When it comes to choosing an SEO agency to entrust with your website and/or online strategy, it can be difficult to know if you’re choosing the right company. Scams are everywhere, and it’s already hard to get past the no-guarantees nature of SEO services when hard-earned money is on the line and you can’t be sure of a long-term payoff. Plus, prices vary so much from agency to agency, so how do you know if one is ripping you off or another is too good be true?

While the right SEO agency for a business will depend on the specific needs of a brand, there are some steps that make the process easier. But first, there are a couple of important things to understand:

Not all SEOs do the same thing.

Part of price variation from agency to agency is due to the fact that not all SEOs do the same thing. One agency might specialize in PPC while another strictly focuses on organic search. One agency might cater specifically to franchise businesses while another focuses on smaller, local businesses. An SEOs price range is something that’s been developed to reflect the depth and scale of service they offer, and in most cases, they’re happy to address a potential client’s monetary concerns and explain the logic behind their pricing.

The work you do beforehand can save you time, energy, and sometimes money.

The worst SEOs want you to approach them with as a blank slate, and the best SEOs want you to come ready to explain the what and why behind your goals. When you approach SEO service providers with general and shallow goals, such as climbing rank or increasing traffic, it shows that you haven’t considered what it is you’re really trying to achieve and, more importantly, why you’re trying to achieve it. This makes you vulnerable to shady SEO service providers because it allows them to dictate your goals in a way that makes you an easy profit. That’s why doing your homework beforehand can help protect you from not so great SEOs and prepare you for the right SEO agency for your business.

Bearing these two things in mind, here’s some of the best advice on how to choose the right SEO company for your business.

  • Know your goals: As I said before, the work you do before ever approaching SEOs can save you time, energy, and money. Before approaching an SEO agency, you need to know why SEO is the next step for your business and the specific goals you want to achieve by using it. Is it to boost your number of subscribers? To drive high-converting traffic? To rank for keywords that will bring you more of the traffic that converts? Before you approach an SEO company, spend some time identifying why your business needs this, and make sure your goals state what you want and why you want it.
  • Know your criteria: Again, don’t go into the process of choosing an SEO agency blindly. Before approaching them, determine your criteria, including your budget, range of services, contract duration, location, and any other factors that you see as necessities or deal-breakers in choosing the right SEO agency for your business. This will give you categories to compare and narrow down the list of SEOs, ultimately saving you time and ensuring you find the best possible SEO.
  • Prepare your questions: Once you narrow down your list of the top SEOs you’re considering for your business, put together a list of questions that will help you get a feel for how the SEOs carry out their services and manage their client accounts. In your questions, be sure to ask what processes they would use to achieve your goals, and why. Ask how they execute those processes, and always ask what their process for keeping clients informed and updated is, as well as how often you as a client can expect to hear from them or receive a status report. It can also help to ask for a case study or example of a business similar to yours that they were able to help be successful. The best SEOs will be helpful and eager to answer your questions, so be mindful of how the conversations go when you’re asking to make sure it’s the best fit for your business.