SEO (search engine optimisation) has quickly become one of the most powerful (and expensive) forms of digital marketing used on the internet. Being the way in which businesses climb the search rankings and ensure they are discoverable by their target audience – it’s clear why search engine optimisation is so heavily invested in by major brands.
However, unless you have heaps of capital to spend on building an in-house team, you’ll probably want to invest in the services of an SEO consultancy firm. This business will work with you to audit, tailor and improve your web presence so that search engines like Google serve your website at the top of relevant search results.
When hiring any outside consultancy firm, you need to be careful as to who you give your money to as there are many predatory practitioners out there who exploit the ignorance of their clients. These types of digital marketers promise results they can guarantee or will take money from their clients without adequately explaining how it is being spent.
This is why, when shopping around for an SEO consultancy, you should look for signs of the following key traits.
1. Honest and clear
The most important trait to look for with pretty much any consultant is that they are honest with your as well as clear with the advice they give. There’s no point engaging a firm that censors the information it gives you or fails to ensure you fully understand the expertise they are giving you.
While it’s not expected that you will instantly understand all of the jargon and strategic intricacies of SEO (that’s the consultant’s job) – you should still feel like you have a lay-man’s understanding of what work is being done and why it costs the amount that it does.
If you walk away from meetings with your SEO consultant without actually understanding what the plan is then it means you’ve failed to protect your investment and invited the consultant to lie to you. A good consultant should be eager to explain what they are doing so that you are fully confident in the way your money is being allocated.
2. Active and attentive
While SEO is commonly considered a ‘slow burn’ form of marketing that takes months to produce results, there are still many sudden developments that can occur which require quick reaction in order to minimise damage to your campaign. These kinds of situations require you to have a consultant on your side who is vigilant in ensuring your campaign’s ongoing success and its punctual in their interactions with you.
Ideally, you want to engage a consultancy that corresponds with you on a weekly basis to update you on the status of your campaign and answer any questions you may have. Sometimes a weekly meeting might not even be necessary – as long as you can establish trust with your consultant that they will get in touch with you whenever it’s essential for you to know something.
Obviously, you want to hire an SEO consultancy that has a high degree of experience and expertise in the industry. Additionally, it’s best for you to engage a firm that has proven experience in working with brands similar to yours.
Because this discipline is tied to technology, it is always slowly evolving and trends that were relevant a few months ago could be made obsolete almost overnight. This means that you need to hire a firm that’s switched on in terms of following new developments and training itself in emerging SEO strategies.