The Best SEM Agencies of 2020

Our SEM agency reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 105+ SEM companies from across the web. These reviews and our SEM agency guide help small businesses and startups find the best SEM agency for their business.

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How We Chose the Best SEM Agencies

If you build it they will come is a great movie line, but you’d better not count on it for your website. Even people who specifically search for your site may not find it — or may encounter your competitor’s site first — if it hasn’t been properly optimized and marketed. Though there are some brave souls who have set out to do their own search engine marketing, in most cases they quickly learn that there’s a reason why people hire Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agencies. These firms are staffed with professionals with the skills and expertise to drive traffic to your site — and if you choose the right one you’ll find that they make a real difference in your bottom line.

There are plenty of SEM agencies out there, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the beautiful graphics and promises of great results. Our selection criteria was based on three elements that we feel are important: the agency’s size, the range of industries represented by their clients, and whether they can support you with multiple service lines. Beyond these three you may want to consider other factors including transparency, pricing models, reputation, and how their approach and process fits with your brand and personality.

Size of Firm

There are Search Engine Marketing agencies with fewer than ten people on staff, agencies that employ hundreds, and every size in between. Which one you choose is entirely up to what you’re most comfortable with, but there are certain aspects of agency size that you should consider.

Generally speaking, a large SEM agency is likely to have significant experience in the field, and a large portfolio of clients and results to demonstrate the value of their services. As reassuring as this may seem, keep in mind that those same large firms often serve as training grounds and first jobs for those entering the field. If you don’t want to be put into the hands of someone with little experience, you’ll need to say so before signing a contract. On the plus side, you can feel secure that a firm that has a lot of employees will always have somebody available to provide you with the answers you need, whether your primary contact is available or not.

Smaller SEM agencies have their own advantages. Though they may not have the same resources available to them that larger firms do, clients often get the benefit of working directly with the agency’s principals. Pricing is generally more scalable, and the work is often more collaborative and approached in a more personal way.

Industry Focus

SEM skills may apply to websites and businesses of all types, but having knowledge of what the keywords and demographic of a particular industry can make a real difference. Though the very best firms will be more than willing to spend the time getting to know you and your customers, time spent doing that is time not spent on activity that boosts your visibility. For that reason, it’s a good idea to select an SEM agency that already is at the least familiar, and in the best cases knowledgeable about your industry.

Multiple Service Lines

Whether engaging a Search Engine Marketing agency is the first step of your digital journey or you’re a well-established firm looking for a new service provider, it’s always a good idea to select a firm with a diverse skill set that can accommodate your changing needs. By selecting a vendor that’s able to offer a wide range of service lines, you minimize the amount of time that you spend searching and give yourself the potential of a long-term partnership. You can move into new projects with professionals that you are already comfortable with and who you don’t have to educate about your business, your customers or your preferences. Choosing an SEM agency that offers multiple service lines effectively makes them into a trusted and valued extension of your staff and increases the value and benefits of your initial selection process.

The 15 Best SEM Agencies of 2020

CompanyPriceService LinesMore
3 Media Web$150 - $199/hourWeb Design
Web Development
Digital Strategy
Visit 3 Media Web
Avalaunch Media$100 - $149/hourContent Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
Pay Per Click
Visit Avalaunch Media
Coalition Technologies$50 - $99/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Web Design
Pay Per Click
Visit Coalition Technologies
Direct Online Marketing$150 - $199/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Pay Per Click
Visit Direct Online Marketing
Directive$150 - $199/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Pay Per Click
Visit Directive
Ignite Visibility$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Pay Per Click
Email Marketing
Visit Ignite Visibility
Online Marketing Standard$600/month for Google SEO
$250/month for Google Local
$250/month for PPC Marketing
$350/month for Social Media
Search Engine Optimization
Social Media Marketing
Pay Per Click
Visit Online Marketing Standard
OuterBox$100 - $149/hour
$12,000/year for Small
$36,000/year for Mid-Size
$60,000/year for Enterprise
Search Engine Optimization
Pay Per Click
Web Design
Visit OuterBox
Over The Top SEO$300+/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Digital Strategy
Content Marketing
Visit Over the Top SEO
PBJ Marketing$100 - $149/hourPay Per Click
Search Engine Optimization
Visit PBJ Marketing
Rocket Clicks$100 - $149/hourPay Per Click
Search Engine Optimization
Visit Rocket Clicks
SEO Brand$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Social Media Marketing
Pay Per Click
Visit SEO Brand
SmartSites$100 - $149/hourPay Per Click
Search Engine Optimization
Advertising
Visit SmartSites
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization
Social Media Marketing
Pay Per Click
Visit Thrive Agency Marketing Agency
WebFX$100 - $149/hour
$975/month for Aggressive Plan
$1,475/month for Market Leader Plan
$2,975/month for Trailblazer Plan
Search Engine Optimization
Pay Per Click
Web Design
Visit WebFX

