March 23, 2022

You’ve got questions before hiring an SEO agency? We’ve got answers

There are a lot of “what questions to ask before…” blogs posts that have been written over the years. Most of them are very geared toward the way the authoring agency wants to sell you on their services. Some of them manage to do that while actually being helpful. We hope this will fall into that category.
Posted in: SEO

There are a lot of “what questions to ask before…” blogs posts that have been written over the years. Most of them are very geared toward the way the authoring agency wants to sell you on their services. Some of them manage to do that while actually being helpful. We hope this will fall into that category.

We understand that hiring an SEO agency is an investment, therefore we want you to know what to expect when working with us. Below we answer some of the most common questions from the top blog posts addressing the types of questions businesses should be asking when hiring an SEO agency.

Communication

Who will I be in contact with and how will I be updated?

You only work with our most senior level people. The ones who are building and implementing the search strategy. You may have additional people on the account based on the effort required or type of tasks we’re handling, but that expert will always be your main point of contact.

Some clients exclusively email. Some exclusively call. Some use Google Meet. Yes, we’ll establish regular meetings to review reports and status of projects, but there’s no one perfect way to communicate. There’s no set frequency or anything you’re forced into.

Getting Results

When can I expect to see results?

Some up-front changes can yield immediate results. Individual page optimizations usually start driving rankings growth within days or weeks. But real business impact is something we project over a 6-12 month period.

How will I know if we’re making progress?

We work with you to determine the direction of our efforts and then provide regular deliverables to show exactly what is being worked on. Through reporting dashboards that always show up-to-date status of key metrics and our regular analysis and communication, we always are in sync on how things are progressing.

Can you guarantee specific results?

No. You’re hiring us for our expertise and effort. There are far too many factors outside our control to ever make promises around outcomes.

Can I see the results from some of your other clients?

We share case studies and will connect you with our clients for references if you’d like. Real results mean revenue, and that’s pretty universally something we can’t share. Feel free to check out the case studies page on our site.

How do you measure success? 

Impact on your business. Almost always that’s revenue. We believe SEO is ultimately about driving sales. Things like traffic and rankings are a great indicator of us going in the right direction, but not the end goal.

What metrics do you think are most important to measure?

Revenue, transactions, leads, conversion rate, ROI. We look at impressions, clicks, rankings to know if we’re making progress on a micro level.

SEO Strategy

How do you approach SEO? 

SEO is and always has been about answering questions and solving problems via your website and ensuring bots can crawl and understand it along the way. Despite all the random hype and panic over changes, the real big evolution has been Google’s continued improvement at keeping people on google.com (e.g. quick answers and the like in search results).

The way you turn that into a client-specific strategy (and a profitable one, at that)  is going to be a little different based on the industry and how evolved your SEO efforts are, but the overall goal doesn’t change.

What is the relationship between SEO and my overall marketing strategy?

Almost all aspects of your marketing, merchandising and technology strategy will touch SEO in some way. We work to figure out what has the biggest impact and focus our attention there. For something that is typically less crucial, like copy for product pages, we might provide your team with templates and guides to help them along. For mission critical initiatives like site launches, we work with your developers every step of the way.

How do you adapt your SEO approach to my brand, business, and/or industry?

This is the most important aspect of how we approach SEO. Our job is not to develop a really good process and apply it to everyone. Our job is to learn your business and industry and take a consultative approach to figuring which SEO strategies will best apply.

How do you approach keyword research and content optimizations?

We use keywords as a means of tracking/presenting some of our results. Our optimization process revolves around the broader topics that keywords are tied to and how we can sufficiently address those topics through content and technical optimization.

Almost entirely we’ll write something (or have a copywriter on our end or yours) write something and review it for SEO afterwards. Your site is the first exposure a lot of people have to your business. If it’s filled with a bunch of language that looks like a computer auto-generated it, that’s bad for everyone.

That’s vague – so the one thing I’ll add is for every set of optimizations we do, we show our work. That includes our research and the suggested changes we want to make. No mysteries. No wondering if we’re actually working or just saying we are.

How do you approach link building?

Link-building is one of a ton of ranking factors. Some ranking factors are super easy to control. Some you have no control over. Building external links in a sustainable fashion lands closer to the latter end of that. The amount of effort required vs the return you get rarely makes sense. That doesn’t mean we never do it, we just don’t make it a primary focus of what we do and don’t sell it as a standalone service. We focus a ton on internal links. We help you navigate external partnerships that can lead to links. We look for opportunities like industry websites or people talking about your brand specifically. We’ve cleaned up enough link-building manual actions caused by others to where we don’t like to play games here.

Effectiveness

How do you know your SEO approach will work for me?

We don’t. As part of our sales process we work to estimate the opportunity and make it clear what level of effort will be required from us and you in order to make progress. In the vast majority of cases, when we get to making a proposal, both sides are confident we can be successful.

Have you worked with a business in my industry before?

We’ve worked with companies in various industries including food and beverage, manufacturing, ecommerce, information technology, education and health services, tourism and financials to name a few.  Check out our case studies for some examples of types of businesses we’ve worked with. This is not a comprehensive list, so feel free to ask!

How does SEO help me compete with my competitors?

We always look at who you view as competitors and who the search engines see as your competitors and mash it all together. It’s totally normal for clients to have one set of competitors for a segment of their business and completely different ones for another. It’s our job to sort that out and keep tabs on those strong competitors.

Reporting

How do you report on progress and what does it look like?

We believe successful reporting relies on a few different aspects

  • Daily rank tracking to monitor trends
  • Regular technical monitoring to track crawling and indexing
  • Monitoring of KPIs through web analytics
  • Hand review of past campaigns and reporting tools to gain insights and help determine next steps

Deliverables and Implementation

What does the process for implementing changes look like?

This is largely up to you and based on the task at hand. For content changes, we can make these ourselves or provide your team with direction. For technical changes outside our control, we will provide requirements and work with your developers to oversee the project. We also have developers we partner with if you ever need some additional help.

What monthly deliverables will I get if I retain your agency?

We try to approach things in a campaign fashion, maybe focusing on one category of products or one industry you serve each month. So typical deliverables would be keyword research, copy changes, potentially new page outlines, internal/external link opportunities and technical updates (could range from schema markup to fixing a rendering issue).

Pricing

What is pricing like?

It’s almost always a flat monthly retainer based on time and resources required. We like doing 6-12 month contracts so we can spread out some of the up-front costs. But we’ll do agreements that just go month-to-month with a 30 day notice as well. In those cases, we have some sort of setup fee since we can’t trust we’ll recoup up-front time and expense.

Tools

What tools do you use?

That’s (at least most of) the stuff we use. We also use client tools all the time, like basecamp, confluence, brightedge, etc. We’re happy to talk about the pros/cons of the SEO and PPC tools we use and why we made specific choices. But our overall approach is “What is the best tool for the job and for our workflow?”.

We hope this gives you a good overview of what to expect when working with the Transistor team. If you have a burning question that we didn’t address or are ready to dive into your own SEO journey, reach out to us!

Credit for questions goes to Marketo, Digital Current and HubSpot.

President & Lemonhead Evangelist

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About Us

Meet Transistor, a digital marketing agency that uses SEO and PPC to boost your online presence so customers hear you over the competition. How do we do it? Through proven strategies tailored to your business and designed to drive sales­— no matter how complex your products or markets.

Are you maximizing your SEO opportunity?

Sure, you get organic traffic, but are new customers finding your business through this channel? What sort of opportunity is out there? We can answer these questions for you.

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