Surchability's Take on Seven Tips for Selecting the Right SEO Agency

Chad DeBolt

Chad DeBolt

Chad DeBolt is the personality behind and founder of Surchability. He’s been heavily involved with online marketing, specifically SEO, for 16 years.

Today we’re going to go over this great article that was just sent to me by one of our clients from CMS Wire. It’s called “Seven Tips for Selecting the Right SEO Agency.” So obviously, the title piqued our interest over here in Surchability.

You can access the article here: https://www.cmswire.com/digital-marketing/7-tips-for-selecting-the-right-seo-agency/

I thought they made some great points. So let’s go over my thoughts on it.

In the beginning, they’re talking about how search has become more important with the pandemic and that people have now become really good at researching for things. So it’s burned into our psyche now to become researchers and investigators, and knowledge seekers. And that plays right into the strengths of organic search.

SEO Agencies Need to Deliver for the Long Game

The first element here is that “SEO Agencies Need to Deliver for the Long Game,” and I couldn’t agree with it more. It’s a red flag to us if we’re talking to a potential client, and they immediately start asking about how fast we can rank them or how fast they can see results, or why haven’t they seen any results after a week. Now obviously, the counter to that is that you’re investing money, and a lot of the time, it’s a pretty good amount of money, and obviously, you want to see some return on your investment as soon as possible. So, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t want to know those things, but if that is your main objective and you don’t have the long game in mind, then you’re gonna be frustrated as the client. And the SEO agency is going to be frustrated because you have unrealistic expectations, and nobody wins.

We found that the best successes come from clients who understand that: SEO and organic search are meant to keep the lights on. It’s always going to be there producing leads and organic traffic, and so on. It’s not like paper click where depending on how much money you’re throwing at it, the results are going to vary drastically. As soon as you stop paying for ads, all your traffic goes away. If you want to get more traffic, you have to pay more money.

SEO Is not an overnight thing. But it is the most stable and consistent source of traffic and leads that you can possibly do. But the trade-off is that it doesn’t happen overnight.

SEO Agencies Must Understand Your Business

The next element that is being mentioned is that “SEO Agencies Must Understand Your Business,” and that obviously goes without saying. I would be untruthful if I didn’t mention that most SEO strategies work no matter what industry you’re in. Google is Google; content is content; backlinks are backlinks. But really understanding your business goes a long way as search intent is important.

As mentioned here: if you have a really wide content gap and you’re behind the eight ball compared to your competitors as far as the kind of content you have, for instance. In that case, Surchability can crank out really good content really fast, and we can do a lot in one go. But this needs approval or needs to be vetted by the client to make sure that the brand voice is correct. To make sure that we’re, communicating everything that aligns with the brand focus. And that creates a bottleneck because you can’t give a client 25 pieces of content to proofread and have them posted. So that’s a problem. So we have to understand your business. We have to understand where the bottlenecks are. What can we do as an agency to help you alleviate your potential bottlenecks? And what is the typical bandwidth issue?

An SEO agency has to be able to work within the confines of what is realistic and what is not realistic for the client just as much as you need to be realistic about your expectations as a client. And then Surchability will try to take as much off of your plate as possible. But even then, there will be times when it is what it is. So we have to be empathetic to the marketing department or the business and what they can do on their end.

Search Tactics Need to Connect to Objectives

“Search Tactics Need to Connect to Objectives” (the third element in the article). As mentioned above, there are a million different strategies we can do. I can get you from Point A to point B. But do you even want to get to Point B?

So, we have to figure out what our goals are and then either apply strategies or invent new strategies to get you to where you want to go? You try to systematize things as much as possible, but everything is different based on the client and where you are in relation to your competitors. And what does google even think about your website?

There’s a whole bunch of different moving parts that come into play here. And at the end of the day, what are you trying to do? Like, I can bring you a ton of traffic, but if it’s not the right traffic, then who cares!

Hence, there are a lot of things that come into play where you pull into your bag of tricks and strategies based on whatever it is the client wishes to accomplish. I always tell clients, “hey, you come at this from a business perspective, and I’m going to come at it from a nerd perspective, and we’re going to meet in the middle, and everybody will be happy.”

