You want to get the best out of your website and therefore need the reliable and organic SEO support of a professional SEO firm. The difficulty with this is finding the best SEO partner that offers good advice, is cheap on search engine optimization, and yet employs experienced SEO specialists.
Sounds a bit like the search for an all-in-one solution. In addition, there are many dubious providers on the market, which does not exactly simplify the search.
We have therefore made it our business to show you how to find a professional SEO firm, which questions need to be clarified, what is important and what you should pay attention to in your research.
And yes, we are also an experienced and professional SEO firm and would, of course, be happy if you choose us in the end. In another article, we have found the 5 best Textbroker Alternatives and analyzed them as well. Therefore, you can rest assured that this guide is written as neutrally as possible, as we just want to help you.
What Questions Should Be Answered Before Successfully Working with a Professional SEO Firm?
Before you actually start searching for a professional SEO firm, it is important to clarify some questions internally. Only by this kind of preparation, you can find an efficient cooperation and achieve the desired results.
Which Goals Do I Pursue with the Search for the Best Professional SEO Firms?
To be able to focus the SEO measures on the right elements right from the start, it should be clear to both you and the agency what goals you are pursuing in particular. A really professional SEO firm will ask you about these goals right at the beginning and not just randomly optimize stuff.
It really depends on whether you want to increase the number of visitors, your sales, the conversion rate or strengthen your competence. So, if you haven’t already, think in detail about what direction you aim to go.
What Resources Do I Have at My Disposal?
You’re probably looking for a reputable SEO agency because you lack the necessary resources within the company to perform search engine optimization yourself. These resources include in particular the time, the know-how, the tools, and the content. But also, in cooperation with one of the countless SEO agencies out there, you will have to spend certain resources.
Please do not think that you can place the order and then lean back. Only in cooperation, such a project is possible and promising. Your own people from IT, UX design or web design should ideally work closely with the SEO agency to achieve the best possible results.
What about My Budget?
Of course, financial resources are also important when choosing the best SEO firm. Ideally, you will find a transparent price overview on the agency’s website. But in any case, you need to think about what you want to spend on search engine optimization.
SEO service providers cost money — but in the best possible case, it is money well spent. Set a budget and communicate this with the SEO experts of the agency. This is the best way to ensure a transparent and cooperative partnership. Both sides know where they stand and where the journey should go.
It also always depends on the budget whether you want to leave everything to the agency or are also willing (and have the resources) to take over things yourself. So, it should also be clarified in this context who will implement the measures identified in the SEO audit in detail.
What Questions Do I Have for the SEO Agency?
You will certainly have many questions for the agency. Start writing them down early so you don’t miss any information.
Dos and Don’ts: What Is Important for a Professional SEO Firm, and Which Offers Are Dubious?
For a layman, it is often difficult to distinguish a professional SEO firm from a dubious one. Today, it is too easy to create a great website with great promises. Therefore, it is important to always dig a little deeper and pay attention to important signs. Here you’ll learn what those signs can be:
Don’t: A Professional SEO Firm Does Not Guarantee You a Top Spot in Google Search Results
Some agencies try to lure you with great promises by promising the following:
- We get you one of the first three spots in the Google search results.
- We triple the traffic on your site.
- Within 10 days, you’ll have 100 new backlinks.
- Within one year, we will double your turnover.
All these promises are highly dubious because nobody can guarantee this. Google keeps its algorithms a secret and changes them constantly. Therefore, no one can predict what the SEO measures will yield. In addition, you must be aware that SEO must always be thought of in the long term. Short-term successes are not achieved with it.
Don’t: Professional SEO Firms Do Not Look for Clients — Clients Look for Them
You know what it’s like: you get an email telling you about the bad SEO parameters of your website, with the promise that they will be changed as soon as possible. Or you get a call from an agency and a sympathetic and savvy salesperson trying to sell you on their services.
However, you can assume that a reputable SEO agency usually does not do this. Either they live off the referrals of their clients, or they have been in business so long and so well that they have excellent Google rankings and ratings.
Do: Good Agencies Can Have a Good Ranking — but They Don’t Have To
Of course, if an agency has a good Google ranking, that’s a nice reference. Of course, the best professional SEO firms try to get into the top search results. However, there are hundreds of agencies and only a vanishingly low number of top positions. In addition, SEO takes time — long-established agencies have an advantage here. However, you still don’t know if they have kept up with the times and are using the latest tools.
Do: The Best Professional SEO Firms Will Invite You for a Personal Meeting
A professional SEO firm is characterized primarily by a personal consultation that takes place. You should keep your hands from agencies that do everything by e-mail and send you prefabricated messages and standard analyses. Only a personal conversation on the phone, in person or even via video call allows you to work together successfully later on.
