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  • Telltale Signs You Need to Hire or Fire an Ad Agency

    Do You Really Need SEO Consulting Services?

    Sit down.

    It’s time we had a talk.

    No, this isn’t an intervention. At least, not in the conventional sense.

    But if you got here because the title piqued your interest, I’d be willing to bet you have a problem.

    If you’re already working with a search engine optimization (SEO) consulting firm and you’re thrilled with the results, it would never occur to you to read an article like this. The same is true if you’re doing all your marketing in-house and you’re satisfied with the direction things are going.

    No. You’re either struggling to see the results you want on your own, or you’ve already hired a team of SEO consultants and marketing experts only to see lackluster results.

    You’re just not sure if it’s really time to hire or fire an SEO consultant.

    You’re looking for a sanity check.

    And we’re here to give it to you.

    The Role of an SEO Consulting/Ad Agency

    The Role of an SEO Consulting/Ad Agency

    Ad agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them focus on SEO consulting, paid advertising, and generally generating search engine traffic. Some focus more on traditional marketing. Some ad agencies offer a little bit of everything. Some are big and some are small. Some are focused on a specific niche while some attempt to serve the general population.

    But they all have one thing in common: they offer marketing services, as well as SEO consulting services, to help you see better marketing and advertising results.

    If you’re currently in a position where you struggle to see real results from your search engine optimization efforts, you need to hire an ad agency.

    If you already have an ad agency and you’re not happy with the results they’ve given you so far, you need to fire them.

    These are the basic premises on which we’re going to build the rest of this article.

    So what are the more specific signs that you need to hire (or fire) SEO consulting services?

    Signs You Need to Hire SEO Consultants

    Signs You Need to Hire an Ad Agency/SEO Consultants

    Individually and temporarily, these signs are functionally tolerable. But if you see many of these signs, and you see them consistently, your best course of action is hiring an ad agency.

    Your marketers are jacks-of-all-trades.

    Think about the point person on your team responsible for marketing and advertising. If they’re a seasoned SEO consultant, or they have lots of experience managing PPC campaigns, that’s great! But what else are they doing? There’s nothing wrong with members of your team having occasional responsibilities that drift outside their main area of expertise. But if your marketers are functional jacks-of-all-trades who float between roles like HR manager, customer service rep, and project management, chances are, they’re not going to be able to give your marketing and advertising campaigns the attention they need. Think of it this way: if your top marketer is only spending half their day on actual marketing, you’re automatically cutting your potential in half.

    You’re not seeing enough organic traffic.

    Consulting is especially important if you’re not seeing enough organic traffic. Organic traffic refers to traffic generated by organic searches conducted by typical users of search engines. What constitutes “enough” is a bit subjective; for some brands, a few thousand organic visitors a month is a great metric to strive for. For others, 20,000 monthly visitors can be disappointing. Still, if you’re not seeing as much organic traffic as you think you should, it’s a sign that you should hire an ad agency.

    When you search for a brand like yours, your website is nowhere to be found.

    Run this experiment for me. Open a tab in your favorite web browser in private mode and conduct a search using keywords and phrases associated with your industry. For example, if you’re running a car dealership, you might search for phrases like “used cars for sale in [your city]” or “where can I buy a new [type of car].” Do you see your brand in the results? Run this experiment a few times, with an assortment of different phrases. If you can’t find your brand anywhere on the first page, you have a problem; most people never scroll past page one, so this means you’re functionally invisible to people who would otherwise be interested in visiting your website. This is usually a byproduct of having no SEO campaign or a deeply flawed SEO services campaign in place. The solution is to hire an SEO consulting agency with SEO consultants who can help.

    You’re still calling it Google Webmaster Tools.

    You know Google Webmaster Tools, right? It’s a set of tools that help businesses like yours better understand their presence and visibility in search engines, so of course you’ve heard of it! But here’s the thing. Google Webmaster Tools rebranded itself as Google Search Console in 2015. In other words, if you’re still calling it by its former name, you’ve likely been out of the loop on search engine marketing developments that have unfolded over the past eight years. Yikes.

