Is your website not bringing in the kind of organic traffic you’d hoped for? Have you recently experienced a dip in rankings? Maybe you keep meaning to optimise your site and you can’t find the time, or your attempts at DIY SEO simply aren’t yielding results.
It might be time to hire an SEO agency.
We get it, though. Deciding to take that plunge can feel a bit overwhelming, especially with conflicting advice about whether hiring an agency is truly the best option.
Not to worry, we’ve got the answers to all your questions and more in our breakdown of why you need the right SEO agency in your corner.
What is an SEO agency?
SEO agencies combine aspects of programming, coding and web development with content marketing, digital PR and social media marketing to craft and deliver a bespoke SEO strategy with measurable outcomes to drive relevant organic traffic to your website and maximise revenue from online channels.
The marketing spiel version of this answer is that SEO agencies are the gold standard of outsourcing your SEO function. They are complete and fully-resourced teams of specialists in every aspect of search engine functionality who can take your website to the first page of SERPs (search engine results pages) where it belongs.
Benefits of hiring an SEO agency
We could wax lyrical about the benefits of working with an SEO agency to grow your business for days, but we’re going to assume you don’t have that kind of time.
A COMPLETE AND FULLY-RESOURCED SEO TEAM AT YOUR DISPOSAL
Quite simply, no other option is going to give you the level of expertise and the speed of delivery that hiring an agency will. When you work with an SEO agency, you have a complete team of specialists on-hand to do all the work for you, and do it to a high standard. On top of that, a good SEO agency will take an educational approach to the process, answering your questions and helping you understand more of what makes a search engine tick.
There are many, many reasons why you shouldn’t attempt to D.I.Y your SEO. The first is that you, as a business owner, already have a job. SEO is at least three additional workloads on top of what you already have on your plate, so you’ll be putting in significant overtime. Considering you’ll be using entry-level SEO to vie for first-page positions against the agencies your competitors will have hired, you likely won’t have much to show for your efforts. Similarly, although hiring freelancers and working with consultants is common, going about this the wrong way can create a time-suck in terms of managing and implementing the workload. To read more about this, check out our thoughts on different ways of outsourcing your SEO function.
PROVEN EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE
With an agency, there should be no need to cross your fingers and hope for the best. A good SEO agency will have case studies available on their website evidencing their work, so you can tell the experts from the amateurs before you even book a discovery call. Not only that, but when you start working on them, their advice about things like user experience and conversion rate optimisation will be based on road-tested expertise you can trust, with examples of how this has worked for them on previous occasions.
LESS EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER OPTIONS
There’s a fairly pervasive SEO myth that hiring an SEO agency is absurdly expensive. Let’s be clear: no good SEO service is going to come cheap. It’s a service like any other - if you want a premium experience, you have to be prepared to pay premium prices. However, there are two factors people fail to consider when they talk about how “expensive” SEO services are: the hidden costs of your other options and what you get for your money. We have an expanded breakdown of the cost of hiring an SEO agency, but the basics are this:
- Hiring in-house gets very expensive, very quickly
- Working with freelancers as an alternative to an agency, rather than a supplement to your in-house team, won’t get you the same results.
- Working with consultants is only a suitable option for complementing (rather than substituting) an in-house team and often incurs additional costs based on their recommendations, such as new SEO tools, additional recruitment or specialised training for your staff.
When you hire an agency, you get all the expertise of having your own in-house team for a fraction of the price and significantly higher ROI.
THE RIGHT MOTIVATION
Let’s talk for a second about the self-styled SEO experts that have invaded the internet in recent years promising that you too can become an SEO whiz kid if you complete their course or buy their eBook. Do you notice what their objective is? To sell you something. The results are in your own hands, and if it doesn’t work, they just keep collecting money from the next batch of people drawn in by their overly-energetic YouTube ads. The same phenomenon unfortunately occurs with freelancers and consultants as well, tarnishing the name of many highly-skilled people in this field with the intention of just getting clients on the hook and stringing them along for as long as possible.
