Organic search traffic averages over 53.3% of websites’ traffic across various industries. If you’re having trouble getting organic traffic to your website, you’ll need search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re not a master in this field or don’t have enough time, you will want to hire an experienced SEO company. But what is an SEO company?
In short, an SEO company offers SEO services that’ll help you rank higher in relevant search results.
To figure out whether you should use an SEO company, we’ve put together a definitive guide. You’ll learn what these companies do, how to find the best one, and what to expect when hiring an SEO agency.
What Are SEO Companies?
An SEO company, or SEO agency, is a company that will partner with their client businesses to boost their web presence in search engines like Google.
Why is increased visibility in search engines important?
As we mentioned, organic traffic may make up a majority of your user base. To generate more traffic, you’ll need to fulfill various requirements to help search engines put your content in front of the right users.
Google owns over 91% of the search engine market share. You will need to focus on adjusting your website to make it easier for search engines like Google to understand its contents. Fortunately, since Google’s best practice guidelines closely mirror what users actually want to see, the other search engine’s best practices will often mirror those of Google’s.
You could spend months learning how to master SEO. You could waste countless days modifying your website, monitoring it, and creating content. Or, you could outsource to an SEO professional who has mastered this area.
What Do SEO Companies Do?
If you’re an HVAC company you will want local customers to find your business and eventually book a consultation. One of the long-tail keywords that you’ll want to rank for in this scenario might be “air conditioning installers near me.”
Ideally, you’ll want your website to be within the top 3 results on the search engine results page (SERP), or better yet, in the Google Map Pack.
To achieve these results, hire an SEO company that specializes in local SEO. To improve your chances of being found, an SEO agency will improve areas on your website like:
- On-page, off-page, and technical SEO: we’ll go more into depth about these areas later
- Schema: this is also on-page, but hidden from viewers; it is structured data that helps search engines read and understand your pages
- Competitive research: an SEO specialist can figure out what’s working for your competitors and match or beat them at their own game
And while a bit of industry knowledge is always a nice-to-have, any SEO company worth their salt will quickly be able to optimize your website based on your input, as well as the data that Google and their data mining tools show.
As a part of your visibility strategy, a digital marketing company may offer social media, web design, and content creation services.
What Services Does an SEO Company Offer?
Let’s dive into the various services that SEO companies offer. You need to know what they do and how they can help your business generate more revenue.
Even if you’ve already performed research on your target audience, an SEO company may also conduct market research. That’s because, unless you’ve already done a deep dive into Google search data, you may be missing valuable insights about the terms your best client prospects type when they search for companies like yours.
Performing this type of search will not only help you fine-tune your marketing messages, but it’ll also help you identify what blog topics will allow your business to grow visibility quickly.
Enhance Your Website’s On-page SEO
On-page, or on-site, SEO is a set of practices an SEO specialist will follow to edit or publish high-quality content that will satisfy search engine algorithms. Optimizing your website’s pages will make your customers happier, and help search engines better understand your page’s content.
When a search engine like Google knows what your page entails, it can better match searcher intent, which gives your target audience more relevant content. With their intent matched, you’ll generate higher-quality leads.
Adjust Your Off-page SEO
Off-page search engine optimization plays a major role in ranking your website. It involves transforming your website, and the way other sites view it. Doing good off-page SEO shows search engines that you’re an authoritative and trustworthy resource in your industry.
Search engine optimization agencies can help you in this area by deploying white-hat link-building techniques, reaching out to brands, increasing your social media mentions, and more.
Analyze Your Website Structure
While you need to design your website for users, you’ll also need to design it to be friendly to search engines. When hiring a search engine optimization company, they’ll look at your website and check for the following:
- Website errors: Broken hyperlinks, broken images, duplicate page content or duplicate title tags hurt your authority and rankings.
- Keyword cannibalization: whether you use the same keyword across multiple pages
- HTTPS: If your site doesn’t use https, you could scare away users and cause search engines to consider your site less trustworthy and safe.