Do: Good SEO Service Providers Know Your Website
During such a personal conversation, you will also quickly notice whether the SEO specialists or at least your interlocutor has prepared himself and knows your website. Maybe he has already done a first technical analysis to be able to discuss possible measures with you. If no free demo is offered, this is a sign to keep your hands off this agency.
Do: Good SEO Consulting Starts with the Right Questions
The meeting should not be primarily about the agency praising itself and all its services. It should be about you and your website. It is therefore important that you make sure that your contact person asks the right questions. He should definitely be interested in your goals, your target audience, your USP, and your services.
Don’t: Don’t Rely on High Score Lists on the Web
To the best of our knowledge, none of these high score lists have tested the presented agencies in terms of practical and verifiable success. Either, they are paid entries or only single components, like the website or the price transparency of the providers, have been tested. However, a beautiful website is no indication of the SEO agency’s competence, so do not let them deceive you.
Do: Pay Attention to Reviews
There are some reliable sources on the web for genuine reviews. These sources include Trustpilot or Trusted Shops. If there are good reviews for an agency, this is a good sign. Reviews on Google or other portals need to be filtered a bit more, as they can be given by anyone (even non-customers), which some dubious agencies take advantage of with fake reviews.
Don’t: Bad Agencies Hide Behind Technical Jargon
Some rather bad agencies try to present themselves as particularly competent and use all kinds of technical terms. Of course, SEO uses numerous specific terms, but good agencies prepare them in a customer-friendly way. Only if you feel from the beginning that your consultant is talking to you at eye level, the cooperation can be successful.
What Should I Pay Attention to in My Research?
The dos and don’ts have already given you many suggestions and help to find a professional SEO firm. We will gladly go into more detail to make sure that you really find one of the best SEO firms.
References Are Good and Helpful
On some websites of SEO service providers, you will find some customers who have (allegedly) already used their services. Take the trouble to contact one or the other from this list and ask for an assessment of their experience. Often, the chances of getting feedback are not bad at all.
Nothing Works Without Keyword Research and Technical Audit
You might ask a vendor to forgo an elaborate keyword research or site audit for budget reasons. However, a professional SEO firm will refuse to do so, since both of them are the basis for all subsequent activities. So, should the agency comply with your request, they themselves have not understood their business and the mechanisms.
The Size of the Agency Is Not Crucial
The size of the agency does not provide any insight into its capabilities. Maybe 75% of the team is made up of sales people who are constantly cold calling. What matters is the composition of the team. Ideally, there are experts for content, for technical SEO and for the topics of backlinks and keywords. So, it comes down to quality rather than quantity.
Full-service Web Agency Vs. SEO Agency
And just like that, we have to relativize the statement from the last point a bit. If you are interested in a variety of services around your website and are considering hiring a full-service web agency, things look a bit different. Here, size definitely matters, as the many individual areas — from SEO to content to UX design — should each be staffed by experts. If you want to ensure that SEO is the core competency, we recommend using a specialized agency.
Transparency of Information and Approach
Make sure that all important information is presented transparently on the agency’s website. If, in addition, the prices are openly communicated, you will not experience any unpleasant surprises later on.
Important: Regular Customer-centric Reporting
Regular reporting allows you to see on a monthly basis how the numbers have developed, whether there have been improvements in the ranking and what effect the optimizations have had beyond that.
However, some SEO agencies use reporting more for self-promotion, to show how well they have worked. However, the reporting should actually give you an impression of the development and include an analysis from your perspective.
The most important metrics that should be listed in the report include the development of organic traffic, visibility, the development of keywords (ranking), the length of stay of your website visitors, the bounce rate and backlinks.
Have such a reporting shown and explained to you during the initial consultation to convince yourself of the quality and meaningfulness.
A Free Initial Consultation or Demo Is Mandatory
There are actually agencies on the market that offer search engine optimization for a low price, but do not offer any customer service. Some even charge money for a trial or demo. A reputable SEO agency will always offer you a non-binding, personal initial consultation and often also a demo of the services. If this is not the case, it is better to leave it alone.
The Individual Offer
Ideally, you will find all relevant prices and packages on the agency’s website. However, every website and every case is a little different. Therefore, after the initial consultation, the agency should provide you with an individual offer that is tailored to your goals and budget.
For example, if you already have a large blog on your site, the agency should not offer you the creation of new content, but rather the optimization of the existing blog and therefore the update of content. Of course, the offer can consist of ready-made elements or packages, which, however, must be individually compiled for your case.