3 Media Web

3-Media-Web-Logo
3 Media Web’s team is a n SEM agency and technology company that offers a full line of services that improve their clients’ web performance. Through their expertise in lead generation, web development and support, they offer a responsive, collaborative approach and a record of proven success.

The firm is based in Boston, and their in-house team of almost 20 specialists takes a data-driven approach to lead generation and digital marketing leveraging both technology and analytics to align their strategy with their clients’ marketing goals. Long-term plans are constantly updated in response to trends and data analysis in order to increase ROI, and customer journeys are followed from click to conversion in order to improve understanding and guide ad placements. The end result is more qualified leads and a faster path to sales.

In addition to its SEM services, 3 Media Web also provides the following services: web design, web development, web support, lead generation, and agency support.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$150 - $199/hourWeb Design, Web Development, Digital Strategy>Search Engine Optimization
>Web Hosting
>Website Redesign
>More features at 3 Media Web

What Customers Are Saying
“It was a pleasure to work with 3 Media Web. They told us exactly what to expect. Their team held consistent status meetings and discussions about their work. At each phase, we had weekly status calls. We understood each week’s work expectations. There was never a point when we didn’t know where we were in the process. Their team did a great job with communication and staying on schedule. They drove to the end date. Their team was professional, engaging, and added value. It was a pleasant experience working with them from start to finish.”

Avalaunch Media

Avalaunch-Media-Logo
Avalaunch Media is a full-service marketing agency that has been creating and executing effective marketing strategies for over 15 years. Based in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, the staff of 50 specialists provides comprehensive launch strategies for small and mid-market businesses and campaigns that boost visibility and revenue for enterprise level clients.

The firm’s SEM services are driven by data. They develop well thought out paid media campaigns informed by historic trends and based on a holistic approach that incorporates Google and Facebook ads, their clients’ websites and landing pages, and more. Each SEM project begins with a robust discovery process that includes an ad channel audit, a competitive landscape assessment and a vertical SWOT analysis and every strategy is built on objective and key result analysis. Execution includes creative mapping and design, a campaign architecture buildout, identifying prospecting and remarketing funnels, ongoing experimentation, optimizations of objectives and key results, and finally, to growth opportunity analysis.

Avalaunch relies on online video, display advertising campaigns, programmatic ad buying, site direct ad placement, private marketplace advertising and the Google Display Network as well as social media platforms.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourContent Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click>Marketing Automation
>Video & Motion Graphics
>Vertical SWOT Analysis
>More features at Avalaunch Media

What Customers Are Saying
“We consistently experienced cost per acquisition that was 10–13% lower than the closest competitor. On project management I’d give them a five out of five. They helped us track analytics every week. If I asked for more information, they scheduled a call immediately and spent as much time as necessary answering my questions. They tried out all of my ideas, no matter how crazy they were.”

Coalition Technologies

Coalition-Technologies-Logo
Based in Los Angeles, California, Coalition Technologies is one of the largest marketing and web design agencies with over 200 specialists working to achieve their clients’ goals. The firm takes a results-driven approach to all projects, combining scientific methods and hard data to drive results and return on investment for their clients in a sustained way.