- Index status: Users can’t find your pages if they’re not indexed; an analyst will check to see whether search engines have indexed your pages.
- Robots.txt adjustments: These files tell search engines whether you want to crawl specific pages
Not all SEO companies perform the same checks. Many companies will also ensure your website has a sitemap and website analytics software (like Google Analytics) properly installed.
A/B testing, or split testing, is when you have two versions of the same page or copy to see which performs better. Throughout your campaign, an account manager will test various page copies to see what will pull in the best results.
Some examples of areas they’ll experiment with include page titles, button copy, or even a page redesign. These tests will help a dedicated account manager know what elements will increase KPIs with your users.
Maximize Your Website’s Technical SEO
Technical SEO is a set of practices used to optimize your server and website. These changes help search engines index and crawl your website better. One thing an SEO agency could do in this area is build an XML sitemap for your website.
AN XML sitemap helps search engines crawl your website and ultimately better understand what it’s about and when it’s updated. You’ll also help search engines understand how your pages are connected and their importance.
One of the most recent and important updates is Google Core Web Vitals. This shows whether your site delivers a great user experience. Technical SEO professionals will also enhance your website’s rendering and page speed, which will help you rank in this area.
HubSpot performed a survey asking companies what their primary approach to marketing was. 74% of global companies responded with “inbound marketing.” Their biggest source of high-quality leads was inbound traffic, which is a result of great content and great SEO work.
You could hire a company that offers cheap rates for writing, but don’t expect high-quality copy. This may be okay if you’re a fencing company or roofer, but a high-quality SEO company will have dedicated SEO writers who will research your industry and provide coherent copy that passes the sniff test of your best customers.
On top of having high-quality content, these companies will follow an on-page SEO checklist to ensure your pages have a high chance of landing in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd result on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Benefits of Working With an SEO Company
In addition to the vast services many SEO companies offer, they may also come with various benefits that will convince you to hire one right now. Here’s how they can help:
Save Time and Money
Why hire an SEO company when you could hire an in-house SEO specialist or a freelancer?
An SEO company has more access to resources and a robust SEO team that knows how to use this information. Meanwhile, they will offer this experience and knowledge at a lower cost compared to freelancers with similar resources.
In addition, an outsourced SEO team has access to multiple accounts and can spot industry-wide or web-wide trends, such as an overall traffic drop due to a Google algorithm update.
With an account manager and specialists in key areas, you won’t find yourself suffering with a “jack of all trades, master of none” situation. This combination of factors will save you money and ensure your business has a smooth marketing campaign.
With appropriate professional SEO experience, you can take a hands-off approach if you choose. Often times clients are simply too busy to create content, and a good SEO agency can analyze the market and trends, and produce quality content on something approaching autopilot. This will give you more time to focus on other areas of your business.
Experience With Working With Brands Like Yours
Veteran SEO agencies will have worked within almost any industry you could imagine. This experience gives them a significant advantage in keeping up with trends. With this knowledge, they can provide relevant and accurate information in whatever campaigns they work on.
Here’s an example. If you’re in the renewable energy industry, you don’t want an SEO company that has no knowledge of your industry taking on your projects. The results could have disastrous effects that could even hurt your brand’s reputation.
A high-quality digital marketing company will know the jargon used within your industry, where to pull accurate information from for content, and they’ll remain up-to-date with renewable energy trends.
Helps Reduce Your Website’s Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that visit a single page and navigate away from your website without visiting other pages. While Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that bounce rate isn’t a ranking factor, it can help you determine your content’s success.
An SEO specialist will know how to keep writers on your website through various practices. Keep in mind that agencies will only hire writers who have mastered their craft. Who understands how to keep users glued to a website and knows how to pull viewers to another piece of content on your website.
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Aside from writing, an SEO company will understand the various nuances that search engines consider to place a website within the first SERP result.
Instead of spending a majority of your marketing budget on ad testing, your account manager will fix site errors that are holding your website back from reaching users.
