SEO agency

The drawbacks and benefits of working with an SEO agency

The drawbacks and benefits of working with an SEO agency

If you’re considering hiring an SEO agency to assist with inbound lead creation, you’re undoubtedly wondering what the advantages are. I’ve spent my whole career judging the performance of SEO companies, including presiding over Australia’s biggest, so I’m pretty clear on when hiring one is a smart decision.

This post will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an SEO firm. It will then explain which firms are good candidates for working with SEO services and which organizations should avoid doing so.

But first, let’s look at what an SEO agency is and what an SEO campaign looks like.

What is a Search Engine Optimization Agency?

What is a Search Engine Optimization Agency?

An SEO agency is a firm that specializes in search engine optimization or getting your website to rank higher in Google’s search results for terms entered by people who are interested in buying what you’re selling.

Because there are minimal professional criteria for beginning a business as a doctor, architect, or even realtor, the degree of professionalism in this field varies greatly. If I’m being honest, my suspicion develops a little when I meet someone who owns an SEO business until I learn more. Is this a one- or two-person SEO firm with a culture, experienced leadership, and a well-vetted team, or a reputable SEO agency with a culture, experienced leadership, and a well-vetted team?

At least ten employees (indicating they’re good enough at what they do to build a viable, long-term business), a detailed campaign scope of work (see below), positive Glassdoor reviews (if employees are happier, your campaign is more likely to succeed), and pricing that fits your budget are all things you should look for in an SEO agency.

What Can You Expect from An SEO Project?

SEO campaigns may vary from one-time technical SEO engagements to multi-year engagements in which the firm manages the organic lead generation, strategy, keyword research, and content development. Depending on your goals, any of these campaigns is good; however, you should avoid companies that fall somewhere in the center, making minor changes to the website and sometimes executing content marketing. When an SEO strategy fails, it’s usually due to a lack of one or more of the following factors:

  • Strategy: establishing a hub-and-spoke approach that focuses on transactional, long-tail keywords that lead to MQLs.
  • Keyword research: Using keyword tools and considering keyword search intent to find low-volume, high-value phrases takes a long time.
  • High-quality content creation: Spending time learning about the client’s company, finding a writer with true industry knowledge, and creating the greatest piece of material ever published online in response to each keyword’s search intent.

To obtain what you want out of an SEO campaign, expect to pay about $10k per month to the firm. (For more information on what an SEO agency’s scope of service entails, go here.) Click here to read about Things your SEO agency can’t do for you.

Working with an SEO Agency Has Its Advantages

Working with an SEO Agency Has Its Advantages

The biggest advantage of hiring an SEO agency is that experts will manage a complicated project that is unrelated to your company’s core skills. A specialized job like an SEO campaign should only be given to experts who execute it properly, just as you wouldn’t embark on a house-building project yourself. Naturally, due to the fact that many SEO businesses aren’t up to the job, verifying the company that will be managing it for you is essential.

If conducting SEO seems to be within your organization’s capabilities, you should compare the costs of running a comprehensive SEO-led generation campaign internally vs outsourcing it. In order to conduct SEO successfully in-house, a project manager-strategist, SME writer, editor-co-writer, and graphic designer are often required. We utilize 7 people at our business to cover the same duties, but we’ve seen 4 people work effectively when our customers bring their SEO in-house.

Even if you are certain that you can manage SEO on your own, working with a top-tier SEO service for a year to absorb their best practices is an excellent option.

Working with an SEO service has numerous additional advantages in addition to this key benefit:

  • Access to resources that your firm is unlikely to have, such as expensive keyword research databases and expertise in analytics and marketing attribution that only make sense for an agency that provides specialized SEO services at scale
  • Adaptability in the face of ever-changing website standards and SEO algorithms
  • Working with an SEO Agency Has Its Drawbacks
  • Difficulty in selecting a decent SEO agency, given there are no professional rules governing the business, and none of the directories or review sites (e.g. Clutch) are impartial, noncommercial enterprises, as noted above.
  • Inability to assess outcomes quickly, considering that every SEO effort takes 4-6 months to show results. This implies you can be in the middle of a contract before you can start evaluating your SEO firm.
  • Inability to write for your sector or brand, unless the agency has spent years resolving this issue, as ours has, you’ll most likely be given a generalist who doesn’t understand who your firm is or what matters to your clients.
  • A constantly changing crew, since marketing firms have a high turnover rate. This is why it’s a good idea to look at the agency’s Glassdoor evaluations to see how hard they seem to be trying to create a positive work environment and retain their employees.

Companies that Benefit the Most from SEO Services

Working with an SEO agency is most beneficial to three types of businesses:

1. B2B enterprises in technical domains with specialists on staff who lack the time, writing skills, or SEO training to create lead-generating content for an SEO strategy. (There’s a reason why manufacturing, construction, managed services, industrial IoT, and biotech are among our agency’s most difficult businesses.)

2. Businesses that provide customized services to meet specific difficulties. Because SEO is so ideally suited to addressing questions and providing answers to issues, many businesses enjoy tremendous benefits from partnering with an SEO service. (This group includes several SaaS and medical device startups.)

3. Companies with an average client lifetime value of above $1,000. The ROI argument is simple to justify if several new, closed clients each month may pay for your SEO strategy.

Companies who should not hire an SEO agency

Companies that sell something people don’t search for (very high-level enterprise, referral-only businesses, or B2G contractors responding to government RFQs) and those that already produce content as their main business, such as review websites or news organizations, are poor candidates for hiring an SEO agency.

High search rankings will not result in the closed leads required to justify the expenditure for organizations in the first group. However, these businesses should continue to engage in thought leadership since the industry authority will assist them in closing leads earned via networking or other ways.

Companies in the second group, those whose primary business is content creation, are already well-equipped to manage SEO on their own. Because their most skilled authors are already on staff, an external SEO campaign is likely to yield material of lower quality than what they might produce themselves. The only exception is when it comes to keyword planning and research, where content enterprises without SEO expertise might still profit from a one-time consulting engagement with an SEO service.