What do SEO companies actually do? Is working with an SEO agency necessary? What is SEO, anyway? These questions and more will be answered in this summary of why it’s time to start taking SEO seriously.
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For many, even seasoned marketers, the term “SEO” might be foreign. For others, like myself (obviously), understanding all things SEO has been a massive part of my career for a considerable amount of time. From the outside, digital marketing may seem to be in constant flux. Every platform’s shifting algorithm seems to transform the moment it’s figured out. Isn’t SEO just another passing trend?
In fact, in an industry filled with innovation, SEO services are only becoming more relevant. (Even if you’re not quite sure what an SEO company actually does). Besides, that’s what this article is for— to get you in the loop, whether you’re a small business owner or working for a more established enterprise.
I get a lot of people asking: “What is SEO, anyway?” “What do SEO companies do?” “Do I really need to hire an SEO professional?”
This article will answer these questions, clearly and distinctly. I’m here to provide a comprehensive account, and, by sticking with me here, you’ll learn all about:
- What “SEO” means
- Why SEO matters
- What our SEO company can do for you
- The whole range of SEO services our company provides
- What a standard contract entails
- Whether hiring an SEO company is the right move for you and your project
- How to determine which SEO company or professional is right for you
- Everything you need to know about SEO before diving in
What do SEO agencies actually do?
As a relatively new field which continues to rise in prominence, many entrepreneurs are curious about what, precisely, it is that SEO companies do. You may have wondered why everybody in the digital marketing world won’t stop talking about SEO, as it has already been recognized as a matter of necessity by a notable percentile of professionals. Many professionals are intrigued, don’t quite know what an SEO agency is, and what kind of services are provided. So, what does an average SEO company do, you ask?
The answer to the question, to put it briefly: quite a bit.
Let me explain.
It seems prudent to start by actually defining what SEO means— as in, what the letters stand for, and why this is significant.
SEO = Search Engine Optimization.
If you’ve heard SEO referenced as “getting yourself to the front page of a Google search, you’re not wrong. However, there’s a lot more to it.
What we do, as a company, is work to increase the visibility of your web page. We engage with the appropriate keywords to your business and maximize the chance of getting yourself seen on engines like Google, increasing your placement among the mass of search rankings which inevitably arise.
Here’s the thing: this is a big deal. According to recent data analysis, over 90% of consumer experiences online are initiated by engaging with a search engine. The closer you are to the top of the search rankings, the higher the likelihood of a potential customer choosing your business. The chance of new consumers coming into contact with you and your business increases dramatically; in fact, almost 50% of people don’t look further than the third link on the Google page before clicking.
Are All SEO Companies Trustworthy?
Not quite. Like most good things, a lot of unsavory characters are looking to exploit this trend to make their quick buck. There are reputable SEO professionals with vast knowledge of the digital marketing landscape, and then there are… others.Our company, for example, puts our nose to the grindstone and promises integrity in how we relate to our customers and data. Others, on the other hand, use cheap tricks which may seem to boost your search rankings in the short-term, but, from a ‘big picture’ perspective, will inevitably end up sabotaging your future.Here, we make progress by analyzing hundreds of categories of information to ensure accuracy, quality, and integrity. We understand all the little details which go into elevating your online presence, and we’re committed to making it happen.We make adjustments based on real factors to create significant results. Some guiding priorities incorporated in our analysis and action include:
- The safety and security of your website
- Website quality
- Website content quality
- The type of website code
- Analysis of schema markup
- Is it HTTPS or HTTP?
- How mobile-friendly your current website is
- The speed in which pages load on your site
- Optimization of images
- Social signals and quality of backlinks
Our methods and procedures allow us to optimize these elements effectively and consistently to better your results.
What kind of SEO Services Should a Business Owner Expect to be Provided by an SEO Company?
We’ve laid out some of the areas in which we make an impact, but how and what we perform to achieve results is worth understanding. Our primary method of operation, and what any legitimate company should be offering in their standard services, features the following…
- We analyze the structure of your website
- We analyze the content of your website
- We analyze your current conversion rate
- We analyze all off-page online elements
- We optimize your website structure
- We optimize your website code
- We optimize your on-site webpage content
- We optimize all elements of your off-page online presence
Analyzing the Structure of Your Website
Website structure analysis is vital. Everyone agrees, to some extent, that designing your website explicitly to appease Google’s algorithm isn’t necessarily the best idea. Even Google encourages developers to focus on independent quality as such. Sure. However, designing without considering your relation to search engine rankings would be absurd given the current state of things. Proper SEO agencies, like ourselves— we’ve learned how to strike a balance.
