Sarah BerryWeb Marketing Consultant
- September 1, 2023
- 18 minute read
- Sarah Berry is a Google Analytics-certified Web Marketing Consultant at WebFX. She’s written over 400 articles on digital marketing, covering topics like SEO, CRO, and Amazon. When she isn’t polishing her Time Magazine Person of the Year Award, she’s spending time with her flock of ducks.
What are SEO services?
Your solution for capturing more revenue from search while saving time and money. One-time or ongoing, search engine optimization services optimize your site’s SEO to increase its organic search visibility and traffic. Freelancers, consultants, and agencies all offer SEO services.
Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of SEO services, including how much they cost, what they should include, and how to find the best type of SEO service. If you have questions about our SEO plans, contact us online or call 888-601-5359 to speak with an experienced strategist.
What are SEO services?
SEO services are search engine optimization services offered by an agency, freelancer, or consultant that optimize your site for SEO so you can capture more traffic and revenue from search. Most SEO plans will include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, though some focus on specific areas, like off-page SEO.
Why use SEO services?
Investing in SEO services offers several benefits. A few examples include:
- Get help in specialized areas of SEO, like off-page, local, and technical SEO
- Save time by outsourcing SEO tasks like keyword research, content creation, and link building
- Improve return on investment (ROI) tracking with platforms like MarketingCloudFX
- Optimize marketing budget (SEO plans cost four times less annually than in-house teams)
Overall, services from an SEO agency help you implement (and maintain) a profitable SEO strategy, as well as track and monitor your organic search performance. The best part? You get more time to focus on the projects that need your expertise.
How much do SEO services cost?
Prices for SEO services depend on several factors, including your goals, aggressiveness, and SEO agency. On average, monthly SEO plans cost $2500 to $7500 per month, while hourly SEO costs $50 to $100 per hour. Request a custom quote from an SEO service provider for the most accurate SEO pricing.
What are the types of SEO services?
The most common types of search engine optimization services include:
- Local SEO services, which optimize your website and local listings for local searches.
- Ecommerce SEO services, which optimize your website for online shopping.
- Voice SEO services, which optimize your website for voice searches.
- SEO audit services, which find and fix your website’s biggest SEO issues.
For many companies, traditional SEO plans provide everything you need to succeed. If you’re a local or ecommerce store, however, local and ecommerce SEO solutions offer a competitive advantage that can maximize the impact of your SEO strategy.
In some cases, search engine optimization services will focus on specific areas of SEO, like:
- On-page SEO, which focuses on optimizations related to your website, like your title tags, content, and more
- Off-page SEO, which focuses on optimizations related to your online presence, like your website’s backlinks
- Technical SEO, which focuses on optimizations related to your website’s backend, like your page speed, site architecture, and more
Since SEO requires on-page, off-page, and technical SEO to succeed, it’s uncommon for companies to invest in these individual services. Most will opt for full-service SEO plans, which include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, because these plans provide you with an all-in-one solution to SEO.
Which ranking factors do SEO services optimize for?
The ranking factors targeted by SEO services will depend on your SEO plan. A full-service plan will optimize for on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, while an off-page SEO plan will optimize for off-page SEO.
Search engines like Google use more than 200 ranking factors.
The most notable factors include:
- Your backlink profile, which focuses on the quality and quantity of external sites linking to yours.
- Your content, which includes keyword targeting, keyword integration, content usefulness, and more.
- Your user experience, which includes page speed, usability, mobile-friendliness, and more.
Whether your SEO plan will optimize for these ranking factors depends on your SEO services provider.
A freelancer, for example, might focus on specific areas of SEO, like off-page SEO. In comparison, a consultant might specialize in SEO audits, while an agency might provide SEO solutions that include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
Contact the service provider for the most accurate information on what search engine optimization services include. They can provide your business with a list of deliverables and pricing, which your team can then use to compare SEO plans.
Independent research from Clutch has named WebFX the
top SEO company in the United States.
Clutch has personally interviewed more than 250 WebFX clients to discuss their experience partnering with us.Read More Clutch Reviews
What should SEO services include?
Now that you know the definition of SEO services, it’s essential to review the services provided by SEO companies. While every digital marketing company is different, you want to partner with a provider that offers the complete package for SEO campaigns.