    Your paid advertising campaigns are falling flat.

    Pay per click (PPC) advertising can be a seamless way to generate new traffic to your website for a reasonable amount of money. But while these campaigns are practically guaranteed to generate traffic, they aren’t guaranteed to get you your money’s worth. If you’re not seeing the results you expected, if your new visitors aren’t converting, or if the total ROI of your campaign leaves you feeling embarrassed, it’s probably time to hire PPC and SEO consultants.

    Irrelevant traffic is wasting time on your website.

    Traffic is a bit of a numbers game, but numbers aren’t everything. If you’re generating a lot of traffic to your website, that’s better than a lot of brands are doing. But if those visitors aren’t really interested in what you’re selling, these inflated numbers turn into vanity metrics. You need relevant traffic coming to your website, or else you’re not going to make any money. If you constantly struggle to get that relevant traffic, it’s probably worth the time and money to hire an ad agency.

    Your calls to action (CTAs) aren’t working.

    Hopefully, your website already has prominent calls to action (CTAs) designed to capture user attention and prompt them to take action in ways like buying a product, filling out a form, or signing up for your email newsletter. If these prompts suffer from low conversion rates, it doesn’t really matter how much traffic you’re generating; your campaign is going to fail to give you meaningful results.

    AB tests are failing (or you don’t know what one is).

    How are your AB tests performing? In these experiments, you’ll have the opportunity to evaluate how different variables perform under similar conditions. For example, you may be able to figure out that a specific headline isn’t working or that a specific design element can multiply your conversion rate. If you’re not getting valuable information from your AB tests, it may be prudent to hire an ad agency to step in and help you sort things out. Even worse, if you didn’t know what an AB test was until you read this section, you definitely need the help of some competent SEO consultants to get you up to speed.

    You’ve done the basic troubleshooting and it doesn’t seem to work.

    You could argue that some of these points are a bit unfair, as every marketer and advertiser occasionally run into issues. The real problem is if you’re not able to correct those issues in a timely manner. If you don’t know why your campaigns aren’t working, or if you’ve already done some basic troubleshooting and haven’t been able to boost those results, hiring an ad agency is probably your best move. They can help you figure out what’s missing, what’s going wrong, and what you need to do to get your campaigns back in order.

    Signs You Need to Fire Your SEO Consultant

    Signs You Need to Fire Your Ad Agency/SEO Consultants

    Now let’s imagine a new scenario. You’ve already hired an SEO consulting service or ad agency and you’ve been working with them for months. You’re not totally satisfied with the relationship, but you’re not exactly sure why.

    These signs demonstrate that it’s probably time to fire your ad agency.

    The bottom-line results are disappointing.

    Let’s say you’ve been working with an ad agency for a few months now, and you’ve seen some interesting developments like higher rates of traffic or higher rankings in search engines. What are your bottom-line results like? In other words, how many conversions are you getting? How much revenue are you able to attribute to the work this agency is doing? If you’re not seeing a positive return on investment (ROI), or if your bottom-line results are disappointing in other ways, it’s time to start thinking about parting ways.

    You’re getting a supposedly “great” deal.

    The old saying “you get what you pay for” typically applies to the world of ad agencies and SEO consultants. While it’s understandable that you would want to reduce the costs of managing your SEO campaign, if the cost is too low, you’ll have reason to be suspicious. If your SEO consultant is only charging you $100 a month, you’re certainly not getting more than $100 of value in the work they produce; and in some cases, cheap agencies can do active harm to your brand (such as by building spammy links or developing content that reflects poorly on your brand).

    You don’t really know what you’re paying for.

    In line with this, it’s a red flag if you don’t really know what you’re paying for. You may be paying your SEO consultant upwards of a few thousand dollars per month, but what are they actually doing with those funds? How much is your PPC advertising campaign costing you in terms of ad spend? How much new content are you getting? How many new links are being placed? If you have no idea where your money is going, and your SEO consultant refuses to give you straight answers, it’s time to fire them and move on.

