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How to Choose an SEO Agency

What Is an SEO Agency?


 
Do you find yourself, your colleagues, or even your boss asking questions such as “Should we be doing SEO on our website?” “Should we be looking into agencies that offer SEO services or that are SEO-specific?” If so, you’ve likely heard all about the benefits of search engine optimization (SEO) and why nearly every business, both established and those just starting, require quality SEO services. So, how do you find the right agency offering SEO services?. You’ve come to the right place.

SEO has a broad reach. It can be straightforward to understand the low-hanging-fruit aspects of SEO, like keyword-focused page titles and a well-written meta description. But SEO can also be very complicated, especially when it comes to recent search engine advancements. These advancements, which Google describes as user-focused, have made SEO even more challenging to perform accurately. It requires professionals with extensive backgrounds and experience to assist with deciphering elements such as page speed and site security.

You may have come across several agencies that offer SEO, but you’re still not sure what makes a digital marketing agency providing SEO services the perfect fit. Or you might be jaded from a past experience with poor SEO services. Remember: what you pay for should be what you receive. But if your understanding of SEO is limited, you probably won’t know the cost associated with quality SEO services.

The goal of an agency that offers quality SEO services is to help businesses increase online search visibility by implementing SEO best practices. A great benefit to using an agency that provides SEO services is that it is likely to have time-tested and proven SEO strategies in place.

An experienced agency providing SEO employs specialists spanning several areas of search engine optimization. These SEO professionals contribute their expert knowledge across a range of services, which include providing site audits and reviews, developing a customized SEO strategy, and implementing the tactics that will help your business reach its goals.

Quality SEO professionals treat your website as if it’s their own. The goal remains the same: maximize the return on investment and assist your business with understanding SEO and how their strategy will help your business meet its overall objectives.

So, what are the benefits of SEO services? SEO can help your business understand how search engines perceive your business online and who your direct competitors are.

  • SEO can help your business improve search engine rankings
  • SEO can help improve the overall quality of your website traffic
  • SEO is measurable and easy to report on
  • SEO can help increase your brand’s online popularity

 

What Are SEO Services?

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Now that you have a little better understanding about agencies offering SEO services and how working with one can benefit your website, business, and overall brand, let’s discuss what SEO services look like and how they may impact your business.

Website Analysis and Brand Discovery

Analyzing and evaluating your business and website’s SEO should be the first step. It’s important to identify what’s working well, what needs to be addressed, and what your competition looks like from the search engine’s perspective. This is the best way to determine strengths and weaknesses before developing and implementing an SEO best-practice strategy.

Understanding your business’s target market, industry, and overall website goals allows an SEO strategist to provide an ideal SEO plan. An experienced agency offering quality SEO services will always consider and treat your website as its own.

SEO Strategy and Goals

After an in-depth SEO analysis of your current site and evaluation of your industry and target market, an agency can then work to help you make an SEO plan for the future. The strategy and goals for your SEO campaign will depend heavily on your business type and what your overall business goals are.

Knowledgeable and experienced SEO agencies will take what they’ve discovered from your site audit and industry analysis and develop a customized plan for your business’s website. Part of this strategy will include identifying and developing a comprehensive keyword seed list that contains the keywords and search terms most relevant to your target audience. This plan will also include different strategies and tactics that can help you rank higher than your competition on the search engines.

Tools of the Trade

Electricians, auto mechanics, or teachers select the best tools to complement their expertise and experience so as to provide the best-quality service available. SEOs are similar. Before beginning the execution of SEO best practices, your SEO agency will determine the ideal SEO tools and reporting dashboards needed to implement and monitor SEO metrics accurately.

I’ve personally used—or at the very least, test-driven—a vast number of tools. These tools are not only centered around SEO specifically (SEMRush, Ahrefs, MOZ, Majestic, etc.). Some tools are designed to make SEO tasks more streamlined. These include organizational tools (BugHerd, Basecamp, Work-a-Majig, JIRA, Zoho, etc.), reporting tools (Google Analytics, Omniture, Klipfolio, etc.) and marketing automation tools (HubSpot, Marketo, Prospect.io, etc.), to name a few.

