Before You Choose an SEO and PPC Agency, Ask Yourself These 5 Questions.
Choosing an SEO and PPC Agency can be a significant decision for any business. Search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns are a highly technical and complex world. But they are critical to get right if you’re going to drive success for your business online.
On the one hand, SEO is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. But ultimately, it can be the gift that keeps on giving when you get it right. PPC advertising, on the other hand, can deliver instant results and overnight success. But the second you stop paying for it is the second it stops working for you.
Before we reveal the five questions you need to ask yourself, one shocking mistake is so common that it’s genuinely frightening. The most common mistake that almost every new business builder makes before they decide to choose an SEO and PPC Agency is that they focus on (what we call) “vanity metrics”.
Vanity metrics are simply the metrics you measure when you want to sound good, look good and think that will make you feel good about building your business. But the only way you’re going to feel good about growing your business is by creating the bottom line.
Lots of agencies use terms that lure you in – like ‘warm traffic’. They play on your assumption that an increase in vanity metrics will automatically increase your bottom line. It won’t.
Fact: Audiences don’t buy your products and services. Only Customers do.
Before you worry about how you’re going to get access to a particular audience or what you should pay for it, you first need to know the value those audiences represent for your business. Whether that’s the value of new leads, subscribers, physical customers in-store, or e-commerce sales, there has to be a specific dollar figure result against which you can judge success.
Suppose you don’t have a specific value of what success looks like online. Then how can you invest a particular amount toward it?
Before you even begin to evaluate one SEO and PPC agency against another, you have to determine what model of customer acquisition (CA) your business needs (leads, sales, etc.). Then you can put a dollar figure on it and start to look for the right digital marketing partner to help you grow.
Here are five key questions to ask yourself before you choose an SEO and PPC agency.
#1 How will you Judge Success via Search Term Results or Analytics?
The Search Engine Results Page (or SERP) is ultimately where the rubber hits the road regarding your advertising investment. Whether your brand appears in the Ad results at the top, in the Maps in the middle, or the Organic results further down is really where the game is won or lost. But typing in your search terms and seeing it for yourself (whilst sometimes very gratifying) isn’t always a reliable indicator of your campaign or website’s performance. Search is highly personalized. Who you are, where you are, and when you’re searching (and on what device) are all critical components that Google uses to publish the SERP. A more reliable indicator is your analytics – because this doesn’t just show the results of one individual search query (even though yours is essential), it delivers results for every search query.
Google Analytics (or GA) is arguably the best analytics program in the world today, and it’s 100% free. Why? Because it’s the tool, Google gives you to gauge the overall traffic quality properly and results in you’re getting from your investment in SEO and PPC.
#2 Is the Agency Google Certified?
Google recommends that you should choose a Google AdWords Certified Partner. If you are searching for a certified company, make sure that you are working with an accredited team. When you work with a Google AdWords Certified Partner, they will give your PPC campaign an edge over the competition. The world of Google and search engine marketing is constantly changing. Looking for an agency that is Google Certified ensures that they are on top of these changes, on-trend and making recommendations to you that are industry best practices.
#3 Specifically, How Will You Track Conversions?
This one is very current. Data Privacy Laws are changing worldwide, and Australia is actually at the forefront of those changes. Consumers have woken up to unethical data mining and tracking software, and contextual advertising is once again becoming the norm. The impact of PPC management for small businesses, in particular, is significant. You can no longer rely on the automated use of ‘cookies. Instead, you may need to set up UTM codes and other more specific means for campaign tracking—no easy task for the DIY digital bandit trying to run a growing business.
When you don’t have a proper mechanism for tracking and measurement, you can’t make the right decisions on whether or not to pause the ads or double down. Ultimately, you’ll be flying blind, and sooner or later, this will cost you much money. Make sure you ask about your agency’s method to use once the ‘cookie’ becomes obsolete.
#4 What’s Your Business Niche?
Every business is unique. But there are commonalities amongst companies that are operating within the same industry. Agencies often specialize in particular industry niches. Business-to-business agencies would have perfected lead generation. eCommerce focused agencies would pride themselves on shoppable media. Look for an agency that has experience working with another business like yours. See if they can share the results they achieved working within that niche. Or does the company claim that it is an expert in all fields (which is pretty much impossible). Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper about previous results.
#5 How Will Your Account be Managed?
This area is a hot one to touch. Many agencies now simply white label another who is doing the work for you. These agencies are always hazy on specific results, and often any accurate they’ll try to get you focused on how inexpensive they are. But what they’ll fail to fill you in on is the fact that once you sign their year-long contract, your account is going to be shipped offshore, and you won’t get any access to any of the data if you leave the fold. You need to make sure that you maintain full ownership and control of your Google Ads account. Sure your agency can have direct access to manage things on your behalf, but they shouldn’t own it. If you want to discontinue working with them, you want to take all the data with you. And that is sitting (almost exclusively) in your Google Ad Account. It’s ok for an agency to use the most cost-effective resource, so long as the results they’re getting for their clients are never compromised, and some of the dollars they are saving are reflected in their rates.
Choosing Your SEO and PPC Agency
Going through the rigmarole of weighing up one SEO and PPC agency against another is pointless unless you’re crystal clear on what specific results you’re after. It doesn’t matter if it leads, online sales or people walking through the front door of your shop. Know what you want and what the value of those events are for your business.
Then ask yourself these five questions to help you evaluate the results. There are thousands of agency partners out there. Finding the best one to help with PPC management for small businesses is critical. As s business owner, marketer or entrepreneur, you can’t afford to waste time or blow the budget.
Remap Online is an SEO and PPC agency based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Our PPC management for small businesses starts at $145 a week. We’re a certified Google Ads partner and have loads of experience working with business builders just like you.