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If you’ve decided that it’s time to invest in SEO, the first step in raising your rankings is working with the right search engine optimization agency. Your digital presence should be treated with the same integrity as your store front. Anyone you chose to involve yourself with should feel the same way. Unfortunately, the world of SEO is filled with many hats. Some black, some white.

Here’s an extremely SIMPLE method for hiring the right agency the first time.

Know What You Need

This may come as a surprise, but if you don’t know what you need to get from SEO you’re going to have a hard time determining the value of the SEO services you’re buying. This doesn’t mean that you have to become an overnight expert on everything digital marketing. It means you need to know what’s wrong with your current marketing campaign or where you need more help.

For example: If your website is suffering traffic up and downs that correlate with your PPC ads, it’s clear that your biggest traffic source isn’t consistent. You can either invest in SEO to build traffic through search queries or you can up the frequency of your PPC ads. For most websites in this position, the answer is both.

You can either:

  1. Work with an SEO agency and work with a paid media agency.
  2. Work with a team that does both.

As you interview your potential partners, you may decide that it’s too overwhelming or time consuming to work with multiple partners and opt for one agency that can do it all.  On the other hand, if you see merit to having two agencies handle separate ends of the spectrum- it may be worth the extra time put in. That decision is on you. But be realistic. Don’t run these relationships thin and expect the world of the agencies if you can’t put in the time to be present.

If you aren’t sure on what you need, take the time to objectively look at your website. Compare it to your direct competitors and most importantly, who’s currently dominating your industry from a revenue perspective. Tools you can use to do this include:

  • Ahrefs. Ahrefs will give you an overview of your sites health and generalized metrics. More importantly, it will also help you identify organic keywords opportunities that are realistically attainable for your brand.
  • Google Analytics. Nothing gives you the full health check up like a look on the Google Analytics dashboard.
  • GTMetrix. Is your site well put together? This site will let you know. Though not as important as good content, poor development can hold you back in terms of making a profitable website.

Alternatively, you may wish to purchase an SEO audit from some of the companies you are interviewing. Not only will this be a good preview of the work to come, it will give you a good idea of what you need to do to succeed online.

Know Your Budget- and Use it to Find the Best Price

Always know your budget. Be realistic with what it takes to get an impact and stick to your number. Don’t spend time flirting with what you can’t afford and take notes. We’ll walk you through the process:

1.Realize that most campaigns that will really make an impact on your business will start at 5,000 dollars. Anyone who tries to tell you that you can get far with a smaller budget doesn’t understand how to get a return on investment on SEO.  Again, whether you split that 5,000 dollars between Adwords or off site SEO is dependant on your business goals.

2.Once you have your budget, begin searching for companies to interview. A quick Google search like Houston SEO will give you a list of companies you can begin inspecting. Look for pricing. Schedule that free consultation. Ask about their processes, the prices, their analytics, and their customer service. Ask if they have experience in your industry. Take notes.

  1. Compare what each service can offer you. Many find it helpful to put the data into excel spreadsheets and let the numbers do the talking. Others may see it more as a service and less a deliverable, especially beginners who need a lot of help through the optimization process.

As a final mark of good measure, ask yourself: Do I like these people? You’re going to need to trust them with your business, your brand, and your money. Make sure you like working with them and can trust them with your business. Then you can scale down your options and spend more time getting to know the agencies that truy appeal to you.


It’s an undisputed fact that working with the right people at the right time will make you a lot of money. After all, your network is your net worth. Take the time to make sure you’re working with the right company. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Interview plenty of companies and make sure that when you send in a check, you’re confident in it.

What factors played into your decision when hiring a search engine optimization agency? What red flags did you find during the process? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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