How can you tell if an SEO agency is competent?

I’m glad you made it here, as I’ll guide you through how to avoid choosing an SEO agency that’s right for something not relevant to growing your business. 

Deal?  Well, then, keep reading. Firstly, why do you need an SEO agency? Many language school owners are struggling with getting more leads and sales with their websites to sell more language courses.

The main goal of a language school is to get more students in order to make more money. Without a well-optimized website, an SEO agency will help you to draw more traffic and hopefully automatically bring in new customers for you 24/7.

Do I need an SEO agency?

Asking yourself this question is the first step to finding the right SEO agency. If you are satisfied with your website\’s organic traffic and don’t want to invest more money, you might not need an SEO agency. You can check Google Analytics to see if your goal is being reached or not.

If yes, what exactly do I need SEO for? What is your current situation? Have you already tried working on your website’s SEO yourself but had no success? Or did you start this wonderful journey with an agency, but it did not bring any results?

Answering these questions will help you to understand your needs and help a potential SEO agency understand them as well.

What do I need an SEO for?

This question can have many answers, so it\’s important to be as detailed as possible. For the sake of this blog post, we\’ll assume that your main goal is to increase organic traffic from search engines. Note that if you want to rank for specific keywords, that’s a whole different ball game and I won\’t be referring to it much in this post.

Have I worked on my website\’s SEO myself?

For many language school owners, the answer is yes. They have probably spent hundreds of hours trying to perfect their website, from content creation to keyword research and link building.

If you have been working on your website\’s SEO yourself, but had no success in growing your organic traffic, it is possible that none of these strategies are effective for this particular niche or the current stage of the game.

While most language schools struggle with generating more organic traffic, some might get more than they need and not know how to handle it.

After all, if you get 100 visitors daily from search engines (and I’m talking about good quality traffic), but your conversion rate is 1%, that means you will get 1 new student a day. How effective do you think that is?

Have I worked with an SEO agency before?

Perhaps you had the best intentions and got yourself a decent (or not so decent) agency to take care of your website’s SEO, but after months of waiting for results, you realized it never happened. It\’s possible that they weren\’t right for you or did things on their own.

Or maybe you did see some positive results at first, but then your organic traffic dropped and never came back. This is still a pretty common phenomenon as SEO agencies often don\’t continue working for clients once they stop paying them (especially small local ones). 

As we know, Google\’s algorithms are constantly changing and the SEO landscape is constantly evolving. If you worked with an agency in the past and aren\’t satisfied with its services, that does not mean that other agencies would do a worse job at helping your website rank better.

What has been done to my website before?

If you have been working on your own SEO strategy for years, a good SEO agency should know that all the strategies they will implement have been done before. While it is true that your website\’s SEO might need a revamp, there shouldn\’t be anything you haven\’t tried before.

If you somehow decided, with your previous agency, to move forward with something new and risky, it can become a very time-consuming and expensive experiment.

This is why it’s important to be very clear on what you want your SEO agency to do for you, so there are no surprises later down the road.

What is my budget?

As humans, we tend to value things that cost more money more than cheaper things. This is totally normal and makes sense.

But when it comes to SEO, this logic doesn\’t apply. A new website can get the same results (or even better) with a lot less effort than an older site that has more competition or less authority in search engines.

If you are thinking about working with an agency, but don\’t have much budget, you should definitely find one with competitive rates.

However, if you are thinking about paying someone to work full-time for you (which is a bad idea, by the way), then a good SEO agency doesn\’t necessarily need to be cheap. One that can get results fast and implement new strategies quickly will certainly be very time-consuming for your budget.

What is the agency\’s experience with this niche?

Nowadays, there are agencies that specialize in working with specific industries or sub-industries. I often encourage language school owners to work only with local SEO agencies, if they can afford it of course (if you can\’t afford an SEO agency, then you can\’t afford online marketing).

On a similar note, agencies that have worked with sites in your specific niche can provide a lot more insight and along the way, they might come up with new ideas of how to help you rank better. They also know what\’s going on in your niche (or sub-niche) right now.

How will they approach my website?

There are SEO agencies out there that do everything at once, even though it\’s way more effective to approach your website from one angle at a time. A good agency should have some sort of process and stick to it so they can achieve results as fast as possible.

For some websites, a keyword research first strategy might work very well for example. It could also be that you don\’t rank for some of your keywords because they are too generic or competitive, so an agency might start with local SEO before tackling the rest.

How will I communicate with my agency?

It can be difficult to determine whether you\’re making progress without a constant flow of communication from your agency. On the other hand, it\’s also a burden for an agency to constantly update their clients with progress reports.

A good option is to set up scheduled Google Hangouts or Skype calls so everyone can stay updated and ask questions as they come up, benefit from advice and get feedback on the work that has been done so far, etc. You could also use email, but it\’s harder to keep track of everything this way.

How often should I expect progress reports? (or How fast will my website rank better?)

This question is directly related to the previous one. If you\’ve decided on Google Hangouts, an agency can provide updates every few weeks or months. But if they are only going to send you an email, do not expect more than once a month.

A good agency should be able to offer regular progress reports and come up with new SEO strategies as soon as they discover something that might benefit your website/business.

Do they have a money-back guarantee?

This is always a plus because if the agency doesn\’t get the results you hope for, it should at least offer a solution or give you your money back. However, make sure to read the fine print and ask all other necessary questions before deciding on an agency.

I know that there are other questions I could have added to the list, but these are the ones that come to mind first. It\’s also worth adding that what works for one company might not work for you, so always do your research before hiring an agency.

Do you have any questions to add to this list? Let me know!

If you are doing SEO for your website, don\’t forget to check out the free training. It provides all kinds of useful information.

Good luck with your online marketing endeavors!

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