Is the SEO Agency Keeping Up With The Times?

“Is the SEO Agency Keeping Up With The Times?” So over here, If you ever go to our Surcahbility “About Us” page, you will know that we actually sell against this because 90% of agencies continue to just do the stuff that has always worked. They have a checklist that they do every month, and they don’t have an idea of what’s going on with new up-and-coming things.

Surchability reads Google patents. We are always testing things. We build websites specifically to test stuff out. You really have to stay on top of this, and that even goes with trying to bring SEO in-house. The in-house SEO team is not really motivated to do anything outside of the box. Instead, they are there to test the boundaries of what you can do to try and get ahead. So, the agency has to always be on top of things.

“What are you testing right now? What are some of the newest things you’ve come up with or discovered? or What are the trends that you see are happening right now?” Those kinds of questions are what you should be asking when you’re talking to agencies. We always get around that by text messaging a client at two o’clock in the morning when we have finalized a new strategy that we trumped up.

Some of our greatest strategies that we use over and over again are byproducts of us basically screwing around and trying to figure things out. That’s the only way that you could do this the right way because google is changing every day. There are a billion other websites that are also competing for what you’re competing for, and they’re trying things as well. So, to stay the king of the hill, you got to always continue to reinvent yourself.

Is the Agency Capable of Technical SEO Services?

Then to our next element in the article, “Is the Agency Capable of Technical SEO Services?” That for us goes without saying. We make sure your website is technically sound by checking if it’s fast as it could possibly be and if the user experience is really good. We always try to build your website like a casino, so it’s really easy to get in and really hard to get out. We want that google spider to get to the website and go all over the place. That’s kind of like the baseline, and hence you really shouldn’t be talking about keywords or content or rankings or backlinks until you have the most solid, well-optimized home base that you could possibly have before you move forward.

The web development company is not SEO-focused. So they don’t really care about google core metrics or anything like that. So, your SEO agency definitely needs to, at the very minimum, be an incredible liaison between them and the web development company. In the perfect world, they would be able to do it themselves.

Be Wary of Guarantees for Search Rank

“Be Wary of Guarantees for Search Rank.” Back in the day, we used to actually be able to give guarantees. You could say, “oh yeah, I’ll get your number one in 30 days for this keyword.” But those days are long gone. That was an awesome time for people like us. But that doesn’t work anymore. So, anybody that can guarantee you rankings, it’s likely going to be for incredibly low competition keywords that no one’s going to be high fiving over, or they’re going to be super shady stuff that goes on behind the scenes that may increase your rank for a bit of time and then, it’s terrible.

So going back to the long game element of the article, the results will come if you have a sound strategy and if everything is in order. But to guarantee results should be an absolute red flag. It’s a red flag for us; when a potential client asks for that. We turn them down because we just know that they’re not the right client for us. So if an agency guarantees rankings, you should run to the hills.

In conclusion, the article mentions that finding the right fit is challenging. And we couldn’t agree with it more. We have never marketed our services ever. We’ve been in business for 12 plus years, and we are almost 100% referral-based. For this reason, it can be hard to find the right agency. It’s hard to find the right mix of people that understand your business and are actually super smart at SEO. And it’s one of the reasons why that’s all we do at Surchability. We’re never going to be an all-in marketing shop. Everything we do is solely geared towards helping you increase organic traffic. We’re never going to do paper click. We don’t do social media. We don’t do any of that kind of stuff. We’d rather be incredibly awesome at one thing. But we also know that we have to be empathetic to the client’s unique situations. So it is very hard to find a good agency.

There are countless stories in the graveyard of snake oil salesmen, where a lot of clients have said, “oh yeah, I did SEO In the past, and it stunk,” or “I wasted 12 months of monthly payments, and I don’t even know what I got for it.” I’m sure you’re familiar with that too. So, do your due diligence. These are definitely seven things that are really great high-level items to keep in mind when you’re thinking about an agency.

If you would like to speak to somebody about SEO or organic search that actually knows what they are talking about, and if you like the personality of Surchability, please fill out the contact form, and we’ll be more than happy to chat with you.

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