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5 Ways to Tell if it’s Time to Sack Your SEO Agency

Are you sick of not getting the right results from your SEO agency?

As an experienced marketer, I know that there’s the odd SEO agency out there that just doesn’t make the cut anymore, using outdated and highly questionable techniques. Other SEO agencies, on the other hand, can be brilliant. In fact, some are just as good as any other digital marketing agency when it comes to getting you results!

The difference? They’ve learned to adapt.

Below, I’m going to tell you five ways to tell if it’s time to get rid of your SEO agency, and look for pastures new.

1. Their services lack transparency

In other words, you can’t see what they’re doing, and they won’t tell you. Or they’re extremely vague about it. Look at it this way; in this digital age, where you can look up just about anything at the click of a button, your SEO agency shouldn’t feel the need to keep their activities secret from you.

It’s actually quite worrying. It even means they could be using highly ill-advised link-building tactics that could get you penalised by Google. Or, they might just be doing a whole lot of nothing much!

2. They aren’t providing trackable results

This is sort of related to point 1. But if your SEO agency isn’t telling you what they’re doing, they should at least be able to provide you with some trackable results so you can see the progress they’re making. If they’re hiding one or both of those things from you, it’s time to jump ship.

Ideally, your SEO agency should be generating a report for you each month, and answering any questions you have, so you can see exactly what results you’re getting.

3. They aren’t using a holistic strategy

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; there’s no point in attracting lots of traffic to your website, if your site isn’t set up to convert that traffic into leads and sales. And surely that’s why you’re investing in an SEO agency in the first place, isn’t it? That’s why SEO doesn’t work on its own.

These days, SEO should be implemented as part of a wider strategy, that should include elements such as:

  • Content marketing – publishing regular monthly content, and premium content, on your website
  • Conversion optimisation – ensuring your website is set up to convert visitors into leads
  • Email marketing – this can include setting up email workflows to nurture your leads
  • Tracking and A/B testing – their efforts should be constantly tracked and optimised for best results

4. They don’t communicate enough

If you’re struggling to find anyone from your SEO agency to talk to, or they just aren’t answering your calls or emails, it may be time to reconsider your options. After all, it’s about respecting your time and investment as a client, and communication should be of utmost importance to any agency. Otherwise, you simply won’t feel valued.

Depending on your relationship, and the results you’ve experienced so far, you may want to give them one last chance. However, if I were you, I’d seriously be looking elsewhere.

5. They aren’t helping you grow your business

If you’re not seeing an improvement in your leads and sales, you have to ask why. This is because when it comes down to it, you aren’t paying someone to simply get more people to your website – or at least, you shouldn’t be. You should be paying for results that will help you grow your business in the long-term.

Don’t get me wrong, most holistic digital marketing strategies won’t provide instant results. However, if you’ve been with your agency for a number of months, or even years, and you’re still not seeing an improvement, it’s time to start asking yourself some tough questions.

Next steps

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, but if you’re experiencing the problems above, please don’t go away from this article without taking any action. You need to address these problems with your SEO agency, and you need to do it now. Indecision will continue to cost your business money, and that’s the last thing you need.

TIP: To help you out, here are 7 vital questions you should be asking any SEO agency. (This might also come in handy if you decide to go elsewhere!)

If you need any further advice, or want to let me know how you got on, I’d love to hear from you in the comments’ section!

Everything you Need to Know About Prices for SEO Packages

Feeling confused about prices for SEO packages? I can assure you you’re not the only one.

After all, we all like to know we’re getting our money’s worth, don’t we?

That is especially true in business, as paying too much out and not getting much in return could leave you in a sticky situation. However, when it comes to finding SEO services in Edinburgh, things can get particularly confusing.

A quick 10-minute online search will provide you with a wealth of prices for SEO packages, with services being touted from as little as £20, to £10,000 a month.

So, what should you be paying?

How much SEO should really cost

It goes without saying, SEO services that come with a hefty price tag can be off-putting, making the cheaper deals seem more tempting than ever. However, it’s worthwhile to bear in mind that when it comes to SEO, you really get what you pay for.