For starters, there are on- and off-page SEO strategies, along with technical SEO. Most of the time, issues in these areas require simple fixes by adjusting code, sprinkling targeted keywords in content or creating a sitemap.
In other scenarios, your website could require an overhaul.
Regardless of what your account manager suggests, keep in mind that these results take a while to appear. Search engines will have to learn about your website and determine what users will benefit from your content and services.
On Top of SEO Trends
Most SEO experts estimate that Google adjusts its search algorithm between 500 to 600 times per year. It’s difficult to stay on top of these changes and costly to have an in-house team that monitors the algorithm’s update history.
Many of these updates will cause websites to drop in search rankings due to penalties. For example, Google’s product reviews update in late 2021 and early 2022 caused various websites to fall in the search engine rankings. These results came from the website owners not updating their content to keep up with the algorithm.
A good SEO company should stay on top of these changes. With this knowledge, they can adjust your website to prevent Google from penalizing it in updates.
Access to Premium SEO Tools
When working with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you’ll need to deal with SEO tools like Rank Math or Yoast. Each tool incurs additional expense and can have a steep learning curve.
This same scenario involves keyword- and competitive research tools like Semrush and Moz.
Learning how to master these tools and read their analytics is time-consuming.
When using a tool like ahrefs, you could scan your website and check its health only to have results regurgitate a wall of text you don’t understand. SEO experts will know what these errors mean and how to deal with them.
Build Backlinks and Authority in Your Niche
Backlinks signal to search engines that other websites find your website authoritative. Because of this factor, backlinks play a huge role in ranking your content.
To earn these links, you’ll need to provide a valuable resource that other websites will want to mention. Good SEO companies can achieve this. They’ll know what type of content people will share and can make your pages desirable.
When Should I Hire an SEO Company?
Do you want to use search engine optimization as a long-term marketing strategy? If you haven’t figured this out, you’ll want to hire a company for at least 6 months to see whether SEO campaigns will generate more revenue.
When working in competitive markets, you’ll need any edge you can get. If you have the budget, then hire an SEO agency. While you could do these tasks yourself or hire an in-house SEO team, this will cost you a tremendous amount of time.
In this scenario, you would also have to deal with training employees and wages among other factors.
How Do I Find the Best SEO Company?
Are you having trouble figuring out how to choose a good SEO company? Then dive into this section. You’ll find several tips that are critical in helping you weed out bad companies.
Watch Out for Black-hat SEO
Black-hat SEO is a set of unethical practices used to manipulate search engine algorithms in an attempt to rank higher. These gains are often short-lived and will likely result in penalties.
Conversely, white-hat SEO is a set of legitimate practices.
No SEO specialist wants search engines to catch them when they deploy black-hat SEO techniques. If a search engine like Google caught them, then their website’s rankings could collapse. Or, the tech giant could entirely remove it from the search engine results pages.
Don’t fall into the trap of hiring the wrong SEO firm. To know whether a company uses these manipulative techniques, you’ll need to watch out for signs like:
- Hidden links: this practice attempts to manipulate search engine crawlers by hiding links off-screen, behind images, by using a white background, and other ways
- Redirects: when a website redirects a user to an entirely different page; this is often used in an attempt to manipulate Domain authority (DA)
- Keyword stuffing: when keywords appear on a page out of context and an unnatural number of times
Browse the company’s past projects. See if they’ve used any of these practices in an attempt to rank pages. If so, you’ll want to avoid them like the plague.
Establish a Search Engine Optimization Budget
When working with a search engine optimization company, you’ll have a few options regarding pricing; hourly, one-time fees, and monthly. Most companies will charge monthly fees. These are otherwise known as retainers.
When going this route, you’ll find yourself locked into a long-term commitment that costs $500 to $2,000 per month. This is an ideal route, though. It gives you time to see whether the SEO agency is ranking your content.
On-demand, or hourly, SEO experts are best utilized when you have an existing campaign idea but need some insight. They’ll cost you around $100–$150 per hour.
