Expert SEO Consultancy & WordPress Web Design Services
The SEO Strategy Agency is a Professional Digital Marketing Agency offering SEO Services across Hampshire (Southampton, Winchester, Portsmouth, Wiltshire & Dorset)
It can be a daunting task when looking to hire a digital marketing agency. Agencies have different specialisms with some labelling themselves a full services digital agency or a specialist SEO agency. It can be easy to get lost in a world of jargon and semantics. The best advice is for you and your business to be clear on what you’re trying to achieve but to scrutinise and interrogate this aspect.
For example, you may be tasked with getting a website built and there are many freelancers, developers, agencies that will build you a website but if months after the website has been built it doesn’t appear for the brand / business name, chances are you or your boss will be unimpressed. At The SEO Strategy we aim to push back and drill down to ensure there is a brief both parties believe to be appropriate, realistic and achievable.
Questions to ask when hiring an SEO Consultancy / Digital Marketing Agency
What do you think of our brief?
Any good consultant or agency will challenge your brief. It’s important to ascertain what is trying to be achieved along with your exception as a client. To be able to quote accurately it’s important to have this understanding between both parties. The brief may need to be re-visited and revised, possibly broken down into stages.
Do you have experience working in our industry sector?
This tends to be a commonly asked question and understandable as clients may feel reassured if you have dealt with their industry. This is where you may want to identify the level of expectation particularly when it comes to who is doing what. For example, when it comes to content marketing and blog articles it may not be feasible for your agency to write these for you. For example, a law firm would need specialist legal insight and knowledge to write about particular topics. Many firms opt to have their own solicitors write these articles as opposed to outsourcing them.
How do you measure results?
As part of the brief it should be discussed what metrics will be monitored and what results are expected. Establishing what constitutes a conversion is very important. It’s important to state though that SEO’s primary concern is increasing rankings which increases exposure and encourage increase in web visits. However, conversion rate optimisation is concerned with what happens when visitors land on your website. Some agencies will handle CRO as part of the overall SEO Strategy but some agencies may suggest you deal with a specialist CRO Consultant or agency. However, at The SEO Strategy Agency, we do not want to unpick CRO so we include it as part of our SEO work and packages. CRO can inform the SEO efforts. For example, if SEO is driving lots of traffic to a particular landing page but if that page has a bounce rate of over 90%, something could be very wrong and need adjusting.
How long will results take to see?
The first thing is to identify what are results. Results can include improved site health, site speed, website rankings, CTR, Page visits, schema markup, and website enquiries (calls / form submission). Expecting page one rankings after a matter of weeks is unrealistic. Find out how competitive your search terms are if you are to pay for Google Ads. This will give you a good idea of how competitive search terms are. Also, it may encourage your to think laterally and consider focussing on other search terms which could give your website relevant exposure. Google does have algorithm updates and these can impact results. Sometimes changes can be picked up in a few days or few months. Typically, initial ranking results and improvements would be expected to be seen between 3-6 months but national search terms may be 12 months and beyond. Also, bear in mind no agency can guarantee you results.
What are the benefits of a Professional SEO Audit?
An SEO Audit, if executed correctly, will identify issues that may be preventing your site from reaching page one. Audits can also identify opportunities for improving overall organic search engine performance. Essentially, an SEO Audit can act as a health check for your website. They are keeping a check on crucial performance and security updates. WordPress websites are notorious for being left not updated, leaving a site vulnerable to hackers. So a website maintenance package is always advisable. Still, an SEO Audit Report will take this to the next level and ensure best practices adhere. To avoid losing those all-important website rankings. Any decent SEO Audit will identify issues and opportunities across the following areas; technical SEO, on and off-page SEO, content development & optimisation, social media optimisation and conversion rate optimisation.
How much does SEO cost in Hampshire?
SEO agencies tend to work on a monthly retainer basis. SEO is a long-term undertaking and needs regular, consistent monitoring and implementation. A monthly SEO retainer in Hampshire would cost anywhere in the region of £500-£5,000 a month. This will largely depend on the scope of work, number of services. Make sure to give a detailed brief as possible so your SEO Agency can supply an accurate quote.
