Nowadays, search engines have completely transformed the way they operate in order to help their users get exactly what they want, in the shortest time possible, while offering them quality sites.
That’s why choosing a full-service SEO agency is not an easy task, especially when an entrepreneur wants to work with the best SEO agency for their business.
I know, it’s hard to find an SEO firm you can trust, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an SEO agency right for your business. Well, there are even agencies that offer guarantees for SEO services.
So, if you’re wondering how to choose the best SEO agency, don’t worry; we’ve prepared this article with all the information you need to make your job easier.
Clutch.co have conducted a small study based on 150 reviews received by SEO agencies on the clutch.co platform and I must admit I find the results a bit shocking:
Recommendations and previously established relationships proved to be a key reason for 45% of customers posting reviews on Clutch’s platform.
This is a response that arises due to the fact that many start-up businesses have no experience with SEO services, don’t know the ropes, and therefore rely on the experiences of trusted friends and colleagues.
The second most important factor in choosing an SEO company, at 43%, is the agency’s internal knowledge and processes.
Included here are:
- customer relations
- staff experience
- reporting system
- transparency, etc.
However, what surprised me most is that only 14% chose an SEO agency based on previous performance for other clients, case studies or online reviews.
To me, the fact that start-up businesses take very little notice of an SEO agency’s past performance is worrying, especially when they choose the lowest priced SEO services on the market.
Do companies choose the right SEO agencies to work with?
In my opinion, 90% of the time the answer is a big “NO”.
This was also found in analysis by Clutch, who found that 1 in 5 companies had negative experiences with an SEO firm before finding the right SEO agency.
From this it appears that:
- SEO agencies still have work to do to educate clients on what a successful SEO strategy and partnership should look like.
- Businesses need to spend more time vetting potential partners and establish more criteria on which to make the right SEO agency choice.
2 big mistakes businesses make when choosing an SEO agency
We have to admit that we all make mistakes, including in business. That’s why, before you start the process of choosing an SEO agency, you should see what the biggest mistakes other organizations make in choosing an SEO agency are.
These 3 mistakes include:
- Choosing a “cheap” SEO agency.
When it comes to SEO services and agencies, price really does matter.
I recommend you set a budget and find an SEO agency that fits within that budget.
Here the mistake is that many businesses set unrealistic SEO budgets. For example, I see that there are agencies in the market that offer SEO services for 100 euros per month and consider that amount reasonable.
The truth is, however, that the SEO agencies that promote these low prices are often the agencies that 99% of the time fail to deliver what they promise.
These low-priced SEO agencies and services use approaches that don’t deliver results or worse.
In SEO, you get what you pay for, which is why you need a budget that is realistic and in line with your goals.
Set a feasible SEO budget.
For reference, on average, SEO services cost between 600 and 2000 euros per month, although this number can fluctuate depending on company size, goals, competitors and more.
And, to exemplify why I consider cheap SEO services to be scams, I thought I’d Google a few of these services and analyze what they offer.
What do you find in Romania when looking for cheap SEO services?
First of all, you are offered standard packages, which in 99% of the cases do not deliver any results and can be considered without any problem as a Romanian scam.
Then you can find prices that vary depending on the number of keywords or prices / keyword / page for which SEO services are offered.
Just to be clear, pricing that varies based on the number of keywords chosen by the client or pricing based on the number of pages optimized is nothing but a rip-off!
Also, when you are chit and want cheap SEO services, you are also offered a lot of spam which includes among many other things:
- publishing articles in article directories
- backlinks on forums
- blogging in piles on free platforms and domains with zero SEO authority
- private blog networks (PBNs) – which will attract penalties on the site.
One cheap SEO package I discovered in Google offers the following:
Let’s see what the 6 items included in this package of only 700 lei entail.
- Introduction to search engines
As a form, this service is totally misplaced. The site does not get into the search engines, it uses certain strategies that help a site get into a search engine index.
For example, in the case of Google, a Google Search Console account will be created, where the site and its sitemap will be added, then the site will be “inserted” into the Google index.
The impact of this SEO service: it helps you to index your site, in no way to rank or outrank your competitors in Google.
- Site Audit and functional error identification
Here I could safely say: what the hell is this?
Site auditing doesn’t help you rank in Google, it helps you discover the most serious problems with your site before you proceed with investing in an SEO campaign.
The scope of the SEO audit:
- Technical error analysis
- UX & UI analysis
- Keyword analysis
- Competitor analysis and many other equally important aspects
The impact of this SEO service: it helps you discover everything that’s wrong with your website, what your competitors are doing right and what’s giving them results, but especially the keywords most relevant to your business’s target audience.
Also, such an SEO audit without implementing all the aspects recommended by the SEO specialist equals ZERO.
- Correct titles, meta descriptions and content on the site. Optimizing images on the site. Optimization of internal and external links. Optimization of URLs and HTML code.
The main problem with these services included in the package under review?
The fact that the number of pages for which each of these services is offered or if it is for the entire site is not clearly stated.
It is also not mentioned whether optimization is offered for all images on the site or only for “x” number of images.
At the same time, this cheap SEO service package does not specify if backlinks to the site will be generated, how many, how and from where they will be generated.
Which led me to another site where I found a cheap SEO service package at only 145 euro / month / keyword / destination.
What do you get in this package?
The SEO Agency offers:
- Destination optimization
- 4 articles / month
- Low value links
Let’s translate a bit what this package contains. The SEO agency offers single page optimization for a single keyword at only 145 euro / month.
They also offer you links with low SEO value because what’s good is also expensive.
And let’s not skip the 4 articles/month. It’s not mentioned if these are for publication on the site’s blog or are 4 advertorials published on other sites to get those low value links.
The other 2 aspects that are missing are: the length of the 4 articles and the minimum/maximum number of backlinks to your site that each article will send.
And the most important aspect you should consider is that a single page of a business website can rank for a significant number of relevant words and you will pay for the optimization of that page for only 1 keyword.
If you want to optimize and rank that page for 10 relevant keywords, the SEO cost per page will be: 1450 euro / month.
And from here you can calculate for yourself how you will end up paying more over time for the optimization of all the pages on your business website.
About choosing an agency that offers Black-Hat SEO services
It has happened to me a few times to meet potential clients who thought they didn’t need an SEO agency and chose to handle it themselves, turning to all sorts of cheap solutions found on the internet to get backlinks to the site.
There are enough platforms and ways through which you can acquire from 10 to 1000 backlinks with amounts ranging from 5 euros to 150 euros / month or even less.
However, the main problem with these backlinks is that they are not contextual, relevant and most of the time they don’t even come from Romanian sites.
Also, many of these backlinks come from PBN (private blog networks), which can lead to the site being penalized by search engine algorithms.
That’s why, when choosing the SEO agency to work with, it’s important to understand that quality SEO is not something you can do for 150 euros and that you will never get immediate results, no matter what an SEO agency promises you. In most cases, it takes three, six or even 12 months to start seeing results from SEO.
How should you choose the best SEO agency for your business?
- Past performance reviews
- Transparency and monthly reporting of SEO activities
- Services tailored to your needs and priced fairly
- Guarantees for achieving SEO campaign goals
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I’m sure it will help you choose the right SEO agency for your business!