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We work with 15 SEO marketers in 2 years. Here’s how we identify the good SEO marketers from bad

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

A good SEO marketer is one that can help your business grow. However, not every agency can provide the services you need or they may be too expensive. The article will give advice on how to identify a good SEO marketing agency or freelancers and what questions you should ask them before hiring them in order to avoid wasting time and money. It also provides tips on what things you should look out for when interviewing an agency as well as warning signs of bad agencies.

As a digital talent platform, Flow Digital has worked with different SEO marketers and clients, with varying skill levels. Throughout our entire experience with SEO marketers, we have come to the realization that despite some SEO talents being really experienced, they are unable to do branding for themselves because they are busy handling their client accounts. This means that we can only assess the quality of their work by working together with them beforehand. However, there are also some ways to identify the makings of a good SEO marketer even before working with them.

The requirements to identify a good SEO agency can be different for small business owners (single decision-maker) and corporations due to the difference in expectations. Small business owners or single decision-makers often only look at the results obtained, e.g: conversion, sales, and profit. 

However, a corporation aims to achieve long-term objectives, e.g: brand awareness, engagement, and whether or not the report provides any insights to management level to determine the next plan for business growth. As an agency who has worked with numerous SEO freelancers and marketers, we would like to share our experience on determining the qualities of an SEO marketers with our readers. Here are some information to help you better understand SEOs and determine good quality SEO marketers.

How do they perform SEO audits on your website ?

Many SEO service providers offer free audits in the form of auto generated reports by SEO software like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Backlinko. These reports generally list potential keywords, website traffic and competitors. Many SEO agencies will opt to subscribe to an SEO software since it is easier to get reports. While it is efficient and fast, it is not as good as a manual report as these types of reports lack insight and accurate data since it is generated by AI software. 

However, some professional SEO agencies do provide professional web auditing with manual suggestions listings to provide insight on how you can improve your business. Some of these agencies do charge a certain fee for their web auditing services, which can range from RM3k-5k. While the price is costly, it is worth it as the process to conduct a proper full SEO auditing service is quite lengthy. The professional auditing report will cover details regarding website structure, problems, opportunities, and keyword identification opportunities.

While an auto generated report is handy in tight situations and a fast paced working environment, it can never compete with an auditing report done by actual humans.

Strategy & Focus  

Different SEO experts have different approaches to SEO strategies. Some agents focus on keyword optimisation while others focus on content strategy. While these methods are indeed usable, none of them will be able to guarantee first ranking results. Nowadays,  agencies are no longer focusing on keyword ranking, and are adopting other more effective methods. This is due to Google changing the algorithm many times throughout the years. Here, let us take a look at some of the factors to determine the performance of SEO services.

A good SEO team consists of marketers, web developers and content writers. Each of these roles provide a different strength to cover all the bases of a good strategy. Most of the freelancers / agencies in India are still focused on the keyword SEO method, which is why the price is often much cheaper than local agencies. While there are good SEO freelancers in India who use this method, we still need to understand the audit report and adjust the strategy with them, since we are the one who are more familiar with our own business, especially when it concerns the local market.

A good SEO service provider will change their SEO strategies from time to time after receiving the auditing report at the end of the month. They will conduct analysis, and will sometimes suggest changing keywords to meet the search target criteria. They may even  suggest areas that we can improve on and do better. There is no single formula to achieve success in SEO projects as different projects will need to have different strategies. 

What is included in their service

This is an important criteria to take note of when dealing with the SEO industry. Sometimes, the SEO agencies will expect the task to be done by your website developer without your knowledge. This will cause a grey area to form in which both parties are unsure of the task execution and result in quarrels or disputes between the client and agency. 

Generally, these are the lists of items that you can check with your SEO service provider if they cover the scope of work : 

  • Website Speed Optimization – SEO agencies may give you a list of website problems and ask you to find a web developer to resolve it. Including loading speed, Google Page Score , Core Web Vitals report and a GTmetrix report that affect web performance. 
  • Image Alternate Text – The SEO agency or freelancer may send you a list of image links that doesn’t come with Alt text, so you will need to get someone to insert the alternate text for the images by themselves.
  • Meta Description – Some agencies will propose the new meta description to you, and send you the list of documents. After getting approval, they will replace all the page description, and sub in the meta title for you. However, there are some SEO agencies that don’t do that. Instead, they will send you a list of the changes and you will have to replace it yourself. 
  • Image resize  – This is related to the website speed optimization mentioned above, some agencies will reduce the image size for you while others will require you to resize it yourself. 
  • Content – Content optimization plays a significant role for SEO success. However, not all SEO agencies include content writing services for you. Some agencies may include a number of articles in their package, while others may do it as an additional cost that ranges from RM200 – RM400 per article.

