Many businesses (of all sizes) just can’t afford the expense and resources associated with doing eCommerce SEO in-house.
That makes it necessary for many online merchants to hire an eCommerce SEO agency to manage their organic marketing.
The decision to hire one at all is hard enough, choosing one is even harder.
But this basic framework should help.
First, Determine Your Needs/Goals
The first thing you need to do is make sure you know whether or not you need SEO. Some businesses are better positioned than others.
Check Google’s guidelines for paid search advertising. If your business is restricted, you definitely need SEO services.
Then, determine your goals. Do you want to spread brand awareness, attract new leads and potential customers, or start competing more effectively with larger businesses in your industry?
Do you want to improve organic traffic and sales?
Then eCommerce SEO services are beneficial for you.
SEO is not for you if you want to drive traffic and sales overnight. That is not what SEO does.
Then, Choose a Few Relevant Keywords for Your Industry
For the purpose of this hypothetical scenario, let us say that you serve the medical industry with supplies.
Pick out a few keywords related to your goal. These could be “medical supplies SEO” or “SEO agencies for medical supply stores” or “medical supplies local SEO” or just “eCommerce SEO growth agency” or something of that nature.
Keep in mind that there are infinite keyword variants (bounded only by natural human language) and that different companies rank for each of them.
What you want to do is see which agencies rank most effectively for the keywords that are most relevant to your goals.
Look through the organic listings in the search engine results pages (not the ads) and then check out the top two or three that appeal to you.
Pick the Top Three, Call Them, and Ask About Their Process
Give these agencies a call and find out how they do it. Some agencies offer more comprehensive eCommerce SEO services than others.
For instance, some agencies do only backlinks. Others do technical optimizations. Some handle content and only content.
You want to work with an eCommerce SEO agency that works on all four main pillars of SEO, being off-page SEO (backlinks), on-page SEO, content, and technical SEO.
Of course, this will be impacted by what your goals are for your online store with respect to search engine optimization, but you will find that this is generally true.
Read Reviews and Check Out Social Media
After you find a partner or a few that you are confident can do the keyword research and optimize your site with a custom marketing strategy, get serious about looking into customer relations.
An agency can have eCommerce SEO experts on hand and still be terrible when it comes to customer service.
Don’t be caught unaware. Find them on social media and look through places like Google Reviews and Clutch to see what customers are saying.
You want to hire an agency, all things considered, that has predominantly good reviews.
Agree on a Contract/Proposal (and Remember Not to Rush It)
Once you’ve found an eCommerce SEO agency that has mostly favorable reviews, ranks well in the organic SERPs, and seems to offer the services you need, iron out an agreement.
The last part of this is to be patient. Do not go into SEO expecting to see a big turnaround within three months or even six months.
It could happen, but this is not the norm. Assume that you won’t be seeing substantial results until at least a year from the time you sign.
If you aren’t willing to wait that long, don’t sign at all. There are probably other, better eCommerce marketing channels for you.