How Long Should I Keep Working With My SEO Agency? When Is It Time To Let Go?

If you are new to SEO and trialling an agency for the first time, it can be an unsettling experience – particularly as it can take a long time for SEO to yield positive results and all the while you are speculating your hard earned money.

With that in mind, how long should you keep working with an SEO agency? At what point will you know if it’s time to let them go or if you are moving in the right direction?

If you are unsure, stick around and we’ll share some unbiased advice on how best to handle the situation.

How long does SEO take to work?

This is a tricky one because the time it takes for SEO to actually work can vary tremendously, from 3 to 12-months (depending on the size of your website and competitiveness of your niche) – and in some extreme cases, it might not even work for you at all.

In that light, it can be rather difficult to know whether you are working with the right agency or if you should jump ship and find a more suitable alternative.

How to know if your SEO agency is working against you?

Given that SEO can take so long, here are a few red flags for you to keep an eye out for so that you don’t end up wasting too much time or money flogging a dead horse.

-They are not transparent about their methods: Don’t be afraid to ask your SEO agency about their methods. Since you are spending your money with them, you have every right to know where it is going. And the truth is, there are only 2 reasons why an SEO agency would hold that kind of information back from you:

  • They don’t know what they are doing.
  • They are using blackhat methods and abusing Google’s algorithm.

-You’ve received a Manual Order from Google: If you have received a Manual Order from Google since working with your chosen SEO agency, then we highly recommend that you consider jumping ship. Manual Orders are typically issued due to suspicious or “spammy” activity on your website. In other words, if Google has penalised you, it’s because your agency is doing something they shouldn’t be doing – which reflects poorly on you.

-You haven’t seen any positive movement: After 3 months of working on your SEO, you should be able to see some positive movement. This doesn’t necessarily mean sitting at #1 for all your focus keywords, but you should at the very least be making some headway. If your SEO agency has nothing to show for it, it may be time to start asking questions and applying the pressure.

-There have been no changes to your website / new content produced: Where is your money going? Because if your SEO agency hasn’t made any changes to your website or optimized / added new content, then you should be suspicious. It is very rare (if not unheard of) for a website to be “SEO ready” without any prior optimization – even if you are convinced you have the perfect landing page.

– Failure to adapt to algorithm updates: For all SEO professionals, keeping pace with the Google Algorithm updates is must. If your agency is unaware of the recent algorithm updates from Google then there are chances of doing things that are outdated. So make sure your preferred SEO agency always keeps an eye on Google SEO updates.

– Content Quality: Some agencies do cheap practices like purchasing low quality content or plagiarized content, this can hurt your website. Low quality content can face actions from Search Engines. So always check the quality of content your agency is spreading as it can also affect your brand image.

– Poor Website Optimization: Your website should be well optimized for users. It should load fast as slow loading website do suffer from higher bounce rate and can miss out on chances of higher ranking in SERPs. No user is willing to wait long for your website to load so you need to consider it as one of top factors.

– Suspicious Link Building: There are many factors that affect your website performance in SERPs and link building is one of the main part of Off Page SEO. Make sure your SEO agency is doing the link building on higher authority sites as links from spammy websites do have negative effect and can cause harm to your website in long term.

Conclusion: Go with your gut

Make sure that you ask the right questions. If your SEO agency comes back to you with clear answers for each, and they show evidence of the work that they have been doing, then you should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Again, depending on the size of your website and how competitive your industry is, it could take months and months before you finally start seeing a return on your investment.

However, if you start applying pressure and you get very little back in return besides vague meanderings and question-dodging, then you should consider finding an alternative SEO agency.

The likelihood is that you simply need to give your agency more time to get things off the ground. That said, if in the event that you have unfortunately committed to an inexperienced—or indeed inequitable—SEO firm, don’t lose heart. Simply go your separate ways and get back on the horse.

If you want to avoid any complications like this in the future, take the time to research SEO agencies and shop on reputation and results alone.

  • 5* reviews.
  • Case studies
  • Social proof.

That way, you’ll never have to “take their word for it” or invest on blind faith.