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How to Evaluate Your SEO Agency

     -     Jan 29th, 2018   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

During a recent presentation I gave at the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Minnesota chapter, I was asked a very interesting question that I am sure others have considered. The question was “How do I evaluate my SEO provider?” This is a great question because in the world of SEO, things are always changing, and it can be difficult to know what real value an agency is providing to the firm. If you’re like most accounting marketers you are likely aware of the amount of traffic coming to the site, but beyond that you may have limited time and resources to analyze the rest of the data. To help accounting marketers and others assess their current SEO provider and hopefully affirm they rock or (at least) make positive changes, I have provided a brief list of key areas to review. Please note that the information included below applies mainly to organic SEO programs and not pay per click (PPC) work.

  • Goal Setting – One thing I learned from listening to Tony Robbins is that satisfaction, or the feeling of happiness, comes from making progress towards your goals. So, I was thinking about this statement when the question was asked. Are there SEO/digital marketing goals? Are they set regularly? How are they being tracked? Many firms that we encounter are doing something with SEO but have not set goals and are not measuring progress. This is an important first step that is essential to any marketing program in order to identify the outcome. Therefore, one way to evaluate your provider is whether they have asked you to set goals. Goals can be as simple as increasing the amount of traffic, number of new e-newsletter subscriptions or even amount of new leads through the site. Whatever the case, if your SEO agency is not prompting you with goal setting it’s not a good sign.
  • Monthly Reporting – Once the goals have been set it’s essential to have the tools and reporting mechanisms in place to track performance. Whether it’s traffic, keyword ranking or new subscribers, your SEO agency should be providing you with monthly reports about how your digital outlets are performing and put that report into context in terms of your results. I work with many firms that receive a monthly report from us and they don’t really understand what the numbers mean. When this is the case it’s essential to ask your provider for context. Often, I don’t provide additional context because I presume my clients understand the data. So, be sure you are getting regular reports and that you understand what the data means. If you are unsure then ask until it’s clear. If you are not getting regular monthly reports it’s a red flag.
  • Content Marketing Plan – All the SEO in the world is not going to help a website that is not consistently publishing new content. Google has repeatedly said that fresh and new content is the best way to get the attention of the search engine. As a result, it’s important that your agency work with you to develop a content marketing plan (assuming you have hired them to help you with this). If not, they should at least be inquiring about whether a plan exists and actively encourage you to be developing new content on a regular basis. If this conversation has never been had, it’s another red flag.
  • New Leads/Business – Accountants think in numbers whereas marketers think in words. So we need to be able to demonstrate to Partners and others that we are getting results. The best way to do this is through increasing the amount of leads that come in through the website and the corresponding closed dollar value. This is an area that so many SEO agencies miss but is super critical in the accounting profession. What is the point of all the SEO work if the firm is not getting any new business? A good SEO agency will regularly inquire about the volume and type of leads coming into the site. While no agency can be accountable for whether your firm closes leads, at least a regular conversation should be had to determine what they can adjust to enhance the level and quality of leads.

In Perspective

There are many other factors which can be used to determine the value of your agency, but these are the ones that seem most critical.

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