9 October 2023
3 mins

Would you recommend your SEO agency?

Benji Hugh
Benji Hugh
Head of Performance Marketing

A few years ago, I read a report that genuinely troubled me. It highlighted the fact that only 30% of small business owners would recommend their current SEO provider to a friend or colleague. Which, is another way of saying that almost a third of businesses don’t trust their SEO agency. 

Having spent years working in the SEO space, I was understandably disappointed to read that statistic. For years, I’ve been passionately advocating for robust SEO strategies for all my clients; from multinational corporations to local businesses. And have time and again proven the value. 

But then, to read the findings of that report, tells me all is not well in the world of SEO, and that there is a high degree of genuine distrust and/or confusion about SEO. 

So, why is this the case? 

Having spent time sitting with this question, I think it boils down to two things; a lack of competency and a lack of transparency.

How agencies speak dialects of SEO

At some point in my career, I definitely heard somebody say “what the hell is a schema markup?”. 

For people working in digital or performance marketing, it’s easy to forget that not everybody that you interact with comes from a digital marketing background. Combine this forgetfulness with the fact that practically every SEO uses their own jargon to describe any given task and you’ve got a deadly cocktail that can only lead to miscommunication.

Broadly speaking, there are a few main SEO dialects which you might come across:

  1. The Juice Dialect – focuses on backlinks, keywords, anchor text, outreach and Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness.

  2. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Dialect – spends time talking about featured snippets, content, FAQs and metadata.

  3. The NoFollow Dialect – this is where things get a little more technical around Core Web Vitals, URL structures, sitemap files and robots.txt. 

One thing they have in common? They will all probably talk about Core Algorithm Updates. You need an SEO multi-linguist who can simply explain algorithm updates and provide you with some light reading should you need it. 

What do SEO agencies actually do?

According to a study from Backlinko, 27% of clients find SEO confusing and offered services are unclear while 25% agreed that they are not sure what they are really paying for with SEO.

Before doing any work, your agency should involve you in the strategy development process. This transparent collaboration sets the foundation for a successful partnership, and after all – it is your site, so you deserve to know what the plans are and why actions are being taken .

Once the strategy is agreed upon, you should receive a scope of work document which maps out what you’re paying for (in detail), how much it costs and a timeline of delivery for everyone to be held accountable.

On a monthly basis, you should understand how your SEO partner is spending their time fixing, “optimising” or building your site. It’s important to ask questions if you’re unsure about what work is being done and how it will improve your organic search results. Ideally, this conversation happens before, rather than during, a month’s work. I’d suggest asking questions when discussing performance.

More than just keywords and analytics

Like with all data, there are so many ways to frame outcomes and find a statistic that supports your argument. 

Yes, you get sent a monthly report – a tangible document – that you can share internally, but that only helps if everyone who reads it knows what to look for. At a minimum, it would be reasonable to expect the following:

  1. A dashboard/monthly report showcasing data with some initial interpretation

  2. An accompanying email explaining what it is you’re looking at and why it matters

  3. A summary of what work was completed that month and how it contributes to traffic growth

  4. A meeting to discuss any outstanding questions or actions

Any agency worth their weight in Search Console hours empowers their clients with insights, explanations and an update on the path towards their SEO goals. When collaborating on a data-led approach, there needs to be a certain level of consensus on what the data is indicating.

A collaborative approach to SEO

At Windsorborn, we recognise that transparency is not an option but a necessity to build trust and foster lasting relationships with our valued clients. By keeping the channels of communication open and sharing knowledge freely, we strengthen our commitment to delivering exceptional results and driving business success together. 

If you don’t know what your SEO agency is doing each month, it might be time to come in for a chat.

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