If you’ve decided to invest in SEO, you’ll already understand how it can help to grow your business, but what should you expect from an SEO agency?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to SEO but there are still certain expectations for you to have when working with an agency. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the common ways an agency can support you in achieving your business goals, so you can better understand how your SEO campaign will work. But first of all...
What is an SEO agency?
An SEO agency is a company with a team of SEO specialists sometimes supported by other digital experts such as designers and developers who will often have a monthly spend requirement and clients working on a retainer basis. This means that the appropriate clients are reasonably sized businesses who have the budget to support their SEO efforts.
What does an SEO agency do?
A good SEO agency will work with you to develop strategies that will improve the performance of your website in the SERPs. They'll carry out audits, carry out keyword research, create content plans, conduct content optimisations, ensure you're tracking everything correctly, and even work with developers to make technical optimisations to your site. You can find out more about the key services an SEO agency delivers later on in this article.
SEO agency vs SEO consultant vs in-house
SEO consultants may offer to carry out some SEO services, but will mainly consult clients to help them with their SEO strategy and suggest techniques an in-house SEO team could implement. In-house SEOs usually work for ecommerce or large businesses but may look for external SEO expertise to assist them with their tasks and strategy. SEO agencies - on the other hand - deliver everything under one roof, making the whole project of improving your website's performance easier to manage.
Now, here’s some expectations you should have for an SEO agency:
SEO is a serious long term investment, which means you should expect the following:
1. Time for establishing goals and understanding your company
Before any work begins, your SEO agency should take the time to really get to know your business, audience, competitors and what your goals are. Without having a deep knowledge of what it is your brand stands for and what your objectives are, how will they ever hit your targets? A clear and concise strategy should be created and this will help to inform which tasks should be carried out to optimise your ROI for the agreed budget and timeframe.
2. Thorough research and SEO site audits
Successful SEO depends on the following:
- SEO site audits and analysis to identify areas for improvement. Performing SEO site audits can highlight a number of potential performance issues concerning indexing, page speed, content, navigation, images and more. Once the areas to improve are identified, a priority list can be created to implement changes that will optimise your site and improve rankings as well as user experience. Looking for an SEO audit service? We can help!
- Extensive keyword research and competitor analysis into the terms you want to rank for. SEO ensures that guesswork is thrown out of the window as it allows you to identify the most relevant and important keywords users are actively searching for. It’s also essential to note which target keywords you can realistically compete for to maximise your ROI. Find out more about the importance of developing an effective keyword strategy here.
3. Monitoring and reporting
An SEO agency should be continuously monitoring your site’s performance and traffic levels, providing recommendations for future work throughout the process.
All of your highlighted goals should be monitored and covered in a monthly progress report which indicates what is and isn’t working. The report is an opportunity for you to better understand your site and the tasks which have been carried out, ask any questions and share any new products or services you’d like to push and increase visibility for.
4. Site health checks
SEO is an ongoing effort to ensure the smooth running and consistent performance of your website. Your accounts on Google Analytics (GA), Google Search Console and any other SEO tools can be monitored for changes. Site crawls should be undertaken to find any errors such as broken links, duplicate content or poor backlinks so that they may be fixed either by themselves or your web development team.
Throughout your communication with your SEO agency, you want them to be totally transparent and realistic about how your goals will be met. It’s important for you to understand the tasks which are being carried out and why - to be clear, SEO is a field where there isn’t always a straightforward path to follow to get results; some techniques may not work out as hoped but this will better inform the strategy and future plan of action.
6. Results! (but not immediately)
At the end of the day, you’re hiring an SEO agency to boost your sales, traffic and ROI so it’s fair to expect to see some significant improvements. That said, successful SEO does take time and you should be very cautious of any SEO companies who are promising you quick results.
It could take a number of months for you to see your traffic and revenue increase, especially because it can take time for search engines such as Google to reward your efforts. If you are seeing some positive results then you can safely say your SEO campaign is paying off.
What SEO services do SEO agencies provide?
SEO is a broad service which ultimately sets out to increase your visibility and chances of converting users. SEO services include but aren’t limited to:
- Keyword strategy - experience is aided by the use of tools such as Semrush to identify which keywords your business should be targeting for maximum impact.
- Technical SEO - specialist tools are used to crawl and audit a client’s website to identify any issues (such as duplicate content or 404 pages) which need to be fixed.
- Website audits - these provide clients with detailed insights of their website and can include analysis of the SERP landscape, competitors, keyword strategy and their site performance.
- ROI forecasting - this is done using an SEO ROI model to try and predict the value of SEO services for the business.
- Content optimisation - having good quality content which is useful for users and optimised for search engines can seriously up your rankings game. It involves writing copy, adding internal links to your other relevant pages, optimising for target keywords and more.
- Content marketing - supporting content is often essential for building a strong architecture around your commercially focussed pages, whilst attracting new organic traffic through the content itself
- Link building - this involves earning citations from relevant, credible sources with expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T). You can find out how to build links for SEO in our blog.
- Local SEO - local SEO helps to improve the visibility of businesses operating in a local area.
- Website migrations - migrating domains, designs or platforms can be risky business as you may lose traffic. SEO specialists work with web developers and designers to prevent technical issues.
How much do SEO agencies generally charge?
How much SEO will cost will vary across clients depending on the scale of your project, how competitive your sector is and how experienced the SEO agency is. It’s important to remember that SEO is not a ‘quick fix’ and it will likely take a number of months before you begin to notice significant changes in traffic and revenue which is of course something to factor into your budget.
What you can do is talk to a few different agencies and ask for some quotes but ultimately the cheapest option may not be the best choice so consider whether they are the right agency for you.
What about contracts?
SEO contracts aren't always ongoing, although it’s worth remembering that it can take time to start seeing results. Typically, an SEO agency will give you the option of having work completed with agreed deliverables (such as some content creation or website audits) or a retainer which sees a set amount of SEO work undertaken each month. A common contract with an SEO agency is for approximately six to twelve months but this really depends on your business and the goals you hope to achieve.
A final note
SEO is a complex business and your SEO campaign and strategy will look very different to other businesses. What you can look for though, is an SEO agency who wants to really get to know your company and has as many questions as you to ensure the right goals can be worked towards and achieved.
Avoid any over-promisers who say they’ll score you more traffic in the snap of the finger because their methods may be ineffective...or extremely dodgy at the least! You’ll want an SEO agency who you can trust to nurture and grow your website so that it can stay ahead of the competition and successfully convert users.
Finally, make sure that you pick an SEO agency who will work with you closely, as an extension of your own team to improve your performance and report on results.
Looking for an SEO agency?
If you’re looking for an SEO agency who can help to improve your business’s online visibility, increase organic traffic to your site and get you ranking for the keywords that matter the most, we’re the SEO agency for you! Simply get in touch today to see how we can help.