The company leverages its large pool of diverse specialists to create custom digital strategies that combine Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click and Marketing as well as Social Media, Email, SMS and more to increase profitability. Features include Social Campaign Planning, Audience Growth Strategies, Paid and Earned traffic, Campaign Content Creation, Reporting and Analysis and Integrated Marketing.

In addition to its SEM capabilities, Coalition Technologies offers its clients a wide range of services, including: SEO, Online Reputation Management, Pay Per Click Management, Email Marketing, Content Marketing, ADA Compliant Websites, Mobile Design, Logo and Branding, and Web Design.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Web Design, Pay Per Click>Month-to-month contracts
>Premiere Google Ads Certified Partner
>App and Custom Development
>More features at Coalition Technologies

What Customers Are Saying
“The traffic to the website has increased over the past five months, which may be due to our increased social media efforts. Coalition Technologies told us that it will take 6–12 months for the full effects of their work to show. When I hired them, I thought they were just going to get the website to be visible on Google. So it was a pleasant surprise when I realized that they were also working on the website itself. Trust that Coalition Technologies is going to do the best work for your company because they have the tools and the right people to evaluate the needs of the company and its website. They’re great communicators, and they’ll do everything right every step of the way.”

Direct Online Marketing

Direct-Online-Marketing-Logo
Direct Online Marketing, or DOM, is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based SEM agency that has been serving its clients for nearly 15 years. Its team of 16 specialists have extensive expertise in online marketing across all platforms. The company has created highly disciplined, proprietary procedures designed to ensure that their clients get high quality, tailored results.

DOM’s approach is built on a culture of transparency, straightforward communication and a dedication to excellence in digital marketing. They work to stay ahead on trends in the industry and to focus on their clients’ specific business needs.

Their services include:

  • Search Engine Optimization that increases organic traffic
  • Pay Per Click Advertising that helps drive increased leads, sales, and profits
  • Social Media Advertising, including campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
  • SEO Site Migration that retains keyword rankings, organic traffic, and Google PageRank
  • International SEM that sells into over 150 countries
  • Retargeting to maximize exposure
  • Marketing Analytics that provides intelligent data consolidation, interpretation, and display
  • App Store Optimization to increase user downloads
  • Amazon Marketing to give clients’ products the best chance of being found by Amazon shoppers
  • Conversion Rate Optimization to increase sales and generate more leads
  • Digital Marketing Training and Speaking that educates organizations on best practices
PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click>Amazon Marketing
>Conversion Rate Optimization
>Pay Per Click
>More features at Direct Online Marketing

What Customers Are Saying
“Since beginning our work with Direct Online Marketing, we’ve been up year over year with equal or less spent in the market. Their team rebuilt our entire Google ads campaign strategy including how the account targeted keywords, which helped us understand how we were performing in different business units. They helped us set up a better framework to manage these campaigns and understand exactly what’s happening with them.

Their ability to understand our business has stood out. Working with other vendors in this space, we’ve had to reiterate our business goals, budget, and products constantly. That’s not the case with Direct Online Marketing. Their team picked up on what we’re doing really quickly. If we have a new product release, it’s been easy because they know it, the business units, and the cost structure behind it. It’s easy to deploy a new product with their team because of their understanding of the business and the metrics we need to hit.”

Directive

Directive-Logo
Directive Consulting’s team of 30 specialists in search marketing is based in Los Angeles, California and has offices in San Francisco and Orange County as well as in Austin, Texas, New York City, and in London. The company’s main focus is on helping software companies excel in competitive markets by boosting their visibility, and they have a proven strategic execution model built to accomplish that goal and improve Return on Investment.

The company begins by assigning a dedicated team consisting of an account manager, PPC and SEO specialists, a data analyst and a designer to take a deep dive into each client’s internal objectives and target audience to deliver more SERP visibility, higher conversions, and a lower cost per opportunity.

