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Before you decide to hire an SEO agency to handle your online marketing needs, you need to clearly identify your internet adverting goals. Depending on your goals, you should hire the right SEO agency. For example, if you are starting from scratch and need to build a website, you need to find a search engine optimization agency that is capable of developing your web presence from the mere beginning. If you already have a website, but you are doing search engine optimization for the first time, you will only need to hire experienced SEO specialists. If you are not sure about your SEO needs, a digital marketing agency can also help you with that by conducting an internet marketing analysis. By gathering data and  analyzing your website and current online presence, they can precisely identify the areas to focus on your digital marketing campaign.

There are so many SEO agencies out there so it may be very hard to choose the right one without fearing you have potentially made a mistake. When selecting an SEO agency, it’s vital to choose one that only relies on implementing SEO in accordance to Google’s guidelines. You have to stick to white hat SEO (not even grey hat tactics are allowed) because trying to trick the system may lead to being penalized and jeopardizing your online reputation. Blackhat SEO practitioners lure people by promising them quick results. Although it;s possible to get quick results with black hat SEO tactics,  you may quikcly get penalized. Organic traffic needs time to built but it’s the only way to ensure long-term results. If you get results immediately, it will not last long because sooner or later Google will catch find out what you’re doing and penalize your site.

Since SEO is a long-term investment and can make or break the fortunes of your business, you have to be cautious in choosing an SEO agency that implements white hat SEO. Doing a fair amount of research before selecting any SEO agency is an absolute necessity. Moreover, understanding what kind of services they offer and how they deliver them are essential because many SEO agencies are not real agencies but SEO resellers.

In this article, we will discuss SEO reselling and how SEO agencies operate so that you know what to look for when you are selecting an SEO agency to handle your marketing needs.

What is SEO reselling?

All SEO agencies are not the same because some are reselling SEO while others are doing it on their own.  The SEO market is growing at a tremendous rate and more and more businesses are using SEO for online marketing every year. It is not be wrong to say that SEO is an essential part of digital marketing. To keep pace with the growing demands for SEO, the competition among SEO agencies is also getting intense with each trying to offer the most competitive prices to clients.

Since creating an infrastructure for handling SEO projects involves a lot of costs, the service cost is not always competitive. Many SEO agencies in their effort to offer low prices are outsourcing the services from some other SEO companies for their clients and resell SEO packages. The entire know-how of SEO lies with the outsourced company that also provides the technology and personnel required for implementing SEO projects. If the agency you select is an SEO reseller, it will be responsible for ensuring the services but without disclosing the name of the company from which it actually outsources the services.

Read on find out whether the SEO agency you are planning to hire is a reliable one, regardless whether it is a reseller or not.

SLAs are acceptable, but guarantees are not

Some SEO agencies might try to impress clients by guaranteeing results, but you shouldn’t fall for this claim. As told earlier, it takes a lot of time for SEO results to show and there are no guarantees a certain strategy will work. Guaranteed offers are unrealistic and too good to believe, so, better keep away from them. Instead, work with an agency understands your  marketing goals and offers a certain timeline to complete them. You can enter into some service level agreement (SLA) for ensuring minimum results that are close to the target but realistic and achievable. You can also define campaign milestones to help to measure the campaign progress.

Experience in your industry niche

The length of experience indicates the capabilities of SEO agencies in a specific industry niche. If the agency has been in business for long, it is an indication of its strength that has helped it survive through the years.  However, SEO implementation varies according to the nature of the industry, and the agency you select must have experience of working in your business niche. This is important because the effectiveness of SEO depends on how well it integrates with the business process. The integration happens only when the agency is familiar with the business process and can modify SEO to suit your needs. The agency has to be aware of what works for your business and what doesn’t.

Case studies and testimonials

A reliable SEO agency will showcase its achievements to highlight its capabilities and therefore be ready to share case studies of successful SEO implementation that they have undertaken. A good SEO company will show off their success and how they built their reputation. The case studies not only describe what they have done but also contain real-life examples of their work and the performance level they have achieved. The case studies help to validate their claims about skill and expertise linked to delivering the right results. The case studies provide documentary evidence about achievement that underlines the capabilities of the agency to meet the objectives and produce results that satisfy clients.  Case studies provide insight into the strength and weaknesses of companies.

Certifications

The SEO industry is largely unregulated with no central agency monitoring it, and consequently, no industry certification is available. There is nothing like SEO certification. However, the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. award certificates to SEO agencies for their excellent work in PPC and Analytics.  The certification is a proof of the competence of the agencies in implementing PPC or paid search marketing that indirectly endorses the SEO competency.  The certification also proves that the agency is a legitimate and that you can rely on it.

White hat practices

Choose an agency that maintains transparency in dealing with clients and works with them as partners and not mere consultants. Remember that although you are hiring an SEO agency, the responsibility of implementing white hat SEO lies with you. Ask the agency to explain the kind of SEO strategies that usually adapt to evaluate the extent of compliance with Google guidelines. If you find that the practices they follow are deviating from the instructions, this is a red flag.  When the agency is ready to answer your questions and show proof of fair practices, you should be happy that you have found a reliable company.

Despite the SEO agency working on your behalf with the best of intentions of implementing white hat SEO, you must monitor them and occasionally ask for results. After all, their wrongdoing, even if done ignorantly could be very costly for you.