Today there are hundreds if not thousands of SEO agencies.

And each of them is good for something.

So your question shouldn't be: How do I find the right SEO agency, but how do I choose an SEO agency that suits me?

I'm glad you made it here as I'm going to show you how to avoid choosing an SEO agency that is for something that is not relevant to growing your business.

Deal?

Then read on.

First things first, why do you need an SEO agency?

Know your goals and desired results

Imagine you quickly booked a last minute flight from New York to meet some business associates. Thankfully, the plane you boarded flew quickly with no delays.

And you land safely at the airport.

On arrival, the announcer congratulates you on a safe journey and welcomes you to Beverly Hills in Texas. Meanwhile, your intended destination was Beverly Hills in California.

You'll regret wasting your time, won't you?

Hiring SEO agencies is like getting on that plane – anyone can fly your website organic ranking anywhere well. Therefore, your first task before you start flying is to make sure that you are selecting the correct aircraft and that you are on the correct aircraft.

To select and integrate an SEO agency that is right for you, you need to:

  • Know your business goal (s) and
  • What you want to achieve when you get there (your desired results).

If you're into search engine optimization, you'll need another plane (or agency). The most important are:

  • SEO-optimized content marketing
  • Voice SEO
  • Link building,
  • Local SEO and
  • Ecommerce SEO

And for results?

You may need to:

  • Rank your entire website or specific keywords higher
  • Get more qualified traffic and leads, or
  • Increase sales directly through organic search.

Your business goals and results determine what SEO strategies and tactics you need.

And since no SEO agency is one size fits all strategies, industries and company sizes, knowing these basics forms the basis for partnering with you.

Let's take some hypothetical examples.

example 1

Imagine your goal is to appear on the first page of Google when certain people use certain words to search for specific information relevant to your business.

And the result?

You want to attract and educate with this group of people appealing contentand drag them into your sales funnel.

In this case, you need an agency with expertise in SEO-optimized content marketing. And you need one with proven results to help other companies get similar results:

Example 2

Let's say you have freelancers who are creating great content for your website. However, you find that Google is not rating them for your target keywords.

Instead, when people search, content that is below the quality of your creation will continue to appear on the top pages, while yours will appear on the 17th page of Google.

This situation suggests that your competitors are likely to have higher domain permissions or more backlinks pointing to their website and high ranking content.

In this case, you need an SEO agency with expertise in link building to increase your website's domain authority, get relevant links pointing to your content, and improve ranking:

As you've seen in both of the examples above, knowing what type of SEO agency is worth considering when you are clear about your goals and results is easier.

Taking this first step to see yourself in the mirror and know exactly what you need will streamline the selection process.

It also ensures that you only shortlist agencies with expertise and experience that will bring other companies to your intended goal.

But it doesn't end there.

Even if only a few dozen agencies have to be considered, when choosing an agency that is right for you, you need to look for traits that prove they are making the call.

If you keep doing this, you can check out a SEO agency that is perfect for you.

6 qualities that make a great SEO agency

Regardless of the specific SEO needs you have, you can still find dozens, if not hundreds, of agencies vying for your business.

The search engine optimization service provider industry is valued at over $ 65 billion.

So expect anyone with a laptop and internet access to make wild claims of being an SEO agency as they yearn to be part of the billions in the industry.

There are characteristics that large SEO agencies possess. And these qualities can be found in the best SEO companies.

I'll list the basic ones below.

Use them to review an SEO agency against the list you shortlisted before deciding to work with an agency.

1. A defined process for executing SEO strategies

Great SEO execution follows a battle-tested process.

When an SEO agency gets experience with numerous clients, they outline their winning process to give potential clients insight into the way they are delivering results.

So every company with practical SEO experience has its own process. And this makes it a trait of SEO agencies with proven results.

For example, at Neil Patel Digital, our process follows eight unique steps:

2. A diverse team of specialists

The next characteristic to look out for before choosing an SEO agency is the team that will implement the process and recommendations.

A lot of thought goes into SEO execution.

Ask the team that will work with you to achieve your goals, from strategic ideas and leadership skills to account management and execution specialists.

Here, too, experienced SEO agencies pride themselves on making their team public:

3. An impressive customer portfolio

Result-generating SEO strategies are difficult to manage from idea to execution, but they also require time and commitment.

As exceptional SEO agencies work with clients to get results, their clients' ad has become a common trait.

Doing this does two things.

It shows you that they are experienced. And it will help you choose to use as a benchmark the type of companies they have worked with:

4. Real customer testimonials

If an SEO agency helped increase your website traffic and drive more sales, you are open to giving them a testimonial right?

When choosing an SEO agency, scan their website for testimony from previous clients.

A common characteristic of the best SEO agencies is the proud display of what satisfied customers say about their service:

5. Industry-specific thought leadership

Exceptional SEO agencies are always at the forefront of the latest trends, especially when it comes to the effects on rankings, traffic and the business in general.

In most cases, you can find a top executive at the company who shares insights through blogs, social media, and research reports, which helps maintain his line of thought.

Before hiring an SEO agency, make sure they are up to date and share current trends about the SEO industry that will help you keep up with the market:

6. A clear corporate culture

An SEO company may have the unique expertise you are looking for and all of the characteristics listed above. However, your company culture may not match yours.

The truth is that exceptional SEO agencies don't take on toxic clients. You also don't want to work with people whose values ​​you disagree with.

