Most people associate working with an SEO agency much like working with an auto mechanic; you either have no proof that a service is required or even performed appropriately, and even if the service provider tries to show the customer the damaged goods, the client lacks the education to understand and see it for themselves. Just as a mechanic can charge you $1200 for a head gasket replacement due to all the labor hours, a digital marketing agency can bill a business the same amount for having to re-code vital portions of a website. At the end of the day, your average business owner simply doesn’t know how SEO works or what tasks go into the service.
You don’t want to be ripped off, that’s a given. And sadly, there are a lot of dirty agencies and SEO hacks who prey on businesses by charging them a lot of money for doing a whole lot of nothing. Here are three telltale signs you need to tell your current SEO provider to kick rocks and find yourself a new agency.
1. You Don’t Understand What SEO Is, or What it Does
Any top SEO company will want their clients to understand just what SEO is, and how it works. Not only does it show they value their clients enough to educate them, but when digital marketing agencies have clients who understand what SEO is and how it works, then reasonable expectations are established and the lifetime value of the client typically increases. For example, many business think that SEO is just some switch a techy person can flip, and boom, business starts flooding in. If you are one of these then you don’t have realistic expectations and are left in the dark wondering where whether or not the agency’s efforts are paying off. Communication between an agency and their clients is key to running a successful relationship. If you still fail to understand just how SEO works, take a clue and ditch the agency for one willing to invest in you.
2. The Marketing Reports Don’t Make Sense
Let’s get one thing out of the way: if you don’t get marketing reports, run fast. You are entitled to see how your investment is paying off, and if your agency isn’t giving you a monthly report, they either have something to hide or they are demonstrating a half-ass approach to customer service.
If you get marketing reports compare the numbers to Google Analytics. All digital marketing agencies create SEO reports from data accessed through GA (and some use additional data from other resources). If your sales have significantly decreased over the last few months yet the report shows click through rates, session durations and bounce rates have improved dramatically, there are serious some red flags.
3. Focus and Strategic Direction
Ask your agency which landing pages are purposed to be high-conversion pages. These are pages you want web traffic to find where they will likely convert into paying customers. Then ask your agency to outline the strategy they are using to funnel the traffic to these pages, and what the process for doing so entails. The best SEO agencies use inbound marketing through automation to attract people (strangers), convert them (visitors who become leads), close them (customers) and delight them (people who promote your brand). You can send a million people to a landing page meant to convert, but if the visitors aren’t coming from the right buyer process stage, they are not the right traffic. A good SEO agency will use organic search engine optimization to leverage the right traffic to the right landing pages. If your strategy is run-of-the mill old school SEO, you need to find an agency that is cutting edge and using the inbound marketing automation process.