What is an SEO agency and what do they actually do?
Search engine optimization or SEO Defined
After over a decade of operating an SEO company, one thing is clear. The vast majority of people that we speak with on a weekly basis don't truly understand what SEO is and particularly have no idea what SEO services should be included in a working strategy to actually garner search engine marketing results. The truth is that the objective itself is very straightforward when putting together an SEO strategy, to get relevant organic traffic to your website or other online assets like a Google Business profile. The other truth is that doing that is becoming more complicated by the day.
To keep it simple, SEO is a set of activities that are intended to give pages of your website more visibility for search terms that are related to the type of traffic that you want to receive. For instance, if you own a plumbing company, you don't care if you show up in searches for roofing, right? So the objective, in this example, is to gain as much search visibility for plumbing-related keywords within the service area in which you operate. This is done by creating and optimizing content that Google likes for this objective, along with a lot of other stuff that falls within a real SEO strategy, like building links and ensuring many other technical SEO aspects are shored up. Simple, right? Think again!
How SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) work and how it relates to SEO companies
Most people understand these days when they search for something on Google, or whatever search engine you use, that those results are altered via an algorithm. While there is a lot of conjecture out there about what works and what doesn't, ultimately the search engines decide what you see based on a multitude of different factors. Some of the big ones are content length, content entities (meaning terms on the page related to the core topic), interlinking on the website, and external links (or votes) to the website content.
While this all sounds complex (and it is), it is an SEO agency's job to untangle this web for their clients. The good news is that with the right tools, knowledge, and experience an SEO company can put together a strategy to do just that. Our SEO agency with SEO companies in San Diego and SEO companies in Indianapolis has been doing just this since 2009 for clients in a wide range of different business niches. Each situation is completely unique which is why search engines like google don't accept a templated approach to SEO. Cookie-cutter options put together by large SEO agencies frankly don't work anymore as search engine optimization takes a fluid plan and a constant focus on testing and continuing education to stay on top of recent updates for clients no matter how competitive the niche may be.
Search Engines | How do we get them to love us?
One of the most mystical things to people about SEO is what does an SEO agency actually do? The real answer is that it depends on the situation. Real SEO is an entirely customized SEO strategy that is put together with comparative data and testing in mind. The other sad truth is that many SEO companies have created a bad name for the industry by putting out programs that they either know won't work or just simply don't have enough experience to understand that they won't. Again, we can't reiterate enough that cookie-cutter or cheap DIY SEO options, simply will not work these days, no matter what the sales rep or online video promised you! Below we will outline many elements of what an SEO company does. Bear in mind that this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, but it includes some of the high-level items that will help move the needle.
What SEO Services SHOULD include:
initial SEO audit
keyword research for identifying relevant keywords
Google analytics set up and review
3rd party analytics
pre-identified KPIs for online visibility
pre-identified KPIs for search engine rankings
pre-identified KPIs for relevant traffic
off page factors and off-page SEO strategies
on page factors (on-page optimization) and on page SEO strategies (optimizing onpage content)
content creation and/or content optimization
ensuring a reputable online presence
local SEO (if applicable)
internal links review
review of site errors
review and editing of meta descriptions
review and analysis of google search console
and TONS more
What SEO Services SHOULD NOT include:
one size fits all options
learn SEO in 24 lessons options
duplicate content across lots of websites
guarantees (even the best SEOs in the world can't guarantee anything without lying)
What an SEO Company actually does
An SEO company is a partner with the clients in which they serve. While there may be a ton of bullet points and fun marketing collateral to look at in the sales process ultimately an SEO agency should be working with you as the client in a pre-determined capacity in some sort of fluid way. Search engine optimization is a moving target that is constantly changing and we have to adapt on the run to get clients more search visibility and then work just as hard to help them keep it. While we have clients that are very involved in the process and others that are very hands off these same general rules apply. This is based on well over a decade of experience and also some lessons learned the hard way. We hope it helps!