What if you could put your Silicon Valley business on the search engine map like never before?
It all comes down to a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. And to get the most out of your overall digital marketing strategy, you need to choose a good SEO agency. Otherwise, you could end up with an agency or consultant who will set your business back.
But what should you consider when choosing an SEO agency for your Silicon Valley-based business? Read on.
Your SEO Goals
The Silicon Valley is a fairly well-defined area that includes key cities like San Jose, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Saratoga, Campbell and even Scott’s Valley (remember Borland? Yikes, I do!)
If you’re like many startups or tech-centric businesses, you may not be as well-versed about the process for choosing an SEO agency.
Fortunately, my first tip is the easiest for you to follow.
Consider what your actual digital marketing goals are.
Do you have a broken or invisible website? Do you want a new website built from scratch, or simply an audit of your existing site? Are you primarily hoping to build your brand through organic Google and Bing traffic, PPC, or do you want to increase sales by converting more of the visitors who find your website?
Perhaps all of the above?
When it comes to strategic marketing, you are the best judge of what your company needs. And once you have clarity about your own digital marketing goals, you can find the ideal agency to help you accomplish them.
Some of the factors to consider when choosing an SEO agency are very simple. For example, you need to know what your SEO budget looks like before you begin seriously scouting for SEO agencies. Many agencies have minimums that they must hit in order to be effective at all.
For example, Boomcycle engagements start at $5K/month and up. Some agencies and engagments can range into the $25K-$50K/month range, again, depending on your goals and competition.
On the most basic level, having a strict budget will help you eliminate certain agencies if they are out of your price range. And knowledge of both your budget and your goals can help you find an affordable agency with the right specialization (more on this later).
While exploring SEO agencies, pay attention to how they package and price their various services. Some companies may want you to sign multi-month agreements, while others may price month-to-month, but may not set client expectations properly.
Even if you’re completely new to SEO, learning a bit about how SEO services are offered will quickly reveal situations you may not want to be a part of.
The Quality of an SEO Agency’s Website
There are many ways you can investigate the potential quality of local SEO agencies. But the first thing you should do is spend some time studying the quality of their website.
Check to see how fast the site loads and whether it looks cluttered on either desktop or mobile devices. You’ll also want to make sure the links are not broken and provide the extra info that a visitor looking for digital marketing help might need.
Long story short? If you’re deeply unimpressed by what an agency has done with its own website, you’re unlikely to be impressed with what they do for your own site.
You may be surprised at how fast you can eliminate potential candidates this way.
Doing Your Research
Every SEO agency’s claim to fame is that they can help your site really succeed. But how do they measure their client’s success?
Often, agencies might be unable to tell you much about their clients’ websites or their success stories. Even if the agency was inclined to do so, this information is likely to be protected by various contracts, NDAs and other confidentiality clauses.
However, you can use your own tools and staff to research the clients an agency has worked with before. If an agency shows a list of logos, check the businesses associated with those logos for things like obvious keyword rankings and organic traffic (if you have access to tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush) to discover whether the SEO agency has produced quality results or not.
When you get right down to it, choosing an SEO agency can be a significant investment for your company. And what do you usually do before spending a lot of money on a product or service?
For many people, the answer is “Find out what others are saying.” And you can do this with a prospective SEO agency by simply searching for reviews and ratings online. You should do the same across social media.
It’s not the end of the world if an agency has a handful of negative ratings and reviews. SEO is an oft-misunderstood service, and their can only be one search result in the #1 slot at any one time! But if the majority of their previous clients seem unhappy, you’d likely be better off finding a different agency.
The Right Specialization
The best and worst thing about SEO is that it is never a “one size fits all” service. Every company’s needs and competition are different, and every agency’s approach to meeting those needs is unique.
This is why it is important for you to research the specializations of prospective agencies. Many of these agencies boost their value proposition by offering unique services to clients. If you’re lucky, you can find a solid agency with a specialization tied to your specific SEO goals.
Specializations, such as focusing on B2B SEO, are important because many agencies offer similar basic services. Only by exploring the advanced options can you discover whether an agency is right for you.
Beware of Big Promises
There is one thing that SEO agencies have in common with used car salesmen: a tendency to make unrealistic promises to close a deal.
Just as the salesman will say anything it takes to get you behind the wheel, some unscrupulous SEO agencies may say anything to get your business. And this includes making unrealistic guarantees that simply sound too good to be true. Ultimately, Google is the sole arbiter of what content that will rank well on Google.
A fairly common old-skool tactic was for an agency to promise “Guaranteed page 1 rankings!” Then, the company would rank your brand name, which, unless your website is a complete dumpster fire, is a fairly easy thing to do. You probably already rank for your own brand name, unless your brand is shared by multiple other products or services, such as the word “Renegade”.
In short, if the agency’s promises sound too good to be true, they may be engaging in some shifty market-speak (brand ranking) or they simply make a promise and hope that you’ll be too busy to notice when it doesn’t happen.
Ultimately, you’re better off finding an SEO agency that offers realistic timelines (measured in months, not weeks) and sound SEO advice rather than just telling you what you want to hear.
Years of Experience
As with other agencies, we recommend asking SEO agencies a simple question: “How long have you been in business?”
Now, there is no magic “right” answer for how much experience a company has. But if they have a few years under their belts, they are more likely to be wise to the ways of Google and perhaps offer a higher quality of service.
Best practices change every year. By choosing a veteran SEO agency, you get the benefit of a company that knows how to innovate and adapt in the face of a changing market.
Choosing An SEO Agency in Silicon Valley: What’s Next?
Now you know the factors to consider when choosing an SEO agency in Silicon Valley. But did you know that the best agency is just a click away?
Here at Boomcycle, we specialize in helping small- to medium-sized businesses reach their full potential.
To see what we can do for your business, just contact us today!