Get your answers, and more, in this handy guide to SEO companies. Learn what an agency does and how they do it. Then, get tips from our award-winning team on how to find and choose the best SEO agency for your business.
Already know which SEO company is right for you? Start building your custom SEO strategy today. Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 and discover how we’ve driven more than $1 billion in revenue for our clients.
Or, keep reading to get the inside scoop on what an SEO company does!
What is SEO?
Before you learn about the day-to-day of an SEO agency, it’s vital that you understand SEO. A digital marketing tool, SEO refers to an umbrella of strategies. These strategies work to improve your online visibility by increasing your rank in search results.
When you search for something on Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you receive a list of search results. You can click on the initial list of search results, browse subsequent pages of search results, or enter a different search.
For reference, you can see a list of search results for the search, “home ac repair near me,” below.
In most cases, users stick to the first page of search results — they don’t click to the second page. Studies confirm this user behavior, finding that 75 percent of users find their answers on the first page of search results.
That’s why SEO focuses on improving your rank in search results. Your SEO company, as well as your business, want your website to rank on the first page of search results. With a top spot, you can direct more traffic to your site.
But, there are tons of searches. How do you rank for each one? You don’t.
Instead, you focus on keywords or searches relevant to your business and your audience. For example, the search, “home ac repair near me,” carries zero value to a shoe manufacturer. But for an HVAC company that offers residential AC repair services, it has immense value.
If a keyword carries enough value, your business should optimize your website for it.
How do you know if a keyword’s valuable? By looking at the following factors:
- Search volume: A keyword’s search volume refers to how many people search for that keyword each month. In most cases, a keyword with a higher search volume carries more value. Keywords with lower search volumes are also valuable, however, as they can reach a niche group of your target market.
- Competition: A keyword’s competition level refers to its ranking difficulty. Due to the value of high-search keywords, they often come with a high competition level. While it’s a massive win to rank for a high-competition keyword, ranking for a low-competition keyword can also lead to tremendous gains for your business.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): A keyword’s CPC refers to how much it costs to target that keyword in a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising While SEO doesn’t cost anything, this number can help your company gauge the value of a keyword. A high-value keyword tends to have a CPC above $10.
- Intent: A keyword’s intent refers to the expectations of users searching for that keyword. While you can measure search volume, competition, and CPC with various tools, search intent requires the expertise of an SEO specialist. They need to determine what a user wants and expects, and then adapt your SEO strategy accordingly.
For perspective on all these keyword features, check out this search result example:
As you can tell, this keyword carries a lot of value. It has more than 2900 searches a month, plus a CPC of more than $35. If you browse the initial search results, you can also determine the intent of users — they’re looking for AC repair companies, with a specific interest in compiled lists of businesses.
While it may seem like a straightforward process to discover and research keywords, it requires time and experience. Plus, your team needs to do more than keyword research, you also have to create, optimize, and launch content that targets those keywords.
That’s why, when it comes to optimizing your website for SEO, as well as building your keyword strategy, it’s helpful to have the experience and expertise of an SEO company. With their skills and resources, they can provide your website with the best chance at ranking for valuable searches and keywords.
What is an SEO company?
Whether you refer to them as SEO companies or agencies, they do the same thing — SEO. That means your SEO company focuses on increasing your organic rankings in relevant search results by analyzing your website and industry to develop an appropriate SEO strategy.
Agencies, however, can vary when it comes to their SEO services. For instance, some may provide specialized SEO services for specific businesses and industries. In comparison, other agencies may only offer one type of SEO service.
A few examples of SEO services include:
It’s worth mentioning that not all service providers refer to themselves as SEO companies. For example, a digital marketing agency often offers SEO, in addition to several other Internet marketing services, like content marketing.
A full-service digital marketing agency, like WebFX, provides your company with an advantage. WebFX offers everything you need to market your business online. It’s a perk that saves your team time, as you don’t have to partner with multiple agencies for different services.
