How to verify the actions of SEO agencies?

SEO SEO Basics
Dominik KamockiDominik Kamocki
Published: 25.03.2019
10 minute

SEO – a project that balances on the thin line of quiet frustration

. . Of all the activities associated with online marketing, SEO seems to be the space that most reasonably allows you to grow your business online. It is a time-consuming process that, step by step, allows a site to grow, while giving it adequate support in terms of traffic or at least product sales. . However, things are not always so colorful. If someone were to ask me to find one bad thing about SEO, I would say that it’s a project that balances on a thin line of quiet frustration on both sides – the Client and the Specialist. .

Revolutionary change and chiseling away at the details

. . SEO is all about big revolutionary changes at first and then, excuse the word, chiseling away at the details, individual articles, pages and lines of code. These are things that a good specialist can turn into an advantage for the site, but on the other hand, these are elements that the client often simply doesn’t have time for in his daily work. . Why am I writing about this? Because verifying SEO results, no matter which parameter we analyze, should always be preceded by a joint reflection between the marketer and the specialist – are we sure we’ve done everything to have the greatest impact on the result? . So, to the point – how to verify the actions of an SEO agency? Let’s break it down into a few sub-points: .
  1. Page visibility
  2. .
  3. Organic traffic
  4. .
  5. Design features – links and taking care of SERPs
  6. .
  7. Involvement of a specialist
  8. .

1. Site visibility

. .
  • See visibility graph
  • .
. The visibility of a site is the first element we should check when we want to verify the actions of an SEO specialist. The site must grow and develop, responding to more and more user inquiries related to our service offerings. We can verify visibility growth at least in Senuto (Visibility Analysis module).
Source: Visibility Analysis in Senuto
  • Learn the phrases for which the site is visible
  • .
. However, the chart itself is only one dimension of such an evaluation. The other, equally important, is to understand the meaning of the phrases for which we are visible. . What is your site’s visibility really like? Which specific keywords are translating into your business? It’s worth raising this question with a specialist even before you get your first report. The basis of good results is well-defined goals! .

Visibility for branded phrases

. . I personally am not convinced by the bragging about the increase in visibility, where the notable majority are brand phrases. In the case of such phrases, we must remember that the success of the site is not only determined by the actions of the SEO agency, but also, at least, by other marketing activities of the company – such as TV ads. . So if your report contains branded phrases alone, think about whether this is definitely the effect you expect from an SEO project and for which you should pay. Also pay attention to random phrases for which (by some miracle) your site shows up, but they are blandly unrelated to your business. .

What phrases do you care about

. . Think about what’s more valuable to you – growth on 2-3 phrases with 40,000 queries per month, or higher rankings on more queries with less popularity? . Depending on what your target audience is, you will look at this question differently. Perhaps you have a wide enough assortment in your online store that you are interested in the phrases with the highest popularity (because there is something for everyone). . However, if you have a blog where you cover niche topics, intended for a narrow group of people, then traffic from many phrases with lower search potential will be as valuable to you as possible. .

Phrases vs image

. . It is also worth remembering that the key phrases for which we appear in Google search results may also have a significant image aspect. Then it is not popularity that becomes the key indicator, but the fact of achieving a high position itself. . Example: For an IT company offering specific solutions, it will be much more profitable to build visibility based on niche but specific phrases rather than popular ones such as “IT company.” .

Page visibility verification – summary

. . Reporting on the visibility of a page or the visibility of phrases selected by a specialist just to show increases is incomplete reporting. It is worthwhile to establish in advance (if possible) with a list of phrases that you care about business. And even if the report won’t always be “in the green,” this way there will be no shortage of ideas about what else can be done in the project to achieve better results. .   .

2. Organic traffic

. . Organic traffic is a metric as dangerous as visibility, if we look at it superficially. .

Once again, it’s a good idea to distinguish between brand and non-brand phrases.

. . As with phrases, client activities other than SEO itself are also responsible for brand traffic to a large extent. This is the case not only in SEO projects, but also in Google Ads campaigns, where you usually see much better results just with branding campaigns when, for example, a TV ad is running in the background. . We need to try to demarcate brand traffic. Turning off the homepage is a bit of a compromise, but it’s worth remembering to also include login, contact or terms and conditions pages. Customers are usually looking for such content for a brand. That’s why I recommend having a frank discussion with your agency about analyzing organic traffic to your site. The point is not to hide something or depreciate the agency’s work, but to have the best possible understanding of the results generated. .

