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SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is something whose outcome you’ve interacted with a billion times.

Maybe not a billion times, but you’ve probably read enough about the topic to know the basics of what SEO is all about.

You see the term “SEO” getting thrown around the Internet, you know what it is, and you’re aware of the immense benefits that SEO can bring to your business’ growth.

Over time you start to think, “Hey maybe I should adopt an SEO strategy for my company too!”

So now you dive into the process of engaging an SEO agency. You want to hire one for your company’s marketing needs to take your business further and get ahead of the competition.

Picking the right SEO agency is crucial.

Most importantly, you need to find the best SEO agency for your company and not just an agency ranking 1st on Google for most articles.

A partnership with an SEO agency is long-term. Not all SEO agencies you come across can deliver on promises of more traffic, better rankings and more leads. 

How to choose an SEO agency

To help you get started, here is a checklist of 5 questions to help you find the best SEO agency for your company.

1. Is SEO a marketing priority for my company now?

SEO is essential for any business looking to boost their online visibility. However, SEO may not be a company’s priority when it comes to marketing. Some companies work with a limited budget, and they have to be smart with how they allocate their resources.

Before engaging SEO services, you need to be aware of your company’s marketing goals. Ask yourself, do you know what you’re looking to achieve in this financial year?

If your answer is no, you need to define your marketing goals first.

Gather your insights, pull out past monthly data and identify areas your business wants to improve upon. For example, if your aim is to grow your organic traffic, SEO would the right strategy for you.

However, if you need to boost sales or scale conversions over a short period (during seasonal and holiday periods for instance), then perhaps creating landing pages coupled with dynamic social media ads would be a more viable solution.

2. Can we do SEO in-house or should we hire an SEO agency?

There are certainly basic on-site SEO tasks that marketers are capable of handling if they have the time and knowledge for it.

Here are some examples of on-site search engine optimization tasks:

  • Keyword optimization
  • Title tags
  • Building internal links

However, these are just some factors that impact SEO.

Good SEO is a complex and time-consuming process that requires one to have a deep knowledge of various analytical tools. There are over 200 google ranking factors to optimise for, both on-site and off-site, in order to rank higher in search results, and the list is continually evolving.

Your SEO Specialist must keep up-to-date on the latest algorithm changes on major search engines and adapt his or her SEO strategies to successfully improve your site’s performance.  

If you don’t have the budget for an SEO specialist in your company, it is recommended to hire an agency to manage your SEO tasks and provide you with monthly updates. You can have peace of mind knowing your SEO is in good hands while you focus on other marketing tasks.

Recently, we sat down with one of our SEO specialists to learn more about “a day in the work-life of an SEO expert”. You can read his insights before deciding on hiring an agency for your business.

3. How credible are the SEO agencies that I am considering?

Make an effort to understand the company that you’ll be hiring.

Don’t rely only on listicles like “top 10 best agencies of 2020” or “the best SEO agencies in X country”. The best way to check the credibility of an SEO company is for you to reach out to the company and having a conversation about your SEO needs.

An easier way to find a credible SEO agency would be asking for referrals from your business partners in the industry. They may already have an established relationship with an SEO agency that they are happy to refer due to their good work. These trusted sources of yours can also recommend tips on how to search for your ideal SEO agency.

Additionally, you should conduct your own research to find an agency that will deliver the best results while providing you with a great working partnership. One effective way to check the reliability of an SEO agency is to download and read their case studies to understand:

  • The agency’s SEO approach (understand the agency’s work process)
  • Their SEO campaign objectives (what matters when it comes to SEO campaigns)
  • Their campaign results (understand the key metrics used to measure “success”)

Other things you should read about include client testimonials and the list of awards that the agency has won over the years. Awards are not just badges of honour, they are a testament to an agency’s capability to drive results for clients.

It’s also important to keep in mind what your needs are and your preferred style of communication. If you’re someone who likes to be involved in the work process, you need to keep a lookout for an agency focused on transparent communication with their clients. Hence, read up on the company’s mission and values to know the team that you’ll be hiring and working with.

SEO agency vs full-service digital agency

You may also wonder about hiring an agency specialised in SEO versus working with a full-service digital agency that could help you with other digital needs as well.

This decision is highly dependent on your marketing goals and available budget. If you’re working with a smaller budget allocated only towards an SEO project, an agency specialised in SEO may be the better option.

