Congratulations on taking the first step of creating a killer content marketing strategy and executing by hiring an SEO marketing agency. Now that you have hired this company though, you probably have some important questions like:
- !hat should you expect from this agency?
- What kind of work are they going to get done?
- What do they need from you?
- And how much is really possible in terms of results?
I am here to answer all your questions about expectations and what work should be done.
Let’s start by diving into a brief overview of exactly what a digital marketing agency should do for your business.
5 Things a Good SEO Agency Should be Doing for Your Business
Some agencies will focus on things like backlinks, while others are social media gurus. Full disclosure yes, backlinks are INCREDIBLY important for your business, but those aren’t the things we’ll be focusing on today. Just the absolute minimum of what a good SEO agency should be handling for your business.
1. Learn About Your Audience, Business and Goals
The first thing that a great digital marketing agency is going to do, is learn everything that they need to about your business. Number one, they need to find out what service or goods that you provide. The agency will need to know which locations you conduct business in, and who your competitors are.
But most importantly, what a digital agency needs to identify, is your audience.
The best marketing can be done when you fully understand your customer. We want to know things like how old they are, where they like to hang out, what type of problems they face, and many other demographic and interest related determinants.
If we sell diapers, we don’t want to be targeting 15-year-olds on Snapchat. Learning more about our audience will give us a better ability to deliver content with the right context for our target audience.
2. Audit Your Current Website
The next step is to do an audit of your current website. A good SEO company should be asking questions about your site like:
- Does it have the right messaging that we are trying to relay to our customers?
- Does it look like a trustworthy site, does it have call to actions in the right places?
These design issues can make or break a business, so it is important that we find them out immediately.
A great digital marketing agency should also pay extra care in the learning about you as a business owner, and what differentiates you and your business from the competition. We call this a unique selling position, and we want to make sure that whatever makes you the best at what you do, is portrayed on your website.
3. Improve Your On-Page SEO
Next comes the time to get a little bit technical. These are things like proper on-page SEO. The digital marketing agency should spend a good amount of time on keyword research. We should learn about what has been easier chance to rank, as well as what are the biggest money keywords for the business itself.
We want to make sure that we are targeting these keywords within our title tags, our content and our internal links. Having proper internal links can make a huge difference with the search engines.
You are suggesting extra content within your site for reader to gain more knowledge your value, so it helps your user while at the same time sending good signals to google by increasing the amount of time the user stays on your site.
Google also checks these internal links and often the anchor text used on these links gives google a good idea about what the content topic is. Finding the best content topics for your blog is as easy as ever now, with our new Topic Generator Tool. If you would like to learn how we made this tool, and how to find the best content topics for your blog on your own, check out this comprehensive guide we made.
We want to use these keywords to make sure all of our title tags and meta descriptions are on point, as well as using these keywords to develop an excellent content marketing strategy.
4. Outline a Clear and Concise Strategy
Any “expert” SEO company who cannot explain their strategy for your business in a few simple, concise points so that a kindergartner could understand it, should probably not be handling your SEO.
You want to make sure that you take the time to understand how the SEO strategies the agency you choose presents goes with your overall business goals and marketing goals.
The last thing you want to do is hire an agency that claims to be a Top 5 SEO Company, but can’t even tell you the first thing about their strategies and methods. This should raise a red flag. Secret sauce or not, they should be able to define a strategy for your business and outline what to expect from their firm from day 1 to completion.
5. Identify Competitive Edges and Content Gaps
A reliable SEO company will always go above and beyond their sphere of operation and spill over into your content marketing strategy. This means that a good SEO company should not only be able to help you improve your site, but find holes in your competitor’s sites in order to help you make the best strategic positioning with your content moving forward.
What I mean by this is, they should be constantly finding new and old content that your competitors are producing in your space that are performing well, and also pieces that are not doing so well. Over time, this will give you and your team a much better understanding of how SEO and content come together. It will also give you a competitive edge in your niche because you will understand what it takes to make great content that ranks well for important search terms in your industry.
Reputable SEO companies always find ways to integrate themselves into your existing team, and help you succeed with as little friction as possible. To learn more about how to outrank your competitor’s content, check out this awesome guide we created.
3 Expectations You Should Have for Your SEO Company
This is where you start to see the difference between a good marketing agency and a great one. A great content marketing agency will produce top-notch content that is excellent for your readers and also brings your site up the Google rankings. I have a philosophy that is pretty simple:
Don’t overthink SEO. Just focus on putting out the most quality and most value for your users, and 99% of the time Google is going to reward you for that. So it’s not about tricking the search engines, just try putting out extremely highly valuable content and watch your rankings skyrocket.
1. Not Having to Micro Manage
Let’s face it, you’re a business owner. You outsourced your content marketing to an agency so that you would not have to focus on it to free up time for other important processes in your business. So why then should you have to babysit your SEO agency to make sure that they are doing things right?
You want a company who you can regroup with maybe once or twice per week to check in on their progress, ask them how you can help, and learn what they have found out and improved upon.
While SEO may be a foreign language to most business owners, a good SEO company should have the knowledge and the process to accurately explain what they do to you to the point where you feel secure with them handling your site. This takes pressure off of you as a business owner, knowing that your team is well-equipped and ready to get results.
2. They Are Always Working for You
You ever hire someone who just doesn’t want to work? Every time you turn around it seems like they are just wasting time and your money messing around.This is not the type of SEO agency you want working for your company.
If an SEO company tells you that they can get everything done in a day or two, or even a week, and everything will be optimized for your site, this should raise some red flags.