In other words, be wary of really cheap SEO, as more often than not, it’s probably not going to do much at the end of the day.

According to Website Magazine, the average monthly cost of SEO services is $750 (that’s just under £500). At an hourly rate, you should expecting to be paying around £65.

However, as you’ll probably be aware, the actual cost of SEO can also vary depending on the different types of packages and services you use.

So, how do you work out which service is right for you, and which is ripping you off?

Work out the true value of SEO

My advice here is not to focus too much on cost; instead, try to think about the value an SEO service is going to bring to your business.

Take a close look at a few SEO company websites. What are they offering? If they say they can increase your sales by 500 per cent, it’s probably too good to be true. However, they should be able to demonstrate the value you’re going to get back from their services, and explain how they’re going to do it.

Remember, getting to the top of Google rankings isn’t necessarily the best SEO practice. Nor is simply directing a lot more traffic to your website. What you really want to know is how many more sales and leads the service is going to generate for you over the next 6 – 12 months.

You can’t expect solid promises, as nothing is ever guaranteed, but a company should at least be able to give you a good estimate of the return of your investment.

Do your homework on SEO agencies

If possible, really do your research before committing to an SEO company by looking at the company’s history, and any third party reviews online.

Don’t just check customer testimonials published on their website; actually speak to these previous customers directly and find out whether they’ve actually seen tangible results.

Next, interview the company. By asking the right kind of questions, you should be able to work out the true value of your investment, and whether the cost is justified.

The most affordable way to use SEO

It’s important to note here that SEO on its own won’t work – it needs to be part of a wider strategy – such as inbound marketing – to actually be successful.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on SEO for your business, my advice is to go it alone. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? It’s really not.

All you really have to do is spend time understanding the questions your customers are asking, and then write about them.

Why all this talk about inbound marketing?

Marketing is changing, and the behaviour of your customers has already changed. No longer can a TV ad, radio ad or any outbound marketing guarantee success.

The reason for this? Customers are smarter! They have so much choice available and they can easily tune out of your marketing message. Measuring success of outbound sales tactics has always been difficult and sometimes impossible.

People don’t want your business message pushed to them; they would rather figure it out on their own. Inbound marketing is about creating content that your target market would pay for, but you give it to them for free.

Take a look at your visitor data and you will see that a high percentage of your traffic leaves without performing any further action.

This can be for many reasons; perhaps they were in research mode and not ready to buy – they might even have been looking for specific answers to their questions.

Inbound marketing helps your website move your visitors through the marketing funnel and turns more of them into customers. See the sales funnel below.sales funnel

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful, and that you’ll be inspired to ask the right questions and award careful scrutiny when looking for prices for seo packages.

The good news is that most SEO companies are wising up to the fact that marketing nowadays means a lot more than keywords and traffic, however it doesn’t hurt to keep the above in mind when looking for an SEO vendor that is the right fit for your business.

Do you want to know more about prices for seo packages, or about digital marketing as a whole? Feel free to leave me a comment below, or don’t hesitate to get in touch directly if there’s anything else I can help you with.

7 Vital Questions to Ask When Choosing an SEO Company in Edinburgh

Are you looking to hire an SEO company in Edinburgh, but aren’t sure how you qualify one for the job?

With so many different SEO companies and services on offer nowadays, it can be daunting finding the right one for your business – especially if you don’t know exactly what you need.

Over the years, many people have come to me facing this exact same struggle, and I’ve been able to help them determine the questions they need to be asking in order to qualify an SEO vendor.

Below, I’ve highlighted the most important questions you need to be asking, as well as some of the questions you should ask yourself.

Question 1: Which services do you offer?

The type of services SEO companies in Edinburgh offer can differ greatly from business to business. Ideally, you should be looking for an SEO vendor that will not only provide services to generate more traffic to your website, but also services that help you generate leads from that traffic.

So, before going any further, find out more about the exact services a company is offering, and whether they can truly provide what your company needs. This could involve a more in-depth discussion to address your current challenges and concerns.

