Guide

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Working with a search engine optimisation agency

You can use a search engine optimisation (SEO) agency to handle all your site's SEO needs. An agency can help you with:

  • content for your website
  • site architecture advice
  • keyword strategy
  • integrating your search marketing activities

You will need to work in partnership with whichever agency you employ. Effective SEO requires a deep understanding of the site that is being optimised, including knowledge of the business and the target audience.

Choosing an SEO agency

Ask around before engaging an agency and draw up a shortlist. Get references from previous customers, to help understand how a prospective partner works. A good consultancy should want to know as much about you as you do about them. Engaging a search engine consultancy is like working with any other business service provider, whether it is IT consultants or accountants. You need to ensure that they are right for your business.

Be wary of agencies who make claims like ‘guaranteed first page on Google’ or number one rankings. There is no way to guarantee rankings because search engine algorithms change constantly. Avoid agencies who use ‘black hat’ SEO tactics. This can lead to your business being penalised by search engines.  

See choosing a search engine optimisation agency: checklist.

Building a relationship

Make sure that any contract you sign with an agency includes enforceable service level agreements. Engaging an SEO specialist can be expensive, so make sure that your chosen partner will deliver.

You should expect any relationship to be long term, as search engine rankings can change dramatically over time. This may be due to the actions of your competitors, or changes in how search engines index pages. Make sure that you communicate regularly, and that your SEO partner provides you with regular and auditable reports.