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How to Hire an SEO Agency For Ecommerce Businesses

Tips & Guides — 17 Mar 2022

How to Hire an Ecommerce SEO Agency

How to Hire an SEO Agency For Ecommerce Businesses

Ecommerce has become an emerging trend globally in this technologically evolved era. The ecommerce industry has brought a tremendous amount of convenience to individual lives by allowing us all to shop in the comfort of our own homes. 

When supported by intelligent search engine optimization (SEO), ecommerce sites can flourish, attracting more and more online traffic. The potential of ecommerce businesses can be seen through the growing usage of the internet every year. 

As the internet and technology continue to take over the world, the number of online shoppers has been significantly increasing. 

Ecommerce sales are expected to reach 23.6% of total retail sales by 2025 compared to just 11% in 2019. 

What does this mean for ecommerce businesses?

  1. The market for ecommerce businesses is more competitive now than ever before. 
  2. Ecommerce is gaining prominence as the preferred way for buying and selling goods and services for consumers.

Now, SEO is easy to learn but hard to master, which is why business owners opt for SEO companies to handle their SEO marketing strategies and achieve relevant website traffic. 

As an ecommerce business, it’s vital to research SEO strategies, marketing tactics, and how an ecommerce SEO company can help meet your business needs

SEO marketing has become such an essential aspect for ecommerce businesses as 53% of U.S. consumers say that they research products using a search engine before deciding whether or not to buy. 

To help you on your journey in hiring an SEO agency for the growth of your ecommerce business, this article will cover all the essential steps, including:

  • What is the importance of hiring an SEO agency?
  • Traditional SEO vs ecommerce SEO companies
  • In-house vs outsourcing
  • Five things to look out for in an ecommerce SEO agency
  • Key Takeaways

What is the Importance of Hiring an SEO agency?

An SEO company is an establishment that offers the best SEO services to different businesses. Typically, SEO agencies enhance marketing strategies and campaigns of websites through the help of SEO experts who specialize in a variety of high-quality services. 

These services include link building (securing valuable backlinks, etc.), building organic search traffic, content marketing, Google Analytics tracking and customization, keyword searches, improving user experience, and more! 

SEO agencies can significantly increase your website traffic, including organic traffic. Organic traffic alone can capture more than 40% of your company’s revenue!

Some of the most common SEO marketing services include:

  • On-page and off-page SEO 
  • Voice SEO
  • Local SEO
  • SEO audits
  • Technical SEO 

SEO should be a top priority for online businesses because, unlike other acquisition channels, including PPC, display, and retargeting, SEO drives almost free traffic. 

SEO agencies allow you to achieve this without having to worry about additional onboarding. For this primary reason, many ecommerce websites and businesses are adopting social media marketing and digital marketing strategies to drive sales and an increase in conversion rate

Traditional SEO Vs Ecommerce SEO Services 

You might assume that all SEO agencies have experience with ecommerce websites, but often that is not the case. Many such agencies are focused on other businesses and industries, including small service businesses and local companies. 

Their main clients may range from startup companies and restaurants to NGOs, and they may never experience ecommerce. So, what’s the difference between running an SEO campaign for a local business and an ecommerce brand? 

What sets specialized ecommerce SEO agencies apart from any other SEO agency

To answer this question, here are some benefits of outsourcing to an ecommerce SEO agency for an ecommerce business:

  1. SEO specialists from ecommerce SEO agencies provide better expertise with professional strategies specialized for the ecommerce industry. 
  2. Higher growth in web traffic for product pages and net sales. 
  3. Get insight into metrics, impressions, and other key analytics—providing measurable results. 
  4. Improves brand visibility and reach for the target audience. 
  5. Helps meet the web standards for online stores by improving search engine rankings and website quality. Consequently, this improves the user experience and generates visibility and traffic. 

In essence, hiring an ecommerce SEO agency is crucial for ecommerce business owners who want to improve their marketing strategy, expand their business, and achieve their overall business goals

Specialized ecommerce SEO companies offer a competitive advantage that can maximize the impact of your SEO strategy. This can help you tailor your SEO marketing strategy for the highest return on investment.

In-house vs Outsourcing  

The difference between outsourcing and doing SEO in-house lies in the fact that in-house relies on employees hired to engage in SEO activities exclusively for your organization. In contrast, outsourcing involves a third-party SEO agency that provides services to other clients in different industries. 

The in-house route involves hiring employees dedicated to marketing and SEO, whereas if you hire an agency, they will be responsible for your organization’s SEO depending on the contracted scope of work. 

54% of SMBs say they rely on in-house efforts for SEO, and 42% rely on SEO consultants. 

The decision to cultivate an SEO strategy in-house or through outsourcing largely depends on your preferences, budget, and knowledge. 

If you prefer a high level of control and have a large budget, in-house SEO will be your best choice. On the other hand, if your business needs are flexible and your budget is limited, outsourcing will be your best option for your SEO and business needs

One more factor to consider when choosing between in-house and outsourcing is that, unlike SEO agencies, in-house SEO specialists can build beneficial relationships with internal web designers and developers to execute a more personalized output for your marketing strategy.

Many SEO agencies also offer packages for organizations looking to perform SEO, inbound marketing, content marketing, or a website redesign all at the same time, so be sure to ask for a customized plan.

What to Look Out for in an Ecommerce SEO Agency?

According to a 2021 Hubspot report, 61% of B2B marketers stated that SEO and organic traffic generate more leads than any other marketing initiative.