Are Local SEO Consultants or London SEO Consultants better?
Your personal preference might determine how you want to proceed. However, with the power of today’s technology, it is not essential to be based locally. Especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have adapted and utilised working from home. It is better to find an SEO agency that is the right fit for your business and schedule in monthly or quarterly meetings. At The SEO Strategy Consultancy, we have clients all over the UK (London, Manchester, Southampton etc). An SEO Consultant in London is arguably competing in a more saturated market than somewhere outside of London such as Southampton. Therefore, if they stand out, they may be more skilled or focus a lot on their marketing and SEO efforts on personal promotion. However, nothing beats a personal recommendation. Sometimes a smaller virtual agency can offer more value for money, due to lower overheads and a higher level of service. Still, some clients feel more comfortable justifying to management going with a top 5 SEO consultancy. Just weigh up your options, budget and the SEO proposals and pitches presented to you.
Do you have a track record and client testimonials?
Above all else you want to hire an agency that is a right fit for your business and is able to take on your requirement. Testimonials can give you a good idea of strengths of the firm. They may have a scheme where they can put you in touch with an existing client. They may be able to arrange to send you results from other clients. However, their response to your brief should speak volumes; has it been tailored, did it meet your requirements, have they done their research. The proposal coupled with a meeting or two should confirm your decision. Some agencies may charge for a proposal or initial consultations. From point of view of overheads and viability this is understandable. We do not tend to charge for proposals that may secure your business. However, we are very upfront and honest and would rather say if we feel you will not be a right fit for us. We do not accept every client. We focus on having clients we can work well with and achieve positive results.
How will you work with us?
This will be discussed early on at the brief and proposal stage. We will need to know your expectation and what sort of level of service you will require, then we will be able to suggest what package level would be suitable for your business. However, we can sometimes get this wrong and this is why review meetings will be scheduled to review the rate, level of service and performance. As a virtual digital SEO agency, we tend to work in a remote manner. However, we are happy to meet with our clients and come to your office.
What advice do you give for writing blog articles?
This is a question we get asked time and time again, so we thought we would include it. It may be a question you want to ask your prospective agency / consultant. Our best bit of advice when it comes to blog article writing is … Write for humans, optimise for robots! As SEO professionals it gets a bit worrying when clients are quite keen to keyword stuff articles. We want you to focus on quality content that is useful and relevant. Your articles should be natural sounding and easy to understand. There tends to be an inclination in technical industries to over use jargon, corporate terms which can over complicate the article and make it more difficult for the reader. Write with the reader in mind. Maybe you are talking to industry professionals but have pieces that also target the end user, client, customer.
Local SEO Agency Near Portsmouth: SEO Services Portsmouth
Portsmouth is approximately 20 miles from Southampton (only 30 minutes on the M27). Sean Mullins worked in Fareham and Southampton and is well networked in this area. One of his earliest clients ‘The Dog Walker Portsmouth‘ still has a page one ranking website and that site was built back in 2009. There are many digital agencies in Portsmouth offering a whole range of digital marketing and online advertising services. The way our agency model works has always been primarily remote working, leaning towards the virtual digital agency model. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly brought this way of working to the forefront. Businesses have seen how it can compliment existing ways of working (not replace) but save all important time and money.
Local SEO Agency Near Winchester: SEO Services Winchester
Winchester is only 14 miles from Southampton (only 20 minutes on the M3). We have provided white label SEO services for agencies in Winchester but have clients in the area also. Agencies in Winchester tend to be full service digital agencies. Whether you opt for a full services agency or a specialist SEO / Conversion agency is a decision you will have to weigh up. Agencies that offer a full service may outsource specialist areas such as SEO and CRO. This could be something you speak to them about or they may be transparent about how they work. An agency that offers ‘all under one roof’ may be appealing from the point of view of dealing with fewer points of contact. However, some clients prefer a direct line into Subject Matter Experts. If you’re about to have a website built or rebuilt make sure to ask about SEO and CRO requirements. What is the point of a pretty website if no one can find it. Also, what’s the point of a pretty website if it’s not acting as a tool for your business. A website is more than a shop window, it should be to acquire and convert.