- Custom strategy
- SEO audit
- Competitor analysis
- Off-page optimization
- On-page optimization
- Ongoing optimization
- Monthly reports
- ROI tracking
- First-party data activation
1. Custom strategy
A custom strategy is a core component of the definition of SEO services. When you have an approach personalized to your business, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI) from SEO. That translates to more calls, orders, and visits to your company.
If you invest in an SEO service package, your team needs to ensure your agency provides a custom strategy. That’s because many SEO companies, especially those promoting “cheap” SEO plans, deliver cookie-cutter or copy-and-paste strategies.
With a cookie-cutter approach to SEO, your business doesn’t get the maximum ROI. In most cases, companies fail to appear on the first page of search results with these kinds of strategies, which doesn’t help your business because only 25% of users go beyond the first page of search results.
Think about it this way: If you owned a medical practice, would you want to use the same SEO strategy as a retail store? Of course not! Your audience is different, and how you reach them through search (and bring them to your practice) is different too.
That’s why your team needs to invest in services from SEO companies that offer customized strategies.
2. SEO audit
Every SEO company’s services should include an SEO audit.
With an SEO audit, your SEO provider takes an in-depth look at your current strategy.
Even if you don’t have an SEO strategy, your agency will evaluate your website from an SEO perspective, looking at where it excels and where it could use SEO improvements. While you can use free SEO audit tools, they don’t provide you with the same insight as a team of SEO specialists.
That’s why SEO services should include an audit.
If they don’t, it shows a lack of preparation and investment by your SEO company. A missing SEO audit also suggests your agency doesn’t plan to create a custom strategy for your business. Instead, they use a template, which is why they don’t want to invest time auditing your site.
The best SEO solutions are tailored to your business, brand, and audiences.
3. Off-page optimization
When you invest in SEO services, your package should include off-page optimization. In SEO, off-page optimization refers to optimizing factors outside your website that influence your ranking in search results.
For example, your backlink profile can shape your ranking in search results.
Your backlink profile, for reference, refers to the quantity and quality of websites linking to your site. A food blogger, for example, may link to your website when sharing the custom cookies you made for their wedding.
As a part of an SEO company’s services, they often provide the following for off-page SEO:
- Promoting your website content to bloggers and webmasters
- Developing shareable content for your site’s blog
- Monitoring your company’s mentions across social media by users and influencers
- Optimizing your Google My Businessprofile
If you don’t know if an SEO agency offers off-page optimization with their SEO plans, just ask!
They can provide your team with an overview of what their SEO marketing services include and the meaning of specific deliverables. That way, your staff can make an educated decision when choosing an agency.
4. On-page optimization
On-page optimization is another critical component of the meaning of SEO services. With on-page optimization, your search engine optimization firm focuses on optimizing the features of your website for search engines like Google.
A few examples of some on-page SEO service deliverables include:
- Updating title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags for search
- Auditing your website’s information architecture, redirects, and internal linking structure
- Creating a sitemap
- Optimizing your site images according to best practices
- Researching and optimizing your website with valuable and relevant keywords
- Producing new, SEO-friendly content for your site
- Analyzing the usability, speed, and design of your site
In most cases, on-page optimization makes up a significant portion of your SEO package. That’s why if an SEO company doesn’t offer on-page SEO, they aren’t providing search engine optimization services, which means your team needs to find another agency.
5. Ongoing optimization
SEO is an ongoing strategy, which is why the definition of SEO services generally emphasizes the partnership that your business forms with your SEO agency. In comparison, SEO consulting services focus on short-term assistance, like with a website redesign project.
You’re collaborating with your agency continuously, which is why SEO companies should work as an extension of your business to grow your search engine visibility and revenue from search. It’s also why their services should include progressive optimization.
With continuous optimization, your SEO agency optimizes your site on an ongoing basis.
Even after your site meets SEO standards, they continue to find ways to improve and enhance your SEO strategy, which allows you to earn more traffic, leads, and sales from SEO.
No matter how successful your SEO strategy becomes, your SEO agency can make it 1% better.
Your dedicated account manager, for example, may find additional keywords for your business to target.
This discovery translates into new content, which leads to promoting that content to bloggers and webmasters in your industry. No matter how advanced or successful your SEO strategy becomes, your company and SEO agency can make it one percent better.
That’s why it’s critical for your business to partner with an agency that recognizes that and sees the potential in your site.
6. Monthly reports
Transparency is essential when it comes to SEO services.
You want an agency that your team can trust and rely on, which is why partnering with an SEO company that includes regular monthly reports is critical. With an SEO report, your business can receive immediate insight into the results of your SEO strategy.
