SEO Agency: Are They Really Worth Your Money?
About 8 out of every 10 SEO agencies charge their clients on a monthly basis. Would you like to know some of their monthly fees?
Have a look at the comparative bar chart below.
Comparison of the monthly retainers of SEO agencies. (Source)
As par this diagram, the average monthly fee of SEO agencies are in the $501-$1K range.
In the Australian dollar, this amount stands to be A$720-1439.
According to the diagram above, a significant number of agencies charge in the $2.5K-$5K range (A$3.6K-7.2K).
As a business owner, you are supposed to be asking yourself several questions now.
Some of those are:
- Do I really need an agency?
- Am I getting my money’s worth?
- Is the ROI of this investment going to be satisfactory?
- Is it wise to do so?
In this discussion, we are going to answer such questions regarding SEO agencies?
So do read on!
Let us start from the basics.
So, what is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process of getting a website among the top of search results in Google (and other search engines) for specific search phrases. This process requires attending to several issues on and off a website. Most importantly, it requires time.
If you already knew what SEO is and what it can do for you, then great! In case you didn’t know, now you do!
What does an SEO agency do for business owners?
Business owners with websites are interested in 3 things. Website traffic, leads, and sales.
A competent SEO agency would be able to help you reach your targets in all 3 of the above.
A place among the top five on SERPs would boost your website traffic. An SEO agency, worth its salt, would be able to help your business site get there.
It would need to do the following to help your site rank:
- Identifying the target audience for your website.
- Shortlisting the target keywords that your desired audience use.
- Getting quality backlinks consistently.
- Providing ideas for unique content continuously.
Note: You can learn to do these yourself. But then you would have no time to work on growing your business.
When traffic to your site spikes, so should your leads and sales.
We are saying “should” because boosted traffic does not always guarantee a greater number of leads and sales. There are other factors involved which we would discuss later.
How to communicate with an SEO agency?
When communicating with an SEO agency, it is imperative that you convey your requirements. We receive about seven quotations from business owners every day.
Let us show you some of the emails for demo purpose.
A sample quotation from an SEO client.
These are two of the quotations we received recently. Most SEO agencies get similar quotations.
In response, they would let you know about their pricing and service criteria.
What should you ask them in response to this?
Well, from our experience, most business owners or representatives ask a few more questions about SEO. They also ask about the time frame required to see ranking and traffic improvement.
Now, as the client, you need to be very clear about the metrics of success. These metrics would tell you exactly how much SEO improvement an agency has made over time.
Let us know what these crucial metrics are:
- Rank for those keywords
- Organic traffic
- Quality and quantity of backlinks
- Page loading time
- Page bounce rate
Let’s now put some flesh on each of these.
Keywords are the search queries your desired audience use to look for products or services you provide. When we take on a client, we provide them with a list of such keywords.
These keywords are categorised based on:
- Target page,
- Monthly search volume,
- How much your competitors are spending on ads targeting these keywords, among others.
An SEO agency that really cares about its clients would include it in their service package. This list of keywords would give you an idea about the number of people you can target at any given time.
Additionally, it would help you streamline your marketing strategy towards these people.
Next, we would tell you about
Rank for target keywords
The rank of your website on search results for target keywords is crucial information. It would tell you about the status of your business site on search engines.
If your agency says that your site is doing well in terms of SEO, then it would reflect in these ranks.
Organic traffic vs. rank on search engines. (Source)
As you can see above, a better rank would boost your traffic. So if your agency tells you that your rank has gone up, you should see a spike in your traffic.
If you don’t, then you would need to have a chat with them and verify your rank.
Organic traffic is the traffic a site receives from search engines due to its position on search results.
If the agency taking care of SEO of your site is doing good work, then you should be having more visitors to your site.
Quality and quantity of backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your site. These are the digital version of recommendation.
When you like a product or service, you most likely tell others about it. On the web, websites link to other websites that they think are worthy.
For search engines, quality and quantity of backlinks are two of the top-ranking factors.
The more high-quality (stronger emphasis on quality) backlinks your site receives, the better your rank should be. And that, in turn, should lead to traffic enhancement.
A professional SEO agency should be able to acquire quality backlinks for you consistently.
If the agency you hired is reporting a large number of backlinks, but you don’t see a significant change in traffic, then know that they are not doing it right. Period.
Page loading time
Page loading time is another ranking factor for search engines.
Thus, an SEO assessment report from an agency must include your site loading time. Search engines place a strong emphasis on user experience.