Their services include:

  • Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC Management and Consulting and Paid Social Media Advertising)
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO Management and Landing Page Design)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO Management and Consulting, Content Marketing, and Digital Public Relations)
  • Marketing Analytics
PriceService LinesFeatures
$150 - $199/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click>CRO Management
>Marketing Analytics
>Dedicated Project Management team
>More features at Directive

What Customers Are Saying
“We’ve seen incredible results, including 178% growth in organic traffic, 93% increase in organic lead generation, and 44% improvement to PPC lead generation. Communication is great. They’re always available to provide in-depth answers and their turnaround is exceptionally fast. Our project manager adopted our company’s task management platform to make tasks and scheduling easier for our team. I am constantly surprised by the additional resources and recommendations they provide. I’ve used other agencies that use a generic template for metrics. Directive is consistent and includes new recommendations for research. They know about every trend and algorithm and they have new ways to improve lead generation every week.”

Ignite Visibility

Ignite-Visibility-Logo
Ignite Visibility offers a comprehensive suite of digital marketing solutions. Based in San Diego, California, the company was founded in 2013 and has since grown to include 90 full-time employees and another 100+ contractors to provide services to its clients. The company’s focus is on goals, forecasting, strategy and customer success, and supports its customers through cross channel marketing strategies and best-in-class creative.

Ignite Visibility’s clients get the benefits of a dedicated team to build relationships and quality service, and this is provided through constant updates to business plans and strategies, forecasting based on competitive analysis and business data and delivered by proprietary software, clear dashboards and budgets, and real time communication.

The firm integrates its services, which include: Paid Media, Amazon Marketing, Earned Media, Email Marketing, Website Design and Development, Google Penalty Removal and Recovery, Franchise Marketing, Online Reputation Management, and Radio, Television and Influencer Marketing.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Email Marketing>Offline Conversion Tracking
>Conversion Rate Optimization
>Google Display Advertising
>More features at Ignite Visibility

What Customers Are Saying
“Ignite Visibility does what they say they are going to do and they have developed a strategic approach to digital marketing based on the cutting edge techniques in the digital marketing space. They don’t approach the process by trial and error but rather come equipped with a plan based on current, best and proven practices that are employed strategically, measured and adjusted for maximum benefit. They never rest. Always with an eye toward improvement.”

Online Marketing Standard

Online-Marketing-Standard-Logo
Online Marketing Standard is a small Orlando, Florida SEM agency built on its founders decades of experience in enterprise-level digital marketing. The firm has fewer than ten specialists who are dedicated to providing high-quality outcomes and customer service and affordable digital marketing packages to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Online Marketing Standard’s team takes the time to learn their customers’ business and goals so that the marketing strategies it creates for them best suit their objectives.

Service offerings include:

  • PPC — Includes analysis of goals, market and industry, Google ADs and competing search engines, social media advertising, content promotional networks, A/B testing, optimizing for conversions through a copy and landing pages.
  • Search Engine Optimization — Includes continuously building new content, internal linking, backlinks to targeted pages, coding and more.
  • Social Media Marketing — Optimizing social profile, content marketing plan, posting content to target audience.
PriceService LinesFeatures
$600/month for Google SEO
$250/month for Google Local
$250/month for PPC Marketing
$350/month for Social Media
Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Pay Per Click>Pay Per Click
>Social Media Marketing
>Search Engine Optimization
>More features at Online Marketing Standard

What Customers Are Saying
“Working with Online Marketing Standard (OMS) has been a breeze. They’re communicative, responsive, and understanding. More importantly, they do good work. The results they’ve provided for us (increased traffic, increased conversions, improved key phrase rankings) in a short time frame have been very impressive. We look forward to retaining the services of OMS for months + years to come.”

OuterBox

OuterBox-Logo
Outerbox is an Akron, Ohio-based digital marketing and technology firm that leverages the skills of its 50+ employees to provide high-level Paid Search, Pay Per Click, SEO, and web design for its clients. The company works to increase visibility and boost sales while decreasing its customers’ cost per acquisition.

Whether a client is looking for web design and eCommerce website development or Google Ads management and Search Engine Optimization, Outerbox works collaboratively, assigning dedicated product managers that coordinate all of the services needed to maximize client success.

