What Small Businesses Should Expect When Hiring a Paid Search Agency

Before you hire an agency to manage your paid search programs, here is what you should look for and expect.

What to Expect from a Paid Search Agency

Once you’ve clearly identified your marketing goals and reviewed proposals here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you evaluate possible SEM partners:

1. Strategic Analysis

Your new agency or consultant should determine clear search objectives based upon stated your stated marketing goals and develop strategies and tactics designed to reach those goals. This should include:

– Review of your business goals, and conversions
– Identification of your company’s  key performance metrics and conversion events that will be used to measure campaign success and how they will be tracked
– Analysis of overall search engine usage and user behavior to help select a comprehensive list of keywords and to estimate costs and results
– Close consultation with your team to determine ROI

2. Keyword Development and Planning

Your new agency should also understand your business metrics and determine how much should be paid for a click and a conversion on your website.  They are responsible for planning keyword development which includes researching and selecting the best terms to achieve search goals; not limited to brand, generic, niche, promotion/seasonal considerations.

3. Implementation

A paid search agency should plan and implement. You can expect them to place the buy with paid search sites and traffic out creative and any query strings necessary for tracking. They should also work closely with you and copywriters (if necessary) to create targeted copy that will differentiate your business and include relevant, targeted and effective copy for keywords. Lastly, they should be equipped to advise on landing page URL’s to drive conversions.

4. Optimization and Bid Management

Once your new campaign has launched, the agency you’ve hired should monitor keywords periodically to determine ranking, click prices, and creative performance by search engine and then optimize the campaign based upon an analysis of optimal pricing and placements.

Some agencies may employ an automated bid management system to achieve real-time cost-per-click and keyword positions based on your conversion targets.

Ultimately, an agency should set strategies for automated software review of bids at least every hour, 24 hours a day, for CPA/ROI goals, per individual keyword, and per time of day or week.


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