What do we consider when analyzing the structure of your website?
Is it secure?
Many don’t know the significance of the potential added “s” in HTTPS. Without it, your website probably isn’t secure— and it at least is not as reliable as it could be. Secured sites aren’t just for taking payments, by the way.
Regardless of whether your site interacts with credit cards to do business, Google will always, always prefer a secured site to the alternative.
The results show this to be true.
We carefully observe and study any current analytics data that has been, or can be, distilled. If you don’t have any pre-existing program set up, we can take care of that. This is very important, as it allows us to understand sales data and track potential leads.This information is not something which we believe should be taken for granted.
Preventing Search Engine Crawlers
You don’t want ‘Robot.txt’ files making their presence felt on your page.
Basic Error Correction
Site errors constitute a significant sign to Google that your page doesn’t belong on its front page. Some basic errors, like 4XX errors, crawlers blocked, missing information, duplicated content, and more, can stand in the way of Google trusting your site. You want Google’s trust— trust us.
Are you Indexed?
It’s better to be Indexed than Non-Indexed. To be Indexed, more or less, is a sort of vote-of-confidence or sign of quality that will improve your relevancy for searches. This is a great way to boost potential consumers and get some organic clicks.
Your XML sitemap
The XML sitemap refers to a directory of any page your website contains which you would like a search engine to account for. This may seem similar to robots.txt, but it is, in fact, the opposite— your XML sitemap communicates with which pages to index, robots.txt tells which ones you would NOT like to index.
Since the beginning of the accessible web, users have consistently desired one overarching improvement. Faster! Speed is a massive element of user experience, which search engines take into account. Users are predictable in their impatience. As such, speed does, in fact, play a role in your rankings.
Optimized ElementsYou may not be aware of what a ‘meta element’ is, but trust us— it’s essential. Negative meta elements can often be found in descriptions, general site content, duplicate title tags, and other such details. Such factors will hinder your ranking. Accordingly, this is where we spend a lot of our optimization energy.
Convert!We examine any factor that might be negatively impacting your conversion rate. With our methods, it’s easy to identify content which might be shooting you in the foot and mismanaging your leads. To find what works best for your particular success, we’ll perform operations such as A:B tests which examine the results of alternate links, contact forms, and other such details.
As you can tell, a lot of this is quite technical. Whether you fully comprehend the previous passage or not, the next bit is likely more comprehensible.
Analyzing Your Content
Content Analysis. A huge part of any true SEO specialist’s domain. We examine your content in order with the following questions in mind:Is your content voice search compatible?
- How effective are currently targeted keywords?
- Is content ranking sufficient?
- Are there issues with duplicate content?
- Is your web page missing pages?
- Is your contact info accuracies and consistent?
In the end, absolutely nothing is as vital to your success as solid web content. Exceptional content is the best way to attract potential customers, and, accordingly, the best way to convert your leads into profit.
Examining your current content is such a crucial step for these reasons. Really, this is what acts as a foundation for the entire strategy which we will build together.
Using also utilize the findings from this investigation to enact a thorough keyword analysis. The information helps us discover existent opportunities, as well as opens new doors, in order to improve rankings and expand your reach.
So much of the most important SEO work actually occurs away from your website. Your influence is very much defined by how you relate to the web-at-large. Are you featured on industry blogs? Have customers been ranking your business on popular forums and directories? How are you doing on YELP? If you’ve already got some popularity, it’s all the better. They say there’s nothing better than word of mouth, and they’re right— even if this was never expected to be reflected in a Google algorithm! If you’re doing well in this regard, you’ll automatically relate in a better way to your preferred keywords. If you’re not, it’s tougher, but that’s what we’re here for. Whether you’re brand new and attempting to collect your first significant compilation of reviews, or whether you’re recovering from negative ones, there is a way out.