Outerbox’s SEM services include:

  • Google Ads Management — Keyword Research, Competitor Campaign Analysis, Campaign Creation and Ad Copy Creation, Landing Page Design and Development, Detailed Reporting and Monthly Meetings, ROI Analysis, Ad Variation and Testing
  • Google Shopping Management — Data/Product Feed Optimization, Bid Strategy Optimization, Dynamic Remarketing Management, ROI Improvement, Real-Time Tracking and Monthly Reporting
  • Lead Generation/PPC — Campaign Audit and Setup, Keyword Research and Planning, Paid Traffic Landing Page Design, B2B Lead Generation
  • Amazon PPC Services — Seller Account/Brand Setup, Full Amazon Account Audit, Competitor Research, Ad Creation, Bid Management, Campaign Modification, Budget Management, Monthly Detailed Reviews
PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hour
$12,000/year for Small
$36,000/year for Mid-Size
$60,000/year for Enterprise
Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Web Design>Amazon PPC Services
>Dynamic Remarketing
>Google Shopping Management
>More features at OuterBox

What Customers Are Saying
“Our overall traffic has grown significantly, so they’ve exceeded our expectations. Their communication is great. All of our questions are answered promptly. They have a portal that allows us to send a note and it’s routed to the appropriate person. We have a detailed plan for clarity on timing and cost. We have check points in order to review KPIs and make necessary adjustments as required. They give us monthly results in an easy to understand format. They have an ability to share a complex solution in an easy to understand manner. They make it work in a way that delivers results.”

Over The Top SEO

Over-The-Top-SEO-Logo
Over the Top SEO is a Digital Marketing and SEO company that has followed a unique path, integrating marketing and business consultancy services for its clients. In 2019 the company closed its doors to new customers, choosing instead to act as investors and consultants to partners that match its SEO and marketing interests. The company has fifty employees in locations throughout the United States and in Israel.

Over the Top’s reputation and 96% client retention rate is built on the results that it has achieved in boosting brand awareness. Its service areas include:

  • SEO (Local, Enterprise)
  • Digital Marketing
  • Reputation Management
  • Social Media Management
  • Per Call Campaigns
  • On-Page Optimization
  • Penalty Recovery
  • Local Map Listings
  • Web Design and Development
  • App Development Services
  • Google Maps Marketing
  • Content Management
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Brand Management
  • Graphic and Logo Design
  • Email Marketing Campaigns
  • Inbound Lead Generation
  • Page Speed Insights Optimization
  • Customized Marketing Campaigns
PriceService LinesFeatures
$300+/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Digital Strategy, Content Marketing>Free SEO Diagnostic Review
>Inbound Lead Generation
>Local Map Listings
>More features at Over the Top SEO

What Customers Are Saying
“Over The Top SEO’s efforts have helped increase the monthly quote requests that we receive, changing from 100 to 1,500 a month. We’ve also seen a 50%–60% increase in monthly sales. We’re also currently ranking on the first page of search results on Google, which is a significant improvement from where we used to be. Additionally, the flow of the site is much smoother and more usable for our customers and encourages business.”

PBJ Marketing

PBJ-Marketing-Logo
PBJ Marketing’s 20 Washington, D.C.-based specialists focus their attention on providing full-service digital marketing, brand strategy, paid media, and website design services to their clients. The company balances aesthetics with technology, digging deep into analytics to understand their clients’ digital history and presence and then moving forward to create a strategy aimed at meeting and exceeding revenue goals, then executing it.

From a customer service standpoint, PBJ takes a unique approach, training every specialist in all of its services so that they all share the same vision on every project. Clients are assigned dedicated strategists who each are responsible for only a small portion of ongoing business. This approach assures customers that they and their projects are getting the attention that they deserve.

PBJ Marketing’s services include: Paid Media, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management, and Website Design and Development.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$100-$149/hourPay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization>Social Media Marketing
>Google Search
>Free SEO Analysis
>More features at PBJ Marketing  

What Customers Are Saying
“Our engagement started to increase on social channels after hiring PBJ. We were able to also see and understand our brand value, in addition we were able to create a baseline on where we need to divert our attention in regards to paid ads, and marketing. Communication was always less than 24 hours. They were quick to respond, adapt, and execute. Very agile. Also the most impressive is their ability to not only drive advertising, and marketing/tracking reporting, but also creatives, and web SEO as well as design.”

