When to Hire an SEO Company: 7 Things to Consider

seo agency

SEO is vital for the success of your website business. A study shows that about 75% of companies invest in search engine optimization (SEO), but the big question remains; should you hire an SEO firm?

SEO professionals help your website rank for various keywords faster. But when choosing them, ensure they are in a position to deliver excellent results and meet your goals and expectations. Perform background research and ask them as many questions as possible to determine whether you can work together.

Things to consider when hiring SEO Agency

 

1. Better Expertise and strategies

An agency should offer excellent SEO knowledge because it’s their area of specialisation. The agency must have the ability to exploit the best and most powerful tools, strategies, and resources to cope with the changing SEO environment.

SEO is growing fast with new changes every day. Search engines like Bing and Google always give new SEO updates, making it hard for businesses to keep up. Google released six significant updates in 2019, and its algorithm is constantly tweaked many times a month.

A good SEO agency follows Google news, closely monitors SEO forums for algorithm updates, and understands their impact on search results optimisation strategies. You can rely on these agencies to monitor your site for algorithm updates and give you advice on how to proceed.

2. Growing your sales, not just traffic.

Powerful SEO is not only about traffic. An agency should research keywords that focus on user behaviour and the industry language. This helps in getting the right traffic to your site. Discovering and targeting search-intent keywords means attracting users who understand what they want and are willing to purchase. A professional will ensure the excellent performance of your site.

An agency should analyse Web analytics and performance data to identify areas of your site that offer excellent opportunities and have the potential for long-term growth.

3. Get good Insights to tune your business.

How do you use your business to understand your customers better? Perhaps you use statistical information from data analytic tools like Google Analytics to monitor KPIs and traffic in your site. However, if you do not understand SEO strategies well, you may not gather useful insights from that data.

A professional SEO agency should monitor page performance using Google Analytics to identify why your site pages are struggling. The professionals can assess your high-value pages, make changes accordingly, and follow up later to measure the strategy results. SEO results take time to appear, and you should not change things too often.

4. Numbers Speak for Themselves

Online browsing is dominated by traffic from internet searches. According to BrightEdge, organic traffic adds up to 51% of all website traffic. Google receives over 5.6 billion searches every day, which indicates that users get what they need, and therefore, it makes a profit of over 40%.

SEO is an important marketing strategy and offers the best return on investment in the digital world. An agency should help oversee the search optimization channel to bring excellent results to your business.

5. Achieve your long-term goals

The success of any business or brand is based on the goals you set. However, if you put these goals with analytics data in your mind, you stand a better chance to increase your revenue.

A reliable SEO company should help you make wise decisions that will help you reach your goals. The company should focus on the bigger picture and the specific strength of your brand. They should be creative, innovative, and knowledgeable to ensure the success of your SEO campaign.

Don’t hire a professional that focuses on only one SEO aspect. Look for those who understand page speed, load time, excellent user experience, and on-page optimization.

6. Their previous works

Always check the previous work of different clients of the SEO agency you’re considering. Conduct a case study to determine what the results will look like for a particular service. Usually, the results outlined in the case study do not reflect the actual metrics that you may expect to see when working with an SEO firm. The marketer mainly points out the outliers, so you should understand that the case study’s results may not indicate your experience.

Consider cases with recent dates since SEO strategies are constantly evolving. These case studies will give you a clear picture of the results you expect to see. Always go for case studies one to two years old, not anything older than that.

7. Their transparency in SEO Process

The SEO firm should develop a Growth Hub for their clients to view the status of their SEO campaigns. They should notify you when the articles are ready for approval and give you access to every strategic asset.

Most reputable SEO companies provide transparent communication, but others do not. Choose an SEO provider willing to show you the progress of their work. They should be transparent about their deliverables and their status. Give yourself ample time to review and monitor the progress, asking for clarifications and making adjustments as needed.

Bottom line

While there are many SEO companies you can hire, you can trust them for your business. SEO is an ongoing process. So, you need to choose the right SEO firm with the correct SEO knowledge and meet your critical expectations if you want your business to succeed.

Restaurant & Bars sites, on the other hand, rely more heavily on paid traffic compared to all industries with almost 50% coming from paid ads. People searching in this category are probably looking for somewhere to go soon so using paid ads to increase conversions makes sense. Travel & Vacation sites also rely on paid ads that results in close to 30 percent of their traffic. Organic traffic is still higher but it looks like companies also boost their offerings through paid ads. If you are new to the sector, focus on increasing organic traffic right away as it will take longer to see results. Paid ads are effective as well, but they can be expensive. Shopping & Fashion only got a bit less than 10 percent of traffic from paid ads. This could mean companies focus more on social sharing and social media ads since a lot of content is visual. The Sports industry received the least traffic from paid ads at under 4 percent. This was interesting since the industry includes a lot of ecommerce brands that sell sports gear, outdoor apparel, sports drinks, and team apparel. This could indicate a trend towards more social sharing and social media ads as well. It could also mean impulse purchases are less common since customers are more likely do their research. Therefore, creating educational content might be the way to go.

