Which factors are most important when you choose an SEO partner

What Are Your Biggest Priorities When Choosing an SEO Partner?

Let’s face it. It’s technically possible to execute a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy entirely on your own, but it’s ridiculously complicated and difficult to do so. So for most individuals, small businesses, and even major companies, you’ll probably have to choose an SEO partner to help you with strategic planning and execution.

There are many SEO companies on the market. It can be difficult to choose the right one. How can you decide which should be your most important priorities?

When choosing an SEO Partner, you have many options

It is crucial to first understand the options available. There are 4 major options for SEO partners. Each type has strengths and weaknesses.

  • An SEO agency. First, you can hire a professional Companies that specialize in Search Engine Optimization. This makes it the most convenient option. While agencies are generally more expensive than others, they provide greater support and accountability.
  • In-house hires. It is possible to build your own team. To build your team, you could either use resources already in place or hire new people. Depending on your approach here, this can also be expensive – and it’s not as convenient or scalable as working with an SEO company.
  • Freelancers/contractors. You can also choose to hire freelancers or contractors for your work. This is usually the cheapest option, though it’s the hardest to get off the ground. Chances are, you’ll need to select people with various specialties to build a strong enough team to see effective results. Agency workers are less trustworthy than freelancers.
  • The hybrid model.The hybrid model involves combining several options. This allows you to hire an SEO agency for most work while having freelancers do the rest. It could also be possible that you have a strategy in place and the agency only provides certain services.

There are also thousands of other options in each category.

It’s essential to select your priorities carefully when choosing an SEO partner.


The most important factor to think about is cost. Which budget can you afford to put into this campaign. In this industry, you often get what you pay for; while it’s certainly possible to find highly inexpensive contractors, these aren’t always the best fit for your brand.

Experienced professionals may have lower skills and cut corners, leading to poor results. At the same time, you don’t want to overpay for an agency whose services are either superfluous or overpriced.

Make sure you compare apples with apples when doing research. Don’t just compare costs directly; make sure you consider what you get for the price with each option. Of course, if you’re dealing with a strict budget, you may not have much wiggle room on this point – which is why it remains one of your highest priorities.

Trustworthiness & Accountability

You’ll also need to consider the reliability and the accountability of the partner you choose. SEO is a long-term strategy, so you can’t afford to hire someone who’s only going to drop you after a few weeks, nor can you afford to hire someone who spends months executing ineffective or downright bad tactics.

Agencies are known for being more reliable and trustworthy than other agencies. They have a better reputation and are more resourceful. But, it is important to research the agency and make sure they are willing to correct or rectify past errors.

Core Competencies

SEO is a massive undertaking if you’re hoping for reliable, long-term results. SEO requires many tactics. Before you pick your partner, consider their core competencies.

Let’s take an example.

  • Industry/niche knowledge. Are they experts in the industry? Do they have an in-depth knowledge of the brand and what makes you different than other brands? Do they have the ability to develop or suggest tactics that can give you an edge over your competitors?
  • Research and strategy are key. Do they have the ability to do both keyword research and plan high-level strategic strategies? Is it their only capability to carry out the orders?
  • Content development.Does this partner practice content creation? How does the partner produce content? You must have lots of high-quality content in order to rise up the SERPs.
  • Technical optimizationSEO strategies without solid technical optimization will fail. Are they able to code your site and improve its performance?
  • Link BuildingThis person can they assist with link building and off-site content development? Without linking, it is almost impossible to build enough authority and rank for your target keywords.
  • Peripheral/supportive strategies. Does this partner offer peripheral or supportive strategies — like email marketing, social media marketing, pay-per-click ads (PPC), and other forms of paid advertising?

Ethics and Practices

An SEO regulatory or ethical violation could result in severe penalties for your business, which can last for several months. It’s simply not worth taking the risk, so it’s essential to research your partner for their ethics and practices. Are they using only white-hat techniques? Are they strictly adhering to Google’s terms of service?

Are they respectful of your privacy? Can you trust that your search engine marketing activities will be kept private?

Access to resources, scaleability

Your company may be small right now, but you likely have plans to grow enormously in the future. Accordingly, you should pay close attention to this partner’s access do resources and overall scalability. It is possible to change plans as your needs change. Are they available to you if your needs change?

Contact us for customer service and communications

Even the best SEO companies and individual experts aren’t perfect. They’re going to make mistakes. They’re going to forget to inform you about things. And they’re going to do questionable jobs of providing initial explanations. It is possible to get in touch with them, if necessary. Do they have a contact person that can help you? Is there a person who is willing to assist me?

If you have trouble getting in touch with this partner, or if they seem indifferent to you, don’t bother working with them, even if everything else looks good on paper.

Reporting and Tools

How do you share your technology and tools with your partner. It is a sign that you are suspicious of your partner if they refuse to answer this question. Your partner should be open and honest about the technology they are using.

Expect them to provide you with comprehensive reports. Although you may feel they are working for your good, how do you know? And can they prove that it’s working in your favor?

Customer Reviews and Reputation

Finally, look at this partner’s customer reviews and evaluate their reputation overall. Do customers feel satisfied with their services? Are there online indications that this person might be unreliable?

Choosing an SEO partner isn’t easy. If your industry is competitive, complex or requires specific criteria it can make finding the perfect partner difficult. But with so many available options, it’s only a matter of time before you find what you need.

RODNAE Productions. Image Credit. Pexels. Thanks!

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy CarterSeattle’s chief revenue officer for digital marketing agencies SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. His extensive experience covers more than two decades. A leader in SEO, digital marketing and sales growth, he has assisted companies to grow their revenues and scale up operations. Tim enjoys running, disc golf, and spending time with his family on the beach, usually in Hawaii with a Kona espresso. Follow TimothyCarter at twitter


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