You want to find a reliable SEO company that not only works hard, but works hard all the time. In order to ensure that you find this dream agency, you want to make sure that you are very critical in the hiring process, and also that you understand their roadmap for your business before hiring them.
3. Easy Integration
As we briefly touched on earlier, you want to find an SEO agency that can easily integrate with your existing team. While telecommunication has made this fairly easy in today’s day and age, you still want to make sure that a few things are in place before hiring an agency:
- Easy, consistent communication
- Understanding of all goals and campaign metrics
- Cohesion between your team and theirs
- Similar time zones/work schedules
You want to make sure that whatever SEO company you do go with has everything it needs to be able to work with your team seamlessly as soon as they get started. This includes emails, points of contact, etc… It is important for both your team and the agency to be able to see eye to eye and get along in order to complete goals.
5 Tips for Getting the Most from Your SEO Agency
1. Have Realistic Expectations
Now it comes time for some harsh realities. What can you honestly expect a marketing agency to get done for you?
It depends. And I know that you hate that answer but just hear me out. There are so many factors that go into how well your site is going to do. Things like industry, location, competition, time of year, how long you’ve been doing it, content, backlinks, all this plays a major role in determining what you can see for results from a digital marketing agency.
However I’ll try to give you a rule of thumb for two different situations but please remember the facts I mentioned above and how this is not an absolute later in this article.
2. Publish Content Regularly
I suggest if you’re just starting out with content, start by publishing one valuable piece per week. If you can handle two I would definitely suggest that, Google loves seeing fresh content. Also, the more content that you have on your site the more keywords and phrases that your site can rank for.
An easy way to be consistent with your content marketing efforts is to create a content calendar. This is how we manage over 50 clients content at a time with ease, and it will work just as well for you too. Also , be sure to use out free content outline tool to make the best outlines for your writers to follow, and include SEO as well, in order to write SEO frienfly blog content.
Like I mentioned earlier, many agencies will also want to handle your social media as well as your paid advertising. These should be taken as icing on the cake. These are extremely valuable and should not be ignored, but should not be the foundation of your business online.
3. Understand Your End User
There is no substitute for having a solid understanding of your target audience. While you want to have an SEO team that can help you improve your rankings on existing content, pages, etc… you also want to give them the best chance possible to help you find content gaps and beat your competition, as well as serve your end user in the best way possible.
In order to do this, you need to understand your end user. Creating a buyer persona for each person in your target audience is a great way to understand them and how your product or service fits into their story.
By creating buyer personas, and giving them to your SEO team, they can begin to formulate content ideas and optimize your existing content based on what your audience is searching for.
4. Outline Clear and Specific Goals
If you don’t have specific goals for the SEO company that you choose, while they will be able to improve your existing SEO and traffic a bit, they will not have much to go off of when it comes to what to do in the future, once optimization has taken place.
So, you want to provide them with clear and concise goals that are metric based in order to make sure that you are getting the most out of the money you are spending on their service.
Some SEO goals you should have include things like:
- Improving conversion rates
- Increasing CTR
- Driving more traffic to your site
- Building more quality backlinks
- Improving dwell time
- Driving certain actions
- Improving search rankings
If you want to learn more about SEO and how you can measure the results of your SEO campaigns, check out this comprehensive Google Analytics Guide we made just for you.
5. Don’t Be Cheap – You Get What You Pay For
One thing you need to understand about outsourcing your services to SEO companies: they are a dime a dozen. They compete with each other eternally on price because for the most part, they almost all offer the same exact services wrapped in a different brand.
While some processes may be proprietary, or special, at the end of the day, SEO is not complicated. But, it does need to be done right. Spending a bit of extra money to hire the best SEO agency for your company, rather than being cheap and trying to save $50 per month might be the best decision you ever make.
10 Questions You Should Ask Your SEO Company
Here is a quick list of 10 questions that you should be asking your SEO agency before hiring them:
- Have you worked with clients in our industry before?
- What results have you seen?
- What do you need from us to get started?
- When can we expect results?
- What is your comprehensive strategy for our site?
- What mistakes can we improve upon today?
- Do you see lots of opportunity in this space for us?
- What is your process like?
- How often do you stay in communication with your clients?
- What will be the biggest obstacle in this job?
Depending on their answers to these core questions, you should be able to determine pretty easily whether the team is the right solution for your business or not.
When Will Your Investment in Content Marketing be Profitable?
I’d say if it isn’t a ridiculously competitive industry and you have a brand new site, the great digital marketing agency should be able to return a positive ROI in less than a year. If you are already established and have been doing some of these things on your own and just wanted to hire a professional to come in and make it better, I would say that if you don’t see great results in the first six months, your agency isn’t doing its job.
Depending on your budget, goals, existing site, and the industry you are in, the ROI of your content marketing efforts can vary drastically. The best way to assess if your Content Marketing is more effective than your traditional advertising methods is to properly measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts.
How to Help Your Digital Marketing Agency Get the Best Results
As a business owner that is hiring a digital marketing agency to help grow their business online, these are the kinds of things you should expect.
If you already have some of the answers to the questions that these agencies should have right away, you could save a lot of time by helping them out and giving them whatever information you can. For example if you’ve already created a customer persona of your target customer, give that to the agency. It will save them many hours and many of your dollars by already having that ready.
Make sure your agency is frequently checking on your data and health of your site and giving you reports. Nothing worse than having all this technology in front of us and letting it go to waste.
If you AREN’T one of the business owners that just hired a digital marketing agency but this article gave you the push you needed, please reach out to us here. We are a very experienced Content Marketing Agency in Manchester, NH and can get you the results you need to make a killing on the internet.