Separate traffic to content section

. . When analyzing organic traffic, it’s also a good idea to separate traffic that directs to the content section. Following the principle that Content is King, experts will largely suggest expanding the content section.


. .
  • How does the development of this section translate into our business?
  • Does the organic traffic that comes to it later return to the site and perform the desired action?
  • .
  • Are we as marketers working well with it, e.g., through remarketing activities?
  • .
. A mere increase in organic traffic to a blog that doesn’t convert is yes a success, but business-wise it’s half-hearted.

And how do users behave?

. . It’s always a good idea to check how users who came to your site from organic results behave. Whether they are just enter-read-exit style sessions, or whether they give the whole site more value, though. After all, we are working for the success of the entire site, not just individual pages. . Here, especially in the case of e-commerce, it is crucial to at least check how the traffic acquired by the site goes to the product pages and how the transitions between pages look. They are the key ones in terms of traffic monetization – the most important goal for the client. .

Better and cheaper traffic?

. . There is a lot of talk in sales meetings about organic traffic: .
  1. better
  2. .
  3. cheaper (in terms of cost per click)
  4. .
. It’s worth keeping an eye on these metrics, because it won’t always turn out that the SEO efforts are actually as beneficial as the bidding has been presented. Of course, the level of cost of an SEO project vs. a advertising in Google Ads project is definitely lower (unless development costs are added), but at the end of the day, it’s the result that counts! .

3 Project Features

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External linking

. . When I review a report from an SEO specialist, I am also particularly interested in the quality of places from which links are obtained. Someone will say – naive thinking, because, after all, we all know the sources of linking… But let’s look at it from a marketer’s perspective – does it make sense to publish 30 articles on external sites where the number and engagement of users are, well – low? . Is linking profitable in all industries and companies? If your company can afford a regular PR effort, consider whether such an investment will pay a little more dividends than another site for publishing SEO articles. . Again, I am not saying that linking from such sites is not necessary. If the specialist can justify the choice of the site and his strategy, and stands behind the result – ok. However, sometimes it is worth thinking about some variety. .

SERP appearance

. . Another aspect is the appearance of SERPs. Many clients aren’t afraid of branded phrases until you get to phrases like “Opinions [Brand].” Only then does the proverbial ride begin! . We all know that it’s much easier and more willing to write negative reviews, and these often have quite an impact on how a brand is perceived by a potential customer even before a direct interaction takes place. So is there anything an SEO specialist can do if bad reviews are showing up on Google? . He certainly won’t solve the situation himself, but he can point out and recommend actions that will help build a positive image of the company in Google search. .

4. Engaging a specialist

. . Specialist involvement is an absolutely unmeasurable and certainly non-universal element. Unmeasurable, because there are marketers who prefer assurance in the form of results that everything works, rather than phone calls and emails with recommendations. Non-universal, because there is no point in wasting time on empty phone calls asking “Well, how’s the service?”. However, if it is done with the right sensitivity, both parties should be satisfied. Why do I think the involvement of a specialist is so important? . From the client’s perspective, I know that every invoice received begins to raise questions about the quality of a given project, a given service. With SEO, these are often very tricky questions, because the success of a project can consist of many factors that both the Specialist and the Marketer will have no control over. . So, how do you argue the invoice in such a situation? Precisely by involvement, searching for solutions, analyzing more parts of the site, sharing knowledge. It may seem that these are insignificant things, but in practice they matter a lot. After all, business is all about relationships and trust. .

How to verify the activities of SEO agencies? Summary

. Verifying the actions of an SEO agency is quite a broad topic – in this article I’ve included general tips on what to look out for. However, you won’t find here the answer to the question of what you should measure specifically in your business. . These questions should be answered during the project kick-off meeting – this is the moment when you define what matters more to you – traffic or visibility, for example. This is an opportunity to outline to the specialist what results we expect from the project. . However, I hope that the examples and insights presented here will contribute to a better view of the results presented by SEO specialists. Want to know how much an SEO specialist earns in the industry? Check out our report >>.
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Dominik Kamocki

Digital Marketing Manager w Mash. Z branżą szeroko pojętego marketingu internetowego jestem związany od ponad 7 lat, z czego prawie połowę zawodowego życia spędziłem po stronie Klienta, a połowę po stronie Agencji.

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