Selecting an SEM Agency for Your Business

3 comments

One of the most common questions we get from our readers is how to select an agency to manage their search marketing campaigns for them.

There is definitely an abundance of firms out there that can do anything and everything from managing a PPC campaign or performing SEO work on a website to developing link baiting campaigns and so on. But it seems that many business owners – especially those that are new to the industry – have a hard time selecting the right company for themselves.

It’s an interesting issue to think about. In the web hosting industry in which I worked extensively in the past, there were a million websites that would rank web hosts on every imaginable criteria. Plus, it was very easy to find reviews from satisfied or disgruntled customers. So, even though it still took quite a bit of research to find a good web host and not all of the information was trustworthy, at least the data was out there.

In the SEM field, it’s a bit different. There may be a site or two that ranks different agencies, but it’s quite unclear what criteria they use to determine their decisions. Every once in a while, a study comes out praising one company or the other, but it’s also unclear as to what they are based on. Aside from that, there are very few resources that a prospect can go to find out if the company they are considering for their search campaigns is worth their salt.

Personally, I put a lot of weight on the contributions made by the agencies in the SEM community. When I read informative and insightful posts made on the blogs and in the forums by people such as Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz, Andy Hagans, Aaron Wall and others, it instinctively makes me trust those companies – even before I tried them out myself.

However, there are still hundreds of other companies that don’t participate in the community as much. What about them? What kind of criteria would you use to select an agency for yourself or your client?

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3 Comments

  1. Count me as one of those guys who "doesn't participate in the community as much". I used to when I was just getting started, but right now I'm swamped!

    There are only 24 hours in a day, and I prefer not to spend each one of them working. I spend the vast majority of my time doing actual work for my clients rather than writing about doing the work. Sometimes I just don't comprehend how some of these guys can write so much and still have time to actually do the work.

    To each his own I suppose. I know first-hand that you can run a very successful SEO agency without having a high profile as an author or content producer within the industry. I find that working on new projects does more to make me better at my craft than does spending that time promoting myself as an author or blogger. Just my take I suppose. More than one way to skin a cat!

  2. Boris

    Jon,

    That's a very good point.

    I'm sure that there are tons of excellent agencies out there that are also bound by the number of hours available in a day. So, how do they get the exposure they deserve?

    I'm sure that there are no simple answers to this, of course. But you definitely hit the nail on the spot.

  3. Gerry Grant CEO Search-Optimization.com

    I have been doing SEO for over twelve years having started in 1994. When hiring a search optimization marketing company it is best to find one that offers a wide range of SEM services. They should follow “Best Practices” and understand how to create synergism with the other marketing programs the company has. Quality content creation is one of the most important aspects to look for.