Instead, you have a trusted and consistent partner for your digital marketing. For almost all businesses, this partnership is an immense benefit. It helps your company develop a competitive and well-rounded strategy, which can increase your return on investment (ROI).
What does an SEO agency do?
Ok, but what does an SEO agency do — and why are companies partnering with them? Your SEO company does a lot, which is why it’s helpful to break down what an agency, like WebFX, does with an acronym — R.O.C.K.E.T.
R.O.C.K.E.T. stands for Research, Optimize, Content, Keywords, Earned Media and Links, and Testing.
Our video below covers what SEO specialists do for businesses if you'd prefer that format.
A look at the six-step process behind how our award-winning SEO company works.
The best SEO strategies start with in-depth research. This step focuses on learning about your company, products or services, and industry. It also investigates the online tactics of your competitors, as well as audits your website.
A quick review of the “R” in Research:
- Analyze your competitors and their websites in-depth
- Evaluate your server and your site
- Audit your website for SEO, as well as mobile-friendliness
With this step complete, your SEO agency can develop an SEO strategy and action plan.
Following a comprehensive assessment of your site, competitors, and company, your SEO agency begins optimizing your website for search. This step includes small- and large-scale updates to your website, such as by improving your site’s usability or revising your title tags on select webpages.
A quick summary of the “O” in Optimize:
- Setup Google Analytics account and goals
- Improve website usability for users
- Update website architecture and content organization for maximum usability
- Optimize images, title tags, and meta descriptions for specific keywords and user intents
- Create and revise Google My Business profile for search and users
- Resolve duplicate content and other technical SEO errors
Before making any of these changes, your SEO company will ask for your approval.
Without content, search engines have nothing to rank. That’s why SEO agencies optimize not only existing content but also create new content. This content does more than target keywords relevant to your business — it also provides your target audience with helpful answers.
A quick overview of the “C” in Content:
- Improve existing content to ensure it answers user questions
- Develop new content ideas that target valuable keywords and target audience members
- Create optimized website copy, blog posts, infographics, guides, and more
In some cases, your SEO agency may offer additional content services, like content marketing or copywriting, that can enhance the content side of your SEO strategy. WebFX, for instance, offers both, which can help your company create even more content for your website and audience.
Throughout the R.O.C.K.E.T. process, your SEO company searches for valuable and relevant keywords. Keywords are the basis for your SEO strategy, which is why your agency audits you and your competitors’ websites. It’s also why they use advanced keyword research tools.
A quick summary of the “K” in Keywords:
- Analyze keyword strategy of competitors
- Research relevant, high-value keywords for products or services
- Develop a list of keywords to target across your website
If WebFX is your SEO company, you also receive a few additional perks. For example, our dedicated account managers produce a keyword mapping report for your business. They also used advanced rank tracking to monitor your position in search results.
Your ranking in search results depends on more than 200 off-page and on-page factors. While on-page factors — like a webpage’s URL, images, and title tag — come from your website, off-page factors — like a link from one site to another site — come from other websites.
As a part of Earned Media and Links, your SEO agency improves your off-page ranking factors. What that means is your agency searches for valuable opportunities to share your content with trusted sites in your industry.
A quick review of the “E” in Earned Media and Links:
- Earn relevant mentions for your site’s content, like a blog post, from reputable websites
- Promote your content to trusted, go-to publishers or websites in your industry
- Help your content, like an infographic, go viral to receive valuable mentions from sites
This deliverable requires an experienced and established SEO company. If you’re partnering with a small, unestablished agency, they probably have a team with fewer connections in your industry. That can make it a challenge to reach your audience and get them excited about your content and company.
Unlike traditional marketing, SEO allows your business and SEO agency to adapt to changes fast. A smart SEO agency, like WebFX, takes advantage of this feature. We continually search for areas of improvement and provide recommendations for elements to test and make one percent better.
A quick summary of the “T” in Testing:
- Develop new and compelling CTAs that persuade your target audience to act
- Analyze your audience’s conversion path and look for areas of improvement
- Track your ROI to spot new opportunities for increasing your ROI
Testing is another area that benefits from a full-service Internet marketing agency. With this kind of SEO company, your business can take advantage of the expertise of digital marketing specialists, web designers, professional copy editors, and more.