To avoid this, top SEO companies have the property of displaying their corporate culture so that potential customers can decide whether working with them is in line with their culture:

How to work with an SEO agency

Most SEO agencies work as an extension of your in-house marketing team.

Hence, there are steps to working with an SEO agency that is right for you. These steps are important as they will ensure that your working with them will be successful.

Let's examine the main ones.

1. Prepare your internal team

Before working with an SEO agency, find relevant teams in your company on the same page. Let them know why your company needs to hire SEO experts and how working with them will affect your business.

Also, choose the ones who will work directly with the SEO agency to get the results you want. The people you choose would help bridge the communication gap between your company and the agency.

This ensures that there is always someone around to keep the SEO agency in sync with your company culture, collaboration goals, expectations, and schedule.

2nd investigation session

Working with an SEO agency could be to rank higher for target keywords, generate more traffic, increase sales, or all three.

But no business case and no need are exactly the same. And SEO strategies that worked for Company A may not work for your company.

So take the time to share all about your business SEO with an agency that you want to work with. This allows them to develop custom strategies and plans that are unique to achieving your goals.

Exceptional SEO companies allow you to share this information with them through a discovery session:

3. Research and recommendations

Now that you've shared your business situation, needs, and goals with an SEO company, keep an eye out for the next steps.

Top SEO agencies won't send you quotes and invoices.

They dig into the research and use what you've shared with them to get the right context for your business situation. That way, they'll come on the same page with your company, your target audience, your business goals, and your competition.

After this investigation, they usually share recommendations on what to do to get maximum results. You can email this recommendation via a report or let you know about it by phone call.

4. Contract with delivery items

After your discovery call and subsequent conversations, expect a contract with the results of an SEO agency if the collaboration with you is a good fit for you.

It is best to share this contract with relevant members of your team, especially those who work directly with the agency. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the terms of the contract.

Also, let your legal department know to avoid signing an agreement that violates or binds your company in the future.

5. Onboarding, project scope and management

To work with you, an SEO company would request access to some of your digital assets.

Depending on the scope of your work, such access may include your website or blog passwords, the login codes of your analytics tools, selected internal employees, etc.

To establish a working relationship with your company, SEO agencies usually run you through a detailed onboarding process.

So you should expect one.

This onboarding session defines and communicates the scope of your project, delivery deadlines, communication channels and an understanding of how both parties are managing your project.

How to Find the Right SEO Agency for You

So far, I've outlined the characteristics of exceptional SEO agencies and walked you through some basic steps on how to work with one.

However, as I discovered at the beginning of this guide, not only do you need the right SEO agency, you also need an SEO agency that is right for you.

How do you find one

To help you out, we've compiled a list of companies that we believe are the best in the business.

Plus, we skipped SEO agencies who can't even rate their website organically. Eventually we turned our backs on digital marketing generalists who do anything under the sun to make money fast.

The result?

What follows is our verified list of the top five SEO companies of 2020 by the types of projects they are doing exceptionally well.

The 5 top SEO agencies

1. Neil Patel Digital – Best for SEO Optimized Content Marketing

At Neil Patel Digital, we are excellent at SEO-optimized content marketing.

Our team of experienced SEO experts and content marketers has decades of practical experience. We believe brands can influence the way customers think by delivering thoughtful, engaging content.

And we implement that belief by partnering with forward-thinking companies to create SEO-focused content, performance-based digital marketing strategies, and programs that get the attention they deserve.

When you work with us, you deliver content to your target audience at the right time with the right content:

2. Voice SEO – Best for voice search

Voice SEO started as a small team of SEO experts. Initially, they focused on using their SEO skills to help companies like them grow online.

By engaging and closely monitoring the ever-changing SEO industry, Voice SEO saw the increasing use of devices such as Alexa, Siri and Google Echo to query search engines.

Given that 50% of all online searches would be voice-based in 2020, an upward trend, Voice SEO followed the highest SEO standards to limit its focus to helping businesses optimize voice search engines:

3. ReachLocal – best for local SEO

When it comes to implementing top notch local SEO strategies, there is no need to introduce ReachLocal.

This SEO agency is responsible for generating over 201 million local leads for 19,000+ clients around the world.

Not only are they the point of contact for practical and strategic local SEO executions, but ReachLocal's experience spans 15 years and they have offices on five continents:

4. FATJOE – Best for capturing backlinks

FATJOE is highly recommended for getting backlinks for SEO. Contact this SEO agency if you need help generating high quality backlinks.

And you can do so with the confidence that other SEO agencies are relying on it too.

FATJOE was founded in 2012. Today they have grown into one of the world's largest outsourced link building agencies, serving more than 5,000 clients:

5. OuterBox – Best for Ecommerce SEO

OuterBox is our choice for ecommerce SEO.

They are an SEO and performance marketing company focused on helping ecommerce brands grow through search strategy, design, and conversion rate optimization.

Regardless of what ecommerce platform your business is based on – Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Drupal or others; OuterBox's Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization Strategies and Tactics are Effective and Reliable:

Bottom line: be patient with your chosen SEO agency

Choosing and partnering with an SEO agency, even if it is perfect for you, is not a quick program to getting rich.

It will take some time to see results.

It's worth the wait, however, because SEO is like a flywheel that gets better day by day and works like a vicious circle:

So be patient.

Just make sure you choose an SEO agency that suits you. And above all one thing with a diverse team of experienced experts who breathe SEO:

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