Some of the services you’d typically expect from an SEO company include:

  • A technical analysis of your website’s SEO
  • On-page optimisation
  • Content creation
  • Link analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Social media SEO

It could be that you already have an idea of some of the services you require, or perhaps you just have a clear set of company goals that you need to achieve.

In which case, my second question is equally important…

Question 2: What results can I expect?

If an SEO company can answer this question right off the bat, it should set alarm bells ringing. They should first take the time to understand more about your business and how it works, before being able to predict the results you can expect to achieve with them.

Watch out for guarantees about getting you to the top in search rankings – if an SEO company mentions this, look elsewhere. It could be they’ll resort to tactics such as building poor quality links to your site, that will eventually result in your website ranking even lower than before.

They should at least be telling you how much more leads and sales you can expect, as well as how much more traffic they will generate (although this should NOT be your main concern).

TIP: A company should also be able to tell you openly how they will achieve these results, and the methods they plan to put in place. If they won’t divulge this with you, you should look elsewhere.

Question 3: What value will you provide in relation to cost?

If you’re like most businesses, you probably have a set budget you want to stick to. Most SEO companies will at least be able to give you a relevant price range upfront, before sitting down to discuss the finer details and the total cost of the services you require.

However, more importantly than the actual cost, you need to ask about the value you will receive for that outgoing cost. After all, if you’re going to be spending, say, £3000 a month on SEO services, you’re going to need to know that it’ll be worth it.

Typically, if a company can’t give you a predicted ROI for the services you’re purchasing (say, an extra £500,000 a year in revenue), then it’s not worth the risk.

Question 4: Can I see some case studies?

If you are to put your trust in an SEO company, it only makes sense that you’re going to want to see some proof that their services get results. One of the best ways of ensuring this, is to ask to see some cases studies.

Preferably, these case studies should be as closely matched to your business model as possible, with examples of wins clearly demonstrated.

Some SEO vendors may even agree to let you speak to their previous customers, but usually this only happens later down the line, when they are sure your company is a good fit and you’re almost ready to come on-board as a fully-fledged customer.

Question 5: Do you practice what you preach?

By this question, I mean, are they following their own SEO best practices? For example, their website should be easy to navigate, lead you down a path, and speak to you as a customer with well-designed landing pages and clever call-to-actions.

Are they using the same techniques on their own website as they are promising to do for you? If possible, ask them to demonstrate examples of how they are using these techniques for their own benefit. They should be able to show you.

Question 6: How will you measure success?

I cannot stress enough how important this is. You need to specifically ask them what metrics they will be tracking in order to measure the success of your campaign, and how often you will be updated on these metrics.

You should expect a monthly report detailing key performance indicators, so you can see the results for yourself. Remember, leads and sales are always more important than traffic and keywords, which should come lower down the scale.

If ALL a company offers you is a monthly keyword report: run.

Question 7: Will I have complete transparency?

A good SEO vendor will have nothing to hide. If they are using software such as HubSpot for their SEO efforts (and you’re paying for it), you should be able to log in and see exactly what they have been doing.

If a company is simply using analytics software, you may not get this access, in which case it will be even more important for them to be able to demonstrate transparency to you.

The very least you can expect is a monthly report that includes the tasks they have recently carried out for you, as well as being able to answer any questions you might have.

The questions you should ask yourself

If an SEO vendor has successfully answered all of the above questions, and you’re still feeling uncertain, there are some questions you should ask yourself before proceeding.

These include:

  • Do I trust them?
  • Do I like them?
  • Did they demonstrate value?
  • Will I be able to work with them?
  • Do they share my company values?
  • Did they listen to me?
  • Do they have a good understanding of my challenges?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions above, there’s a good chance they might be a good fit for your business.

Managing your expectations of SEO

The practice of SEO encompasses a lot nowadays, or at least, it should. This is because SEO is traditionally very manipulative and mainly focused on tactics designed to bring more traffic to your website; not actually convert it.

The truth is that if your website isn’t converting well, adding more traffic to the mix won’t fix the problem, which is why you ideally need a more holistic approach, such as inbound marketing.

