What is an SEO company? Your timesaving, traffic-generating hero. Search engine optimization companies, better known as SEO agencies, help businesses generate more traffic from the web by improving the business’s visibility in organic search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Looking to learn more about SEO companies? Keep reading and get answers to questions like:
- What is an SEO company?
- What does an SEO company do?
- How much does an SEO firm cost?
- What should an SEO firm’s services include?
- When should I hire an SEO agency?
- How do I find a top SEO agency to hire?
- And more
P.S. Enter your URL here to learn how to improve your SEO rankings without an SEO company!
What is an SEO company?
An SEO company performs search engine optimization (SEO) as a service. Typically, SEO companies will use on-page, off-page, and technical optimizations to improve a site’s visibility, traffic, and revenue from organic search results.
What does an SEO company do?
An SEO company helps businesses grow rankings, traffic, and revenue from organic search. SEO companies perform multiple tasks to achieve these goals, including SEO audits, on-page optimizations, content creation, link building, keyword research, and technical optimizations.
How much does an SEO firm cost?
How much an SEO firm costs depends on your business and the firm. Typically, SEO companies will cost $1500 to $5,000 per month. While you can find SEO firms for cheaper, you need to watch for SEO scams, which often lure businesses with the promise of cheap SEO.
Some firm-related pricing factors include:
- Payment structure
Some business-related pricing factors include:
- Project scope
Request a quote for the most accurate answer to how much SEO companies cost. After reviewing your request and speaking with your team, the agency will provide custom pricing — and a list of deliverables — that you can use to make your decision.
Is it worth hiring an SEO agency?
Whether it’s worth hiring an SEO agency depends on your answers to these questions:
- Are you able to do SEO yourself? (And can you do SEO yourself well?)
- Do you have the budget for outsourcing SEO?
- Is your SEO strategy over- or underperforming?
- Are your SEO skills below average, average, or above average?
Typically, it’s worth hiring an SEO agency when:
- You don’t have the time, resources, or skills to do SEO yourself
- You have the budget to hire an SEO company
- You aren’t delivering the results management wants from SEO
In comparison, it’s worth keeping SEO in-house when:
- You have the time, resources, and skills to do SEO yourself
- You don’t have the budget to hire a good SEO firm
- You are delivering the results management wants from SEO
Keep in mind you don’t have to meet all the above points to hire an SEO agency. Many businesses take a proactive approach and hire an SEO firm. If you notice your time for SEO is decreasing, for example, you can get ahead by hiring an SEO agency before your results begin to suffer.
What services do SEO companies provide?
SEO companies provide several services, including:
- Traditional SEO, which optimizes your site for non-localized searches.
- Local SEO, which optimizes your site for local searches.
- Ecommerce SEO, which optimizes your site’s online store for search.
- Enterprise SEO, which optimizes your site for competitive keywords with high search volumes.
- SEO audits, which analyze your site for issues affecting its rankings.
Depending on the SEO firm, they may offer all, some, or only one of these services. If you’re looking for an agency that can do it all, focus on full-service agencies (WebFX is an example of one) since they have larger, specialized teams for these different areas.
What should an SEO company do?
Ok, so you know an SEO company’s definition and what they do, but what should they do, specifically? Great question — and it’s one you’ll want to ask when meeting with potential SEO agencies to hire. Typically, SEO companies should do the following:
- Audit your website
- Improve your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO
- Report your progress
Learn more about what these tasks include below:
Audit your website
With a complete SEO audit of your site, your SEO company can:
- Determine the site’s structure, indexing, and optimization status
- Find high-impact issues, like crawling or indexing issues
- Prioritize which areas to focus on first, like indexing issues vs. on-page optimizations
- And more
Typically, SEO agencies will use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Screaming Frog to analyze your site’s search engine optimization. So, expect your agency to ask for analytics access. Depending on the agency, they might also use paid SEO tools, like Ahrefs or Semrush.