As an example, your report may cover your:
- Organic traffic
- Leads generated
- Sales generated
- And more
Your SEO company’s services should also include time with your dedicated account manager.
Regular meetings with your account manager allow your team to ask questions, review your report one-on-one, and more. In short, routine meetings help you and your team stay on the same page as your SEO agency.
7. ROI tracking
Businesses can’t settle for search engine optimization services without ROI tracking.
While Google Analytics can support ecommerce businesses, lead-based businesses need a better ROI tracking solution. That’s why partnering with an SEO service provider that includes return on investment tracking is vital.
WebFX’s clients have seen an average 20% increase in their return on investment.
When your SEO plan includes ROI tracking, you can (at a glance) see the following:
- Number of leads generated from SEO
- Number of sales closed from SEO
- Total sale value from SEO-generated leads
- Average sale value from SEO-generated leads
Typically, this tracking works by syncing your marketing and sales data — which isn’t easy. MarketingCloudFX is a standout example in ROI tracking for SEO because it unifies marketing and sales data, plus helps businesses use that data to maximize SEO’s ROI.
WebFX’s clients, for example, have seen an average 20% increase in their return on investment with it.
If you’re looking to maximize your SEO performance and ROI tracking, focus on SEO services that include ROI tracking. They’ll provide your team with more data and empower you to make smarter, data-driven decisions about your digital marketing and SEO strategy.
8. First-party data activation
Search engine optimization is a fantastic way to generate first-party data, which is a powerful tool for ad campaigns, email marketing initiatives, and other digital marketing strategies. That’s why SEO packages from the top providers will include first-party data activation.
WebFX, for example, provides first-party data activation with our SEO plans, which includes:
- Customer data platform (CDP)
- Personalization platform
- Landing page builder
- Email marketing software
With these tools, your business can re-purpose its SEO-generated data for other marketing initiatives. For your company, that means reaching users at the right time with the right message, whether in their inbox, browsing their favorite site, or re-visiting your website to learn more.
So, if you’re shopping for SEO companies, look for ones that activate your first-party data.
What is an example of SEO services?
For more information on the meaning of SEO services, check out this example:
A bakery uses search engine optimization services to rank for searches like:
- Gluten-free bakery central PA
- Bakery custom cookies
- Bakery for wedding cakes
The bakery’s plan includes the following deliverables to help the bakery achieve its goal:
- SEO audit to determine the site’s existing optimization and opportunities
- Content creation to develop SEO-friendly pages that target these keywords
- Outreach to generate high-quality and relevant links to the bakery’s site
Remember, the above is a brief example — most SEO plans would take additional steps to optimize the bakery’s site and include deliverables related to consulting with your team, reporting results, and more.
How do I choose SEO services?
Ok, so you want to invest in search engine optimization services, but how do you find the best SEO package for your business? First, have patience. Choosing an SEO service provider can take months, but if you invest the time, you can find one you’ll partner with for years.
Here are our ten tips for choosing SEO plans:
- Determine your budget, requirements, and goals
- Ask for references from your network
- Search online to find potential SEO companies
- Review the agencies’ reviews and case studies
- Check each agency’s SEO deliverables (at WebFX, we publish our plans online!)
- Meet with your top picks to learn about their process, specializations, and capabilities
- Request custom pricing if needed, along with a list of deliverables
- Check for any fine print, like for additional charges or fees
- Ask how much time and what resources the agency will require from your team
- Learn how the SEO service provider measures success
For more information on choosing SEO solutions, check out our SEO agency hiring guide!
Unlock all the benefits of SEO services with WebFX
With a 93% client satisfaction rate, plus an award-winning ROI tracking platform, WebFX is a trusted choice for small-to-midsized businesses looking to drive revenue through search. Learn how our custom strategies have generated more than $3 billion in revenue for our clients by contacting us online today!
FAQs about SEO services
Looking for more information about the meaning of SEO services? Check out these FAQs:
How long does it take for SEO services to work?
Typically, SEO services will start to deliver a return on investment in four to six months. This timeline can change, though, based on your website, SEO agency, and SEO plan. For example, if you invest in an SEO plan to resolve Google penalties, you might not see an ROI in four to six months.
When can I stop using SEO services?
Businesses choose to stop using SEO services for reasons like:
- Limited results
- Poor customer experience
- Lack of transparency
- Budget changes
- Leadership changes
Stopping your SEO plan depends on your organization and its SEO company.