Some SEO vendors are starting to introduce other elements such as content creation (as mentioned above) and website flow into their packages, and this is what you should be looking for.

Remember, if ALL an SEO company talks about is keywords and search rankings, without being able to predict a solid increase in leads and sales, they might not be worth your time.

For more on this subject, read my blog entitled: ‘Why SEO is’nt the Solution to Your Business Problem’

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful when choosing an SEO company in Edinburgh. Remember, SEO should be part of a more holistic approach, so asking the above questions can help ensure you’re making the best choice for your business.

Do you have any questions about finding the right Edinburgh SEO company? Pop them in a comment below, and I’ll answer as soon as I can – I’d love to hear from you!

How to Choose a Good SEO Company in 2017

Are you not sure how to choose a good SEO company?

SEO has changed significantly over the past 10 years, and the SEO companies who are not adapting to these changes are the ones that will soon be out of business. You must demand more from them!

You may have heard the term ‘Inbound Marketing’. This relatively new marketing methodology is an evolution of SEO, PPC, PR, social, conversion optimisation and content marketing.

If you are thinking of hiring an Edinburgh SEO company, or your existing company is not embracing new marketing ideas, then maybe it’s time you moved on. A good way to identify if your current SEO company is stuck in the Ice Age is to listen to their language.

For instance, if they talk about:

  • Getting to the top of Google
  • Selecting a set number of keywords and keyphrases
  • Ethical link building

AND if your weekly/monthly reports focus on keyphrase positioning and monthly traffic – then your SEO Company is doing your business a disservice.

Let me explain.

The success of your business online is not about keyphrase rankings. Rankings are dead, and they tell you very little of how successful your campaign is, anyway.

A great indication of success is how many sales you received this month, or how many leads your SEO company generated for you in your last report. Perhaps even how many times your phone rang.

These are all important measurements or KPIs to illustrate how well you are doing. If your SEO Company is not focusing on these important factors then it is time for a change.

Building the right kind of relationships

As we are all in business, we know the importance of building relationships. We buy from people, not companies, and that should be true also of your Edinburgh SEO company.

We all need to build trust with our clients and always go that extra mile to make sure they are happy. They need to ask you the right questions, and listen to what you want to achieve online and for your business.

Asking you for a list of keyphrases will not help them ascertain what success means to you. They need to build relationships and form friendships with you and your business. For example, can you name three people who work on your campaign?

You’ve got to remember that not every company will be the right match for you, and the best relationships are forged when you hire a company that shares the same values.

Each SEO company has their own methodologies, you need to be bought into what they are trying to achieve or your relationship will soon deteriorate.

What kind of relationship do YOU have?

How is your relationship with your SEO company – how often do you have contact with them? You should be in frequent contact with your chosen SEO vendor, and you should feel that you can pick up the phone or respond to an email at all times.

Do you know exactly what the company does for you? Your SEO company should have identified a clear road map of success and provide you with access to a client portal where you can see exactly what goes on and when.

This portal should also give you the opportunity to get involved in the conversation with team members that are working on your campaign. At Stargazer we use Basecamp, which is a platform where the client can log in and see total transparency of what’s going on in their Inbound marketing campaign.

This platform allows you to see to do lists, project deadlines, content calendars and other tasks that may be assigned to different members of the team and the client. It also gives our clients the opportunity to communicate directly with the people who are actively working on their campaigns.

Your SEO company should have a similar process in place.

Does your SEO report look like this?

screen_shot_2016-04-04_at_11-16-51Or does it look more like this?

screen_shot_2016-04-04_at_11-17-05

Which one tells you more about how your business is doing? Talking with your SEO company and identify which metrics are important to you – and which drive success – is an important conversation you need to be having.

Conducting a marketing assessment

As I mentioned in the introduction, SEO has changed, and is now a much smaller part of a bigger marketing solution. We have seen the emergence of inbound marketing to be more effective in marketing your business.

One of the first things your SEO company should do is conduct a marketing assessment to see where your strengths and weakness lie. Below you can see a sample marketing assessment:

marketing score-seo in edinburgh

By conducting a marketing assessment, your SEO company will have a clear idea of what needs to be done to obtain success. It will show where quick gains can be made and help create a roadmap for achieving your goals.