After auditing your website, your firm should provide you with the following:
- Findings summary
- Recommended action items
The best SEO firms will also explain the “why” behind their recommendations. Why? For the same reason your favorite service provider, whether a mechanic or a plumber, takes the time to explain an issue and its solution — they value you and want you to feel confident about a decision.
Improve your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO
What else do SEO companies do? They focus on improving your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
These types of SEO include multiple projects and tasks, which you can see summarized below:
Some on-page optimization examples include:
- Improving title tags and meta descriptions
- Researching keywords
- Suggesting (or writing) new content
Some off-page optimization examples include:
- Setting up directory listings
- Conducting link outreach
- Generating content ideas
Some technical optimization examples include:
- Optimizing robots.txt file
- Improving page speed
- Streamlining internal links
If you provide your SEO company site access, they can make the above optimizations for you, saving you a tremendous amount of time. However, depending on your business, you might be unable to provide site access.
In that case, your SEO agency will serve more as an SEO consultant, providing recommendations for you (or another team member) to implement. This setup will require more time from your team and will affect how soon you see results from SEO if you can’t implement the recommendations.
Report your progress
Finally, SEO companies report your progress monthly. Typically, these SEO reports will focus on:
Depending on the agency, your point-of-contact will walk through this report with you.
The best SEO firms will tailor these reports to your business, focusing on the metrics that matter most to leadership. WebFX, for example, can report on the number of qualified leads generated from SEO and the number of leads that became sales, which helps our clients see SEO’s bottom-line impact.
It’s important to note that while rankings and traffic are important, they can become vanity metrics. Your business could rank number one for a high-traffic keyword, but if that traffic isn’t relevant to your business, you won’t see the bottom-line impact.
That’s why it’s vital to speak with an SEO agency about how they measure success before hiring them.
What should the best SEO agencies do?
The best SEO agencies stand apart from the rest because they’re pros at:
- Optimizing for SEO
- Delivering WOW service
- Adapting to market changes
They also do what other SEO companies don’t, like:
- Research your market
- Develop your strategy
- Fill your skill gaps
- Improve your analytics
- A/B test your SEO
- Re-purpose your SEO data
You can learn more about these tasks, below:
Research your market
When it comes to what SEO companies do, the best ones will research your:
- Target market
With this information, your agency can better understand the market, which can help them:
- Determine the best keywords to target
- Find opportunities for link building, content creation, and more
- Provide recommendations for navigating economic or market changes
Some agencies, like WebFX, also partner you with a dedicated SEO expert in your industry. In our experience, this helps our clients by decreasing onboarding times, streamlining communication, and improving SEO results.
Keep in mind you won’t find this at most agencies — even the top SEO companies. That’s because it requires a large team (we have more than 500 in-house specialists), a diverse client base, and long-lasting SEO partnerships (some of our clients have partnered with us for more than 10 years).
Develop your strategy
While everyday SEO agencies can develop strategy, it’s the top SEO agencies you want to develop yours.
That’s because these agencies consider your business’s bigger objectives when creating your strategy. For example, will your business expand into a new area in the next five years? Let your SEO company know, and they’ll incorporate that goal into your overarching strategy.
When it comes to strategy, you can also expect best-in-class SEO agencies to:
- Tailor your strategy to your industry, audience, and goals
- Adapt your strategy based on economic or market changes
- Enhance your plan with the latest SEO tactics
- And more
If you’re looking for a hands-off approach to SEO, you’ll want a top SEO company because they’ll develop, implement, and manage your search engine optimization plan. Even if you prefer a more hands-on approach, you might enjoy collaborating with SEO experts.
Fill your skill gaps
Search engine optimization is more than writing title tags and getting backlinks. You’ll need several skill sets, from web development to copywriting, to maintain an SEO program that drives rankings, traffic, and revenue in 2023.
