How to Hire an SEO Agency for Your SMB

If you are like most small business owners, there are most likely a dozen or so emails from SEO companies promising you page one results. For most small business owners, we recommend hiring a local agency that you can meet with face to face who understands you and your business. We believe this creates a higher level of accountability. Narrowing your search down to SEO agencies in your local area is a good start. Tour next assignment is to find an agency that knows its stuff. Many agencies that claim to offer SEO, in reality, offer a product that scratches the surface as their primary businesses tend to be web design and traditional advertising services. When interviewing SEO agencies, we recommend that you answer the following questions before making a decision.

The Ideal Customer

When interviewing a potential SEO agency, ask them how they plan to optimize your website to attract your ideal customer. This question may very well put many agencies on their heels as they will try to steer the conversation towards tactics such as blogging, link-building, and changing metadata on your website. All those things need to be done, of course. However, all those things need to be done in the context of attracting your ideal customer. If you have not done the work to understand who your ideal customer is, we highly recommend that you do so. This does not need to be a complex process spanning months at a time. Simply ask your sales and fulfillment teams what characteristics your best customers share in common. Most teams know when they have a great prospect or new customer. They simply have not taken the time to tease out why they’re so good and what makes them so good. Now ask your team what questions those customers ask before making a purchase. Find out their most common challenges, problems, and issues. It is extremely likely that your ideal customers ask similar questions that can be easily categorized and used to create great content for your SEO campaign.

Engaging Content

Now that you have a firm grasp of your ideal customer, ask the SEO agency you are interviewing how they plan to incorporate this information into your SEO campaign. When conducting these interviews, it is best to write down the answers that each agency gives you, that way you can compare each agency’s answer after your initial interviews are done. You will undoubtedly hear a wide variety of answers, many of which will sound extremely plausible on the surface. The answer we believe you will want to listen for is that they will create an editorial calendar based on the problems and challenges identified above. Your SEO company should then begin creating content that solves the difficult problems faced by your ideal customer. This content should be 2,000 or more words in length and provide step-by-step instructions to help the reader solve their problem. This may sound like you’re giving away valuable information for free and result in the loss and business. After all, you want them to call you to solve their problems. We recommend that you give away some information for free in return for building readership for your blog, which in turn, will create a loyal following who now trust your brand. We typically find that after six months of writing such blog posts, the knowledge base on your blog is large enough to increase your website traffic significantly. Other kinds of content production are great; we definitely encourage the creation of ebooks, downloads, and video content.


Many small business owners feel comfortable writing blogs, and some even feel comfortable changing the metadata on their website; however, very few feel comfortable finding backlinks.  This is where an SEO agency can shine. Ask your prospective SEO agency to review their link-building strategy with you. Many agencies have extensive relationships with a number of authoritative websites that will link to your website. Backlinks are important in SEO as a link from another site to yours is considered a vote for your website in Google’s eyes. Many SEO agencies supplement their backlink-building inventory by using an SEO reseller. In our opinion, this is a good thing as it provides a larger variety of links, which is important because it’s vital to get links from lots of different sites rather than getting repeated links from the same website.


Asking the questions above will help you find the right SEO agency to improve your online search presence. Make sure the company you hire understands your ideal customer and how to create content for them and then make sure they have a source of high-quality backlinks to help increase the authority of your website. If all those pieces are in place, we believe it will improve the odds of you finding an SEO agency who can move the needle for you.

BIO :- Adam Stetzer holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has published on the topics of Internet marketing, absenteeism, employee and customer satisfaction, productivity and safety, and culture. He has founded several technology firms, and is currently CEO at HubShout, a white label SEO reseller firm. In his 25 year career he has worked with companies such as General Electric, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Verizon, AT&T, Ford, LendingTree, American Express and ChevronTexaco. Adam has advised over 1,000 small business owners and blogs frequently.

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