A full-service digital agency offers various marketing services, including search engine marketing, programmatic advertising and creative services.

The biggest advantage of a full-service digital marketing agency is that they approach your digital needs from a macro-perspective based on your marketing objectives and recommend services most likely to benefit your company by reaching your goals. They would be able to recommend SEO strategies that are aligned with your overall marketing plans.

Another big plus point of having a full-service agency managing both your SEM and SEO is that they can use the insights from the SEM campaigns to further refine your SEO strategy. Additionally, they can identify other areas of improvement on top of SEO services for your business. 

4. Local SEO agency vs overseas SEO agency – which is the better option?

More often than not, companies are attracted to agencies based overseas on the premise that they can provide cost-competitive SEO packages. However, that is a common pitfall that companies should avoid when considering which SEO agency they should hire.

That’s not to say overseas agencies do not provide quality service, because local agencies sometimes fail to deliver on their promises as well.

When you consider hiring an agency, you must weigh the quality of their work against the price that you’re paying. Are you obtaining greater value than the price you’re paying? Does the company have a proven track record of producing stellar results that justify the price they’re asking for?

It’s dangerous to assume:

  • Competitive rates = Lower quality of work/service
  • Expensive rates = Greater quality of work/service

Price Is an important factor, but it shouldn’t be the only factor.

Other areas of consideration such as credibility and types of services offered should also be critical to your hiring decision. Pay attention to the agency’s proposal and note their SEO approach. Is the agency hearing your concerns and proposing strategies that serve your needs while advising you on the key metrics that matter? 

Look through all the factors and consider carefully. Picking the right agency can make or break your success with SEO, so choose wisely and consider beyond the price and location of an agency.

5. When should I talk to an SEO consultant from an agency?

You should ask for an SEO consultation from an agency only when you have done enough research and after you’re sure of hiring an SEO agency.

While most agencies offer free SEO consultations, it is best that you come having done your homework.

Prepare a list of questions, define your SEO targets and SEO budget. This would facilitate an efficient meeting that wouldn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed with excessive information likely to be shared during the consultation session.

Of course, you should also expect the agency to come prepared. A sloppy presentation with unclear strategies is a warning sign that you should look for an alternative agency!

Be smart with your hiring decision and budget spend. Otherwise, you can risk spending more than needed or regret hiring an agency that’s not the best fit for your company.

Wrapping Up

This is the year of digital acceleration, with ever more companies joining the space of e-commerce and digital marketing. Many businesses are keeping a lookout for SEO agencies to fix their sites for optimal performance. While hopping onto the bandwagon of searching for an SEO agency, keep in mind that you’re looking for the ideal agency for your company. When you hire the agency that’s the best fit your company, it can pave the way to a long-lasting partnership. You might even be able to pick up important SEO tips along the way!

Kick your search off with the 5 questions we’ve provided and you’ll be well on your way to picking the best agency for your SEO needs!

We are a full-service digital marketing agency based in Singapore. From strategy to execution, we provide personalised SEO solutions for over 300+ clients ranging from government institutions to SMEs. Find out how you may grow your business with us. Contact us today!

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a phrase every marketer knows but not one that every marketer fully understands.

Most articles that seek to teach the layman about Search engine optimization focus on keyword research, keyword optimization and link building. This creates the impression that SEO is simply the science of manipulating keywords and link building to boost a site’s ranking.

Only an SEO specialist will understand all the nitty-gritty of SEO and the copious amount of effort needed to optimize any site’s performance.

To help you better understand the role of an SEO expert, we sat down with J.C. Aranzado, one of the SEO specialists here at 2Stallions, to give you a closer look at SEO and how his typical workday looks like.

Please describe your job. Why did you choose SEO as a career?

I work as an SEO Specialist at 2Stallions. I manage SEO campaigns for various brands and help them improve their online visibility, rankings and overall site health. SEO reporting is a critical part of my job. I create reports to share insights and developments for my SEO campaigns.

I took SEO as a career path by chance. Back in 2013, I worked as a Lead Generation Specialist in a company. From there, I started to learn about SEO and fell in love with it. I find SEO both fun and challenging. It’s also rewarding to see clients constantly challenging themselves to rank their sites higher on Google and eventually succeed in improving their online presence.

What is expected of an SEO expert?

