Organic traffic can be a key component of business growth and not investing in the right SEO activity is a common mistake many businesses make. It can be tempting, since the results can take time to bear fruit, however with an agency that is well rehearsed in the channel, you will see sustainable growth with good returns, that is not as volatile as some other forms of marketing. However this is only possible with the right strategy in place.
Here we will outline some of the key things you should expect from your SEO agency to ensure that growth.
Keyword analysis and recommendations
Any agency worth their salt should be providing you a thorough analysis of the keywords that you need to be ranking on. The keywords they suggest should not be so difficult that only a large media organisation or corporation can get a number one spot, but should be achievable, with a decent monthly traffic volume up for grabs. This list should outline the monthly traffic of each and their keyword difficulty (how hard it is to rank for). Often this will involve long-tail keywords, phrases that might be typed in, rather than 1-2 words. Benchmarks on how you rank for these keywords should be provided, along with monthly reports which show improvements in your position over time. Don’t expect huge jumps up front, but look for longer positive trends with more keywords ranking higher over time.
Once keywords are finalised your agency should map these keywords to your main website pages. This involves providing you with recommended H1s, Titles and Meta Descriptions, which you need to add to the back end of your website to help improve your ranking. Some agencies will include implementation of these recommendations on your website as part of a retainer service, or as a paid add-on. Alternatively you can ask a developer or someone who understands their way around the back end of your website. Another activity an SEO agency should do following this, is a content gap analysis, which will provide recommendations for additional keywords to add to the content on your website’s front end.
Any good SEO strategy will not just focus on the keywords and on page activity. It will involve the all important link building work. Search engine algorithms look at how many quality links are directed to your site as one of their ranking factors. There are many ways to get these links but one of the best ways is guest posts on blog sites with a higher domain authority (DA) than yours. That way you benefit from their high DA and over time these links improve yours. 2 links a month is a good place to start. These links need to be relevant and with a higher DA than yours, to be worthwhile. Some digital agencies will write the content for you as part of the package, others will ask you to provide the content. What they should be providing at a minimum is the keywords to place within the blog and the anchor text which will link through to your website. Directory listings can also form part of a link building strategy, on relevant sites. Some providers will just do link building and no onsite SEO, which is of course cheaper, but if you are to just do offsite link building like this, make sure you ensure your onsite SEO is also taken care of either internally or with another provider.
Google penalises websites that don’t run well. This includes poorly indexed sites, broken links like 404 errors and websites that are slow to load. Google prioritises ranking based on mobile friendliness, so making sure the experience here is a good one is vital. Running regular technical checks on the website can be done by your SEO agency, along with a list of recommendations on what should be fixed. Some agencies will quote for and implement these fixes for you but you can always use your developer.
Your google my business profile is an often neglected marketing opportunity. Optimising this profile can be done by your SEO agency. They should be providing you with keywords to add to GMB posts and scheduling them for you. They can geo-tag images on the profile, which all helps with ranking. We suggest 4 posts a month. Some agencies will write the copy and provide the images for you, others will ask you to provide the content using the keywords they suggest.
Reviewing your competitors for link building opportunities and for benchmarking is an activity that agencies should be running for you periodically. Good reporting tools such as SEMRush can help them to do this for you, so it’s worth asking for. It helps them find relevant blog hosting opportunities that they can contact for link building.
Monthly reporting should be expected to show progress. This report should include a keyword ranking report, traffic and leads each month, how this compares with targets set, any seasonality impacts, and recommendations to ensure you are moving in the right direction. Setting targets for SEO growth is worth doing over a 6 month period. Any agency promising growth in month 1 should be viewed with some scepticism.
This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but if your digital agency is not doing these things they may be leaving SEO growth opportunities on the table to drive your organic traffic.
And finally consider the investment in terms of time and return. Time, being if the monthly fee is small, consider what the resourcing cost would be at an hourly rate – how many hours of work each month could you get for that low fee (not many usually)? Secondly, consider for that investment how many leads or sales you are getting and what that cost per lead (CPL) or cost per acquisition (CPA) is by dividing it by the monthly retainer you are paying to your SEO agency – is it healthy? It should be.
If you are interested in chatting about all things SEO with us, get in touch.