Having an online presence is the difference between growing as a brand and shrivelling into oblivion. In today’s business environment, only with a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website, will a brand have the ability to capture online interest. After-all, customers must be able to find their brand, on the first page for a particular search term, for continued online success. For the astute business owner, the question of what to look for in an effective SEO company comes to mind.
Choosing the right search-engine-optimization agency does not have to be a shot in the dark. Indeed, the search engine algorithms are constantly adapting, but for the seasoned agency, those changes are all but mysterious. Many have found the hardest decision to be one of choosing between a large agency with brand recognition, and a smaller intimate agency. It’s fitting to compare the two choices.
Benefits of a Large Search Engine Optimization Agency
Shrewd business owners are conscious of their bottom-line. Cost is an inevitable circumstance. Typically, large SEO agencies provide a service at a lower cost, compared with their smaller agency counterparts. Due to contractual agreements (more on this later), a smaller monthly fee is usually accompanied by a retainer fee. Besides the retainer fee, a time commitment must be agreed upon. These two stipulations should make an owner proceed alert.
Large SEO companies carry with them brand recognition. Brand recognition coupled with high search engine rankings enables a large SEO agency to constantly meet new clients. This can prove to be a benefit or drawback. A reputable yet small SEO agency relies on client referrals as its main source of client acquisition. Not from a steady influx of new website visitors. The personalized service provided through a small SEO agency means your business’s online success is their agency’s’ success.
A business needing SEO help is in a vulnerable position. The power of the internet is its ability to make-or-break a business. This is a genuine concern. Turning over a critical part of your business success to a third-party, seemingly borders on insanity. Thus, the capacity to research an agency should not be underrated. Finding client reviews online is a matter of a few clicks on your computer. Often overlooked is employee reviews. Combining the two types of reviews will uncover an agency’s authentic reputation. Likely, a large agency will have case studies for review, made available upon request. A few case studies from a business with similar interests may very well mean the large agency can get your job done too.
Benefits of a Small Search Engine Optimization Agency
Carrying a higher cost of service is a case of you get what you pay for. Smaller agency’s capacity for a deeper personalized service translates to a business owners’ capacity to choose. Choose exactly what services they want. Do they want to increase viewer time on their website, or expand their content to a wider audience? Instead of a cookie-cutter approach, a small agency likely deploys custom packages with personalized pricing.
As a referral-based agency, it is common to notice that smaller firms go the extra mile to deliver results. This is especially important when it comes to communication. For example, Google analytics is extremely robust. Learning to interpret the data and reporting capabilities is not a viable option for most business owners. Having the data interpreted in actionable steps and meaningful insights requires the help of an SEO professional. A smaller agency, taking the time to educate and advise its clients, is a definite advantage.
To be sure, both large and small Search-Engine-Optimization agencies come with benefits unique to them. The reasons listed above, sway many to choose the small agency option. This does not mean that all large agencies are bad. Yet, it does emphasize the need for a business owner to consider their situation.
Let us recap the comparison between large Search-Engine-Optimization agencies with that of smaller operations. Taking advantage of a quick Google search will produce a list of highly visible organizations. This has its advantage when researching the capabilities of the agency. Also, it is the popular and most visible agencies that require less of a monthly financial commitment. It is also those organizations that will carry retainers and contract agreements covering three-months through one-year.
Earning referral business requires small operations to excel in personal service. Carrying a higher monthly cost, the small agency model gains ground in the area of effectiveness. Many business owners appreciate the ability to have data reports interpreted for them, in a way that allows for concrete adjustments. Likewise, the ability to receive services precisely aligned with unique business goals proves to be a game-changer for the small agency. Deviating from the cookie-cutter approach, businesses benefit greatly from a dynamic SEO package and pricing.
Whether deciding to utilize a small or large agency, here are a few tips to arm yourself with. If an agency begins to promise overnight results or a wind-fall of internet leads quickly, red flags should be flying high. Also, the shiny object trick will allow unscrupulous agencies to get away with promising ROI returns. Both scenarios spell out the danger. It is best to consider a few questions before deciding on who to turn your online presence over too. Is there a contract? What are the contract terms on deliverables? Will access to Google analytics be shared? Will the website be maintained under company ownership? What performance guarantees are in place? These are all important questions needing to be resolved.