Why International SEO Agencies Are Ideal for the Post-Pandemic World

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key element of the digital marketing mix. It enables your website to be more useful to potential customers, and thereby be discovered by search engines such as Google, Bing, and others. 

By applying SEO, you have the opportunity to appear on page one for the search terms that matter most to your business. As a result, you can organically attract thousands of new customers without having to spend enormous amounts of money on advertising.

If done correctly, SEO can put you in front of buyers across the globe interested in your services or products. However, you’ve got to keep in mind that appearing in the top ten search results for any given keyword has been growing in difficulty over the last few years.

What makes the process increasingly complex is the fact that search engines are constantly changing. Google itself gets dozens of algorithm updates each year. As a result, SEO techniques that worked well in the past might not bring you the desired results today.

Understanding this, a growing number of businesses are making the logical choice of hiring a specialized agency to help them with search engine optimization. This is especially true for small and medium-sized ones that don’t have dedicated marketing teams or SEO specialists in-house.

If you’re looking to outsource search engine optimization right now, you’re probably wondering whether you should choose a local or an international SEO agency. Let’s explore why the latter is better for the post-pandemic world.

What Makes an SEO Agency Great

There are thousands of digital marketing agencies that offer SEO services, and unsurprisingly they come in all shapes and sizes. 

Some specialize in creating optimized content and generally focus on the on-page aspect of search engine optimization. Others are extremely good at building links, which is another crucial part of SEO. Yet others have expertise specific to particular types of websites (e.g. eCommerce). This is still just the tip of the iceberg.

Depending on the agency’s location, service prices vary wildly. US-based agencies are typically the most expensive. In many cases the investment is well worth it, but the price itself should never be the only indicator of the expected quality of service.

International SEO agencies often have the advantage of operating in low-cost cities and countries. This gives them the opportunity to provide affordable services to clients across the globe that are in no way inferior to those of expensive agencies that charge hundreds of dollars per hour.

So if you’re trying to compare a US-based agency to one outside of the US, you may be wondering what makes an SEO agency great? Here are a few criteria:

  • Excellent understanding of the latest SEO trends and techniques
  • Honesty in communication
  • Process transparency

As mentioned in the beginning, search engines are constantly being updated to provide a better user experience to the billions of people who use them every day. This makes the competition for ranking on page one extremely fierce in most industries. 

A great SEO agency will have a deep understanding of the most recent search engine developments and how updates affect their clients. It will proactively suggest new ways of boosting the effectiveness of your website and keep a close eye on its performance at all times.

This will be reflected in the way the agency communicates with you. If a domestic or an international SEO agency offers to get your brand new website to page one of Google for 10 keywords of your choice in a month, you should be extremely skeptical.

Frankly, if they’re making such a promise then they are either overpromising at best or relying on black-hat SEO methods (which can get your website removed from a search engine) at worst. A great agency will always try to create realistic expectations of what’s possible to achieve within a given period of time even at the risk of losing a potential client.

If the agency values its reputation, it would be willing to say “we’re not a good fit for you”. On the contrary, if that agency is great for your business, it should be able to provide references from multiple current and past clients.

Honesty leads to transparency. If an SEO agency is great, they will keep you in the loop at all times, always readily sharing honest and constructive information to help you make the best possible marketing decisions. The best ones out there make this easier by relying on visual management platforms to display all the work that needs to be done or is already in progress.

This way, you can monitor how things are going and provide feedback in a timely manner, with the goal of receiving the greatest possible value for your investment.

Now that you know what makes an agency great, let’s have a look at the advantages of international SEO service providers.

Advantages of International SEO Agencies

There are several key strengths that make international SEO agencies a perfect choice for the post-pandemic world. 

Qualities of a good SEO agent

Knowledge of more than one market

Ranking high on Google or any other search engine has a lot to do with content relevancy and user behavior once they land on a website. Therefore, the search results that appear in each country vary greatly. 

A website page that’s relevant to American users has a decent chance of being irrelevant to British ones, for example. This is because each market has its specifics and user preferences. Logically, the content you create and optimize to rank for a given search term has to be tailored to the local market.

If a user lands on your page after discovering it on Google and quickly leaves afterward, this indicates that the content is not as relevant to the search term as the platform initially thought. If this repeats several dozen times, you’ll go down in ranking.

International SEO agencies understand this better than those who specialize in local search engine optimization. Not only do they apply general best practices, but they also tailor their approach to the local user base for maximum results.

Any agency that works with clients outside of its own country has to get good at studying and understanding these national differences. By contrast, most US agencies work exclusively with US clients and therefore never develop this skill.

Understanding of international SEO 

In the same way there are specific user preferences that affect search rankings, there are technical factors that do the same. For example, the way you structure your URLs, page language, and others all play a role.

International SEO agencies know the best practices for optimizing a website to rank high in any given country. The best ones work with clients from all over the world and apply this knowledge on a daily basis. Therefore, they are more likely to bring you the desired results. 

If you wish to rank high on Google or any other search engine in more than one country, then an international agency should be your choice for outsourcing SEO.

Availability outside of traditional local office hours

Another huge advantage of international SEO agencies is that they work outside the traditional working hours. This gives them the flexibility to make changes to your website during the times when you get the least amount of traffic.

If anything breaks in the process, only a handful of people would notice before the issue gets fixed.

You might be worried that working outside the typical 9-to-5 would make communication and collaboration with the agency slow and difficult. A few years ago, your concern would’ve been well placed.

However, during the pandemic, remote collaboration tools made such a breakthrough that, with a little flexibility on both sides, you can communicate with your international SEO agency in a seamless way.

Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet are just a few of the tools that make it incredibly easy to collaborate with agencies located even on different continents than yours. This leads us to the last key advantage that makes international SEO agencies an ideal fit for the post-pandemic world.

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Better value for the money

SEO isn’t and shouldn’t be a cheap service. Doing it well requires skills that take years to master. Of course, there are countless low-cost freelancers that you could hire for a very modest fee, but you shouldn’t enter that business relationship with too high hopes.

Quality service requires a reciprocal investment. The best SEO agencies charge thousands, if not tens of thousands dollars depending on the scope of your project. Even though a high-quality international agency would not come cheap, depending on their location, you can expect better rates than a local US-based alternative.

If the agency is good at what it does, you will receive a better ratio between the money you invest and the results you get in the end.

How to Choose the Right Agency for Your Business

Placing your trust in an agency you’ve never worked with before comes with the risk of spending a substantial amount of your marketing budget and getting very little in return. As a result, many business owners are hesitant to do so.

Even if you’re referred to an agency that has served someone you know well, there’s no guarantee that it will be a good fit for your business. To reduce the chance of wasting money and getting very little but disappointment, you should always do research based on several key pillars:

  • Relevancy of the agency’s portfolio to your industry
  • Testimonials from past clients
  • Discovery conversation with the agency

The first point is crucial because every niche has its specifics and you don’t want to hire an international SEO agency that knows nothing about your line of business. On the other hand, you don’t want to learn midway through your engagement that they are supporting your primary competitor as well.

Afterward, you should look for some sort of social proof that the agency is truly great at what they do. The easiest way to do that is to find social proof on neutral service review platforms such as Clutch. Their value comes from the fact that they are unbiased.

Last but not least, even if you are not sure that an SEO agency is a good fit for your business, take an hour of your time to have a discovery conversation with them. During the session, share your goals, challenges, and any concerns you have. Be sure to ask all the questions you can think of about the agency and even take someone from your team with you to get a second opinion.

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