Rocket Clicks

Rocket-Clicks-Logo
Rocket Clicks is an internet marketing agency that’s based in the Milwaukee area. The firm was founded in 2008 with the goal of building custom strategies that drive visits and conversions. The firm’s 30+ specialists in digital advertising, search optimization, and graphic design prioritize each client’s business goals with an eye to aligning strategy with growth.

The company’s process begins with a free audit of each potential client’s website and marketing channels. From there they create strategies that act quickly on the opportunities they see to create solid Return on Investment.

The company has expertise in both PPC services and SEO services.

  • Pay Per Click Advertising — Rocket Clicks is a Google Premier Partner, which means that they receive dedicated agency support and special access to beta opportunities and training that sets them apart from other agencies. Their PPC services include Shopping and PLA Management, Display Advertising, Social Media Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, and Remarketing and Retargeting.
  • Search Engine Optimization — Organic search results are attained by making client websites relevant and authoritative. By offering technical expertise, in-depth keyword research and well-written copy, Rocket Clicks ensures that their clients’ sites are showing up for new customers. Their SEO services include Local SEO, Technical SEO, Content Strategy, Reputation Management, Analytics and Tracking, and Social Media Content.
PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourPay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization>Reputation Management
>Content Strategy
>Remarketing and Retargeting
>More features at Rocket Clicks

What Customers Are Saying
“Our website has seen more traffic in the past six months. Additionally, we’ve seen a great turnout for events that they’ve run paid advertising for. I appreciate their reporting by modality. That allows us to track where the increases and decreases in traffic are. We’ve been very happy so far. They’re great with communication. If I voice a concern, they get back to me within minutes. Even if it’s just to say that they’ll get back to me with more information later, we still appreciate that response time. We have monthly in-house meetings during which we cover analytics for the previous month and compare the sales numbers of our digital marketing performance.”

SEO Brand

SEO-Brand-Logo
SEO Brand is a digital marketing agency that works with a single-minded focus on their clients’ growth. Based in Boca Raton, Florida with offices in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, the firm has more than 15 years of experience in link building, marketplace optimization, and mobile solutions that they leverage to create winning campaigns. The firm’s 70+ specialists have expertise in a wide range of service lines that they apply to boost their clients’ sales, leads, and inbound traffic.

The company’s process starts with an intensive analysis of each client’s online presence. Using what they learn and their knowledge of consumer behavior, development and design, they create customized digital marketing solutions mapped to Return on Investment.

The company’s SEM services increase brand awareness through paid distribution channels including Google AdWords PPC, Bing PPC, Facebook Advertising, Contextual Advertising Localized Campaigns, National Campaigns and International Campaigns. The team spends a significant amount of time testing to determine what approach will work best for each client, researching industries and identifying the optimal channels for their campaign. They also conduct split testing, create landing pages and provide ongoing monitoring and detailed reports, as well as retargeting strategies.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Pay Per Click>Online Public Relations
>Amazon PPC Services
>Retargeting
>More features at  SEO Brand

What Customers Are Saying
“Everyone needs a website, but not everyone may know what they need. SEO Brand knows how to communicate what we need for a successful website. Their team also works quickly. I don’t know how else to say it: I love them. Their team helps with data analytics and sends reports weekly. We’re at a point where I barely have to read their content to approve it. They understand our business, so I approve their optimized content most of the time. They’re genuine and caring people. I don’t want an agency that just tells me what I want to hear. I like people who understand that at the end of the day, I want a great product. They’re not afraid to tell me when an idea won’t work or provide a suggestion. Their team cares about doing the work that will actually make a product great.”

SmartSites

SmartSites-Logo
SmartSites is an SEM Agency that provides their clients with the opportunity to access digital marketing, web design and web development from a single source. The company’s 80+designers and developers work from Paramus, New Jersey to help clients grow their businesses.

