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How to Know if an SEO Agency is Legit

By Cole Anderson
Updated August 14, 2020
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How to know if an SEO agency is legit
Cole Anderson
Cole Anderson

is an SEO writer and content strategist at Hook. He enjoys working closely with clients to develop successful content strategies that move their brand forward. You can find him at almost any local coffee shop on the weekends or playing guitar in his apartment. He's married to local entrepreneur Jessica Anderson and has an Australian Eskimo puppy.

Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:

It’s as simple as this. If you have a doctor prescribe you medicine, but those doctors aren’t willing to take the medicine themselves, would you take it?

If you looked at their patients and they were all sick, would you want to be treated by them? Would you trust them with your life?

I’m going to guess you wouldn’t because no one really would.

So what does this mean for SEO? It’s simple; an SEO company is either an excellent doctor to your website and web traffic or a bad doctor and doesn’t really know what they’re doing.

Here’s what you can do to know that your SEO agency is legit.

If you’re not into reading through a post right now, watch this video that Tim and Cody did!

Vetting Your SEO Agencies Website

First off, you’ll need to sign up for a 7 days, 7 dollars, free trial subscription of ahrefs.com. This tool is going to allow you to dig into the analytics of their websites. Here are some of the things you’ll be able to see if you put your SEO agencies website into ahrefs.com

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  1. How many keywords they’re ranking for organically.
  2. How much they would spend in PPC to get that same amount of traffic.

There are a lot of marketing agencies out there that say they do SEO but don’t actually do it very well. We call those companies, FAKE SEO companies.

The Cobblers Shoe Principal

One thing to keep in mind when you’re vetting clients is that they might not have the best rankings on their site because they spend so much time on their clients. That’s why it’s good to look at both the agency’s ranking and some of their clients. The cobbler’s shoes are never finished because they’re too busy making everyone else’s.

How to Understand What You’re Looking at

After you’ve gotten your free subscription to ahrefs.com, all you have to do is plug in the web address to their site explore tool. When you do this, you’ll have a readout similar to the one below.

Below you’ll find the audit of our site taken from ahrefs.com. Here’s how it works.

ahrefs hook agency audit.

From left to right, here’s what each of these numbers means.

  • Ahrefs ranks = Ahrefs rank is the rank that ahrefs gives you out of the over 1 million websites in their database. This won’t affect your performance, but it is interesting to see.
  • UR = UR shows the strength of the target pages link profile. In this situation, it’s the link profile of the homepage. This is on a scale of 1 to 100.
  • DR = This is the link profile of the overall site and is better known as domain rating. This is also on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 benign the best. A 75 on this scale is a pretty solid score.
  • Backlinks = the number of links that point to different pages on the website.
  • Referring Domains = the number of different websites that point to the website we’re looking at.
  • Organic Keywords = the number of keywords that the site is ranking for organically.
  • Organic Traffic = the number of site visitors that arrive at your site organically.
  • Traffic Value = the value that organic traffic provides to the website.

The big one that we like to look at for a quick overview is traffic value. Hook’s traffic value, according ahrefs, is $67,700. That means we would have to spend almost 70k a month to get that many people on our site if we only used paid ad traffic or PPC.

Let’s Break Down Another One

Now, let’s dive in and break down another one.

ahrefs-audit

Now, as you can see, this marketing agency doesn’t spend a lot of time or money working on their own SEO strategy. As you can see, the value of the traffic on this website is only at $1.5k.

Here are a few potential clients of an agency like this.

site audit

First off, we have a pretty good rank. $7.7k is a really good monthly traffic value. This site is well developed, has good content, and in general, is doing really well. If we move on a bit, we see some different factors.

audit

The next site we’re looking at paints a different story. This site only has a monthly traffic value of around $500 dollars. That means they could be putting the money they are spending on SEO towards PPC and google ads and be getting significantly more value. I will say that the gratification of SEO isn’t instant, and it does take time to build a site rank. So when you’re asking about an agency’s clients, do be sure to ask how long they’ve been working with them.

Next up are two more websites with very similar stories. If you’re looking into an agency and you see something like this, it should immediately give you a red flag. The strategies beyond these SEO campaigns aren’t playing out to the client’s advantage, and organic traffic seems to be low and now growing at all.

The Takeaway

Do your research! Know the team you’re hiring to work with you and do your best to ensure that they know what they’re doing. You don’t want to work with a team that’s unsure of their ability, or that doesn’t have any tried and true experience.

Look for case studies, average increases for clients, and other stuff that shows you what the company or agency is made of.

As always, if you’re interested in talking to Hook Agency about your marketing and SEO needs, hit us up! Tracy would love to jump on a call with you and talk about the importance of SEO and how we can build your organic traffic.

You can reach us by filling out this simple form.


 

Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:
 

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Cole Anderson
Cole Anderson

is an SEO writer and content strategist at Hook. He enjoys working closely with clients to develop successful content strategies that move their brand forward. You can find him at almost any local coffee shop on the weekends or playing guitar in his apartment. He's married to local entrepreneur Jessica Anderson and has an Australian Eskimo puppy.

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