It is never an easy decision when comes to outsourcing your SEO works to an SEO agency in Malaysia as a majority of them will promise you up to the sky. You will be assured a majority of them will promise you with the word “Guarantee” as Malaysian Bosses just love that word. It isn’t that difficult to select a quality SEO agency to do the work, as long as WE START TO EXERCISE SOME COMMON SENSES when coming to a decision-making process.
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No doubt, hiring a right SEO agency will have a major impact on your business and it can be positive or even negative impact. Personally, I feel you will need to understand their level of understanding in SEO, cost factor and also their records. I do not believe SEO is something come with “Cheap” as you need to constantly look into tuning the contents, analytics data, conversion metrics and keep track to the latest strategies.
I strongly believe the best way to get a reliable SEO agency is via referrals. They would have gone through a very good experience with the SEO agency, then only they will dare to refer your company to the SEO agency. A general rule, we should understand the level of understanding of the key stakeholder of the SEO agency, whether the person behind is an experience SEO expert, the capability of the team to provide in-depth SEO analysis, domain expertise in your industry and also marketing knowledge.
We should never do any SEO works in a robotic way but rather doing it as a marketer as searches done by human being. Being said so, always explore a few more SEO agencies in your selection process and always bare in mind if you have an experienced SEO expert like the Founder of Nexus Mediaworks, Francis Lui.
Bare in mind, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ongoing process and not a one-off work. You will need to be certain the agency is performing ongoing works for your website.
Here is a list of questions prepared by myself when coming to do your work.
1. Do you guarantee top 10 rankings in Google?
I have always been educating people until I’m sicked and tired of doing it. No one can guarantee you with the results and the moment you are hearing the “Guarantee” then you should walk away from this kind of agency. Google is not own by the agency and how on earth they can guarantee you and the only reason they want to guarantee you is to secure your sales. Also, please make sure they are not talking about Google Adwords PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, as that can be achieved via higher paid search bidding.
2. Describe your company’s SEO Experience and some of your clients.
The basic rule of thumb is to understand their years of experience in SEO and most importantly satisfaction video testimonials and not text testimonials as many agencies made up fake testimonials. A very basic measurement is ranking but you should not just limit yourself to your overall success to “Ranking”; my advice to you is to assess their overall strategies and when strategies are on the right path to generating quality leads then ranking will sure be there. You will need to review and understand the overall scope of works and it never comes cheap. The ranking of your keyword is just a metrics and NOT an overall success factor for your SEO.
3. What is your process for keyword research?
Successful SEO campaign always starts with spending time doing proper SEO keyword research. A top level agency will not rely on Google Adwords Keyword Tool as the only tool to perform keyword research as that is for paid search. I always start with understanding the nature of the business and doing some reading and research about that particular industry. You need to ensure SEO agency will always want to use Google Suggestion to look at the relevant keywords, looking at Google Keyword Trends will also be a smart option, asking a list of business competitors from you and going to other regions to research the list of companies in the same trade. At Nexus we do thing a little bit different using our own methodologies to do keyword research
4. Do I need to make changes to my website?
User Experience (UX) is one of the most important factors when comes to the success of your SEO strategy. Your website definitely needed to go through a certain amount of SEO content changes to include relevant keyword and rich contents. The agency will need to perform quality keywords research using Google Keyword Tool, Google Suggestion, Google Trend, Third party tools, Forums and others to select top relevant keywords.
5. How can I ensure my website will not be penalised by Google?
Enforcing NO unethical practices such as spamming: keyword stuffing, hidden text or links, automatic content generation, using private blog networks for links building and many. One of the best ways to go about it is to check the agency own website and have a little bit of understanding and make them explain to you about their own website. Also, you will need to ask them, how they will monitor your website from being sabotage by any competitors or SEO agencies performing negative SEO against your agency.
6. How your agency perform website optimization?
Top SEO agency will certainly able to explain to you a success of SEO is not being determined by merely rankings anymore. At a very least, Nexus Mediaworks doesn’t use a success of your SEO merely using keywords ranking BUT instead focusing very much on traffic and also conversion. They must able to explain to your in a layman of how they will optimise your website using relevant keywords/phrases. They should able to explain to you some of the necessary codes needed for your website in a “Layman Term”, for examples:
- TITLE tag – What is best essential criteria for this tag
- DESCRIPTION tag – You will need to ask them this tag function and how best to make full use of it.
- ALT-tags – understand how they use it and ask them to give you an example in layman
- Keyword – how they best use of the selected keyword phrases
- Keyword Proximity
Relevant quality content is paramount to the success of your SEO, a number of links (internal/external) and backlinks strategy. The agency must able to show you how is your site compared to other competitors and what is next for your site. Bared in mind all the mentioned are very tedious works and never come cheap; you pay peanut and you will get a monkey to do your work.
7. Ask them about backlinks strategies?
Your website will not able to rank well without quality backlinks strategies. Google factored in quality backlinks as one of their very important measurement and ranking factors. It doesn’t mean you should use Blackhat “Unethical Methods”, i.e thousand of Private Blogs Network, thousand of Forms, thousand of Social Accounts, thousand of directories and others illegal link building strategies. Having a good understanding in this area will prevent your site being penalised by Google due to using unethical methods to generate backlinks to your website. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak up as failing to speak up might cause you dearly.
8. When can I expect (ranking) results?
Most of the SEO strategies will take 3-6 months to see stable results/ranking; you can see a small gain in ranking and traffic in approximately 4-6 weeks, depending on how competitive, niche and how aggressive is the SEO agency in pursuing your website.
9. How long do clients have been with the agency?
Asking this piece of information will let you have a certain degree of understanding of the agency competency and service level. Client retention is important but it will vary in nature as some of the clients opted to go with other agency, mainly due to other agency giving much lower cost but doesn’t mean the agency not doing a good job. Sadly, a lot of businessman in Malaysia will jump to another agency for a small sum of saving neglecting all the good works being done by the previous agency. Essentially, all the good works being done by the previous agency; a new agency doesn’t need to do much work and offer a much lower cost; it doesn’t mean the previous agency is not doing a good job.
10. What is the level of commitment needed from your end?
You will need to understand whether the agency needed your company participation in this SEO outsourcing program. This is a program, needed handshakes from both parties, meaning a commitment from your end and prompt action. You ought to ensure all stakeholders are fully ready to participate and giving all necessary commitment to make thing works. You will need to participate from an initial SEO strategy kickoff meeting, keyword selections, contents strategies and etc.