SEO is one of the most widely mentioned terms in the business world today. But though many business owners believe they know the meaning of SEO, they might not be sure of all the services that are embedded within the package, nor do they know how to maximize the benefits of an SEO company.
This guide is dedicated to holding business owners by the hand, leading them through the ABCs of SEO services, what is included in SEO, how SEO business works, what an SEO company is and what to expect from them, how to hire the best one, and what it might cost and why.
So, if you are set to leave the dark to learn all the important details about how to take your business to the next level with the help of SEO companies, keep reading.
What Is SEO? | SEO Services Description
Understanding what SEO is in business is the first step to better sales and visibility for your business.
SEO is a digital service employed by business owners to improve visibility, drive traffic, boost sales, convert website clicks to customers, and increase business revenue. It is a short-term (and a popular term) used to refer to Search Engine Optimization.
It is usually adopted to target search engines (mostly Google) to help business owners gain needed attention and attract their target audience faster than without SEO.
What Does SEO Include?
It is a combination of many sub-services like local SEO, mobile SEO, technical SEO, content SEO, and so on, working together to achieve the same objective: to bring in more money for the business owner.
SEO involves a series of steps and processes that work together. It starts with the story of the search engine index. Think of it as a huge online library with someone who scans for new books, a library arrangement system, and tons (mega trillions) of books.
The person who scans for new books represents search engine bots, while the books stand for published websites (such as online stores, blogs, news sites, and so on). Also, some factors are used to arrange (rank) one website over the others such as keywords, quality of links, website content structure, and so on.
But the simple description of how websites are ranked is this: whatever website best answers a searched query comes in at number one on a search engine result page (SERP).
So, Where Do SEO Services Come In?
The process of SEO takes into account what search engines are looking for in a ‘great website’, so that you as a business owner can incorporate these factors into your website and make it rank higher than your competitors. This is how visibility and a lot of the other benefits are attained.
In summary, an SEO agency finds out what your customers look for the most, what they like, where they are, and what they do, and tries to design your website in such a way that you become exactly what they need at the right time and place.
Is It Worth Hiring an SEO Agency?
If you are among the business owners asking these questions …
- Is it worth paying for SEO?
- Do SEO companies work?
- Do I need an SEO agency?
… then you need to read this section to the end.
Yes, many business owners try to do their website SEO by themselves (DIY) and there is nothing wrong with that. However, something that is as vital and key to a business as SEO should be approached with absolute professionalism and seriousness, and so an SEO company should be hired.
Yet, if you are still of the belief that your business can do just fine without the intervention of an SEO company, here are three reasons why you need an SEO agency to help direct the right kind of traffic towards your business website and products for better conversion potential.
In a business, resources are everything. The number of resources available to a business determines how they use those resources. That is why scarce resources are usually handled with care—planning out the best way to invest them for greater returns. How much more time? Time is not only scarce but cannot be recovered if wasted, and SEO is time-consuming.
While some small businesses believe they have the time to handle their website’s SEO by themselves, it is advisable to spend that time expanding their network through many other means and outsource their SEO needs to SEO firms. Not only will this reap better results than the DIY method, but the business will profit in two ways: time well spent on other demanding areas and high-profit SEO returns.
2. Technical Know-How
SEO requires much more than time. It also requires advanced knowledge of certain techniques, skills, knowledge, and expertise that may be eerie or sound unfamiliar to you. These skills cannot be overlooked because they are paramount to quality SEO services.
Some of these skills include writing, communication, keyword research, computer programming, analytics, content marketing, project management, prioritization, analysis management, critical thinking, humor, social skills, and decision-making skills.
An SEO company or agency usually delegates these areas to specialists in these fields, thus giving you the best result. So, unless you are a guru in all the mentioned skills, it is better to hire an SEO company.
3. Great SEO Marketing Business
There is no doubt DIY SEO can get your business the visibility you desire, but what are the odds that your business is being viewed by your target audience? An SEO company uses the SEO tools available to help fine-tune your business website to suit the requests of your target audience.
While your SEO might be getting an increase in visibility, professional SEO is targeting conversions, clicks, sales, higher ranks, and much more. So, if you are asking yourself, ‘What do SEO companies do?’ They don’t just put a business out there for the world to see, they put the business right in front of the right audience.
As for the questions Is it worth paying for SEO? Do SEO companies work? Do I need an SEO agency? The answer is yes—hiring an SEO firm is an investment that is certainly worth it.
What Is an SEO Company?
Little bits about SEO company description and SEO company meaning have been established since the beginning of this guide. But for more questions like ‘what is an SEO agency or what is SEO business?’, this is a section dedicated to tackling these questions.
First and foremost, the explanation for SEO companies is the same as SEO businesses as well as SEO agency meaning. Therefore, throughout the rest of this guide, the terms would be used interchangeably.
