Are you still doubtful that SEO can be the right channel for you?
Research from Rand Fishkin showed that Google is responsible for 57.8 % of all traffic.
Choosing a good SEO company is hard. When you don’t have in-house SEO specialists, it is even harder.
A review of SEO companies on Clutch shows that monthly fees can reach $2,500 – $5,000/month for a reputable agency.
In this article, I’ll show you how to spend money efficiently for agencies, and detail what actions you should take. I’ll cover the following:
- Homework before starting meetings with SEO agencies
- 4 Main criteria for the agency
- How much does SEO Cost?
Homework before starting meetings with SEO agencies
Before you talk to an SEO agency, you should have a minimum understanding of what SEO is.
There are 3 main parts of SEO:
- Technical SEO
- On-site SEO
- Off-site SEO
If you’re just starting with SEO, you need an agency that can help with all 3 parts. Even if you don’t implement Off-site activities in the beginning, you will get data about the competition and an estimation of how much time and money you need to overcome your competitors.
Do you homework and prepare some data:
Identify at least your 3-5 competitors.
There is a big chance that some of your competitors investing in SEO and you can find helpful insights by identifying their tactics.
If you don’t have Google Search Console (GSC), set it up.
In the GSC Performance report, you will see golden data about your website:
Review Queries and find ideas by which keywords you would like to grow website visibility and traffic.
Set clear goals that you target to gain from the SEO company.
A bad goal would be to have a 100% healthy site. A good goal is to have a 5% increase in organic traffic in the 3 first month.
Manage your expectations on how fast you’re going to see SEO results.
In most cases, some positive results should be visible in 3 months.
Top Secret: There are some courses for SEO agencies, where you can get technical audit frameworks, proposals, and reporting templates. You can start an SEO agency business without having experience.
What does it mean?
It means that you will get a bunch of nicely designed documents, you will spend your budget and hours of implementing their recommendations, but there will no big value in it.
If you just spend a couple of hours on understanding your current situation, you’ll be able to ask challenging questions and understand if the agency is giving unrealistic promises.
4 criteria for agency
If SEO is one of the 5-20 services they offer, they’re not focusing that much on SEO.
SEO should be one of a max of 5 services offered for most agencies.
What should I ask my company about SEO? Answers are below.
Check case studies and previous works
Examining previous projects done by companies is a great way to see if they’re providing quality service. You can also check the ranking of backlinks of such websites, as there are many free and paid tools offered to see backlink’s quality.
I found a case study which this statement:
When I checked the website with Ahrefs, the traffic of the domains was around 200 visits per month. Is it really a super result?
Ask if they have prior experience in your business industry
An e-commerce website will likely need a different method of optimization to a medical one. Previous experience in your industry will enable the agency to generate more targeted and possibly more effective optimization strategies.
If you are in the SAAS business, you need to get an agency with experience in this niche. Link building for SAAS is pretty different from ecommerce sites. Keywords analysis and content plan have different frameworks.
SAAS SEO requires more content for TOFU and MOFU. Link building strategies for SAAS are more advanced.
Ask about the process and timeline
Some SEO firms try to bill for services that they don’t explain, saying the process is super unique and secret.
Ask an SEO agency to describe, step-by-step, how they’ll do SEO for you.
If an SEO agency cannot clearly illustrate exactly which actions will be taken and present them in a timeline, there’s a good chance that after paying for a 6-month contract your results will be disappointing.
An SEO task timeline should be segmented into actions For example: 2-4 weeks for a comprehensive site audit, 1-2 months for technical changes, 2 months for content revamp, 3-4 months for link acquisition.
If you focus only on technical SEO tasks for 6 months it will be convenient for the agency, but not your growth.
No access to Google Analytics and GSC
If the SEO agency has presented an amazing plan about traffic and leads growth, but they aren’t asking for Google Analytics and GSC access, you need to cut the deal ASAP.
Without access, they have no idea what’s going on with your website.
No Monthly reporting
Your provider should absolutely be providing a monthly SEO report. You must understand that SEO is not a one-off job, but rather a constant process (very rarely it can be cyclical).
No Social Proof
Are they visible on Google? Do they have reviews in Google business or other review pages? Check their customers’ websites. Do they look legit?
SEO plans and pricing
How much does SEO cost?
An SEO package plan can cost anywhere from $250/month to over $10,000/month.
It depends not only on the size of the website, agency experience, and scope of services – one of the main criteria is actually the agency brand awareness.
Does the agency žinomumas mean better services? It’s your decision.
SEO pricing packages:
Different companies use different pricing schemes but in general, there are 3 ways to pay for SEO:
- Per month – For ongoing SEO, this is one of the more common SEO pricing structures. The actual cost depends on what tasks are included in the monthly plan. When you have such a contract, there is a healthy pressure for the agency to prove to you that they can create value for your business.
Important note: you need to get a plan of planned tasks for a month. If you get only reports about organic traffic at the end of the month, the increase can be impacted without even doing anything from an SEO perspective.
- Per hour – Some companies offer more flexible SEO packages where you pay per actual hours worked. In my opinion, it can only work if you are using the agency to solve some specific issues, but not for bigger projects. Do you want to pay an hourly rate for link building? How are you going to evaluate the result, if the SEO agency spends 20 hours and gets 1 backlink for you? It will be a waste of money.
- Fixed amount – this will be the best choice for SEO project scope understanding. The SEO agency can deliver a technical audit, content update plan, and scope of the link-building campaign. The biggest advantage for Fixed amount projects is time. It will cost more than paying per month, but even in one month, you can get an amazing SEO strategy.
SEO agency for SAAS company
When you did your homework, you described your goal and criteria for the agency, as well as different pricing packages, and you are better prepared to find the right SEO agency.
It is time to find an experienced SEO agency in the SAAS niche.
Why do you need an agency focused on SAAS?
For eCommerce businesses, investing in content often means just creating semi-unique product descriptions. For SAAS companies, investing in content means using one of 5 content creation frameworks for high purchase intent blog posts.
Link-building for ecommerce is pretty straightforward in most cases, while link building in SAAS requires a lot of connections, advanced pitches and in general to get backlinks from very high authoritative websites like Hubspot or Optinmonster.
Even more, experienced SEO agencies can find low hanging fruits from Google Search Console data, learning which content you are missing to generate more leads.
To hire a professional SEO agency:
- Do your homework: describe your goals and competitors, setup GSC and review data there.
- Analyze different agency proposals. Be critical. Ask all questions you have. Check their success stories.
- Identify your budget. Don’t go in the beginning with contracts $20k per month. You need to understand the competition and where you need to focus to get results fast.
Are you planning to start to generate more leads via organic traffic and hire an SEO agency? Please contact me and I will help you to get max results.