You Get What You Pay For
The old saying is also true in the field of SEO. If you find agencies that offer search engine optimization particularly cheaply, something has to be wrong. The common law of business balance postulated by the English writer, art critic and social philosopher John Ruskin states:
“The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
While it is possible to automate or standardize much of the work involved in SEO, savvy SEO experts must bundle and interpret the information they gather. Content doesn’t write itself. Only a system of strategists, writers, and editors ensures a high-quality result.
Flexible Contract Terms Are Very Important
There are offers where you are supposed to commit yourself immediately for three years, since SEO is a rather long-term affair, after all. This is of course unacceptable. If, on the other hand, you find a provider who doesn’t pressure you into long contract periods, but where you can upgrade your service, make changes or even cancel at any time, you are flexible at all times.
Be careful not to become too dependent on the SEO agency. This is the case, for example, if the agency operates the Google Analytics or Google Ads account in its name. Always open all accounts yourself and give the agency limited access to them. If the contractual relationship ends, the accounts will still belong to you and the data will not be lost.
Good Own Website
Design is always a matter of taste. However, you can certainly judge neutrally whether a website is appealing and modern. A professional SEO firm should have such a website. It should contain clearly understandable information, be free of spelling mistakes, explain the most important measures and have a blog.
A blog is always an excellent way to accommodate relevant content on the site. This will also be important for your website later on. Therefore, take a look at some posts. Here you will also see if the agency knows how to deliver quality content. If so, they seem to have good content writers on hand who will also work for you later on.
Don’t Be Deceived by Certificates
Certificates and quality seals are supposed to inspire confidence. However, there are hardly any reliable and generally binding quality seals on the SEO market. Many therefore invent certificates or misrepresent facts.
Very often a Google certificate for Google Ads is used for this purpose, which is often converted to an SEO certificate. There is no official seal for SEO specialists or partners at Google. Therefore, caution is always required here.
Knowledge Transfer Is Desirable
Although this point is a bit difficult to consider already when looking for a professional SEO firm, we would not like to forget this aspect at all. Try to find out already during an initial meeting if the SEO service provider is willing to share his knowledge with you.
Maybe you see a possibility to take over some areas of SEO yourself after some time of learning. Of course, this only works if you are in the know about what the agency actually does. In addition, a more profound insight into the work of the agency also serves as a “monitoring tool”. After all, you pay good money for good performance and have a right to be kept informed about the exact working methods.
Case Studies Help to Better Understand the Work of a Professional SEO Firm
If you find case studies on the SEO service provider’s website, this will help you a lot to better understand not only the agency’s business, but also the potential for your own business. This is especially the case if they have case studies from your industry. You also get an idea of the metrics that are important and that the agency is working on.
By the way, you can also ideally use the case studies to call one or the other company and ask for a personal reference.
Personal References Are Still the Best
When searching for a professional SEO firm, don’t forget to ask your acquaintances or professional network who has had good experiences with their SEO service provider. SEO agencies are a dime a dozen, so it helps a lot if you get a personal recommendation from someone you trust. But look for a web agency that is specialized in SEO.
Conclusion: What Makes a Professional SEO Firm?
We hope we could help you find the best professional SEO firm that can provide you and your company with high-quality search engine optimization at a reasonable price. As mentioned in the beginning, we have tried to present you the information as neutrally as possible. But now we would like to do a little self-promotion.
As a specialized SEO agency, it is important to us to offer you the best service and to be an excellent, transparent partner. We have built up a system internally that allows us to offer individual search engine optimization services at a reasonable price, but without compromising on quality. We achieve this through two measures in particular:
- All of our employees work remotely 100% of the time. This means that we do not have expensive, prestigious offices.
- We have designed a technical system that allows us to work highly efficiently, but without losing the human touch.
You will find all the information you need to decide on our website. In addition, we offer you a personal initial consultation, so you know how everything works from the very beginning.
Take a look at the topic of keyword research and how we can implement this for you. We are SEO specialists out-and-out and have a network of excellent content creators. We have built a tight quality assurance system and guarantee our best efforts to bring your website to the top.
On a Personal Note: Note from the Author of This PostI’ve been working as a content writer for several clients for many years now. For the past year or so, I’ve also been writing regular posts for Blogtec and their clients as a freelancer. I have hardly experienced another client who works in such a structured and professional manner.
I always receive a detailed briefing with all relevant information about the text and the client’s goals, so that I can tailor the content as good as possible. I always work with an editor from Blogtec, who not only proofreads my texts at the end, but also checks whether the keywords have been used correctly, whether there is duplicate content and much more.
Only when a text has gone through this quality control, it is sent to the customer. This is unique and testifies to the great quality of this SEO agency. It is a real pleasure to learn and develop myself thanks to the comments of the editors. So, it’s not only the customer who benefits, but also myself. I think that’s great.
PS: I was not asked to write this comment by Blogtec — it is my personal, honest opinion. – Oliver Schlupp