SEO businesses also sell products and services like you do, except that their products are SEO tools and their services are SEO services. Their goal is to optimize your website to suit both your target audience’s and search engine requirements for better online visibility.
Their work includes the generation of links, creation and optimization of content, restructuring of website design, and full website performance. However, do not be deceived. Not all SEO companies out there really offer these services.
That is why it is best to be on the lookout for which SEO firms offer these products. One example of a great SEO agency is Semrush, providing the listed services and a lot more for the enhancement of a business’s online profile.
What Is an SEO Team?
Another term you might come across within this subject is a team of SEO experts, better known as an SEO team. If you remember the section about whether hiring an SEO company is worth it, it was mentioned that an SEO firm delegates the parts of full SEO to specialists to handle.
These specialists are the team of an SEO business. They know (or are supposed to know) exactly what a website needs to rank high for SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
What Do SEO Services Include?
The following are some of the services that SEO firms (at a minimum) provide for their clients:
- Content creation and marketing
- Website page speed optimization
- Provision of SEO strategy tailored to the business’s specific needs
- Website auditing and reports.
What Does an SEO Company Do? What to Expect from a Good SEO Agency
Though some of the benefits of SEO for companies have been mentioned during this guide, this section is to give answers to the question: what do SEO agencies do?
Below are four ways to benefit from well-delivered company SEO provided by a good SEO agency.
1. SERP Ranks Improvement
By now, SERP should be a familiar term, but for the record, it is an acronym for Search Engine Result Page. This is the page that contains the results after a query has been searched for on a search engine.
But the most fascinating thing about SERPs is that (just like the search engine index) the results are shown based on ranks. Apart from sponsored ads, the first result is the most optimized—containing content that (according to search engine bots) best answers the query searched.
Usually, websites that show up on the second, third, and further pages rank lower accordingly and often contain only a fraction of the answer or simply mention the subject briefly.
When working with an SEO company, one of the things you will stand to benefit from is a gradual increase in your business website position on SERPs.
For example, at Semrush, keyword research will be conducted to help attract the right kind of audience to the website, and then the site’s structure, design, and the content will be optimized for better navigation, readability, and general user experience (UX). This will put your website on the way to becoming an authority website on search engines.
2. Organic Traffic Growth
Traffic is the soul of a business. Similar to a physical store, where the business owner hopes for walk-in customers, for an online business owner, you need a lot of traffic for your site to increase your customer conversion rate as well as your site’s value. A good SEO company should work on increasing the amount of traffic that is directed to your site.
But it is not just any kind of traffic—it’s the organic kind. There is no use trying to attract billions of bots to a website, because there will be no record of sales. The goal should be to attract real people (importantly, your target market or target audience), so that the conversion rate can improve and you can increase sales and revenue.
To increase organic traffic for a website, many SEO companies use various methods and tools. At Semrush, the on-page, off-page, and technical website SEO will be examined and restructured as well as tracking the website’s primary and secondary traffic sources for better optimization.
3. Audience Targeting
Another thing that business owners can expect from a good SEO agency is help targeting the right audience. As mentioned earlier, outsourcing your SEO needs to an SEO company will help to streamline the effect from targeting the world to reaching only your target audience.
This is done by using high-intent keywords, meaning that you can include things that your audienc are likely to search for within your content so that when people search for these keywords, your website pops up on the first page of SERPs—if not the first result.
4. SEO Analytics and Reporting
This is where you can tell a good SEO agency and a poor one apart. A proper SEO company is supposed to send back frequent analytics SEO reports that detail the state of your website before work began on it.
Some of the other things the report would include are the keywords that ranked high for your site and target audience, SEO campaigns carried out on your site, changes made to the website, as well as the result of the service (revenue generated, keyword rankings, traffic sources, and traffic volume).
The characteristics and content of the result will also determine whether you would continue to work with that SEO company or get a replacement agency.
What to Expect from a Good SEO Agency?
Every SEO agency has a job to get a website from where it is to the first page of SERPs, even if it is not the first result. To do this, modifications have to be made to the website to ensure that all parts of the site meet search engine index requirements.
This includes a series of steps that should be taken one after the other, but a fake or less-than-good SEO company might want to take the easy route, and scam you using different processes that are fast but won’t bring you quality results. Others might want to close a contract with you by feeding you with attractive terms and collecting your money but will not produce any result.
That is why Semrush encourages business owners to join in on a conversation about their goals, what they would like to achieve and how. Speaking directly to the SEO agency will not only help the agency get a clearer understanding of what you want, but will also help you as a customer to tell a bad egg from an SEO company that is born to serve.
Therefore, without further ado, the things you should expect from a good SEO company:
Website Audit and Analysis
Before attempting to move a website from one point to another, it is strategic and wiser to first have an idea of where the website is currently. This is what an audit is.
