How to choose a SEM Agency

For any business, search engine advertising is no trivial matter. It requires a lot of money and effort, so assessing what options are available to us is necessary if we want to achieve the best possible results. The first thing we have to decide is whether we want to manage our own accounts internally or if we would prefer an outside agency to handle them. Both have their advantages and disadvantages!

Search engine advertising is an art which encompasses statistics, mathematics, economics and creativity, and one which can sometimes present complex optimisation problems in terms of investment, development of accounts etc… Advertising platforms are also constantly changing, so capitalising upon these changes on almost a daily basis is essential if optimal performance is to be achieved.

If a business isn’t capable of overcoming common search engine advertising obstacles on their own, then it’s advisable that they seek the help of a specialised SEM agency. Such obstacles may arise due to:

A lack of experience or knowledge
Insufficient time or internal resources
The current agency being used is not specialised
If you do decide to work with an SEM agency, your first impression of them is really important. These initial points of contact can give you a really good insight into what it would be like to work with them. If they don’t ask very many questions, make unrealistic promises or guarantee you the first position for a keyword, then be wary. It could be all smoke and mirrors…

Working with an agency rather than assigning the job to somebody internally has its advantages. These include:

Specialisation
Ability to ´keep up-to-date´
Overview of advertising systems
Firsthand knowledge of similar accounts
Unexpected ROI
Outside view of the business that brings new perspectives
How to choose an agency: the positive and negative signs

In order to trust an SEM agency with your advertising investment, it is absolutely essential that the business and agency get to know each other. To do this you have to ask (and be prepared to answer) some questions. Don’t be afraid.

Positive signs

Transparency
Customisation
Integration
The will to share knowledge
Account support
Continual updates
Proactivity
Negative signs

Unrealistic promises
Guaranteeing the top position for keyword X
Use of their own Adwords account
Excessive automation
Lack of business communication
The final decision

There are many factors that need to be taken into account when it comes to hiring an agency to manage our investments in online activities. We have to weigh up these factors and find a way to make them work with our business needs and resources… it can be a complicated task.

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