The firm emphasizes data and technology in its SEM services, using both to boost sales and decrease costs for clients. They work to ensure that they understand their clients’ customers’ behaviors in order to target ways to connect with them, and have developed proprietary tools to aid them in these efforts and share all of their actionable insights with clients in order to ensure full transparency. Their display advertising utilizes keyword, placement and topic targeting to provide superior brand marketing.

Features include: Data Driven Strategies, Exclusive Beta Access, Expert Analysis, Landing Pages, Remarketing, Smart Learning, Advanced Bidding, Market Segmentation, and Real-Time Reporting.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourPay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising>Landing Pages
>Real-Time Reporting
>Market Segmentation
>More features at SmartSites

What Customers Are Saying
“They are always available for immediate support, and their advice is always spot-on. I have faith in their experience and expertise in web marketing, and they are not afraid to both take my input and at the same time give their own. I really feel like I chose the right agency to entrust my business to. Marketing agencies are a human resource-driven industry, more than any other field. The quality of the people behind the name means a lot. If you’re like me and are running a business in the 21st century, you cannot survive without a good e-commerce store; and every good store needs great marketing.”

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

Thrive-Internet-Marketing-Agency-Logo
Thrive is a full-service creative and digital marketing agency that provides their clients with all aspects of internet development, whether creative, strategic or technical. Started as a one-man shop in Arlington, Texas in 2005, the firm has grown to over 70 employees working from locations all around the country.

The company uses data and marketing skills to inform its targeted strategies as well as its development services. It produces customized digital plans based on each client’s unique business needs, collaborating as an extension of the company rather than as a vendor. They emphasize both client relationships and facilitating business growth.

Thrive’s digital marketing services focus on building brand recognition and increasing their clients’ profitability by leveraging price audience targeting, tracking campaign results and adjusting strategies based on analytics and data.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hourSearch Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Pay Per Click>eCommerce Marketing
>Amazon Marketing Services
>Conversion Rate Optimization
>More features at Thrive Agency Marketing Agency  

What Customers Are Saying
“Thrive listens to your needs. Even though we’re a small business, they feel like an extension of us. Their team understands our goals and our company philosophy, which enables them to reach our target demographic. During the first week, they honed their efforts to engage our target audience. Those metrics have increased every month. They fine-tuned their efforts, so we’re getting a better return every single month. When it comes to spending our dollars, Thrive’s conservative. They don’t spend on advertising without seeing a return. When their team sees an ad performing well, they let us know. Then, we decide if we want to increase our ad spend.”

WebFX

WebFX-Logo
WebFX is a results-driven internet marketing agency based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The firm provides one-stop shopping for clients, offering custom strategies based on their needs and goals. Since its founding the agency has grown to employ over 275 specialists in digital marketing and media, in-house influencers, data analysts, and others, all dedicated to growing their clients’ businesses exponentially through the power of the web.

The firm’s specialties include:

  • Search Engine Optimization, including an in-depth SEO audit, custom strategies, monthly competitor analysis and monitoring, a dedicated account manager, client-exclusive marketing automation software, transparent reporting, tracking for site-generated phone calls, and more.
  • Content and Analytics, including website SEO copywriting, personalized web content, web video production services, online review management services, email marketing management services, lead nurture pricing, content marketing services, infographics and motion graphics, social media management, social media design, email marketing design and voice search optimization.
  • Web Design services, including new website design and development, business blog design, landing page design, email marketing, website redesign, social media design, custom infographic design, website copywriting, email template design, website usability analysis, website focus groups and 508 compliance design.
PriceService LinesFeatures
$100 - $149/hour
$975/month for Aggressive Plan
$1,475/month for Market Leader Plan
$2,975/month for Trailblazer Plan
Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Web Design>MarketingCloudFX Platform
>Dedicated Account Manager for each client
>Elite partner status with Google, Facebook, and others
>More features at WebFX

What Customers Are Saying
“WebFX has improved our online performance by over 500% year over year. By integrating themselves into our team and learning our business, they’ve been able to create effective SEO strategies that have exceeded our expectations. Thanks to their help, we’ve learned a lot about our customers — where they’re coming from, what they’re looking at, and how they’re interacting with our site. We’re also ranking higher in Google for certain keywords associated with our products.

