it performs – you have the right to know what you’re paying for.
- Additional fees for results – check if apart from the set amount of monthly subscription fees, the SEO agency wants to charge you for e.g. being ranked in TOP10 for specific keywords and if so, ask what’s the price.
Before you start cooperation with any agency, you should determine who you’re dealing with. Is the company anonymous? Is there any way to assess the quality of its work or check the experiences of previous clients? This is a very important factor that can indicate what to expect from the cooperation.
- Google reviews – check their number and average rating. Finding one negative comment doesn’t mean that you should reject a given agency. However, a low rating and lots of negative reviews can be worrying. Don’t draw conclusions on the basis of a few comments, there should be at least several dozen of them.
- References/case studies of real clients – an experienced SEO agency should be able to boast many successful campaigns. If such elements can be found on the agency’s website, you can verify the achieved results and contact the company owners to see whether they’re satisfied with the cooperation. Such feedback can be invaluable when choosing an offer, as you will learn what the client who works or worked with the agency thinks about it.
- Experience in the industry – does an SEO agency know your field and can it prove it? If a given company has already cooperated with brands operating in the same or similar industries, it’s a huge advantage as it means that the agency has the necessary expertise and has interesting insights crucial to implement modifications. Check out: Why is industry-related experience seen as an advantage of SEO agencies?
SEO offer comparison – a brief takeaway
SEO offer comparison should be summarized with a list of pros and cons of each offer. Although analyzing these pieces of information may be time-consuming, the game is worth the candle as you’ll probably be able to find an SEO service provider able to achieve your objectives.