Otherwise, you can choose one-time projects. These models are only viable if you have a solid SEO strategy and need a bit of help executing your strategy. Expect to pay $1,000 to $2,000 per project.
Understand the Risks of Hiring Low-cost SEO Agencies
If the previous prices sound high, why not just go for a cheaper SEO company? If you care about your brand’s online reputation, you’ll want to reconsider that question. For starters, these SEO companies may use black-hat SEO.
Let’s say your audience sees these tactics used. That’ll shine an unfavorable light on your company. If a search engine were to penalize your website, then you’d lose your rankings. In this scenario, you would have wasted money.
When it comes to content creation, inexpensive agencies may provide low-quality, or even duplicate content. If Google’s Panda algorithm update found out your site uses bad content, then you’d lose customers.
Here’s a summary of Google’s reasoning for this update:
“It’s designed to lower rankings for low-quality sites. These sites are low-value, copy content, or aren’t useful. It will give better rankings for high-quality sites. These sites have original content and researched information.”
What’s It Like Working With an SEO Company?
Once you select an SEO agency, you’ll want to know what to expect when working with them. Not all companies will follow these exact procedures, though.
The Account Manager Will Explain Their Process
First off, you’ll meet with the agency—remotely or in person. What can you expect from these meetings?
In general, you’ll need to prepare yourself for these portions of your upcoming meeting:
- Share your information: let the company know what your goals are for your campaign; also, provide information about your brand and audience
- Meet your dedicated account manager: they will put a face on the person who will manage your account
- Discuss the campaign: they will explain the SEO campaign, some adjustments they’ll make on your website, and how long the process may take
Before this meeting, you’ll want to compile a list of questions to ask your account manager. We’ll cover some examples in a bit.
They Will Audit Your Website’s SEO
Once your meeting’s over and you decide to work with them, your account manager will audit your existing SEO strategy. From there, they’ll build a roadmap on how to improve your website. They will also discuss their findings on separate calls.
During these discussions, a high-quality SEO company will educate you about their findings. That way, you’ll understand what changes they’re making.
They Will Provide Updates Regarding Your SEO Campaigns
Once you and your account manager agree on an SEO strategy, you both will plan routine check-ins. These could be weekly or monthly and last at least an hour.
These check-ins will give you time to review the SEO campaign and ask questions. Otherwise, your account manager may ask for input or approval for a project.
For example, they may need to make specific on-page changes—like content structure changes. These could impact your brand and thus will need your approval before they proceed.
What Should I Ask SEO Companies Before Hiring Them?
Now that you’ve found an ideal SEO company, you’ll need to know the right questions to ask. While they’ll vary by industry and desired results, you will want to consider asking the following:
What do you need from us to be effective? Find out what login information they’ll need. Also provide them with your KPIs, industry information, audience, and goals.
Determine whether they remain up-to-date with trends: ensure they familiarize themselves with trends in your industry and Google search engine updates.
How do you report on the campaign’s progress? Discuss how often they will provide updates.
How they approach link-building campaigns: check how they build links. You’ll want to hear that they do this by earning links from high-quality content. Not from spamming forum comments with links or using a private blog network (PBN).
How do you perform keyword research? Aside from figuring out volume and keyword difficulty, the best SEO companies will understand user intent when researching keywords.
Aside from those questions, you may want to look into what SEO tools they’ll use. If you’re familiar with existing software, you will have a better idea of how efficient these companies will be in their efforts.
Hire an SEO Company and Generate More Leads Today
An SEO company can take your business to the next level by offering various search engine optimization services to help you reach the first spot in SERP. Though they may cost a bit of money, the experience they hold and the time they’ll save you make them worth every penny.
When hiring an SEO agency, you’ll need to make sure you ask the right questions and search through their past projects. Ensure they don’t use any black-hat SEO techniques.
To help you in your search, you’ll want to consider Boomcycle’s SEO services. We’re one of the 20 best SEO companies in San Francisco and have been running for over 19 years. From the experience we’ve gained from helping clients over the years, we can help you, too.