While it’s important to continue investing in SEO to protect your search visiblity, traffic, and revenue, there is nothing wrong (after some research) with finding another provider or bringing management in-house.
Is it better to get SEO services from a freelancer, consultant, or agency?
That answer depends on the following factors:
- Your budget
- Your SEO service requirements
- Your project duration
- Your project scope
- And more
Typically, you’ll find the following when choosing between a freelancer, consultant, or agency:
- SEO freelancer’s services are best for one-time SEO projects with a small scope.
- SEO consultant’s services are best for short-term, one-time SEO projects.
- SEO agency’s services are best for long-term, ongoing SEO projects.
If you’re looking for a long-term partner that can scale with your needs, focus on partnering with an SEO company for search engine optimization services. In comparison, if you’re searching for someone to fix a specific issue or help with a bigger project, check out reputable consultants or freelancers.
Bonus: Most SEO agencies (WebFX included) will offer SEO consulting services, which gives you the best of both worlds. You can get the talent and tech an agency provides but without a long-term commitment.
How do I budget for search engine optimization services?
Every organization’s marketing budget is different, but these tips can help you build an SEO budget:
- Avoid cheap SEO plans:These services usually advertise themselves as “cheap” and have price points under $500 per month. They also tend to underdeliver (or not deliver) when it comes to promised deliverables or results.
- Plan for ongoing vs. one-time SEO:Search engine optimization is an ongoing strategy — a continuous investment in SEO will help your business generate a greater return on investment. So, when budgeting for SEO services, plan on an ongoing vs. one-time investment.
- Set SEO goals:When you understand what you want from SEO, whether more rankings or more revenue, you can use that information to find an SEO partner that aligns with your goals. WebFX, for example, is an SEO service provider focused on driving revenue for its clients.
- Get buy-in: Focusing on search engine optimization services that prioritize measuring ROI and delivering bottom-line results can also get your company’s leadership team to sign off on your SEO budget. That’s because everyone will have the data necessary to see if SEO works.
For more information on how to budget for SEO, check out our SEO budgeting guide!
Is paying for SEO services worth it?
Whether it’s worth paying for SEO services depends on a few factors, including:
- Your SEO budget: If your organization can’t spend more than $500 per month on SEO, you’ll limit yourself to cheap SEO plans, which tend to underperform, resulting in missed SEO and revenue goals. In that scenario, you won’t see much value in paying for an SEO plan.
- Your department resources: If your organization doesn’t have the resources — whether time, tools, or skills — to work on SEO, you’ll likely see value in paying for SEO. That’s because you’ll have a dedicated person to work on improving your SEO.
- Your average order value (AOV): If your organization has a lower average order value, like a few dollars, you’ll likely struggle to see a return on investment from SEO packages. That’s because your SEO agency will need to drive hundreds of monthly sales to deliver ROI.
Do your research when hiring an SEO company, and you’ll get insight into whether they’re worth it.
How do I find the best SEO service provider for my website?
Finding the best SEO service provider takes time, from meeting with stakeholders to researching potential agencies, freelancers, or consultants. For guidance on getting started, consider reading our guide on outsourcing SEO.
P.S. We’ve also curated a list of the this year’s best SEO providers.
How do I measure the effectiveness of my SEO services?
Measuring the effectiveness of SEO services depends on your:
- SEO goals
- Organizational key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Service expectations
In most cases, businesses will use metrics like the following:
- Leads or sales
With bottom-line metrics like leads, sales, or revenue, it’s possible to measure the effectiveness of SEO service provider at a level that speaks to your department’s and organization’s goals.
Can I do SEO on my own vs. buying SEO services?
Of course! Plenty of organizations, from startups to corporations, have an in-house SEO team.
The reason businesses usually invest in SEO services is to:
- Save time
- Access SEO-specific expertise
- Expedite implementation times for SEO action items
- Improve rankings and returns for high-competition keywords
- Optimize in-house costs
- And more
If you’re looking to do SEO on your own, check out our do-it-yourself SEO guide.
Sarah Berry is a Google Analytics-certified Web Marketing Consultant at WebFX. She’s written over 400 articles on digital marketing, covering topics like SEO, CRO, and Amazon. When she isn’t polishing her Time Magazine Person of the Year Award, she’s spending time with her flock of ducks.
WebFX provides digital marketing solutions with expert marketers, designers, and developers to increase visibility, conversions, and revenue. Learn more
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