An SEO expert must not only know the SEO fundamentals and tools but must also know how to implement them. To be considered as such, one must be able to do the following:

  • Find popular and relevant keywords with good search traffic
  • Analyse different competitors’ websites to develop an SEO strategy
  • Optimize websites and content for the search engines and users alike
  • Build high-quality links to improve a website’s ranking on search engines
  • Keep up with the industry’s ever-evolving trends and strategies

Also, an SEO expert typically spends time working with other teams to align goals and strategies. Among these departments are content marketing, paid search marketing, social media marketing, and web development. Click here to learn more about these other departments.

What are your day-to-day activities?

SEO specialists perform various tasks each day, but we usually spend our working days around the following SEO tasks:

Keyword research. Good keyword research is the foundation of a solid SEO strategy. With the right keyword and phrase choices, a website can rise the ranks to the top search engine results.

As an SEO specialist, I research popular keywords that are relevant to the target audience that the client wants to attract. The main tools I use in my daily work are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Ahrefs.

Optimization. SEO isn’t only about targeting the best possible keywords for conversion. It’s also very much about optimizing web content. Optimization is one of the significant roles of SEO professionals, and it can be broken down into two types—on-page and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO optimization happens within the website. At a very high level, this involves ensuring that the webpage copy (i.e. landing pages, blogs, etc.) has the target keywords, and meta descriptions, as well as title tags and alt tags are optimized, and the HTML code is structured correctly. I further take into account the overall content quality, content structure, as well as page performance.

Off-page SEO refers to all the activities that occur outside the website. Examples of such activities are getting inbound links, guest article posting, increasing traffic from social media to the website, and more.

Link building. A backlink or inbound link is one of the most crucial ranking factors. At a high level, when a website is linked to another, Google grants the linked website more domain authority, thus boosting its ranking on their search results.

This off-page activity is an important part of my job as an SEO specialist. I find opportunities to get other websites to legitimately link to our clients’ sites.

Performance Analytics. Analytics is another essential part of any SEO strategy. This helps measure the impact of ongoing efforts for a business’ SEO campaign.

To ensure our clients’ SEO campaigns are headed towards success, I regularly check analytics to see how their websites, landing pages and keywords are performing. Doing this also helps us pivot our priorities when something isn’t working.

What are some of the notable SEO campaigns you have worked on at 2Stallions?

I have managed/am managing SEO campaigns for 2Stallions’ clients such as AQ Services, MedTrainer and TC Acoustics, amongst others. As mentioned above, performing keyword research, optimization, and link building are part of my day-to-day activities.

Here’s a typical list of tasks that I do for clients:

On-page SEO

  • Optimizing metadata such as titles, descriptions, and header tags
  • Optimizing image alt text
  • Updating XML sitemap and robots.txt
  • Implementing Schema markup
  • URL optimization
  • Setting up Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Tag Manager accounts
  • Monitoring and preparing SEO reports

Off-page SEO

  • Article posting
  • Local citations
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Guest posting

Recently, I’ve also started work on App Store Optimization for LU Global. The objective of the project is to improve their app’s visibility within Google Play and Apple App stores to increase downloads of their app.

What is your advice to aspiring SEO experts?

While SEO is a fun and rewarding career, it’s also a challenging job. SEO aspirants must realize that search engine optimization is not a one-time process. Instead, it’s a job that is constantly changing and evolving.

Anyone interested in an SEO career should also undergo SEO training to learn the basics of how search engines work and understand SEO strategies and concepts. They should also familiarize themselves with key SEO tools to understand websites better when they’re optimizing them for SEO and conversions.

Also, an SEO role might require technical skills. It helps if they have basic knowledge on HTML, CSS and JavaScript to identify technical obstacles that hinder search engine ranking improvements.

I would also advise them to join a company like 2Stallions, which has experienced SEO specialists, who can provide invaluable guidance as they are learning and help them to level up their skills faster.

Hire an SEO Expert

Search engine optimization is integral to the Internet. As long as people continue searching for websites online, businesses need to optimize their own websites to be found on search engines.

Business owners must hire a skilled SEO professional or a reputable SEO agency who can build website popularity and authority. If they’re not sure how to hire the right agency, they can start here. Increasing search engine visibility can directly impact web site traffic, company branding and revenue, so it’s best to tap the services of an SEO expert.

Speak to us if you’d like to start building a SEO strategy for your company, or learn how you can kick-start your digital marketing journey with our beginner’s guide.


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