For example, we have positive methods of dealing with negative reviews, including tactics for peacemaking with disturbed customers from the past.We move on from our website analysis by forming a realistic portrait of what people are saying about you off-site, and deciding how this can be utilized.
Our search is thorough. We cruise around the web looking for any mentions, and find a way to maximize the gains.We know how to optimize your online presence. Years of experience has shown us the requisite tools for collaborating with a new company and customizing a plan of action.
Though every project has some particularities, we know that some principles always hold true. We’ll help by:
- Increasing your organic traffic
- Creating content specifically for your target audience, geographically or otherwise
- Optimizing title tags and intentionally creating effective meta descriptions
- NAP consistency
- Cultivation of positive, legitimate reviews, impacted by schema
- Creating the ideal UI for mobile devices— mobile responsiveness is key!
- Finding ways to increase legitimacy, authenticity, and authority
Progress, in the big picture, comes from perfecting every minor detail. Improvement, in this sense, is inevitable. Perfection is possible, and it’s what we strive for in crafting a finely tuned web presence for you.
STRUCTURE AND CODE OPTIMIZATION
From time to time, we work with a page which is nearly perfect, and only requires a couple of adjustments. The vast majority of the time, though, we find much room for improvement. With the swift evolution which continually occurs in this field, we can always find some room for optimization. With structure and site code, we discover pure potentiality for progress. Our team of trusted engineers and specialists can’t wait to optimize your site in the following ways:
- Organizing a site structure to improve navigation; make it as simple as possible to find what they’ve come for
- Efficiency! People are impatient. We cut out any inefficiencies and grease the wheels!
- Tidy up in errors which can be detected by Google
- Optimize or introduce an XML sitemap for better interaction with Google
- Add links! Internal links allow customers to move around your site with ease, specifically directed to where it’s best for them to get to from your perspective.
IMPROVING SITE CONTENT
This much is worth reiterating: your content matters most. Even a perfectly designed site needs to consistently churn out top-notch content. The best landing page will still be hindered by flat content. Content creation is critical for attracting potential customers, and for closing the deal. A real dynamic is required here, and now a piece of material is ever done being optimized.
We will work to:
- Ensure there is no duplicate content; we’ll either rewrite it or get rid of it
- Ensure there are no wasted opportunities to link keywords in page titles; this is very important for getting Google’s attention and improving your rankings
- Write new copy which is rich with keywords; this will improve landing page performance
- Manufacture organic, fresh landing pages to attract potential customers
- Contribute dynamic images
- Properly format existing text
- Refine the aesthetic of the page
As I previously mentioned, the way your brand appears off-site manages to make at least as much of an impact as your site itself. This reality encourages us to:
- Engage with SEO principles based on your locality; if relevant to your business, this will raise your rankings in searches based on your own community
- Discover all existing online directory listings of your enterprise: then, we verify and update them so that they are accurate, informative, and reflect the business in the best possible light
- Look for new online resources to link with and contribute to
- Craft and circulate writings, such as press releases, which detail your company’s progress and fresh offerings
- Network! We’ll find influencers, blogs, and other resources in relevant fields and create mutually beneficial agreements to exchange links and support each other
We understand where the notion comes from that SEO professionals just add hot links to keywords, and that anyone can do it, but it’s simply untrue. Optimizing in this way goes so much deeper. We improve your website in every way, but we also provide continued data analysis. This allows us to track changes, see what’s working and what isn’t, and make the appropriate changes based on this. The ongoing process we share with you includes:
- Relevant, closely monitored rankings, traffic numbers, and conversion rates which are updated and tracked on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis (and so on)
- The knowledge to understand data and infer the best direction to move and best strategies to apply
But is Hiring an SEO Company Really Necessary?
Well, if you want more traffic, more calls, more sales, and more profits, engaging with an SEO company like ours is a great strategy.
Do you want to grow your business? Do you want to be sure that your website is maximizing its potential impact on your profit margins? Do you want to be discovered by potential customers using Google? Do you want to leave fellow businesses in the dust and excel beyond the standard? To set yourself apart from the rest? Do you want to get more leads? Convert more leads? Make more sales?
Do you care about long-term sustainability in a rapidly digitalized age?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these, an SEO company is a surefire way to meet and exceed your goals!
