Considering hiring an SEO agency? Join the club!
With increasing competition, businesses often struggle to establish their own unique identity in the online space. Even those who manage this feat find it hard to remain visible and retain their audience’s attention.
So how can your website stand out among the 1.18 billion websites currently on the Internet?
The answer – search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO can make the difference between a successful website and a website that languishes in obscurity.
What are your organization’s top priorities with digital marketing?
- Create and maintain your brand’s unique online presence
- Reach more of your target audience
- Generate more sales and leads
- Build long-term brand equity, credibility, and recall
- Enhance your website’s searchability, visibility, and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs)
SEO can help you achieve all these goals.
However, it can be challenging to know how to improve a website’s SEO – or even where to start. Here’s where a specialist SEO agency like Interrupt Media can help.
This buyers’ guide will discuss the many benefits of working with a specialized SEO agency. We will also provide tips on finding the best agency for your needs.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is a set of tactics and practices to improve a website’s ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. These optimization practices can be on-page or off-page.
- On-page SEO practices optimize individual pages by generating high-quality, keyword-optimized content.
- Off-page SEO is about building your website’s authority in the eyes of search engines by leveraging smart backlink-building strategies.
Together, these tactics help boost your website’s visibility for specific keywords so that it ranks higher in SERPs. These keywords are related to your industry, company, products, and services.
What Are the Benefits of SEO?
A successful SEO strategy can improve your website’s ranking in SERPs, which increases brand recognition, awareness, and ultimately higher volumes of traffic to your website. Since these people were looking for a solution and found your website, they are generally more qualified leads, making them more likely to convert to a sale.
— It can improve marketing ROI, as leads and sales generated from “organic search” (see the next section) are typically cheaper and more qualified than leads sourced from many other digital channels such as social media.
SEO vs. SEM
SEO refers to optimizing a website’s content to improve its visibility in organic search, also known as unpaid or natural search. With SEO, you don’t pay Google or other search engines to rank your website higher than your competitors in organic search.
Instead, you invest in resources to optimize your website with keywords and content people are already searching for. This is what helps your site to rank higher on SERPs.
In contrast, search engine marketing or SEM is a type of paid search. You need to pay a search engine for ads to get your website to rank higher on the SERPs. For this, your SEO agency will utilize a paid search or “pay-per-click (PPC)” strategy that involves is bidding on keywords that searchers may be using in their search queries.
Your ad will appear in SERPs when someone searches for that keyword – alongside the other organic SEO results. The rankings of SEM ads depend on advertisers’ PPC bid amounts. If you are the highest bidder, your ad will appear above all the others.
Which Strategy Is Better: SEO or SEM?
Both SEO and SEM can benefit your business by increasing its website’s visibility on SERPs, bringing greater quantity and quality of search traffic to it. That’s why the best agencies offer both kinds of services.
That said, ranking high on SERPs via SEO takes time, especially if your site is new. However, it doesn’t take as long to simply rank. In fact, by targeting the right keywords and consistently implementing SEO best practices, you can see good results in just a few weeks or months.
On the other hand, you can achieve almost immediate results with SEM. If you bid on the right keywords and create killer ad copy, you may start to get traffic and conversions on the same day.
In the long run, SEO generally has a better return on investment (ROI) by generating organic traffic. Unfortunately, it’s also more challenging than SEM to master. As a result, it’s beneficial to work with an SEO agency to guide you through your digital marketing strategy.
The Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency
Most firms new to SEO and SEM can feel overwhelmed by the endeavor. An expert SEO and SEM agency can reduce your overwhelm while increasing the probability of great results from your digital marketing strategy.
Here are some other benefits of working with an agency instead of handling SEO in-house:
SEO (and even SEM) is a time-intensive effort. If you are an SEO amateur, there will be some trial and error that could become frustrating. Do you have the time to:
- Research keywords
- Design SEO strategies
- Create keyword-optimized content and ads
- Optimize metadata
- Analyze SEO campaign data and create reports
- Maintain and optimize your SEO program
If not, outsourcing SEO to an agency might be your best bet. A team of professionals can seamlessly manage your entire digital marketing program so you can focus on other business-critical tasks for your organization.
With an in-house SEO team, you will have to bear the costs of salaries, bonuses, training, and software. You can avoid all these costs by hiring an external agency and end up saving money even after their service fees.
Moreover, SEO typically drives a very high marketing ROI, so your outsourcing costs will offset the valuable revenues from SEO traffic and SEM ad clicks.
An SEO agency will provide several experts, including keyword analysts, web developers, content writers, and copywriters specialized in their respective areas. They have access to the latest technology, are aware of any algorithm changes, and work in concert to deliver the best results for your company.
The best SEO agencies have years of experience working with clients in various industries. They also know which SEO and PPC strategies are likely to work best for your company.