Marketing services are split into two categories; builders and drivers.

Drivers are what we can put into place for you to see an immediate, positive effect. For example, if you have a large database of customers, creating an email marketing campaign can see relatively quick results – or we could create a referral programme.

Builders are more long-term strategies. The kinds of examples that fall into this area include:

  • Increasing your social networking strategy
  • Building your customer database
  • Implementing processes to track leads better

There is zero point in constantly link building to raise your rankings, as this may not be the solution and you could even be penalised by Google!

More traffic does not equal more sales. If your website has roadblocks that inhibit people from converting on your website, then no amount of traffic will solve this issue -which is why you need to demand more from your SEO company in 2017.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoying reading, and by how you should have a better idea of how to choose a SEO company. Don’t settle for anything less!

Got any questions about hiring an SEO company? Feel free to leave them in the comments’, and I promise to answer!

7

7 SEO Companies in Edinburgh That Deserve Your Attention

Having previously worked in Edinburgh for 10 years, and for two separate companies as head of SEO and digital marketing, I thought I would share of the most popular SEO agencies in Edinburgh.

I’ve included a brief overview of each below, along with the services they specialise in (if any).

My criteria for a good SEO company wasn’t too strict, I tried to be as fair as I possibly could. I looked for companies that:

  • Had clear pricing
  • Demonstrated success metrics (including sales, conversions, decrease in cost per leads) and focused less on rankings
  • Really had a grasp on what SEO is and how to do it successfully
  • Didn’t talk about out-of-date tactics that don’t work
  • Seemed to care about their clients

TIP: If you want to learn SEO from the experts we have a great free guide on Learning SEO from the experts that I think you would enjoy.

1. Attacat

seo in edinburgh attaract

Attacat’s website was good as they talk about client success stories including their increase in conversions, and decrease in cost per leads. They also have clear pricing which is great.

They do not have a minimum contract which I’m sure you’ll find attractive, and they also have a 95% year-on-year client retention rate which is very impressive. After reading their ‘about us’ page I got a sense that they really cared about their clients which again is great.

They also have a good presence in search as they appeared several times when I was researching this article. A good sign they know what they are doing.

Website: http://www.attacat.co.uk/

Telephone: 0131 220 1441

Contact: contact us page

2. DigitasLBi

screen_shot_2016-04-04_at_11-23-33

DigitasLBI – as it is now called – is a really well-known SEO company, not just in Edinburgh but all over the world, and they really have some impressive clients. As I have worked in Edinburgh for so long I could not escape knowing about these guys, and I’m pleased to say they come highly recommended.

They have won many awards and really cover a wide range of services that I’m sure your business will benefit from. They have also been voted the best place to work on many occasions. I personally know one person who works there and I can say he really knows his stuff.

Website: http://www.bigmouthmedia.com/

Telephone: 0845 130 0022

Contact: contact us page

3. Teckle Digital

teckle edinburgh

With a professional, clearly laid-out website and an affordable approach to SEO for companies of all sizes, Teckle Digital is definitely one to watch – especially if you’re looking for more than just SEO!

Teckle also offers neatly designed websites, social media services and ad retargeting – all services tailored and designed to fit around your own company’s goals. Although, you should remember that getting to Page One isn’t all there is to SEO – your website also needs to convert visitors into leads.

You can also take a look at the client testimonials on their home page.

Website: http://www.teckledigital.com/

Telephone: 0131 669 9488

Contact: Contact page

4. Alba SEO Services

alba seo

Offering a variety of digital marketing services, Alba SEO Services are marketing and SEO specialists based in Edinburgh. They feature high in Google search – so they must know what they’re talking about – although as with any company, you’ll want to know that high rankings aren’t all Alba cares about.

Website: http://www.albaseoservices.co.uk/

Telephone: 07867951266

Contact: There a handy form on the ‘contact us’ page

5. Cozy Digital

cozy digital edinburgh

What can I say about these guys, well, I was their head of SEO for 5 years but please don’t think I’m being bias. The reason this company is in the list is because they did show up for “seo companies in Edinburgh”.