Analysis #2 – Trends Related To Authority Score, Keyword Difficulty, and Average CPC

How does domain authority vary across industries? Does it correlate with how much you’ll pay for ads? Does keyword difficulty have an effect? We dug into this data to see trends for each industry. Authority Score measures your website’s Domain Authority which also influences rankings. It grades the overall website quality based on the number of backlinks, referring domains, outbound links, etc. Authority Score is also relative to your industry.

Average Authority Scores Across All Industries

This first chart shows the average website authority score for businesses in each industry.
The average authority score was between 30-40 for business websites in each industry. Hundreds of business sites were looked at in each industry with a mix of higher and lower authority scores, resulting in the numbers above. Media & Publishing had the highest average authority score of 44.62 followed very closely by Public & Local Services at 44.61. Business sites in each sector are usually more trusted sources so this makes sense. On the flip side, the lowest authority score industries were Utilities at 28.09 and Animals & Pets at 27.08. A lot of factors could have led to this such as many new sites created in each industry. There was close to a 20 point variation in authority scores across all industries in this analysis with the median score being 38.06.
  • Websites between 40-50 are considered average
  • Websites between 50-60 are considered good
  • Websites above 60 are considered excellent
What does this mean for business websites and marketers? This analysis looked at companies with high review ratings which means they placed a lot of emphasis on reputation management, maybe more so than SEO factors. We can see that a business’s authority score didn’t really impact whether or not they got a high review rating. People-focused more on reviewing products and services than the business itself.

Average SEO Keyword Difficulty Across All Industries

Next, we looked at the average keyword difficulty for terms in each industry. Most content creators target keywords with low difficulty and high volume which is easier for some industries than others.

Industries with the highest difficulty were Public & Local Services at 49.02, Money & Insurance at 47.72, and Education and Training at 47.62.

To improve their search rankings, these industries will likely need to spend more time on their SEO strategy or invest more heavily in paid ads.

Industries with the lowest difficulty were Shopping & Fashion at 36.26, Sports at 35.12, and Beauty & Well-being at 33.75. It will be easier for these industries to find keywords to rank for.

Across all industries, the average keyword difficulty for SEO is 41.

What does this mean in practice? Relativity matters when looking for low-difficulty keywords.

For example, say you’re a business in the Money & Insurance industry and find two terms you’re not ranking for. One has a keyword difficulty of 45 with a search volume of 12,000, the other has a keyword difficulty of 40 with a search volume of just 6,000.

Understanding that 45 is below the average difficulty in your industry, targeting the higher volume term might not be a bad idea. You could also target related keywords as well and use paid ads to boost some of the more difficult ones to expand your reach.

For industries with low average keyword difficulty like Beauty & Well-being, target easy-to-rank-for terms to increase traffic, then use CRO strategies to leverage that traffic.

Average CPC (Cost-Per-Click) Across All Industries

The final graph of this section looks at the average CPC for each industry. We were curious to see if any correlation existed with the average authority score of company websites. Here’s what we found:

 

Very little correlation between the industry’s average authority score and their average CPC was found. One factor affecting this might be the difference in acquisition costs and purchase value. For example, a site selling $20 t-shirts won’t spend $10 per customer but an investment site whose average purchase price is more than $100 might. In this analysis, Money & Insurance has the highest average CPC at $4.12. Businesses in this industry might be willing to spend more on average for each click since the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer is much higher. Hobbies & Crafts has the lowest average CPC of $1.12 across all industries. They only receive about 5 percent of traffic from paid ads which could indicate that businesses focus more on social channels where many craft/hobbyist groups and influencers exist. Home Services has a higher average CPC at $3.17. Business sites in this industry include plumbers, lawn care work, etc. Increased competition for local customers has likely led to the higher average CPC. Shopping & Fashion had one of the lowest average CPC’s at $1.40. This could be another indication that businesses promote their visual content more on social media. However, the low average CPC could represent an opportunity to get creative with paid ads.

Analysis #3 – Average Number of Backlinks Per Industry and Their Most Popular Formats

Backlinks matter—that’s nothing new. What about the format of those backlinks? Is a text backlink better than an image backlink? How many backlinks is enough? That’s what we aimed to find out.

Average Number of Backlinks Per Industry

The average number of backlinks varies quite a bit by industry with the most belonging to:

  • Public & Local Services at just over 6.5 million per site
  • Media & Publishing at just over 6 million per site
  • Education and Training at just over 4 million per site

These industries include more trustworthy business sites such as essential local services, news outlets, media publications, universities, certification platforms, and more.

The lowest average backlinks belonged to Beauty & Well-being, Animals & Pets, and Utilities. This could indicate each sector focuses more on social media or they have a lot of new business sites.

Money & Insurance coming in very low was surprising to me. I would have expected the industry to average at least as many backlinks as Shopping & Fashion at just under 1 million per site.

 

Distribution of Backlinks by Format

We also looked at the distribution of backlink types across each industry to see which performed best. The two backlink types that stood out were:

  • text backlinks
  • image backlinks

NOTE: the graphs below represent the total number of backlinks for each industry, not the average for each company website.

Text backlinks were the most popular across all industries:

  • Public & Local Services received the most at just over 1.6 billion
  • Education and Training was next at just over 1.5 billion
  • Business Services followed at just over 1.3 billion
  • Media & Publishing was the last with just over 1 billion
Image backlinks were the second most popular type. The two industries that used them the most were:
  • Electronics & Technology at close to 180 million
  • Media & Publishing at just over 100 million
The two other types of backlinks used were form and frame backlinks. However, both combined made up less than 5 percent of total backlinks across all business sites in this analysis. What does this mean? Text backlinks are the most popular for driving traffic across all industries but some industries will also rely just as much on image backlinks. You should mix up your approach, leveraging different backlink types to reach different audiences.

Analysis #4 – Target Keyword Intent and the Intent That Led to the Most Traffic

Lastly, we looked at target keyword SEO intent in each industry based on the following categories:
  • Commercial intent keywords: related to specific brands or services (“find a Starbucks near me”)
  • Informational intent keywords: searching for answers to questions (“How to unclog a tub”)
  • Navigational intent keywords: users looking for specific pages (“Comcast login page”)
  • Transactional intent keywords: users are ready to buy (“buy converse shoes”)
Looking at different keyword intents when choosing target terms can highlight trends and opportunities in your industry. So, what did we learn? NOTE: The first chart indicates the keyword intent of target terms in each industry. The bottom chart shows which intent type resulted in traffic to each business site.

The most popular keyword intent was informational at more than 40 percent of target terms in all industries.

These are generally top-of-the-funnel keywords, meaning users are still early on in their journey.

The next highest intent type was transactional at between 15-20 percent of terms per industry.

These users are ready to buy so creating content that targets these terms or using paid ads is a good idea.

Next, we looked at which intent keywords drove the most traffic to company sites in each industry.

 

Like most industries, Utilities sites mostly target informational keywords. However, most of their traffic comes from navigational terms which relate more to specific pages and their brand name. This is likely due to search behavior, rather than incorrect targeting practices. For example, if someone wanted to pay a power bill, they might type “pay bill X” in Google to find the right page. You wouldn’t target this term directly but it does bring traffic to your site. Focusing on informational keywords that establish trust is still the right approach. Similarly, Money & Insurance websites focus on informational terms but get most of their traffic from navigational terms. This could be a combination of good branding as well as similar user search behavior patterns. Usually, for your navigational terms to be successful, users will have read your informational content before deciding you were the right fit for them. On a different note, Construction & Manufacturing businesses target informational keywords but also target transactional keywords at a higher rate than other industries. Clearly, this strategy works as most of their traffic comes from transactional terms. Lastly, Home Services target more commercial intent keywords than other industries. These are likely terms more focused on a particular location using phrases such as “near me” or “in [city]”. However, we can see that just under 50 percent of their traffic comes from transactional terms. This means they might want to adjust their focus to include those terms along with their commercial approach. Keep in mind that just because your website receives traffic doesn’t mean it is all converting. Make sure your traffic is directed right pages on your site and each page is optimized for conversions.

Conclusion: Summary of Findings

There were a few surprises in this data—and a few things that turned out exactly as we expected. For example, backlinks matter. Google has been telling us that for years, so I wasn’t surprised to see the highest-reviewed business websites tend to have a pretty high volume of links. What was surprising was the variation in the types of backlinks between different industries. This data can be incredibly valuable for sites looking to build a more effective backlink profile. I was also interested in the differences between the types of keyword intent most sites target for SEO (primarily informational) versus where they are getting their traffic from. Depending on your industry, this data could highlight incredible marketing opportunities or gaps in your current strategy. Which finding was most interesting or useful to you?

 

This seems like it might be a good result because it gives us multiple methods to try, along with photos so we can see exactly what’s happening.

Let’s click on that to see what they provide.