SEO agencies don’t have that luxury. Sure, we want to hook you in as well, but good agencies market themselves on their results, their customer service and their ability to retain clients. We have to be focused on meaningful outcomes, or we lose clients and win ourselves a black mark in our community. Bad SEO agencies are relatively easy to spot if you know what to look for <LINK TO CONTENT> and good SEO agencies have their hearts and heads where they belong: trying to deliver on our promises.
One of the biggest misconceptions that trips people up when it comes to search is that you can just “SEO” your website once and Bob’s your uncle. SEO isn’t a job to be done, it’s a process that needs to be maintained with regular technical updates and supported by a continual output of content. Not only does Google make thousands of changes to its search engine algorithms every year, but its technology is constantly crawling and re-crawling websites in order to figure out where to rank them in its search results. The fresher and more up to date your content is, the better. An SEO agency will be able to provide the kind of long-term support it takes to get the “optimisation” part of search engine optimisation done.
DATA-DRIVEN RESULTS AND REGULAR REPORTING
SEO as a field is both creative and scientific. It requires creative thinking to come up with unique and engaging content, but every decision we make is driven by data. Data helps us narrow down which keywords to target, identify the strengths and weaknesses of a domain during the audit and measure our progress. This is also why we conduct in-house SEO experiments to ascertain the efficacy of different strategies and demystify Google’s algorithms. An SEO agency will have access to all the right search engine data and the hard-won expertise required to sort through it and build a strategy, then evidence the value of what they’re doing through their monthly reports, something you might find lacking in other options, especially doing it yourself.
What if your website, as far as Google was concerned, didn’t even exist and you were none the wiser? This is a reality for a surprising number of businesses who’ve had a website built, created some basic SEO-friendly metadata and called it a day. There are a myriad of technical and on-page reasons why your domain and/or a number of its pages may not be in Google’s index, or your rankings may be suffering, and many of them are relatively easy to fix. However, this is only possible with a full SEO audit done by an agency with the capacity and knowledge to then make the necessary changes.
COMPETE WITH OTHER BUSINESSES WHO’VE HIRED SEO AGENCIES
Something that cannot be emphasised enough and that is often not considered by businesses that are disregarding SEO or attempting to do it themselves is who you’re competing against. When you’re trying to outrank a competitor on a search engine, you’re not actually going up against them: you’re going up against their SEO provider. This means you are trying, with minimum effort or limited resources, to compete with a team of industry experts who have an entire data-driven strategy for your competitor and the manpower to deliver it at an accelerated pace. You are setting yourself up to fail.
Top SEO agency statistics
Too many businesses view SEO as an optional add-on that they might consider after exploring channels they deem more profitable, such as social media or traditional marketing. But it’s safe to say that the world has changed quite a bit in the past few years, and the behaviour of both consumers and B2B customers has changed with it. Transactions are increasingly being driven by search, causing a mad rush to hire more SEOs and capitalise on what would otherwise be untapped potential revenue.
Still need a bit of convincing? Challenge accepted. Here are some of the most compelling statistics about the importance of SEO in 2022.
- 83.2% agree that the work from home revolution has increased demand for SEO services. (Source)
- Even as marketing budgets have dropped to their lowest levels, spend on SEO has increased from 6.6% to 10.5% of marketing budget allocation (Source)
- 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and organic search performance is their top inbound marketing priority. (Source)
- Around $46.6 billion is estimated to have been spent on SEO in 2020, a 16.5% increase from 2015. (Source)
- The ROI of SEO services can be as much as 12.2% of marketing spend and reduce the cost of acquisition by 87.41%. (Source)
- B2B companies generate twice as much revenue from organic search than any other channel and 90% of consumers use the internet to find a business. (Source)
- 90% of B2B buyers research potential purchases using search engines. (Source)
- In terms of local SEO, 76% of mobile searches for something nearby lead to an in-store visit within one day. (Source)
- 90.63% of all pages in SEO analytics giant Ahrefs’ database receive absolutely no organic traffic from Google. (Source)
- 91.5% of all organic traffic goes to websites that are ranking on the first page. (Source)
- Google made 4,500 updates to search in 2020. (Source)
Signs you need an SEO agency
You’re ranking poorly (or not at all)
This, understandably, is the number one reason people hire an SEO agency. The overwhelming majority of search engine users don’t venture past the first page of results, so if your website is floundering in the mid-50s or not even in the top 100, it’s time to bring in the big guns.