However, is this the best SEO service out there?
We wouldn’t be doing this if we weren’t striving to be the best. We’re not here to make a quick buck and leave. We are here to forge lasting partnerships based on trust and mutual growth. Choosing an SEO company is no small matter— not only do we want to maximize your success, but we want to continue doing it for as long as you plan to grow.We set ourselves apart from the crowd by offering transparency, accountability, and firm commitment. We’re not just a quick-fix for a few weeks of better rankings, like many companies out there. Indeed, if you see any company saying that they can: double your traffic overnight, manifest instant leads and search engine submissions, guarantee a figure of backlinks, or offer specific ROI projections, you want to get out of there as fast as possible.The results may seem too good to be true, and that’s because they are with these companies. Also, the damage lasts a lot longer than the success you’ve signed up for.
TELL-TALE SIGNS THAT AN SEO COMPANY IS WORTH AVOIDING
If a company is promising a guaranteed number of results within a specific range of time, you can bet that they are employing shady tactics. These are the scam artists who jeopardize the legitimacy granted to our field of work, and we feel strongly about disavowing these tactics at every turn.
Companies like this will:
- Use your money to buy shady links on phony sites
- Use programs to manipulate fake results through the creation of awful pages
- Duplicate content in a way that does not serve your interests
- Depend on spamming links and ensuring the long-term irrelevance of your project for their own immediate gains
Sometimes, the people behind this have a firm understanding of the Google algorithm, and the short-term results show this to be the case. However, Google cares deeply about adapting around such backward tactics, and proactively reform their algorithm to fend against methods that have been used to cheat the system. Moreover, if Google does find that you have used shady tactics, they will surely penalize your site in ways that cause long term problems. In this way, one step forward can mean ten steps backward for you, as well as wasted money that could have been more adequately invested.
Never deal with people who strike you as shady, or who make the promises we’ve warned you about. Don’t deal with companies that claim ownership via copyright on any of the data they say they’ll work with for you. Don’t sign yourself away like that, as it can lead to being legally disallowed to use the content you’ve rightfully paid for. When you collaborate with us, however, we create content that is yours forever.
How do I know a safe SEO company from a bad one?
Start by taking a look at their reviews. As you may expect, a lot of untrustworthy SEO companies have collected a slew of bad reviews from people they have improperly taken advantage of in the past. Don’t trust anyone who appears to be as such. Always ask for examples of reviews and maybe even portfolio pieces or case studies.
- Don’t forget to clarify the contents of the contract. Have them explain to you in plain terms what they are proposing, and what your signature then entails.
- How does cancellation work? There’s nothing worse than being locked in a contract with someone you’ve learned to distrust or just don’t enjoy working with.
- Make sure you know when the contract ends.
- Clarify communication terms. Who writes who, and when? Make sure to decide on a standard so that each side can hold each other accountable.
- Ask to retain access to your own site and analytics. They should not be afraid to help you in this way, as well as to provide information on who has access to FTP, CMS, AdWords, and Analytics.
- Who owns the website? Some companies claim ownership of the project, especially if they’re building it from scratch. Make sure you know, because the stakes of canceling raise significantly if you’ll be left without a website for any given amount of time. It’s best to work with an SEO company who allows you to own the site.
- Are there guarantees for figures? Watch out. Such an offer may be tempting, but a real, authentic, trustworthy SEO company won’t guarantee specific results, only clarify their goals and their means of attaining them.
- Ask if the company has relevant experience with similar businesses to yours, or in the industry which you work within. Experience in your specific field can help, especially with the formalities of content creation.
- What contract options are available? Don’t be upsold to the most expensive “just because.” Some small businesses don’t need the same extensive work as a large business. Clarify this and demand honesty.
- Clarify fees, payment options, and what precisely you’ll be paying for.
We believe that we’re your best option, as far as SEO companies built to serve your interests. We respect our competitors, which is why we learn what the leaders in the industry are doing best, preserve our own unique merits, and continuously live within this reciprocity in order to elevate and grow. We care about how you appear on the web. As a client of ours, your image reflects our image, and vice versa; our success is your success, is shared success.
If you have any questions about what we are offering, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.