Florian Fuehren

Finding the right SEO company can sometimes make you feel you’d need the observational skills of a Sherlock Holmes while you’re still struggling with digital marketing basics.

The irony is that many already possess the necessary selection criteria but don’t know how to articulate them. We’ll help you get the sharp eye that will allow you to find the perfect SEO company and solve your business mysteries, with or without a detective hat.

The Right SEO Agency Will Always Have Your Unique Needs in Mind

Why did SEO services forever change the marketing game? Because they put a number on campaigns. Back when we relied on nothing but radio, TV, billboards and print ads, we couldn’t truly be sure about our ROI or the demographics of potential customers we were trying to reach. Words like “conversion rate” or “traffic” weren’t even mentioned. This development could make you believe that you can’t go wrong anymore as long as you follow the numbers or use the right SEO tools.

But picture yourself deciding between 2 fitness coaches’ regimens. The first one asks you about any injuries, preferred exercises or allergies. The other tells you to run a 10K every day, no matter what you say. Can’t stand running? “Run a 10K.” What about nutrition? “Run a 10K.”

You get the idea. While you’ll certainly find marketers advocating their love for Google Analytics and technical SEO above all, their approach misses a major point. To be effective, digital marketing needs to connect unique industry conditions and your brand’s business objectives with tangible KPIs. Otherwise, you’re not adjusting your content strategy to your business but running after general-purpose search engine optimization tips, which can actually prevent you from reaching those goals.

The right SEO agency will not only crunch the numbers but assist you in defining KPIs that reflect your business objectives, target audiences and marketing style. And if you come into the cooperation with existing data, they’ll make sure to adapt their strategy accordingly.

So what can you do to find that unicorn? First, it’ll help to compare agencies based on their experience and expertise within your niche. From compliance and legal questions to tonality and industry jargon — many small details will determine what your content marketing will look like in the end. Your business partners should be aware of the SEO goal you care about the most. 

Check their track record and read their case studies to find out about their past cooperations with enterprises in your industry. Some agencies will even dedicate entire pages to individual industries or prizes they’ve won. Here at Brafton, we track our awards, reviews, media mentions and partnerships.

What Makes a Good SEO Company?

Often, clients who don’t live inside the marketing bubble struggle to define factors allowing them to compare one SEO company to the next. Because we all like something tangible, many fall back on hard metrics like the promise of increased site traffic, not realizing that those should be the bare minimum an agency delivers.

Before you agree to work with any SEO specialist, you should understand their process. While the technical steps in an SEO audit and digital marketing are often the same, the surrounding frameworks vary significantly from one company to another. 

To guarantee you can follow along and work at a rhythm you’re comfortable with, they should walk you through their SEO strategy. Have them break down how they’ll optimize your search engine results and achieve the KPIs you’ve collaboratively defined, or even how they’ll adjust along the way to consider feedback or recent industry trends.

Ask about your SEO agency’s reporting so you understand how to hold them accountable throughout the entire collaboration process.

Also, be aware that you may have to compromise based on other factors like pricing, combination of services or even referrals within your industry. Some agencies may have dedicated offerings for international SEO, link building or e-commerce SEO, which differentiates them from full-service agencies like Brafton. Deciding which one suits your business requires you to determine which services you need and how specific they are to your niche.

How Do You Go About Identifying the Best SEO Company for Your Goals?

You’ll have to do your own research and some soul-searching to identify the best SEO company for your business. Start with a basic needs assessment to understand how your SEO goals may deviate from trends within your industry. That way, you can be sure they’ll consider those metrics as part of their production routine.

Also, determine beforehand which tasks you’d like to cover in-house and which ones you’d prefer to outsource. Maybe you’ve already got a team providing blog content, but you don’t have the resources to stay up to date with recent trends in link building keyword research, Google Ads or social media marketing. Document your current situation to inform your decision and identify agencies offering the right combination of services.

This next step is the most personal one, which is why it’ll look different for each business. You’ll compile a list of potential candidates, including factors affecting your choice ranked by their importance to you. If you work in a fast-paced, technical environment, then a track record of past collaborations in your niche or industry knowledge might be more important to you. Maybe you’re deciding based on a certain style, budget or location. Even a systematized approach to tracking your performance can be a decisive argument for fast-moving industries. Here at Brafton, we plan, produce and analyze all our marketing efforts through our proprietary marketing platform.

Brafton Platform screenshot

Whichever combination of factors you choose, you should know why they’re important to you and your business. This will speed up the evaluation and help you communicate your needs during negotiations.

Which Questions Should You Ask During the Decision-Making Process?

Asking the right questions early on can save you a lot of time, money and hassle later. The problem is, many clients feel uncomfortable going into that much detail because of their own limited experience in SEO. However, this is a flaw in thinking. Maybe you wouldn’t demand to know how the mechanic fixes your car, only that they don’t need to adapt their process to your personal preferences and background.

Here are some questions you could ask your future SEO company to find out if you’re right for one another.

  • Can you provide examples of your previous work or case studies specifically related to our industry? (This helps you understand their track record and successes within your niche.)
  • How would you describe your style and approach to SEO marketing? (Asking about their style lets you gauge if you’ll align and if they follow a strategic manner that suits your preferences.)
  • Can you explain your communication strategies? (Good SEO companies are all about transparency because the most artistically crafted Google search result doesn’t help if you can’t follow along. Ensure clear and open communication from the outset.)
  • What SEO services and techniques do you employ to improve search rankings? (Even if you’ve only done some basic research, this lets you identify companies promising quick fixes. Following them will only get you punished by search engines.)
  • Are you open to a consultation where we can discuss our goals and more detailed issues? (Giving you an understanding of their process helps you differentiate the routes various agencies might take.)
  • Could you provide pricing information and discuss the services included? (Every package is different, and price does matter. Make sure you understand your offer’s cost structure to find one aligning with your budget and expectations.)

As you move forward, you’ll come up with your own questions. It’s important to get comfortable with asking, as this helps you to think of your own goals in clear terms and use them during your decision-making process.

Remember That Good SEO Is About Relationships and Not Just Keywords

If Google’s E-E-A-T and the advent of artificial intelligence have taught us anything, it’s that human connections and personality will become increasingly important as we move forward. By all means, don’t neglect a sound technical foundation solely because you have chemistry with your SEO specialist. While those factors may change in their relevance, they’ll continue to be significant.

Still, you should also consider points like empathy and expertise to determine the best SEO agency. What made for pleasant cooperation in the past is now an essential ingredient to successful content marketing. A marketer who struggles to translate your identity into a unique style will keep you from reaching your business objectives.

Finding the right words to describe those personal preferences will give you the competitive edge you’ll need to set yourself apart from automated standardized mush in the future.