Another big reason they made the list is that I can personally vouch for this company. I know these guys care about their customers and always give them the best possible service. They have a great way to compare their SEO packages on their website.

Cozy Digital are really good at helping small businesses grow online. This is not an easy thing to do in SEO and is a great skill to have.

website: http://www.cozy-digital.co.uk/

telephone: 0131 560 1790

contact: contact us page

6. Pretty Klicks

pretty clicks

“Not the biggest agency, but smarter and leaner.” — It’s quite a good tag line for a company to have, which is why Pretty Klicks features at no. 6 on my list. Aiming to offer quality, honest and reliable SEO, they also ensure their services are results driven, which is exactly what you want to hear.

Website: http://www.prettyklicks.com/seo-edinburgh/

Contact: Contact us page

7. SEO Service Edinburgh

seo services edinburgh

With years of experience behind their belts, SEO Service Edinburgh offers proven, affordable SEO strategies, complete SEO in the UK, and even Google penalty recovery – if you’ve previously been penalised by Google for tactics such as link building in the past.

So, if you’re looking to build on your company’s SEO, this could be a budget-friendly option – but there’s only one way to find out (give them a call)!

Website: http://www.seoserviceedinburgh.co.uk/

Telephone: 0141 250 7139

Contact: Contact us page

Disclaimer

Stargazer Digital are in no way affiliated with any of the above companies and we cannot vouch for the kind of service you will receive, but we really hope if you are looking for an SEO company in Edinburgh that you find this information helpful.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful, and I do recommend you contact these Edinburgh SEO companies to see which ones are the best fit for your needs. When you do, remember to ask them questions like these ones.

And if you have any questions you’d like to ask ME, feel free to leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.

How to Increase Your Search Engine Clicks and Conversion Rates

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search-engine-clicks.jpg

Is your website performing as well as it could?

If you’re anything like most businesses I hear from on a regular basis, increasing your traffic through search engine clicks and improving your conversion rate is probably near the top of your to-do list.

At least, it should be; as any inbound marketer will tell you, these two pieces of the puzzle really go hand-in-hand and it makes very little sense to do one without the other.

In this blog post, I’m going to list my top tips to help you increase your search engine clicks and conversion rate, but first I’m going to explain why that’s so important. Continue reading

One Vital Thing You Need to Know About Link Building

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One_Vital_Thing_You_Need_to_Know_About_Link_Building.png

Are you wondering if link building should be part of an inbound marketing strategy?

Perhaps you’ve heard of it before, but are worried about the seemingly divided opinion the subject generates – you may even have spoken to an inbound agency who has mentioned link building as part of their own strategy.

This is probably the precise reason many people come to me with the impression that link building is actually a good thing – however, they’re wrong.

In fact, I’m so glad you’ve found this post before you decided to try it yourself, because the one vital thing you need to know about link building is that it could hurt your business. Continue reading

7 Questions You Should Ask to Qualify an SEO/SEM Vendor

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Are you looking to hire an SEO vender, but aren’t sure how you qualify one for the job?

Continue reading

How to Measure the True Value of SEO for Your Business

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measure-seo

We all like to know we’re getting our money’s worth, don’t we?

That is especially true in business, as paying too much out and not getting much in return could leave you in a sticky situation.

However, when it comes to finding an SEO service, things can get particularly confusing.

A quick 10-minute online search will provide you with a wealth of SEO services being touted from as little as £20, to £10,000 a month.

So, what should you be paying? Continue reading

SEO Tools: Do you Need them and Should You Pay?

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seo-tools

It’s easy to understand why you might want to keep track of your SEO.

One of the most obvious ways to do this is via SEO tools. But how good are they really?

I get asked by so many marketing managers about the real value of SEO tools, and whether any of them are actually useful. It’s a difficult question to answer, because I’ve personally never really had much use out of them.

Below, I’m going to explore a little more about what SEO tools have to offer, and whether any of them are actually worth paying money for. Continue reading