What to Expect from a Good SEO Agency
A skilled SEO agency should have experience in your industry and niche. They should also provide a multi-disciplinary team of keyword analysts, content and copywriters, web developers, and reporting experts to manage the various aspects of your SEO program.
Here’s what else you can – and should – expect from your agency:
- Advanced keyword research and analysis skills based on your customers, competitors, and ROI targets
- Tailored SEO strategies based on your target audience and key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Ability to target conversion-ready website visitors at every stage of the sales funnel
- Competence using the best SEO tools, e.g., SEMRush, Ahrefs, Moz, Google Analytics, and Ubersuggest
- Perform technical on-page audits based on your campaign goals, metrics, and KPIs
- Review content to align your website with the searchers’ intent
- Help you create high-authority SEO backlinks to get your site to rank higher in SERPs
In addition, your SEO agency should be aware of algorithm updates as they occur. Your website should be monitored regularly to find any issues that affect its SEO or SEM performance.
A good SEO agency will also provide periodic report-outs to you – particularly keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page SEO, link audit, and traffic conversion – so you can gauge your website’s ongoing SEO health.
Tips for Finding the Best SEO Agency
As we have already seen, SEO (and SEM) can generate great results for your business. That’s why it should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.
But the best way to get it right from the get-go is to work with an agency that’s:
- Well-versed in SEO tactics and strategies
- Conversant with the latest keyword and PPC trends
- Knowledgeable about search engine algorithms for SEO and PPC requirements for SEM
- Able to show how other companies have benefited from its services
Follow the tips below to find the right SEO agency for your business and achieve great results from SEO and SEM.
Do Your Research
There are many good SEO agencies out there and several bad ones. Take the time to research different agencies before settling on one. The previous section on what you should expect from your SEO agency can help you make an informed choice.
Ask for Recommendations
Ask other companies and business owners for recommendations. This information will provide a good starting point to hire an SEO agency with happy and satisfied customers.
Look at Case Studies and Testimonials
Look at case studies and testimonials from past clients to help you create an agency shortlist. This background gives you an idea of the digital marketing services they offer and the results they can achieve.
Review Their Industry Experience
An experienced agency is generally a better choice than a new agency. Ask if they have worked with other companies of a similar size or in the same industry as yours. These critical insights will help you decide if the agency is well-suited for your specific SEO needs.
Ask about Their SEO Approach
Ask pointed questions about their SEO approach, such as:
- What tactics do they use? Do they customize these tactics for each client?
- What are their most significant achievements?
- What process or strategy do they follow to improve their clients’ SERP rankings?
- How do they calculate SEO ROI?
- Which tools and techniques do they use?
- What kinds of reports and metrics will they provide, and how often?
Check Their Pricing
Price is not necessarily the most critical factor when assessing SEO agencies, but it’s still worth considering if you have a limited budget. But don’t just go with the cheapest option. Instead, compare quotes from different agencies to understand which offers the best value for money.
The Cost of Hiring an SEO Specialist
If you have decided to outsource SEO, you can work with an agency or hire an individual consultant or freelancer. Consultant fees are usually lower than agency rates. Thus, a freelancer may charge $20-$30 per hour, whereas an agency would probably charge $100-$150 per hour.
Expertise in Multiple Areas
But don’t be fooled by the low price. Digital marketing and SEO agencies charge more because they offer more capabilities than an individual freelancer.
For instance, an agency may completely manage your keyword analysis, content marketing, social media, technical SEO, and reporting requirements. Individual freelancers may have limited expertise and bandwidth. You could need multiple freelancers to manage all your SEO work, which means you will probably end up spending more on SEO.
Expertise in Your Industry
Consultants and freelancers don’t necessarily have the expertise, knowledge, or industry insights needed to deliver good results for your SEO program. An agency would employ a range of digital marketing and SEO experts who understand your industry and company – and can design customized strategies to deliver outstanding results.
Low Price = Low Quality?
A consultant’s low price may mean low quality of service, lack of experience, and lack of proven results. Also, freelancers often rely on free tools and automate a lot of link-building and other tasks, so they may not be able to deliver the results you need.
Search Engine Penalties
You may end up getting penalized by Google and other search engines, say because your consultant purchased bulk links or over-stuffed keywords into content (don’t do it!). All of this will affect your site’s rankings and, ultimately, your brand’s reputation.
You can avoid all these potential problems by hiring an experienced SEO agency with a solid portfolio. Most agencies charge hourly, but many also offer monthly pricing or project-specific pricing. Select the agency that matches your needs and budget.
Interrupt Media Can Help You Power Up Your SEO Program
Interrupt Media offers a full range of SEO services. As a full-stack digital marketing agency, we provide both SEO and SEM, as well as content marketing, analytics and goal tracking, demand generation, marketing operations (MOPS) support, and much more.
Contact us to see how we can help strengthen your search ranking, increase your site traffic, and enhance your online visibility.