Can you tell if your SEO agency is performing and doing what they said they would be doing in your initial meeting?
In an enormous amount of instances, there is an enormous gap in what is actually being done on your SEO campaign and what was promised to you in the initial sales pitch.
There is a hell of a lot of hype and sales talk in the initial meeting but so often the follow-through is seriously weak and underwhelming. This can lead to frustration, mistrust and bitterness from business owners who take a dim view on all SEO and digital agencies just because they have been burnt in the past.
I know this as I receive calls every day from business owners that are literally tearing their hair out wondering why their Google rankings are stagnant and going nowhere. They are paying good money based on the promises of the first meeting, yet the results they are seeing are a joke. It’s up to agencies like ours at SEO Sydney Experts to explain what is going wrong and what’s now needed to fix the issues and restore or get the rankings back on track. So before you embark on your SEO journey and perhaps make the fatal mistake of choosing the wrong team I have decided to compile a list of questions you should be asking them prior to proceeding. This way you will quickly know if they are about to waste your precious time and money.
Increase the number of website visitors
The best type of SEO agency is going to do the right type of research before they deliver you the first ranking report. If your receive just a list of keywords that have risen in the rankings, my advice is to ditch them at the end of this pathetic report. This is a scam a joke and a way many businesses get scammed by SEO companies. What happens is they give you positive rankings for keywords that are easy to rank and that is not necessarily going to drive targeted and high conversion-focused leads. You end up paying for keywords that rank well yet is of little value.
What you should be looking out for is a combination of great rankings and traffic numbers.
Before the campaign even commences you should be given a comprehensive list of targeted keywords and the amount of traffic they are likely to bring in. You need to be ranking for those set of words that have the largest traffic numbers. These are often the sweet spot for businesses, being the most competitive and sort afterwards and here in lied the challenge. Anyone can rank easy to attain keywords, but only those SEO agencies that are any good will be able to rank the keywords with the largest traffic volumes.
Please be aware and this is something that your SEO team should have pointed out to you from the get-go: SEO takes time and there are no immediate, fast rankings. In the world of Google, it takes time and it takes many man-hours of work to rank a website. Those agencies promising you any type of guarantee or rankings within 90 days or your money back should be avoided.
Your SEO company needs to immediately address these issues asap!!
# 1: your websites titles and meta descriptions
#2: all ‘on page’ issues like content, site speed, mobile compatibility and graphics including the user experience
# 3: a complete audit of all inbound links that were made by any past SEO efforts. If they’re dodgy they will need to be immediately pruned
#4: a look at your Google analytics to inspect where the website traffic is coming from, bounce rates address any issues that you can see from a thorough analysis.
Without your SEO team working on all of the above 4 points chances of rankings are going to be seriously hampered. Be alert if they do not report on any of the above and ask why if they don’t. It’s this type of behaviour and neglect of website fundamentals that can throw your SEO rankings into a tailspin
It’s all about the organic traffic!
When it comes to measuring your website’s traffic you need to have strict KPI’s in place that will ensure you are getting an increase in the number of organic searches month after month. Sometimes a nifty trick that SEO companies will play is to show the overall traffic to a website for all sources (including social media, paid ads as well as direct branded traffic), which is a misrepresentation of SEO. These results can often inflate the true value and viability of the SEO campaign and is a common trick I must say that is used far too often.
You need to be asking your SEO team where the results are coming from and what percentage (you will need this broken down) are coming directly as a result of the SEO campaign. That is the organic search. All other stats at this stage are pure fluff and irrelevant. You will also need to know once visitors are on your site:
- Number of pages per session per visit
- Bounce rate – this is a critical figure as you want this as low as possible and if you are working with an SEO agency that can help you reduce these rates through their design skills you are a winner!
- Time spent on site
- Number of conversions you’re website is achieving
The above points are the most important ones. Make sure these are being addressed at all stages throughout your campaign. If they start talking about overall traffic numbers they are trying to whitewash the results and this is a really bad sign.
Be certain to question your SEO agency about:
– Are you reporting on all forms of traffic and not organic, and if not, why? This is a tough question and if you find them stumbling here, there is something fishy going on.
– If there has been an increase in web traffic, why hasn’t my sales increased or my conversions? This is tied in with the user experience and the results you are getting for analytics and must be addressed immediately. Basically, what this boils down to is the way the site is performing. It’s all well and good to get traffic but people need to like and be engaged with what they see online. If they hate it they will leave and this will increase bounce rates. If they like what they see they will be more likely to buy from you which is the perfect solution; great UX + SEO rankings = more sales!
You need to be Generating More Solid Conversions
Increasing conversions is the best outcome of any SEO campaign so you really need to get a thorough understanding of how conversions can be reported.
Firstly, what is a conversion? It really is a desired outcome for the website. What do you want someone to do? It could be:
– leave their contact details
– sign up for a newsletter
– commenting on a blog
– buying a product or even making a call
All these can be measured and there should be a common ground reached before you start the SEO campaign as to what your desired conversions are. Most businesses we know of simply want the phone to ring to people to fill out the inquiry form. All of these conversions can be tracked and they need to be reported back to you on a monthly basis. These results can be easily quantified and measured so there is no reason why you should not be getting this valuable information.
The best SEO agency that has a firm handle on customer user experience, design interface and SEO will be able to clearly articulate why an increase in traffic has not led to an increase in conversion rates. This is the fundamental outcome of an SEO campaign and MUST and I repeat MUST be conveyed to you.
A ton of dodgy SEO agencies ( to hide the fact that they are using ‘black hat’ SEO techniques – which is really bad) will use metrics that measure conversions based on the number of people landing on the contact page only and claiming this is a victory. This is a lazy way of implementing SEO and you must start questioning the validity of their service. It can go a step worse where conversions are not even mentioned and success is measured in rankings only – this is old school SEO and should be avoided at all costs. SEO is all-encompassing and part of the digital umbrella – conversions are not your job it’s ours!
Having the conversation about conversion needs to begin now. Delaying this is only going to give your opposition the leg up and you are the one that’s going to lose out.