Google Analytic (GA), Google Search Console (GSC), Google Tag Manager (GTM )

Three of the most common free tools we use on websites are Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager. Google Analytics & Google Search Console are necessary tracking tools in SEO projects. Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that is intended to help Webmasters monitor websites while Google Analytics helps track and report your website traffic, visitors and activity. Google Tag Manager is a bit different than Analytics or Search Console. Tag Manager is a free service from Google that is designed to help manage tracking tags, scripts, pixels etc

All SEO executors should install Google Analytic basic tracking pixel for you. However, since these tools provide very comprehensive features, there are not many SEO talents that know how to utilise it. Besides having a general setup, a good SEO expert will also utilise the Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics (GA) for more event tracking. The function to track website traffic or number of users is very basic, but there are also other features from GTM that allows users to track unique events. For example: the percentage of users who viewed the video, the number of clicks on a CTA button, the time spent on a certain website. These are not default services, but instead are event tracks that need to be set up by someone very familiar with GTM. Good SEO marketers are not necessarily users who are familiar with technical things. Sometimes, these good SEO marketers can even be a non-technical person who works with a team or a developer in an SEO project. 

Reporting & Revision & Follow Up

There are two types of audit reporting. 

1. Auto-generated report by software

These reports are generated by the SEO software and show traffic comparison, ranking report, competitor report etc. Every SEO agency will have this to present to clients. The SEO agencies can also set up the report at Google Data Studio so that they won’t need to send the report manually to the client.

2. Manual Report with insights

These reports can be combined with the auto-generated reports. These reports provide more insights to the client, such as the type of improvements that can be done, and suggesting the next step. These reports are important for corporate level clients as their management team will need to present the entirety of the report to their company. These reports are not suited for overseas clients and freelancers, since they do not understand the market, they are unable to present, nor can they provide any insights. 

Backlink Building 

Some SEO marketers prefer to focus more on backlink building, however, there are many different ways of doing it. If you opt to go for low cost SEO marketers for your backlink building, you may want to check the authenticity of the backlink , as it could be a link farmed with poor DA or from unknown sources. This will result in a penalization by Google and hurt your website ranking instead. 

There are SEO marketers or agencies that charge you very high service fees since a part of that money goes to quality link building. Backlink building can be a very expensive and tedious process. While it is costly, it is better to have 1 good quality website instead of a hundred from links farm. Like they say, quality over quantity.

It is hard to determine if an SEO marketer is good in the beginning, as SEO marketers do not have a portfolio to serve as proof of their work. SEO portfolio cannot be utilized as a benchmark because every industry is different, as such it takes a different amount of effort to rank their websites. It takes time to identify or evaluate your SEO marketers, which is usually between 3-6 months. SEO processes take a huge amount of patience to perfect as it takes time to rank your website, especially when your business or keywords are very competitive. Most importantly though, your SEO marketer needs to work closely with you to adjust the strategy periodically to achieve your business goal. 


In summary, these are the checklist that you want to check when you employ your own SEO service providers 

  1. SEO Audit – The amount of audit work covered for your website
  2. Google Tracking tool – The type of metrics set and tracked for your SEO campaign
  3. Website Speed and Performance optimization – Whether or not the optimization will be handled by the SEO service providers to improve the performance
  4. Website Content – Whether or not they will update the content for you or you must do it yourself
  5. Image Alt Text – Whether or not they will include the Image Alt Text for you or you must do it yourself
  6. Image Resize – Whether the image resizing is part of their SEO service
  7. Article and Post – Whether or not they will create the article for you 
  8. Type of reporting – Type of reporting you will receive and whether or not you need it to be presented.
  9. Backlink building – Whether the SEO providers do backlink building  

Flow Digital has been partnering with SEO specialists for years and knows what to do when it comes to bringing in talented professionals. We take into consideration the industry type of our client as well as their budget allocation before suggesting a candidate we think is right for them. For example, if there are less competitive industries that require little reporting on the progress made then an affordable marketer might be more fitting than one that offers heavy insight report-wise but costlier in turn.

Whereas for corporate-level companies with high expectations, we will try to connect them with local SEO talents who have experience working with corporate-level companies. SEO is a rapidly growing industry filled with fierce competition and an ever-growing community. Fortunately, Flow Digital is keeping pace with the latest SEO trends in order to keep up with the digital business world.  

Flow Digital takes the needs of our clients seriously because they have entrusted us with their most important marketing asset: themselves. That’s why we provide only top-quality work that is always on point and focused on achieving your goals

With Flow Digital you can trust in a company that will never stop working to do what it takes for success! Our SEO talents work hard every day to ensure quality SEO services are provided at all times by delivering attention-grabbing content focused exclusively on attaining desired objectives set out from our customers’ perspective.



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