A good SEO agency is staffed with experienced marketers, designers, content writers and SEO specialists who are also assertive enough to be part of the decision-making process.
Each one of these tasks are necessary for a campaign to succeed. You might want to hire the best for each position and have them work their magic, but things are not that simple.
First, you need to know what success looks like for you. Then, you need to envision a way to get there through articulated goals that can be measured. But also create a flexible process that allows you to insert changes as the campaign evolves and new data flows in.
If you leave every expert to their own devices, they might do a superb job separately, but you will end up with an unworkable mess. That´s why digital marketing agencies exist.
This first thing an SEO agency must do is to understand what success means to the client. Some just want to increase their sales in Ebay or Amazon. Others want their restaurant to be among the top picks when people perform a local search on Google. Still others just want to outperform Wikipedia in searches for academic or promotional purposes.
Even when the client knows what their organization should be pursuing, it is common to see them overextending their reach. They often try to flood every marketing channel they know of and then some. This causes an incontrollable bleeding of resources. Many end up wondering where all their money went.
A true SEO agency will always try to understand the client´s goals. Then they will gather information about their audience and the promotion channels they are using. The next step is to identify the most efficient channels for their product and niche. For this, it is useful to determine kind of interaction they want their visitors to have with their product. There are channels that are most effective with specific audiences.
Once they identify the right channels, your SEO agency will set your campaign goals.
One of the biggest mistakes many marketers make is to only set long term goals. Unfortunately, this creates a colossal problem in the long run. Often, these goals are difficult to modify without making the client feel the campaign was a whole waste of their time and money. It also makes the decision-making process more difficult. Search engines have imposed a faster-than-light culture in the marketing industry. You can´t afford waiting for feedback from clients to make the myriads of changes or small tweaks needed to keep a website in good standings with search engines.
How to recognize a good SEO agency?
A good SEO agency will only set short term goals. They must be readily measured and have observable impact on the variables the client needs to improve. This allows more flexibility when coming up with strategies, designing and creating content. The trick is not having to wait until the campaign is finished to see whether their efforts had the intended impact or not.
This articulated approach should always be accompanied by regular progress reports. It is important to show the client their dollars in action, and the impact it has on their campaign.
But this constant process of tweaking and refinement should also be coordinated. Your SEO agency must make sure everyone knows what the current goals are, what strategies other departments are implementing and how their own tasks will impact the work of others.
Here is where the cohesive aspects of a well-coordinated SEO agency come into play. We have seen many teams with awesome players in their roster, and we have also been witness to their equally spectacular demise. Why is that? Mostly because SEO is a team sport. It does not matter if you have all the best players under the same roof. If everyone is just doing their thing and clocking out at five o´clock, your campaign will look like a patchwork in no time.
To prevent this, there must be a careful planning process so everyone knows what their team mates need. For example, you can have the best graphic designers but still deliver a mediocre website if the content does not match what your writers are trying to convey with it. And this problem gets worse if there is no general marketing strategy and specific goals set for each department.