You can imagine how time-consuming it is to familiarize yourself with tools like the ones mentioned but to also possess the ability to offer effective SEO strategies and services centered around tools.

Implementation of SEO Recommendations

After completing the setup of SEO tools and reporting platforms, the SEO agency can then begin execution of the SEO strategy. This SEO service typically starts with technical SEO. I often compare SEO elements (technical, on-page, off-page, etc.) to a new car. A user’s first impression of a website is much like the first impression of a new car: it looks pretty, sleek, and functional. Technical SEO is the engine of the vehicle. Without a working engine, all you’ve got is a very large, albeit beautiful, lawn ornament.

The people riding in your car are like off-site elements. For instance, let’s say you have a beautiful new Prius, a vehicle known for appealing to environmentalists. Riding around town with Leonardo DiCaprio is not only something to brag about but something that provides you, a Prius owner, with more authority and relevance among other environmentalists, no matter how shallow that may sound. A Prius driver giving a ride to Leo equals an SEO professional receiving a link from Google (which would be a game changer, but you won’t get that link unless it serves their purpose—the user).

After technical SEO issues have been addressed, the on-site and off-site SEO strategy can begin simultaneously. You may not have direct control over off-page factors such as increasing authority or building relevant and authoritative links. However, your SEO agency will provide some suggestions for ways to improve off-page tactics and may even deliver a detailed plan for how you can start to improve your overall site authority.

Go-Forward Strategy

Search engine optimization is ever-changing and requires an ongoing process. Search engines, such as Google, are constantly reevaluating their algorithms to ensure their users are provided with the best search experience possible. With every algorithm update, businesses have to reevaluate their SEO strategy and make both small and significant adjustments to their website in order to remain compliant and maintain their SEO ranking. An SEO agency can and should provide continuous SEO services to help ensure that your site remains competitive and that search visibility improves over time.

Go-forward SEO strategies can include further keyword research, article SEO (blogging) services, link acquisition campaigns, and several other on-page and off-page optimization tactics. The most experienced SEO agencies stay up to date with the latest changes in search engine optimization, which allows them to update your strategy to ensure long-term success for your company’s site.

 

How Do SEO Recommendations Get Implemented?

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If you’re seriously considering hiring an agency to provide search engine optimization services for your business, there are several things that you may want to take into account.

Knowledge and Experience

Look for an agency with experience, because that’s the only source of working knowledge of SEO strategies. You can research all you like, but until you’re faced with SEO challenges in real time, you’ll find it extremely difficult to address those issues accurately and on time. Quality SEO agencies develop strategies that address several aspects such as how much time will it take and the optimal way to complete the implementation of a task.

Customized SEO Services

Make sure you choose an agency that offers strategies tailored to the unique goals of your business. When it comes to SEO strategy, no two businesses can be treated the same way. You need to make sure that you’re working with a company that has taken the time to get to know your industry and target audience and that understands your business goals and budget.

In-House Capabilities

Look for a company that performs all its SEO services in-house (except when it comes to editorial style content marketing, which is another essential topic altogether). Some SEO agencies will outsource their work to third-party SEO companies to save money. The disadvantage to this is that you rarely know who’s working on optimizing your site and what their experience level is.

Full-Service Offerings

Although we’re talking specifically about SEO services, in my experience, finding an agency that provides a wide variety of digital and traditional marketing services—even print services—makes life much easier for internal marketing departments, which in return makes everyone’s life easier. This is especially important for large businesses with a lot of moving parts.

These are just a few of the factors that you’ll want to consider when choosing an SEO company to work with. Some other things you should take into consideration is how long they’ve been in business and what types of services they offer. If the company doesn’t provide comprehensive SEO services, you may want to continue to shop around until you find a company that can better meet your needs.

Now that we’ve equipped you with additional knowledge—and the confidence to have a conversation with an SEO provider—we hope you seriously consider receiving help with your search engine optimization strategy and implementation. The knowledgeable SEO experts at AOR, Inc. offer an SEO process that’s been proven to produce effective results for all our SEO clients.

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