According to them, a slower site is not likely to offer much value to people. Thus, they would rank it lower. When talking to an agency, see if they mention in during the conversation.
Page bounce rate
A “bounce” happens when a visitor visits a page of your site and leaves without going to any other page or taking any action.
Bounce rate is the percentage of total bounces compared to total unique visits to your site. Thus, the higher the bounce rate, the more alarmed you should be.
Well, a high bounce rate tells the search engines that people are not finding much value from your site.
And it would result in your site plummeting to the bottom of search results. Studies have found it to be true as well.
Bounce rate vs. rank on search engines. (Source)
The graph above clearly shows that rank drops as bounce rate rises. So, if your site is getting decent organic but it has a high bounce rate as well, ask your agency why it is happening.
A capable agency would include an explanation in their report in case your site bounce rate is high.
It would also include how it is going to lower it. You are paying your agency from your own pocket. Thus, you must know what exactly you are getting in return.
Other factors a well-rounded SEO agency should tell you about
We told you before that we would discuss more SEO related factors. Well, we are going to do it now.
The first one we would talk about is
UX is the short form for user experience. The more pleasant a visitor feels when browsing through your website, the higher you go in the UX ladder.
When that happens, more of your site visitors would turn into leads or paid customers. This feeling is also associated with how easily a visitor finds what he/she is looking for.
Factors that make the UX of a website effective. (Source)
Have a look at the pie chart above. It clearly shows that, about 8 out of every 10 visitors like a website that makes it easy for them to find something.
Search engines thus reward such sites with better rank on SERPs.
And if your site fails to delight your visitors? Well, initially people would just bounce off your site. So, even if your site has high traffic, it’s not going to be of any value.
So if your site visitors feel good about your site, it would most likely rank better. Any decent SEO agency should tell you this.
Additionally, it should provide you with practical and relevant tips on improving the UX of your site.
If they don’t, then ask them for such tips. If it downplays the role of UX for your search engine ranking, then feel free to talk to us.
We don’t bite. Or charge for advice.
Social media engagement
By engagement here, we mean likes, comments and shares on social media. If your business gets greater engagement, then search engines would love you more!
And they would show this love with higher rankings! This is a fact, not an opinion. A good agency would inform you about this.
A competent agency would go further. It would provide you with tips for producing engaging content.
A well-prepped copy deck
A copy-deck is a table that contains content for all the pages on your website. In case you decide to redesign your website or build it from scratch, you would need text content.
A copy-deck contains these content. These content include keyword-rich text for headlines, subheadlines, paragraphs etc.
A heavily-caring agency would provide you with such a copy-deck. Or at least, it would tell you how you can have one prepped.
The inbound strategy is the plan which attracts your target audience to your website from search engines. Through this strategy, people would have more gateways through which they would find and land on your site.
That is the purpose of hiring an SEO agency. Thus, a solid inbound strategy must be part of the service package of any agency you work with.
Data on your competition
Data on competition is vital when it comes to business success. And that’s the purpose for which you have decided to adopt SEO in your marketing strategy.
Thus, your SEO agency, if it is thorough, would inform you about any tactic that is helping your rivals. This information would help you streamline your business strategy and outrank other players.
SEO is not a “do once and forget” sort of tactic. It needs continuous fueling, just like your car.
Therefore, you would need to know what an SEO agency is doing for you every month. This knowledge will help you determine if your agency is performing satisfactorily.
So, what does a good agency do regarding service timeline? Well, it should prepare you a 4 months (or 6) months plan for starters.
This plan would tell you what the agency is going to each week of these four months. Furthermore, it would list the success metrics which we talked about before.
At the end of this quarter, your agency should extend the initial plan. At this point, it would include any modifications based on data from the previous quarter.
In a nutshell, the service timeline of any agency should keep you informed of SEO progress. If you want to know more about it, do contact us.
Whatever agency you hire, you should get your money’s worth.
So, is it wise to hire an SEO agency?
Well, the answer depends on what sort of agency you are going to hire. Or have hired. An agency is not a magic machine that would get you higher ranks overnight.
It would take time. It would take a solid SEO plan. It would take practical and meticulous implementation. An agency is optimally positioned for this purpose.
They are aware of the nooks and crannies that would mean life and death for your business if ignored.
So, yes, do hire an agency.
But before you take that step, do your research. Don’t have time for that? Well, do shoot us an email.
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