Top SEO companies recognize the skill gaps within most SEO programs. That’s why their team includes:
- Content marketing specialists
- Web developers
- Website designers
- And more
WebFX, for example, features a team of 500+ professionals that includes:
- Outreach specialists
- Content marketing specialists
- Professional copywriters and copyeditors
- Data analysts
- Conversion rate optimization specialists
- Social media specialists
- Digital advertising specialists
- Web developers
- Website designers
- Business consultants
With a team like this, you can knock out SEO tasks (like the following) faster:
- Creating assets, like new content
- Fixing issues, like a sitemap
- Launching projects like a custom 404 page
- Pivoting strategy, like in response to an industry shift
- Adopting new tactics, like first-party data
- And more
When you can implement SEO action items faster, your business can get results from SEO sooner. Keep in mind SEO still takes around three to six months — but if you start SEO now vs. later, you’ll see results sooner.
A/B test your SEO
The best SEO companies go beyond optimizing your website’s SEO. They also A/B test your SEO.
In search engine optimization, A/B testing can include:
- Testing different title tags
- Testing different meta descriptions
If you partner with a full-service SEO agency, they can also help with conversion rate optimization (CRO). Unlike SEO A/B testing, which focuses on bringing more traffic to your site, CRO testing focuses on converting more of your existing traffic.
As an example of SEO and CRO’s combined impact, WebFX has used both digital marketing strategies to help our clients generate more than $3 billion in revenue over the past five years.
Improve your analytics
One of the bigger benefits of hiring a top SEO agency is better SEO analytics. Most successful SEO companies will invest in white-label website analytics software, which helps clients monitor rankings, traffic, and conversions from SEO.
For transparency — agencies will pass the cost of purchasing this software onto you.
This setup can become a bigger issue because as software costs rise, so will your SEO service costs. Your agency also has no control over when these increases happen or how much the software will increase. Should your agency switch platforms in response to rising costs, your data is in jeopardy.
There are still plenty of benefits to having advanced analytics software, though, like:
- View SEO-generated results in a dedicated dashboard
- Monitor rankings for top URLs
- Track SEO conversions over time
While rare, you can find some agencies that have developed and built their own analytics software.
WebFX is one example, though our platform extends beyond analytics, providing you with the following:
- Track SEO’s return on investment (ROI) down to the URL
- Measure return on investment across all digital channels
- Get AI-powered insights for improving SEO
- Monitor competitor movements, strategy shifts, and more
- Automate marketing initiatives, like lead nurturing email campaigns
- Personalize website URLs
- Access sales data via customer relationship management (CRM) integrations
- And more
If you decide to hire an SEO company, spend some time thinking about what you need — and what leadership needs — to measure search engine optimization’s performance and bottom-line impact because that will influence the type of SEO agency you hire.
Re-purpose your SEO data
From building your strategy to tracking your performance, the best SEO firms work to keep you ahead of the market. That’s why, in 2023, the best-of-the-best SEO companies will help you maximize the value of your organic traffic data.
If you’re familiar with the shift from third-party to first-party data, you know building a first-party data strategy is critical. That’s what top SEO companies do. With our proprietary marketing platform, for example, we help our clients re-use their data for ad campaigns, personalization, and more.
The result? Our clients have seen an average 20% increase in marketing ROI!
When shopping around for SEO companies, research (or ask!) about their approach to first-party data. The top SEO agencies will know what you’re talking about and will likely have an answer about how they help you generate and activate your first-party data.
How do I choose an SEO company?
You know the definition of an SEO company, and what an SEO business does, and now, you want to hire one.
Hiring an SEO agency can take several months, especially if you need buy-in from other departments. However, educating yourself on how to choose an SEO company can help you find the best SEO service provider for your business.
Here are some tips for picking an SEO agency (for even more advice, read our SEO Hiring Guide):
- Outline your expectations: Get together with your stakeholders and determine what you want from an SEO agency. Do you want a company that can develop and execute? Are you looking for a firm to help with a specific project? How are you planning to measure their performance?
- Determine your budget: Before getting into discussions with an SEO company, determine your budget. How much is management willing to invest in SEO services? What do these services have to include for that budget to make sense?
