How to Choose an SEO Agency for your eCommerce Business

In the world of growing and ever-changing demand, the offer comes to please any taste and requirement. But when it comes to the investments into your business ideas, the worst thing to do is to trust their faith into the first offer you get. In fact, choosing an SEO partner of your eCommerce business is almost as important as the clear vision of your idea and a well-planned development strategy. Here are some tips and highlights on how to be prepared for the best e-commerce SEO agency-hunt.

Posted on 10 June, 2019
By Susan M.



Reading Time: 7 minutes

Research SEO agencies

Nowadays, the proper online advertisement comes to replace most of the other ways to deliver information to your potential customers. Especially if you are a small business, which was founded relatively recently, chances are your success is mostly dependent on how easy it is to find out about your existence, in other words, whether it is easy to search for your products and find you on the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, etc. Here is when Search engine optimization comes to help. But, in case, you lack resources, measures or time to promote your business, you can choose to delegate it to an experienced and reliable SEO agency. The question is how to find a trustworthy SEO agency, which is just right for your eCommerce business.

1.  Set clear and visible SEO goals.

Do your homework. The communication with your future partner is, of course, very important, but you should study the case yourself, as well. Do not just google the phrases, like the best SEO agency or the most reliable SEO agencies or list of SEO agencies. Instead, do it old school, ask. Ask the people, who are in the same business field as you, those, who have already turned to SEO agencies for help. Their advice can be more useful than you think.

2. Study the agency you are about to choose.

Whether it comes to optimizing user experience when visiting your shop or tracking the number of site views, you should clearly envision what you expect of the company you will be cooperating with. By setting goals and prioritizing the expected results for both of you, you might be able to eliminate those agencies, which are not consistent and find a partner, who is looking in the same direction as you.

3. Surf the agency websites.

SEO agencies usually have useful and free of charge materials that could be very useful at some point. So, why not get a bit of additional knowledge anyway?

Besides being a trust element, free resources also give real, tangible value to the visitors and help them make easier decisions. Here is a popular one our readers like the most:  completely free of charge SEO audit checklist specially designed for eCommerce!

4. Set up communication with your SEO agency.

Communication is the key.
Share your vision of the cooperation, clarify your expectations and ask the team if they are willing to meet them. Besides, ask for some information on their current and past clients. This is also another way to find out their efficiency and compliance to your expectations. Choose the one, which specializes on the same type of business (or similar) as yours, as some optimization strategies, efficient for one type of clients, might be useless for others.

5. Define your SEO budget.

As simple as it may sound, this is crucial, as SEO is a service, in case of which the cost defines the quality and the results. Choose the type of SEO service you would prefer for your business and tailor your budget based on that (not vice versa). However, bear in mind, that the most expensive service, available in the market, does not necessarily mean the most suitable for your business.

6. Assign a simple task: SEO Audit.

SEO Audit is the starting step in search engine optimisation. And if you already have an agency in your mind and you’re still not sure you will be able to commit working with them for a long run, assign a simple task of conducting an SEO Audit of your eCommerce business right away.

An SEO Audit is usually conducted by an Agency to prove their true expertise and costs little or nothing. That’s a really genuine way for a business to understand the upcoming cooperation with and agency and for an agency to be tested for their professionalism and gain trust.

It’s a win-win action. Go for it.

The timing, the reporting and the actual implementation of an audit will leave no doubt in selection.

7. Set a consulting/reporting schedule

Yes, and base your cooperation on it. Getting consistent feedback from your SEO agency is one of the ways you find out about your progress and the efficiency of their work. This tactic, sometimes underrated, is of crucial importance when it comes to the estimation of results and the assessment of cooperation.

Agency: a fraud or a partner?

