Search engine optimization (SEO) can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to digital marketing. If you’re shopping for SEO services, you’ve probably come across multiple SEO companies and digital marketing agencies. Although most SEO agencies describe their professional services on their website, it can be difficult to navigate SEO terminology to decipher what they do.
So, what is an SEO agency, and what can SEO do for your business?
What is an SEO agency?
An SEO company (or agency) offers professional search engine optimization services to organizations to improve their online presence and search engine visibility. Search engine optimization is a collection of processes and tactics that result in your website ranking higher in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
One of the major benefits of partnering with an SEO company is that they offer specialized experience in helping businesses rank on search engines. SEO professionals provide a wide range of services, from website audits and web design to a personalized SEO strategy, and can help your business implement specific tactics to reach your goals.
Every good SEO company shares the same goal for its clients: to grow their business. Ultimately, an SEO company’s job is to partner with you to boost organic traffic, drive leads, and increase sales through search results.
What are SEO services?
SEO services are categorized into two areas: onsite SEO and offsite SEO.
Onsite SEO focuses on tactics to make your website more search engine-friendly like adding relevant keywords, internal linking, updating metadata/alt image tags/schema, increasing site speed, and user experience-related design.
Offsite SEO consists of tactics deployed outside of your website that also result in a higher organic ranking for your website. These tactics primarily focus on earning high-domain-authority backlinks and updating 150+ online directories (or citations) like Google, Yelp, YP.com, to name a few.
It’s important to point out that not every SEO agency specializes in onsite and offsite tactics. This is mainly due to the high degree of technical ability onsite SEO requires, and the level of expertise offsite requires to gain high-quality backlinks.
More specifically, SEO services typically involve:
Business evaluation and site analytics. SEO companies typically start by evaluating your current website and what keywords it’s currently ranking for, which involves looking at the site’s architecture and content to assess factors such as coding and keyword density. Evaluating your current website is the best way to determine your website’s existing strengths and weaknesses before developing a robust SEO strategy.
In addition to website analysis, the SEO agency will consider your business and industry. They will look into your target audience and overall business goals before implementing an SEO strategy. By learning more about your goals and target audience, the SEO agency can decide which tactics can best improve your website’s organic ranking.
Developing a long-term SEO strategy. After completing an in-depth analysis of your website, an SEO agency can help you create a long-term SEO plan. Developing an SEO strategy and drafting goals for your SEO campaign depends on your industry, type of business, and overall goals.
An experienced SEO firm will consider what they’ve learned from your site audit and analysis to develop a personalized plan for your website. Part of developing a powerful SEO campaign involves keyword research to identify the keywords and phrases used most by your target audience.
Optimizing web design and load speed. Search engines focus on serving the best possible results, creating a positive user experience, and prioritizing content that offers significant value. So if your website takes a long time to load, Google will not rank it very high. A web developer with extensive technical SEO experience can optimize your UX (user experience) for desktop, tablet, and smartphones, boost your load speed and fix any technical issues that could be slowing your site down.
Update your citations. Many of your potential customers use Google, Yelp, and other online directories (or citations) to search for local businesses. So it’s crucial to keep your listings updated to increase the amount of leads produced by your online presence.
While there are a handful of these directories that everyone regularly uses (Google, Yelp, Bing, etc.), there are over 500 citations, worldwide! An SEO agency can help business owners to determine which directories are relevant to their businesses and potential customers, and strategies to optimize each listing to boost local SEO, rank higher, and build your online reputation.
Building a high-quality link profile. First of all, what is a backlink? It’s one of the most critical aspects of your offsite SEO campaign! A backlink is simply one website linking to another website. Google puts a lot of weight on backlinks because they demonstrate your authority in your industry. For example, if a realtor in Los Angeles writes an article for Zillow that talks about LA real estate trends, and that article links back to that realtor’s website, that link would be considered a high-quality link in Google’s eyes.
So why is this important? Because Google rewards relevancy! They want to provide their search traffic the most relevant results that line up with their search. So if a local real estate website has very respected, highly-trafficked sites like Zillow linking to them, this shows Google they’re very good at what they do. Google, in turn, rewards them with a higher organic ranking.
Yet, Google won’t put your site on page one just for one great backlink. They look at your entire link profile to assess the quality of the inbound links your website has earned, including the number of links, and their diversity. The quality of your link profile helps search engines rank your website and understand how your site relates to your competition with similar products or services.
Benefits of SEO
If you’re thinking about developing an SEO strategy, you’ve probably already considered the obvious benefits: more leads, sales, and revenue. While these are important, there are various other tangible benefits of working with an SEO agency:
Improved search engine rankings. An experienced SEO firm can help your website rank higher in search engines. Using current SEO tools and strategies, an SEO specialist knows what it takes to optimize your site and make it more appealing to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The higher your website ranks for relevant keywords, the better your chances of reaching potential clients.
Increased website traffic. In addition to boosting your site’s performance in organic searches, SEO companies help improve the quality of traffic visiting your website. If you’re ranking for keywords and phrases that align with your product or service, the website traffic you’re bringing in will be more likely to purchase your product or service.
Measurable results. SEO firms can also help your business grow by delivering quantifiable results and valuable insights. This data analysis is often applied to benefit other segments of a marketing campaign like Google Ads, Facebook ads, content marketing, and even traditional advertising channels.
Boost Your Online Presence with SEO
If your business is actively pursuing new customers, developing an SEO campaign is a great idea. So the next question is, where do you start?
You can build an internal SEO team that is actively engaged in increasing your organic ranking by focusing on:
- Technical SEO: JS frameworks, XML sitemaps, taxonomy, redirects, log files
- Data SEO: reporting, feeds, data visualization, structured data, location data
- Content SEO: keyword research, creative assets, copy, internal links in copy, semantic HTML
Or, if that requires too many resources, consider hiring an SEO agency. Keep in mind that not all SEO professionals are created equal—many just focus on one or two aspects of onsite and offsite SEO processes and tactics.
Ultimately, the best SEO firms have a deep foundational understanding of onsite and offsite SEO processes and tactics, and how they relate to each other. This expertise is vital because it allows them to understand your competitor’s tactics and recommend a strategy designed to boost your website’s organic rankings without breaking the bank.