WordPress Website Development & SEO Results in Hampshire
Below is a selection of some local Hampshire websites where we have also achieved SEO results for clients in Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester but also some other clients based in the UK.
Search Engine Optimisation
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I rank higher in Local Searches and on Google Maps?
Ranking high in local searches can vary in difficulty, dependent on how competitive your sector / industry may be. The first port of call when looking to rank locally would be Google My Business. This is a free tool offered by Google. Sign up here https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/ Ensure you claim your listing and complete it as much as possible i.e add logo, images, username, opening hours, categories, links etc. Utilising the post feature regularly as well as encouraging authentic and genuine reviews. Also, ensure there is context built into your site to reinforce the local aspects. For example, if you’re a business in Winchester, Hampshire you may have an office / location page or be sure to mention in your About page about where your business is based and the area it serves.
How important is it to rank on page one?
Moz have reported that page one results capture anywhere from 70% up to an astounding 92% of search clicks. With page 2 attaining 6% of all search clicks. This does indicate the vital importance of achieving page one results. However, the extra pragmatic consideration is that users do not scroll as much as digital marketers would hope. So the difference between position 1 or position 10 can make a massive difference to website visits. (click here to read more)
What is the best SEO Strategy in 2021 / 2022?
Brands dominate and brands rank. Over the past 5-10 years, the SEO landscape has shifted more towards authority building where trust is a core focus. For those businesses that have a strong brand and impressive engagement scores to match. This provides search engines with social proof which means the likes of Google can trust these brands to send their searchers to. Rather than taking a risk of sending searchers to rogue entrants using every trick and tactic available. Build a strong brand online is not an overnight effort, however, it is a long-term strategy than can really pay off and attain highly profitable rankings that have a good chance of resulting in a conversion.
What is an SEO Score?
This is arguably a subjective topic. There is no one tool that will give your site a universal score. However, there are aspects that can give any site owner a good snapshot of their overall SEO performance. Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the “ranking strength” of a website over time. Moz offer a domain authority checking tool as well as a useful chrome extension. Checking rankings is a vital part of an SEO score. SEO results equals rankings. Rankings indicate how effective the SEO tactics and strategies are or not. Tools like SEMRush will help your business track, monitor and analyse your websites rankings. Others scores to factor in could be aspects such as Google Page Speed scores. This is particularly important in light of the Google Page Experience Update (May 2021).
What are the four pillars of a successful SEO Strategy?
Loosely speaking there are four key factors that underpin any successful SEO Strategy and these are technical SEO, Content Development & Marketing, On-site SEO and off-site SEO. Technical SEO deals with how well your content can be crawled and indexed. On-site SEO deals with the optimisation of your content and HTML and this would includes aspects such as meta data for example. Content is king in the SEO world and having a site that is structured and has content that is useful and informative is vitally important. Off-site SEO is concerned with building authority to ensure Google can trust your brand and they are sending their searches to a credible and reputable website.
Are SEO Consultancies or Digital Marketing Agencies Hampshire better?
Deciding to use a specialist SEO Consultancy or to place your business with a full services digital marketing agency can be a big decision. There are many factors to consider such as budget, internal resource, level of skill and requirement. Some companies prefer the ‘all under one roof’ option that a digital agency can offer particularly when a range of wide range of services are being subscribed to i.e graphic and print design, web design, PPC Management, Copywriting etc.
However, some business may have a razor light focus for SEO and Web Development services and feel more comfortable with a specialist SEO agency or consultant. The most important aspect is finding a solution that is the right fit for your business. 3 month trials are always advisable and allow your agency / consultant the chance to demonstrate how they work and possibly any initial results. SEO results are not instant but within a few months, one would hope there would be shifts and initial signs but what would be evident is how your chosen agency or consultant work and level of service they offer.