The way they integrate themselves with our team and communicate sets them apart. They’re very customer-oriented, responsive, and detail-driven. We receive monthly reports that include how keywords are performing and how people are interacting with and finding our site. They’ve also educated us on SEO best practices and how to continue to make improvements in our online performance throughout the engagement.”

What is an SEM Agency?

Want to get your website, brand, or product in front of new customers? The most efficient and effective way to do it is through digital advertising, and SEM agencies — also known as Search Engine Marketing agencies — specialize in digital marketing. It’s their job to learn about your business and your customers, to come up with a strategy to reach your customers online, and then to deliver those customers to you.

You may be familiar with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Where SEO uses technical strategies to make your website more visible organically, SEM agencies deploy paid ad strategies that leverage data, expertise, creativity and a variety of digital resources to boost your website’s visibility on search engine results pages, or SERPs. The resources they use will be carefully selected based upon the particulars of your business, your brand and your customers, and may include Social Media, YouTube advertising, mobile app advertising, Google Ads and Bing Ads campaigns, Pay Per Click, display advertising, and other options.

Benefits of Using an SEM Agency

Search Engine Marketing puts you in front of potential clients that are searching for your service or product, and it does so in an almost instantaneous way. There is no ramp-up to the effectiveness of a paid advertisement: Once it has been placed, it is going to show up in the search results of people who are looking for you, for your type of business or those that are closely aligned, and even in the results of those who are searching for your competitors. A knowledgeable and effective SEM agency will be able to pinpoint the best opportunities for precise targeting of the demographic that you want to reach, providing you with a much better chance of attracting new visitors and achieving conversions.

What to Look For in an SEM Agency

Google the term “SEM agency” and you’ll get over 200 million responses — and the ones at the top are the ones that are plying their trade the hardest for themselves! Almost every agency will promise spectacular results and claim themselves the best, but there are specific things that you can look at and ask for that will help you as you make your decision.

  • Results and testimonials. We’re all proud of our accomplishments, and SEM agencies that want your business should be anxious to point to positive results that they’ve achieved for previous clients, and especially clients that are similar in size and cope to yours. After you’ve heard the statistics, ask for names and contact information for the clients you’ve been shown, and take the time to follow up and make the call. Happy clients are a very good sign, and clients that don’t want to talk to you should be taken as a warning.
  • Realism. An SEM agency should be confident in its capabilities, but they should also base their assertions on the realities of your budget, the market that you are competing in, and the clients that you are trying to reach. Projections should be based on data.
  • Interest in your company. If an SEM agency wants to talk about themselves instead of talking about you and your business, it’s not a good sign. You want to work with an agency that wants to learn everything they can about your clients, your products, your competition and anything else that will help guide them to providing you with the best possible results.
  • Experience and resources. The longer an SEM agency has been around and successful, the more expertise and resources they will have available to them. Technology changes overnight, and if an agency is able to survive and continue delivering strong results it is a sign of knowledge, resilience and nimbleness.

The Costs of Hiring an SEM Agency

Hiring an SEM agency will cost different companies different amounts because each has its own goals and media budget. In addition to the scope of the project, costs will vary based on whether you choose a multi-service firm that is bundling your Search Engine Marketing with other services such as Social Media Management, content development, or Search Engine Optimization.

Firms will also charge different hourly rates based upon their own reputation, the size of the firm, and their geographic location. You are likely to find that offshore companies based in Eastern Europe or India will charge far lower hourly or project rates, but in exchange for that reduced price you may encounter challenges around scheduling and communication.

One question you should ask every agency is whether they offer multiple price models. Many do, and if you work with one that does then you will need to assess which best meets your needs. While some models charge a fixed price based on your project, others offer pricing based on the number of clicks that they are able to provide, others charge on a percentage of the overall spend or the return on investment. If an agency only offers a volume-based fee structure, try to determine how they manage the quality of the clicks that they deliver, as high volume that translates into revenue for the agency may not necessarily yield conversions for you.

When comparing prices between agencies, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples so that you can judge fairly.