In summary, an SEO agency:
- Researches your industry, business, and competitors
- Audits your website and online presence
- Develops your keyword targeting strategy
- Optimizes your site for keywords and SEO best practices
- Creates your website’s content, from product and service pages to blog posts
- Promotes your content to industry insiders and relevant, interested audience members
- Analyzes your site for areas of improvement to streamline conversions
- Provides your business with measurable results
For your company — and almost every other organization — results are the most crucial part of what an SEO agency does. Your results can include increased revenue, conversion rates, time on site, and more. In most cases, results from SEO have a direct impact on your business.
A few examples of the real-life impact SEO can have on your organization include:
- Helping your company expand into a new area
- Allowing your business to add new services or products
- Giving your company the ability to create new jobs
- Providing your business the means to support your local community
- And more!
With SEO, the impact is more than digital. A smart and competitive SEO strategy can — and should — lead to measurable and noticeable results in your company. If it doesn’t, you’ve partnered with the wrong SEO agency.
What should SEO companies include with their services?
A common follow-up question to, “What does an SEO company do?” relates to SEO services. Before researching agencies and requesting quotes, your business wants to know what to expect — and what SEO services should include.
While every SEO company varies, it’s vital that your SEO services include the following:
- Audit: It’s critical that your SEO services include an SEO audit. With an SEO audit, your SEO agency can discover your site’s strengths and weaknesses. For WebFX, this data helps our team build a personalized SEO strategy for your business, as well as develop a checklist for fixes.
- Monitoring: Your SEO services should also include routine monitoring of your competitors. By assessing your competition on a regular basis, your SEO company can adapt their strategy to move your business ahead in search rankings.
- Content: If you want to improve your ranking in existing search results, as well as new ones, then your SEO services need to include content. That’s why our SEO services include quarterly and monthly earned media, plus SEO copywriting.
- Reporting: While your SEO company may manage your SEO strategy, it’s essential they provide your team complete access to your strategy’s performance. Your account manager should also schedule routine check-ins to discuss your plan and review your results.
- Optimization: As SEO is an ongoing strategy, it’s essential that your SEO company optimizes your website on a continuous basis. That’s why our award-winning team always looks for ways to improve your site and keep it ahead of your competition.
As you browse agencies and their services, keep in mind these red-flags that shady agencies promote:
- Immediate increases in search rankings
- Instant leads, conversions, or revenue increases
- Low prices for top-notch SEO services
Even though many SEO companies will follow through on their promise of low-cost SEO, their services are often low-quality too. In short, you get what you pay for when it comes to SEO. Invest in a quality agency for quality results.
What’s it like working with an SEO company?
If you’ve never partnered with an SEO company, it’s natural to wonder what it’s like to work with one. What should your business and team expect? For example, how often will the agency require your feedback — or what does your team need to provide to start?
When you work with an SEO company, like WebFX, you can expect the following:
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1. KICK-OFF MEETING
Once you’ve partnered with your SEO agency, you can expect an introduction or kick-off meeting with your team of SEO strategists. While this process varies among SEO companies, it’s a seamless step with WebFX.
You’re introduced and partnered with a dedicated account manager, which ensures you’re always working with a familiar face on your SEO strategy. As one of the Best Places to Work in PA, we maintain a low employee turnover rate, which provides your team with a consistent experience and partner.
For your team, this kick-off meeting allows you to:
- Share your company’s digital marketing goals
- Highlight vital information about your business, products, brand, and more
- Learn about the next steps for your SEO strategy
- Meet your dedicated account manager
Get ready for your kick-off meeting by compiling a list of questions to ask your account manager. If you like, you can also develop a list of must-read company resources, like your brand guidelines, for your account manager.
2. AUDIT AND STRATEGY SUMMARY
Another normal part of working with an SEO company? The results of your SEO audit, plus your SEO strategy. While your account manager may discuss each of these topics on separate calls or meet-ups, they provide your team with a valuable roadmap.