- Ask your network for recommendations: Use your network connections for initial agency recommendations. They can help you build a list of companies to check out (or avoid), which can save you a tremendous amount of time.
- Review your candidate’s case studies: Look at case studies from your list of SEO candidates. How do they measure success? What strategies do they use to achieve results? Why are clients happy with this agency?
- Ask your top agencies for a meeting: Contact your top candidates and meet with them! How do they manage SEO projects? What is their SEO framework? How are they keeping ahead of the industry? You should also ask questions related to pricing, timelines, and deliverables.
- Get your custom proposal: Once you have a list of your favorite SEO companies, ask for a proposal. This proposal should include pricing, deliverables, and anything specific you and the agency discussed, like a requested task or start date.
If you go through the hiring process and haven’t found an agency you like, don’t settle. You want an SEO company you can trust with your site — and your business. Keep looking and talking with agencies to find the best one for your business.
FAQs about SEO companies
Learn more about SEO companies (and even SEO) with these FAQs:
How do SEO companies charge for SEO services?
You’ll find SEO companies offer a few different payment structures for SEO services, like:
- Flat rate: A predictable fee charged regularly, like monthly.
- Performance-based: A varying fee charged regularly based on the agency’s results.
- Hourly: A pre-determined fee charged based on the number of hours worked.
- Project-based: A pre-determined fee charged based on a project and its scope.
The preferred pricing models are flat rate, hourly, or project-based.
What metrics do SEO companies improve?
SEO companies focus on improving the following metrics:
- Search engine rankings
- Organic traffic
- Organic conversions
- Engagement metrics, like time on page
Depending on your business’s needs, your SEO agency might focus on additional metrics.
What do an SEO company’s services include?
An SEO company’s services should include:
- SEO audit
- On-page optimizations
- Off-page optimizations
- Technical optimizations
Some SEO agencies will provide more than what’s listed above, like:
- Strategy development
- A/B testing
- Advanced analytics tracking
Every agency is different, so you’ll need to check with them to verify their service deliverables.
How does an SEO company work?
An SEO company works to grow your business by:
- Learning about your industry, target audience, and business
- Building, implementing, and managing a strategy that impacts your most important metrics
- Communicating with your team the what, why, and how of different site updates
- Reporting on SEO initiatives so you can see (and share) SEO’s impact
An SEO company’s job is to drive leads, phone calls, store visits, purchases, and more through search.
Just like you hire an accountant to help streamline and improve your books or hire a cleaning company to tidy up the office each week, partnering with an SEO company means connecting with a company whose goal is to improve your visibility in search engines.
What is an example of working with an SEO company?
Let’s say you operate a house painting company in Ames, Iowa (Go Cyclones!).
You are an expert in all things paint. You spend your day talking all about glosses, finishes, ferrules, and more. You want to earn more leads for your business and hear from your customers that they find local paint contractors through search engines like Google.
Taking the time to learn, implement, and adjust an SEO campaign isn’t an option for you.
So, you find a trustworthy and reputable SEO company to help manage your web presence in search engines. A few months later, your site starts showing up at the top of Google results for searches like “painters in Ames Iowa” and “exterior painters in Ames.”
A beautiful partnership is born! You are busier than ever, thanks to leads flowing in from search engines. Partnering with a quality SEO firm gives you the expertise needed to generate more business from organic searches.
The beauty of SEO is that your marketing efforts allow interested customers to find you online. Most marketing channels require businesses to blast their message out to thousands of customers, with the hope being that a small percentage of them will be qualified prospects.
SEO works in the opposite direction: You make it easier for people to seek out and find your business as they search online. By nature, leads you earn from organic search are self-qualified. This means people already interested in your product or service are looking for you.
See what an SEO company can do for you
What is an SEO company? They’re your answer to capturing more traffic and revenue from the web.
With more than 25 years of experience (and more than $3 billion in revenue generated in the past five years for our clients), WebFX is a trusted choice for SEO services. So, if you’re looking for a custom strategy, diverse experts, and cutting-edge marketing technology, contact us online today!
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