In the current market is filled with potential partner agencies, willing to advance your business, become a concrete foundation for your online progress and your guide towards higher SE rankings. But the thing is: how to tell the difference between the ones that are actually capable of that and the ones, that might not even provide safe user experience. Here are some ways to find out:

  • If the firm offers you doubled traffic, higher rankings overnight, search engine submissions or anything, which sounds like a dream come true, in a unrealistically short period of time, you should spend that much time on hiring that firm, as, most certainly, these promises will not be realized and will turn into the waste of your time and resources.
  • If the agency guarantees you rock-solid results within a certain amount of time, do not hesitate to turn the offer down. In SEO, as in no other field, such a confidence is a sign of incompetence.
  • If the firm offers spamming, using random unreliable sites as a promotion strategy in their offer, do not even consider it. It might not only affect the image of your company, but also bring forth serious punishments from Google, which, honestly, is not worth it.
  • If the agency insists on keeping the copyrights on the data, created during your cooperation, you should most certainly not choose it. As safe as it may seem, at the point you choose to turn to another firm, you might face the risk of losing your property to a fraud.

Cost: how much do they charge?

The golden rule in this case is: SEO is not one-size-fits-all case. The cost of SEO for a small e-shop with the small user coverage and a relatively easily trackable site-usage is not the same as for the huge multinational companies which serve millions and millions of clients worldwide.

There are approaches to payment, and, depending on your purpose, budget and needs you can choose one of the followings:

  • Hourly SEO, when the SEO firm is paid for the time of actual work, which makes the process very transparent and accessible. The cost in this case might vary from 25$ to 150$ per hour. However, keep in mind, that is method might not be not so efficient when it comes to long-term results.
  • Monthly SEO, when the SEO firm is paid on the monthly basis for the constant optimization. It brings forth a stronger relationship between you and your partner and releases you from the obligation of finding a partner every now and then, but it means a long-term commitment, which, in some cases, is not so preferrable. This might be one of the most reliable models of SEO investment.
  • Performance-based SEO, when a SEO firm is getting paid only after the results, settled in advance, are reached. This sounds like a winning offer for you, as you will pay only in case of measurable results, however, it puts a very high pressure on the SEO firm. Besides, the monthly pay in this case might vary greatly, as it is hard to tell the rankings of each month in advance and keep them within the same financial scope.
  • SEO projects, when the firm is paid for a scope of optimization, agreed in advance. However, this is not so flexible, as the firm can reject to undertake other actions, not agreed upon, for the sake of advancement. Besides, the risk of overcost is also quite high. The average cost might be as low as 1000$ and as high as 7500$ per project.

The best thing to do is to understand, which type of cooperation is more preferable for you and the most beneficent for your business, and find a partner, who agrees to work under those terms.

Results: when to expect them?

As we have already mentioned, the firm which claims to provide you the highest ranking on search engines, and doubling your site visits overnight is certainly a swindle. But postponing the results to the better days is also not an option. After all, one of the reasons why you hire a professional SEO firm is to progress you measurably in the market. There is a popular opinion, that SEO results become visible within four to six months after the commencement of optimization. They, at least, become more obvious then, and by the twelve-month period, they get more or less stable. The reason for this is the complicated nature of optimization, as it depends on several aspects, each of which takes time, and application of different methods to find the most suitable one. What you need to bear in mind is that the measurable results are achieved in the course of time, and as it goes, they become more and more vivid. So, you should be persistent and expect the same from your partner.

Conclusion

To sum up, choosing the best SEO agency for your business might be very challenging and requires a lot of hard work. You have to concentrate all of your energy on this so that you are really happy with your own selection.

Here is a list of actions you need to know and do before you actually hire an agency:

  1. Research agencies. Filter them according to your SEO goals, your personal sympathy and professional evaluation of their past experience, taking into account the budget you have and also pay attention to their reporting and communication culture
  2. Watch out for fraudulent companies. Take into special consideration the present trust elements in their website, real reviews and feedback in review websites and turn to their former clients, if needed.
  3. Understand the actual cost of SEO agency services. You can always search the internet for prices, but you’ll never be able to get a full insight of the real quality-price ratio online. You need to understand how much the best ones charge and what results they ensure.
  4. Don’t let yourself be fooled with too high expectations for minimum amounts of time. SEO always has a long-term effect, so the results won’t come right away, but will be there for long.
  5. Select the team that is as excited about your business as a project as you are.

At the end of the day, the well-planned cooperation with a partner, who sees the future of your business in the same way as you do, delivers reports and communicates clear information on your progress, while taking care of your user experience and not overcharging you, will result in a prospering business. And it is definitely worth trying.



Susan M.

Susan is the SEO Manager at Smarketa Agency. She knows how to process the cooperation between the agency and eCommerce clients.



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