There are a number of reasons that this might be happening that only a team of professionals will be able to figure out. You might be targeting keywords that are too competitive or don’t match the content on your website. The search intent behind them may be informational, and you’re attempting to rank with a landing page. There could also be a technical issue or penalty on your website that you’re unaware of, in which case you might need to engage a penalty removal service.
A good agency will find a keyword you can realistically rank for and build a strategy designed to get you to that coveted first-place position.
You’re getting little to no organic traffic
Sometimes, even pages that rank on the first or second page fail to pull in any significant organic traffic. If your rankings are poor, this is easily explained, but if you’re competing for first and second page position and still not getting any love, there’s a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
It may be that your result on SERPs simply doesn’t look as click-able as the others, or that you’re only ranking for low-volume keywords that no one is actually searching for, least of all as the first stage in a transaction. It may be that your rankings are localised and not in the area you’re intending to target and of course, it may be that your competitors are simply winning.
An SEO agency will be able to help you figure this all out, identify the main problem(s) and fix them.
Your organic traffic isn’t converting
This is often a complaint of those who’ve had a bad SEO agency experience and come to us desperate for a real solution. The reports look good, so where are all my leads? With no conversions from organic traffic, there is no increase in revenue as a result of optimising your site and no ROI on your investment in an SEO agency.
In SEO, we have a term for when users click on your search result and return to the homepage without exploring your site any further. It’s called your bounce rate, and it’s entirely normal. According to Clicktale, the average bounce rate for an eCommerce website is 47% across all industries.
However, if virtually none of your organic traffic is resulting in a lead, it could point to a larger issue with your on-page content, such as poor user experience (UX) or page speed, unengaging messaging or the content not matching user intent. Eventually, if enough users jump ship, Google will interpret your site as not providing value and start to push you down the rankings.
You’ve experienced a sudden drop in rankings
So you’ve had some SEO work done in the past, you’re ranking comfortably on the first page, everything’s fine and dandy, la-di-dah… “Wait, what the hell? Why am I suddenly on page five?!”
Remember those 4,500 changes Google made to search in 2020? Or those bots that are constantly crawling and re-crawling websites to figure out where they should rank? Yeah, these can really affect your search performance if you don’t have the right support in place. Another factor could be that your previous SEO work included black-hat practices like buying links or keyword stuffed content, and the algorithm has caught up with you and landed you with a penalty.
From the perspective of anyone trying to do SEO, the algorithm is two things: erratic and mostly a mystery. It’s the main reason people think they can do it themselves, because the professionals supposedly don’t know any more about it than the average Joe. But in fact, it’s exactly why you need people who eat, sleep and breathe the algorithms and their many mysteries, to help you decode what the hell is going on.
You’re in a competitive niche
If you are competing with big-name brands or lots of similar businesses in either your industry or your local area (or potentially all of the above!), you NEED an SEO agency. Nope, it’s not a question. We could give you our slightly biased spiel about why this is the case, but the simplest and most irrefutable reason is this: because your competitors have them.
You cannot expect to go toe-to-toe with the complete and fully-resourced team of experts hired by your rivals with an inferior solution. Unless you have the significant financial and time resources (including, but not limited, to a minimum of £75k on salaries alone) needed to build an effective in-house team, an agency really is your only option.
5 Reasons You Need An SEO Agency in 2022
A greater percentage of both online and offline transactions is being driven by search than ever before. If your site isn’t optimised, you’re missing out on significant potential revenue.
Companies are allocating more budget to SEO in the post-COVID economic climate, making top positions on SERPs that much more competitive.
You may have technical issues or penalties on your site that are preventing you from getting indexed or pushing you further down the rankings.
You cannot realistically optimise your website yourself.
Hiring an agency is the most time- and cost-effective solution for outsourcing SEO.