If you’re reading this, you’ve heard of SEO and you know that it’s something you need to do or invest in so that your business ranks highly on Google. You also understand that it’s a lot of effort to get real results. That’s where the professionals come in.
Hiring an SEO agency ensures that you’re able to get all of your day-to-day work done and SEO professionals can work on your website and online presence in the background.
What is an SEO agency?
Let’s start right at the beginning and ask “What is an SEO agency?”
An SEO agency is a company that delivers search engine optimization services for its clients. Their aim is to achieve higher rankings on Google for particular websites that their clients own. Higher rankings mean higher rates of traffic, and more traffic means more opportunity for revenue and profit.
Many businesses turn to an SEO agency when they realize just how much work goes into running a full SEO campaign, and how complicated many parts of it can be. Bringing in professionals can make all of the difference.
Businesses also tend to turn to SEO agencies when they’ve built a website but there isn’t anyone coming to it. That makes for a sad state of affairs after all the effort that has been put into it.
What Services Do SEO Agencies Offer?
Scroll over to any agency website and they’ll happily list out everything that they’re able to do. It’s worth realizing that SEO isn’t a straightforward topic, constantly changes and has a huge range of different tactics.
What you see on one agency’s website might be different from another but they should all have the same overall goal and expected outcome: to get your website ranking higher organically on Google.
The list below outlines typical services included within a standard SEO package. They are the industry standard, and even if they’re written in a slightly different way, any agency worth their while will be able to discuss the below with you:
On-Page SEO: On-Page SEO covers all of the work that goes into the pages your clients and potential customers can see. It’s the words on the page, the images, the actual website addresses (URLs), and anything that can be edited within the website itself. This is the section that many people attempt to do themselves by writing copy that includes keywords and hoping for the best.
A professional SEO company will look at the current state of play, understand what is needed and where so that the website has the best possible chance of ranking, they’ll create an action plan, and then implement it.
On-Page SEO also covers items such as:
- Meta Descriptions
- Page Titles and Headers
- Language and Tone
- Natural keyword implementation
Off-Page SEO: Off-Page SEO covers the tasks that an SEO company can complete away from the website itself. This is a harder to define aspect with fewer strict rules to abide by. Generally speaking, a company will look to ensure that your website is being linked to from other reputable websites (backlinks), has a correct hosting setup, runs quickly, and is secure.
Off-Page SEO includes reviews and mentions on third-party sites such as Google My Business, social media pages, and local citations.
The tech-savvy amongst us will note that a few of the items mentioned in the above list come under Technical SEO, but these items can be rolled into Off-Page SEO for the sake of ease.
Market And Competitor Research: This should, arguably, be the first thing on any SEO agency’s agenda. They should ask you questions about your target market, sound out general feelings about how the market is and dig into your competitors.
Looking at your competition gives you a good indication of how difficult it will be to rank as well as giving some good indications of what Google is looking favorably on in your particular industry.
They should also be using tools to investigate how competitive keywords are to rank for, as well as seeing which they feel you should be focusing on.
Communication And Routine Updates: It’s easy to sign on to a company and then forget about it. Of course, you’ll want to see results at some point, but a great SEO company will have a clear and concise strategy when it comes to keeping you updated on their progress. The very best might even provide you with a custom dashboard so that you can see exactly how well you’re faring.
Content Production: There’s an old saying in SEO that “Content is King” and this still rings true today. Google is constantly looking to rank the best content out there for its users to enjoy and gather information from. Many SEO companies will assist with the wording on the site but also in content creation such as blogs, guest posts, and even visual or video content.
Things To Consider When Hiring An SEO Agency
Do they actually know what they’re talking about? SEO is a continuously evolving industry that can change in a matter of days. You should get a good feeling that their past campaigns and current way of working track well with the current state of the industry.
SEO is a fairly easy one to look into as a track record. Are their previous clients ranking or not? The best agencies will provide case studies documenting exactly where their clients were and where they are now. If there aren’t any publicly available case studies, ask to see some. You might even consider reaching out to their previous clients and hearing it straight from them.
Look to social media and review sites to see what people have to say about the company and its services. Even better, ask around in your network for recommended companies, if you know a few people who run their own businesses chances are that they have worked with an SEO company at some point.
As mentioned above, SEO is something of a constantly evolving industry. The very best SEO companies will be willing to innovate and try new things, putting them at the cutting edge of industry standards. Remember that if a company is trying the same things that worked 5, 2, or even 1 year ago, you’re unlikely to outrank an innovative company.
An Impressive Tool Kit
There are lots of great SEO tools out there, the best tools can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. Price doesn’t necessarily mean quality, but the best tools are very expensive indeed. Ask the company what their stack is and then research them yourself.
On-site SEO is easy to keep an eye on as your website changes and evolves before your eyes. You also, however, want to be building links to your site from around the web so that your reputation and authority grow. Check with the agency what their link-building strategy entails: how they get them and where they’ll be coming from. The last thing you want is an agency that buys illegitimate links that could get your site blacklisted by Google.
A content strategy, from an SEO point of view, needs to have 3 main things: a plan to rank for certain keywords, and understanding of the content that the website’s audience wants to consume, and a feel for the style and tone of the website and brand voice. Simply pushing out poorly written, keyword-stuffed nonsense isn’t going to cut it. Don’t fall into the trap of writing for Google, your SEO company should always be writing with your audience in mind.
Hiring an SEO agency can feel like a daunting task, there are lots to choose from, they can get seriously expensive and you want it to work out. The key to success is to take your time, get to know them, and go with your gut feeling. They are people, after all, you need to get on with them.
- Don’t rush the decision, do your own research as well as asking friends and your network.
- Look for a solid combination of SEO services.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the best agencies will happily answer and help guide you.