SEO is one such process that is constantly evolving based on changes in search engine algorithms

These algorithms keep getting more intelligent to provide a better experience to users. Therefore, hiring the right SEO specialists with a solid track record is crucial for any marketing strategy

As an ecommerce website, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game by learning the SEO basics so you can adequately determine your SEO prospects. If you have an existing in-house marketing team, you might have a decent grasp of digital marketing and SEO work.

In addition, finding out what kind of services an SEO agency can bring to the table is your first step to earning a better spot on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here are some points to consider and questions to ask when choosing an ecommerce SEO agency for your business needs:

1. What Kind of Work Have They Engaged in?

There are multiple approaches to refine websites, improve search engine rankings, and drive website traffic when it comes to SEO strategies

It’s essential to ask SEO experts about the methodology behind their SEO processes, internet marketing, organic search strategies, SEO marketing, and other crucial aspects.

Getting insight into an agency’s past work or case studies is also a great way to determine their SEO approach and strategies. Ask about what kind of tools they use, which also provides an idea about what kind of result you can expect to see. 

Within the field of ecommerce, different spaces have their own challenges. Hence, adaptability is an essential aspect! Any great agency knows that every client brings unique challenges.

Keep in mind that a high-quality professional SEO agency should be able to openly discuss their full range of SEO expertise and internet marketing skills and how they can support the overall success of SEO strategies

2. What are Their Claims & Marketing Strategies? 

As a business owner, always pay attention to what an agency claims.

When SEO agencies offer very specific performance guarantees, it’s a big red flag.

Remember that an SEO agency‘s role is to identify opportunities and optimize the traffic received to your online store. SEO is a long-term strategy. Therefore, claims of exact numbers may be unrealistic. 

Instead of performance guarantees, set benchmarks for success with an SEO agency. Think about what kind of revenue or traffic you wish to generate in the next six or 12 months. 

There are numerous metrics that can guide marketing and SEO campaigns, from keyword research KPIs, to rankings or bounce rate. The approach to measuring progress also depends on your business goals. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) directly affect the growth of your business, and give insight into growth plans. 

Ask about specific data like their approach to link building. It is one of the primary foundations of SEO, and experts don’t just wait for other websites to find them— they utilize link building to expedite the process. In addition to typical SEO strategies, ask about their approach to social media and digital marketing

The world of SEO is constantly in flux. Another critical aspect to look out for is how an SEO agency keeps up with current trends to achieve high-quality results. Question the agency about crucial changes to search engine algorithms and emerging methods to strengthen websites.

3. How Can They Tailor Their Approach to Fulfill Business Goals?

Ecommerce SEO agencies cannot take on a “one-size-fits-all” approach to all ecommerce platforms

Each ecommerce business has different goals depending on its market, potential customers, and business goals. At the end of the day, Shopify will not have the same strategy as Amazon

Keeping these factors in mind, an intelligent marketing company will be able to tailor its services to fulfill your specific goals while providing an overall improvement to your SEO impact and increase in conversion rate.

Depending on your business, there are different ecommerce SEO tactics to drive sales. These include strategies based around content creation, social media, and digital marketing, among others. Working with an agency that has experience with conversion rates and conversion rate optimization is also beneficial. 

Even a 0.5 or 1.0% increase in your conversion rate can make a big difference. 

4. Consider a List of Case Studies or a Portfolio

A well-established SEO company should be able to refer you to some case studies or testimonials to showcase their past work in the industry. If they can provide you with past success stories in SEO work, you’ll have a decent idea of their proficiency, skill, and expertise in the industry, which will take your online business to the next level. 

Client reviews are another excellent way to get insight into whether a particular SEO agency is worth the hire or not. 

Case studies are the most meaningful because they provide a walkthrough of a business’ previous state until the finishing stages of a campaign. They also often relay vital statistics, including yearly growth, growth in organic traffic, and conversions. Ultimately, an impressive client portfolio is what sets an agency apart from others and provides a benchmark—helping you make a better decision. 

5. Provide an Overview of Your Goals, Current Issues & Budget

If you require professional guidance and advice on what improvements can be made to your website or SEO strategy, SEO audits provide exactly that in-depth analysis. SEO audits help form an informed strategy and get insight into improvements needed to achieve your SEO goals. 

Mentioning the current issues you’re facing is also a great way to get honest input from SEO experts by enabling them to evaluate your strategy, website’s design and content, and usability. 

Also, make sure you’re clear about your business and marketing goals. Provide details about the current state of your digital marketing strategy and what you expect from the partnership. 

Provide details about your budget. Most SEO agencies offer various pricing models, but the most common is a monthly retainer. Charges can also be based on per project or per hour. As a monthly pricing model, SEO agencies can charge anywhere between $200-$2000. 

Make sure to research the industry’s average budget standards. This way, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision about an agency’s services. 

Key Takeaways

Ultimately, no matter which SEO agency you decide to work with to fulfill your ecommerce SEO strategy, make sure they have a strong track record and expertise in working with ecommerce businesses specifically. 

A great way to source good SEO agencies or employees would be via recruitment agencies or RPO firms. Typically these agencies will use an Applicant Tracking System to source candidates for an in-house or outsourced position faster than anything.

Asking certain questions will help you get a better understanding of the compatibility between your business and the SEO agency of your preference. 

In the long run, the benefits of hiring an SEO agency greatly outweighs the cost savings by trying to do SEO yourself. If an agency is ecommerce focused, SEO experts will set up your SEO campaign for success—otherwise, you’ll end up hiring an SEO agency that is learning on the job.

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