At the beginning of the whole process, an SEO firm would test a site using website analytics or an audit to find out the current statistics of the website in terms of how much traffic it generates, the speed, the keywords it ranks for as well as how well (or badly) it ranks at that time.
It is simply trying to figure out what the website needs to improve and what should be removed. Any SEO firm that skips this step will most likely return an incomplete job, because how can you help a website when you didn’t even know what it needed in the first place?
During an SEO audit, the agency also examines the business’s competitors, learns from them, and attempts to get the website to the point that it would look as good (or better) than the competitors’. This is where creating a strategy comes in.
After identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the site, the spaces that need to be filled, and the overloaded areas in comparison with competition sites—in general, understanding your site—the SEO company would then create a tailored strategy that can increase your rankings.
Since needed information like who your target audience is, keywords you rank for, and so on, have been identified, the next step would be to create a unique strategy for your long and short-term goals.
It should include a step-by-step plan on what to do and the expected result. Some advice though—it is a major red flag if the SEO company you are working with cannot break down the strategies for you. Trying to rush over their game plan usually means there isn’t one. Therefore, stay alert and ask questions when you don’t understand any step of the proposed SEO strategy.
Advanced SEO Tools
This is where the fun begins. The SEO firm in charge of your business SEO would help you choose among the abundance of SEO tools out there to find which one best suits your goals and needs. Then these tools would be inserted or arranged into a dashboard for easier access.
Some of the elements that can be found in SEO tools include Broken URL reports, Organic traffic tracker, Backlink analysis, Keyword ranking, and so on. These tools can also make it easier for you to track the progress along with the SEO company. A few of the best SEO tools include Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and many more.
This is when the proposed strategy is set up and the company starts to work on running with the strategies so that you can begin to see results gradually. The target here is to solve the problems identified during the audit.
Some of the things that proper SEO companies do during this stage include finding primary keywords that will help SEO campaigns, connecting the website to Google Search Console and Google Analytics, restructuring the website design, optimizing the website for mobile SEO, performing image optimization, and code minimization.
Just because the work has been done doesn’t mean that is the end of the contract. A good SEO company continues to watch, track, and maintain progress for a longer time. This is to ensure that the results do not diminish and that the website continues to rank higher.
This is also because search engine algorithms are not fixed. They change often and hence new requirements are set as the basis for high rankings. The work of an SEO firm also includes helping to modify the tools used to suit the changing algorithms. An SEO agency will stay up to date with the latest algorithms so that you keep getting traffic, your website stays visible, and the results keep coming in.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
At this stage, you should already know the answer to many of the questions raised at the start of this guide like ‘What is an SEO company?’ and ‘Do SEO services work for businesses?’
But the target now is to determine how much you would most likely be spending for SEO services.
For starters, you should budget between $700 and $2,500 if you are a small business.
This is a vague answer because the cost depends on several factors. Some of the factors that determine the price of SEO include the goal of the business, the timeline of the service, the pricing system of the SEO company, the method of payment (hourly, monthly, yearly), the tools and software that would be needed, and so on.
There are three to four stages of SEO services ranging from basic to high-tier SEO. However, as a business owner that is new to the world of SEO, and still trying to find a footing, basic SEO is the way to go, costing anywhere between $700 and $2,000 monthly. The timeline for the service is usually about 3 months with constant customer support.
Also, there are three methods of payment and this depends on the agency offering the service. Businesses can pay per project, which would include an overview of what is expected per project. The content required would be specified—how many words, as well as the number of links needed. Depending on your goal, payment per project usually comes off as the most expensive because you would be expected to pay a lot at once.
The second method of payment is to pay monthly. There are usually different plans under this method of payment. Some plans last for a month, 3 months, 6, and then 12 months. Usually, longer-term plans are encouraged with a discount..
Finally, hourly payment is another payment method—though not common among SEO companies. Businesses would sign a contract to pay a certain amount for a specific job at hourly rates. This might come in as the cheapest but is not recommended for startups and newcomers.
How to Choose the Best SEO Agency?
Finally, the big question: what should you look for before hiring an SEO company?
There is only one way to completely ensure that the SEO company you are signing up for is legit and will deliver quality results, and that is research. You have to research the company for online reviews, have a talk with them, check to see if they have a reputation for getting results, and so on.
While doing this, take into consideration all that has been said about SEO services and the expected job of an SEO firm in this guide. Or better still, sign up with a recommended SEO company that is guaranteed to offer quality SEO services.
Some reliable SEO agencies can be found at Semrush Agency Partners. If you are looking for a trusted agency partner for your marketing task and your website optimization needs, visit Semrush Agency Partners, speak with them, and get your needs attended to at a corresponding price.