This article will address:
- What is an SEO company?
- What is the SEO business all about?
- What does an SEO company do?
- How do SEO companies work?
What Is an SEO Agency or Company? — Basic Definition
An organization hires an SEO company (or agency) to improve its website’s content in the organic results of Google and other search engines.
Organic results are the search results that display when a search engine user types a query into the search box. Organic results are those that Google naturally (organically) displays based on its search algorithm. Organic search results are distinct from paid search results — that is, ads that companies pay for that also display on SERPs (search engine results pages).
Before launching an SEO campaign for a client, an SEO company will review the client’s website and competitors to assess their SEO positions. From there, the SEO company develops an understanding of the client’s business, specifically as it relates to its sales and marketing functions and objectives. Then, the SEO company conducts keyword research to isolate target keywords — search query terms — that make the most sense to optimize for the client’s website.
Once all the preliminary research and setup work is completed, the SEO company will launch a campaign, usually a minimum duration of six months. SEO is a long-term, usually slow-to-develop marketing option. The upside is, when done well, SEO produces a steadily increasing flow of sales leads or e-commerce revenue.
What Is the SEO Business All About?
The SEO business is about understanding what needs to be done on a website and away from the website to make Google rank that website higher in its organic search results. The higher a page of content ranks, the more clicks it will generate. The more clicks it generates to the website, the more conversions the SEO client should get (a conversion being a sales lead inquiry or online order placement).
Google and other search engines have unique and complex algorithms to judge (rank) the value of a page of web content in relation to the search query being made. An algorithm is the “secret sauce” of a search engine: The better the algorithm, the better the search results are for the user; the better the results, the more often that user will rely on the search engine.
SEO companies must figure out how to make a client’s website content rank higher without knowing precisely how the algorithms function. Thus, SEO companies decide what tasks need doing based on data analysis, experience, public guidance from Google and, in some cases, trial and error.
Another important thing to know about the SEO business is that it is constantly changing. Google and other search engines continually refine their algorithms to make them more precise, and to adjust for tactics that are overused by SEO companies in pursuit of higher rankings. Beyond that, factors outside the search engines, such as mobile phone Internet use and voice assistants, change best practices and effective techniques in the SEO world.
Unless an SEO company stays current with technology and algorithm developments, it will execute with outdated techniques that could have zero effect or negative effect on client’s rankings.
What Does an SEO Company Do?
SEO companies do an amazing breadth of work. The talents needed for an SEO campaign include:
- Keyword research specialists to evaluate the many variables that go into selecting the best possible keyword target.
- SEO strategists to develop an overall plan for which website pages to optimize and how best to optimize them.
- SEO copywriters to produce content on the website and off the website. On-site content quality is crucial for good rankings; off-site content is crucial for developing inbound links, which are known to be a highly important ranking factor.
- Content marketers to find off-site publishers for a client’s content (critical for link building).
- Web designers to help build infographics and other visual content for SEO, and to optimize website content.
- Front-end and back-end programmers to make technical modifications and updates to a client’s website, and monitor the site to discover and then repair SEO issues that prevent Google crawlers from properly indexing and ranking web pages. Developers are also needed to install and maintain phone and form lead tracking systems that must be integrated with the website to capture all the relevant data.
- Analysts to collect and interpret data necessary to evaluate the SEO campaign’s results, ROI, and areas for testing and improvement.
- Lead tracking and validation specialists to review all phone and form leads generated from the campaign, and to separate true sales leads from the many non-leads that come in (such as misdials, spam and customer service inquiries).
- Campaign managers to oversee all work done by the sizeable crew noted above. A great deal of a campaign’s month-to-month execution hinges on work being coordinated among team members.
- Account managers to coordinate all communication between the client and the SEO company. Without this, communication can quickly become a free-for-all that causes work to be done twice or not at all.
Every SEO campaign is unique, but typically the bulk of ongoing work involves link building and content production in the pursuit of link building. The number of links to be built depend mainly on the number of keywords being optimized, the relative strength of the client’s inbound link profile and the client’s budget.
Here is a good place to note that the discussion so far addresses standard SEO campaigns with national scope. There are various specialties within SEO that some SEO companies do exclusively or in addition to standard campaigns. The most important subspecies of SEO is local SEO, where the client is interested in building organic visibility for searches in a specific city, zip code, region, etc. Local SEO has its own set of (very complex) techniques and best practices, and an emphasis that differs somewhat from the norm for standard campaigns.
Other specialized areas an SEO company may offer include campaigns to recover from a Google penalty and SEO consulting.
How Do SEO Companies Work?
As just discussed, SEO companies sometimes differentiate themselves by offering different types of services, such as local SEO, enterprise SEO, global/multi-language SEO and consulting.
Another way SEO agencies specialize is in terms of lead generation versus e-commerce. In lead generation campaigns, the goal is to build the pipeline of sales leads. In e-commerce campaigns, the goal is more online order revenue. E-commerce campaigns tend to require higher budgets and more complex execution, since every e-commerce company lives or dies by the effectiveness of its SEO. In contrast, companies with lead generation campaigns may also have a sales force or other marketing initiatives that produce leads. Nevertheless, lead generation campaigns are often the most productive avenue, and require a type of research and strategy that differs from e-commerce.
SEO companies may often specialize in a certain type of client, such as small, midsize or Fortune 500. Organizing a campaign for 50 keywords, 500 keywords, 5,000 keywords or 50,000 keywords requires a completely different type of internal setup. Thus, you should make sure any SEO company you’re considering is adept at handling campaigns of the size and scope you’re after.
Speaking of campaign setup, all top-flight SEO companies have documented procedures for workflow and other campaign activities. They should let you see it, or at least describe it in great detail.
Some SEO companies, such as Straight North, have a full-time, in-house staff for most or all campaign functions. Other SEO companies are really a loose federation of SEO freelancers who may be scattered around the country or around the world. For large-scale campaigns and very competitive campaigns, it’s obviously an advantage to have an in-house staff that offers continuity, depth and flexibility.
To learn about our SEO company in more detail and discuss your needs, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.