At a bit of a loss with SEO agency – need advice
We've worked with our current SEO agency now for about 6 months. We get weekly reports showing fluctuations in our rankings and as part of the service they also do some back-link building
In terms of actual work, they've done the basic site audits, created a structure for new copy (pillar page, Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page etc) but beyond that, not a lot else
The main issue is that we're now 6 months in and haven't had any increase in our organic traffic. About 3 weeks ago we launched a complete re design of our site and their excuse for not improving organic traffic is the new site… but there was no increase for the 5 months prior to that
They're now talking about conversion optimisation after I've pulled them up on the traffic issue and their attention seems to have shifted to ensuring we maximise the current traffic on the site – I agree this makes sense, but should we cut this agency loose?
Weekly ranking reports? I f*cking hate doing that with my clients because my job inevitably turns into long, drawn out emails explaining Google's algorithms, re-explaining how SEO works, and trying to explain how SEO does not end until your competitors go out of business or Google goes out of business. Now, I'm spending all of my time being reactive instead of being proactive. That usually results in having to completely abandon the existing strategy to put all of my focus on developing a strategy to recover the rankings of a handful of "important" keywords in an absurdly short amount of time. Then, a month later, when these keywords haven't budged, I always expect the inevitable email with a subject line that reads something like "SEO isn't working, stop all future billing" or another variation that suggests that I'm on the chopping block.
When you watch your rankings like a hawk, you're never going to be satisfied with ANY work anybody ever does for you. Unless your niche is as sharp as "custom hand sewn diapers for gerbils," you will likely never, EVER, rank #1 for all of your keywords at any one time. There will always be fluctuations. There will always be a competitor who is doing SEO or some sort of marketing as well that you must compete with.
Here is what you need to know about SEO:
• You probably cannot afford SEO from an agency. Unless you're spending at least $3K per month with an agency, and you're in any sort of competitive niche, you're very likely not going to be happy with your results, ESPECIALLY in 6 months. Agencies typically have an hourly billing rate of $125-$200+. You can do the math to see how much actual time your agency is spending on your monthly marketing efforts.
• SEO never ends. Ever. There is no end-goal. There is no finish line. As long as you are in business and have a digital footprint, constant pressure must be put on your SEO daily.
• If you are doing SEO to appease Google, you are going to have an incredibly disappointing time. Google doesn't patronize your business. Google isn't buying your products/services. So why are you focusing your SEO efforts into improving rankings in a search engine when you should be doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your customers? It's your customers who give you money for your services. If you want better SEO results, focus all of your resources in improving user experience. Your rankings will follow when your customers connect with your messaging, service, and an easy to use website.
SEO users can simply only "influence" how Google Search treats your rankings. At any time, an algorithm change can tank rankings, despite the best strategy being used. If you're unwilling to understand that no SEO can make Google do what your want them to, then you're going to have a bad time.
STOP those weekly ranking reports because you will never be satisfied. And when you're not satisfied, you're going to take it out on your SEO. And we all know how that story ends.
This is GOLD-GOLD I say!
Listen to this guy. This answer nails it.
As the others say. This guy nails it.
Absolutely what this guy says. I do the SEO on my own website and once a page gets reasonably high on Google then it's going to fluctuate. One day it ranks 6th, the next it'll be 8th, then 18th then 5th.
I concentrate on trying to get pages as high as I can and then delivering great service to ensure customers come back.
This needs to be printed out and mailed to every seo client I've ever worked with.
Even if they are "good", the trust from you to them isn't there. It's hard to fix that. I'd go looking for a new provider. You want to find someone that:
• Is focused on conversions, then traffic (but not an afterthought)
• Reports on rankings monthly (weekly is a waste of time), reporting includes organic traffic insights
• Has a clear strategy and workback schedule
• Reports on deliverables
• Is proactive and seeks opportunities to improve things (on site structure, metas, blog content, etc.)
Are you a local business, content site, ecom…?
Cut the agency loose and also try to set-up some SEO Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s in the beginning when you negotiate a new contract.
It is fine to do mistakes, but don't do them twice. You have some goals in mind that maybe the agency does not have. Also the agency might sweet talk you because you are not an expert.
When I joined a new project there was an agency that was completely destroying the SEO of the domains. They were still using keyword stuffing and they did not even know what Screaming Frog was.
Results need to come up at a monthly basis. Even if they are small.
Changes, improvements or any type of work done on your website should be tracked and monitored, so you will get a monthly and quarterly report.
Your budget is also important and the quality of the content. Strategy is king when it comes to SEO, so be mindful about that and have an open discussion about what strategy are they focusing on.
Hit me up if you need any help.
Yeah stop with the weekly reports. You don't need anything beyond monthly reports.
When you work with an agency, you have to understand that unless you're spending tens of thousands of dollars per month, you're not going to be the top priority client (small agencies are different. How big is this agency?). Small clients get treated like absolute shit at big agencies. You're small potatoes; if they lose you, they don't care. Maybe if you're extra nice to your account manager they'll feel bad and make sure you get some special attention, but the guy with a $2-5k monthly budget is not getting the same attention as the VC-backed startup spending $50-100k/mo.
Beyond that — 6 months is not that long in the grand scheme. I never set up a client to expect any tangible results for the first year. Granted, I've had cases where every page on the site is ranking in the top 5 for desired keywords within a few months, but those are special cases and not often replicable.
So, ultimately OP it's your call if you want to fire them or not. If you feel like your money is being completely wasted, can them. If you trust them enough to stick it out a bit longer, do that.
Unfortunately that's how some agencies treat their clients. I've whitelabeled my services to some and was shocked to see how poor their knowledge was around SEO. I strongly recommend you to stay away from agencies like that and use freelancers or consultants. The good Agencies hire them to make most of the work. They're experts and will cost you a fraction of the cost. Just be careful who you hire and don't get awed by $100/freelancers who promise you the best results. Hire an experienced with a good track of results and still will cost you a fraction. Hope this helps!
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