    Your campaign was replicated from a template.

    Too often, an SEO consultant will attempt to streamline their work by making “cookie cutter” campaigns that could hypothetically apply to any business. While this certainly saves time and is convenient for the marketers within that agency, it doesn’t serve your business well. Each business is unique, with a unique niche, a unique brand, and unique goals for their SEO marketing and advertising campaigns; if you attempt to force these into a rigid, inflexible mold, you’ll inevitably hinder your potential.

    These SEO consultants only work for one niche.

    It can be advantageous to seek out SEO consultants who have specific experience in your niche. But if this is the only niche they focus on, it could be a sign that they’re applying the same campaign template to every new business they onboard. Be on the lookout for other red flags so you can decide whether it makes sense to fire this ad agency.

    Change history shows no recent changes.

    Effective marketing requires ongoing monitoring, tweaking, and experimentation. In other words, your campaigns are going to go through many different changes on your route to long-term marketing success. When you log into your PPC ad management account, you’ll be able to pull up a report on “change history.” What do you see when you access this report? If there haven’t been any recent changes to your campaign, it could be a sign that your SEO consultant is using a “set and forget” approach, which is not good for your brand. Consider pressuring your SEO consultant to practice more active management and ditch them if they’re unwilling to do it.

    There are major transparency issues.

    Transparency is key when working with an SEO consulting agency. It’s valuable for you to know exactly what your SEO consultant is doing, why they’re doing it, and how it’s going to help you see better results. If your ad agency refuses to answer your questions straightforwardly, if they deliberately lie to you, or if they can’t help you resolve your biggest areas of concern, there’s no reason to continue working with them. This is often a sign that the SEO consultant is using unscrupulous techniques, and even if they aren’t, this is a sign of poor collaboration.

    It’s ridiculously hard to get in contact with someone.

    Smooth, ongoing communication is vital for your campaign to be a success. Accordingly, you should take a moment to think about how easy it is to get in touch with someone at the agency. When you reach out, does someone call or email you right away? Or does it take days or even weeks of hounding just to get simple answers to your questions?

    Reports/communications only come in once a month.

    It’s common practice in the marketing and advertising world to issue regular reports to your clients, often on a monthly basis, to demonstrate the results you’re seeing and provide guidance moving forward. Monthly reports are, indeed, a good thing, but if this is the only communication you ever receive, it’s a sign that your SEO consultant is trying to do as little work as possible.

    Reports are focused on vanity metrics.

    If you do receive regular reports, read them closely – and pay close attention to how those reports are being presented. If your SEO consultants focus exclusively on vanity metrics, like higher rankings in search engines or social media followers, but they neglect more important metrics like conversions, it’s a sign they may not have the best interests at heart.

    Nobody can tell you why things aren’t working.

    Even the best SEO consultants in the industry sometimes make mistakes and struggle to see the results they want. But competent marketing professionals take this as motivation to learn something new, try something new, and ultimately do better. If you’re not happy with the SEO strategies (and results) you’re seeing from your current SEO consultant, and nobody at that agency can tell you why things aren’t working, fire them. This is especially important if you’ve witnessed many other “red flags” encouraging you to fire this SEO consultant.

    Hire an EXPERT SEO Consulting Service

    If you’re not seeing excellent marketing results on your own, hiring SEO consultants and marketing professionals could be exactly what you need to break out of this funk.

    If you’re unhappy with the results you’re seeing from your current SEO services, your best course of action is to fire them (and potentially higher a better one).

    In either scenario, you’ll soon be looking competent SEO consulting services to help you accomplish your branding, visibility, traffic generation, and conversion goals.

    That’s where we come in.

    At SEO.co, we pride ourselves on offering our best guidance and expertise to clients who genuinely need them. Our expert SEO consulting services will help you fix up and polish a campaign that isn’t working, start a new campaign from scratch, or just assist you with elements of your current SEO strategy.

    Everything starts with a free SEO consultation – so contact us to get started today!

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards