Hiring an agency to manage your company’s SEO and SEM programs is often a smart way to run things; however, brands must do their homework before and during the beginning of their client-agency relationship. Not all marketing agencies are equal, so you have to make sure the one you choose to do business with understands your goals, uses industry best practices – and will net you results. Not sure how? Follow these steps to run an audit of your SEM agency after you sign on:
Look at Defined Goals and Metrics
Although you’re most likely not a professional in this arena, you should still have a general idea of what you hope to accomplish for your brand through these programs, whether its higher qualified lead volume, increased brand visibility, or some other goal. You should define what your idea of success metrics look like.
Now, compare your goals and metrics to your agency’s visions for your brand. Having everyone on the same page on these elements is crucial for accurate and meaningful communication. If your agency’s vision is wildly different than yours, it can signal trouble ahead.
How is Your Agency Reporting Everything?
One of the most consistent communication types you will have with your agency is the periodic performance reports. It is important that you understand everything that report contains, and know how to read and interpret the data.
First, make sure you agree with the brand about the goals, metrics, key performance indicators, and software that will be used to measure results and generate these reports. Next, ask the agency questions. Everyone working on your account should be able to easily answer performance questions, address your concerns, and back up their claims with data from the reports. The more open, honest, and accurate the information surrounding your reporting is, the better the relationship will be between you and your agency.
Did the Agency Perform a Site Audit? How Was It?
The agency should have performed an audit of your company website, especially if they are performing SEO services for your brand. Compare their report with your own ideas and goals for your site’s performance, benchmarks, and your target audience. If things aren’t matching up, and they can’t explain why, your relationship’s foundation will be shaky.
What Does the Agency’s Keyword Research and Audience Targeting Look Like?
While performing your site audit, the agency should also be looking into your keywords and audience targeting, and making recommendations about them – as well as listening to your input. Listening to a brand’s opinion on keywords and audiences is what separates great SEM agencies from mediocre ones; after all, no one knows your business better than you. While the agency can give you additional insights into these topics, they should also be willing to hear your take as well.
Hiring an SEO/SEM agency can be a daunting task for businesses, but the results that great outfits can provide are well worth the time and effort of researching an agency and building a solid client-agency relationship.
Looking for your own agency partnership? inSegment has a top-rate SEO and SEM team with over 2 decades of experience in search marketing, and has worked with small businesses to global enterprises to maximize their success online. See the work we did for these clients, and contact us today to see what we can do for you.