These discussions are also an excellent time to ask questions — and that’s another part of what SEO companies do, they educate their clients. At least, they should. That’s why you want to partner with an SEO agency, like WebFX, that values information-sharing.
When you chat with your dedicated account manager, you’re encouraged to ask questions. Whether you’re unsure about a word, strategy, or decision, our award-winning team’s happy to explain. Use your audit and strategy calls to your advantage and ask about everything.
3. ROUTINE CHECK-INS
After you meet with your dedicated account manager, as well as review and approve your SEO strategy, plan for routine check-ins with them. Depending on your strategy and service package, you may chat with your account manager every week or every month.
In most cases, your team should set aside one hour for these check-ins.
That way, you have plenty of time to ask questions, review data, and chat with your account manager about anything else. For example, maybe you’re curious about expanding your SEO strategy to include PPC advertising, which launches your company to the top of search results.
Aside from these meetings, your company can take a hands-free approach to SEO. In some cases, however, your account manager may require your input, approval, or assistance to move your strategy forward.
For example, if your business prefers to upload or add content to your website — versus having your SEO agency do it — then you’ll need to have a more active role in your strategy. Maximize the results of your plan by deciding early on how much of a role you want.
Depending on your SEO company, you can also monitor the direct results of your SEO. WebFX, for instance, provides all its clients access to our proprietary ROI-tracking platform, MarketingCloudFX. IBM Watson, a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) software, powers MarketingCloudFX.
With MarketingCloudFX, you can track the performance of your SEO strategy. Your dashboard, for example, provides a quick summary of the number of calls, as well as revenue, generated by your website. It’s a useful tool for not only your team but also your company’s decision makers.
When should you hire an SEO company?
No matter your company size, from enterprise to midsize, it’s important to recognize when you need to hire an SEO agency. While your reasons may vary for partnering with an SEO company, they can make a massive impact on your bottom line.
A few reasons to hire an SEO agency include:
- Grow your business in a competitive or niche industry
- Support your recent expansion or product launch
- Increase your revenue, sales, and conversion rates
- Improve your ranking for valuable search results
Now, when should you hire an SEO company?
- When your business doesn’t have the expertise
- When your team doesn’t have the time
- When your company doesn’t see results
For many companies, it’s also more cost-efficient to hire an SEO agency. Depending on your industry, as well as location, it can prove challenging — and expensive — to build a team of digital marketers. With an SEO company, you gain direct access to an experienced team, but without the added in-house costs.
Why do companies use SEO agencies?
How else can you learn about what SEO agencies do? By looking at what they do for other businesses, as well as why companies hire them. For example, one of the biggest reasons that companies use SEO agencies is because they can improve these five factors:
1. YOUR RANKINGS IN SEARCH RESULTS
In today’s digital age, your ranking in search results plays a massive role in your company’s success. With 80 percent of consumers — and more than 70 percent of businesses — turning to search to find a new product or service, it’s essential your SEO company improves your ranking in search results.
With an experienced and performance-driven SEO agency, you can move up in search results.
Higher placement in search results can lead to several benefits for your company. One, you can earn more valuable search traffic, as more than 33 percent of all search traffic goes to the first site in search results.
Earning a top position in search results requires a significant commitment of your time and resources, however. That’s why partnering with an SEO company offers such an advantage. Your team can focus on your priorities while your agency dedicates their time to the ongoing process of optimizing your website.
2. YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC
While considered a vanity metric, website traffic provides perspective on your SEO strategy. For example, if you’re ranking for keywords relevant to your business, you would expect an increase in your site traffic.
If your company’s new to SEO, website traffic can become a quick, yet inaccurate, way to measure your success. With an SEO agency, you can prevent this scenario. Plus, your agency can explain this data in a way that makes sense for not only your team but also your company’s decision makers.
Your SEO company can also make sure its targeting keywords relevant to your business. In comparison, low-quality SEO agencies may optimize your website for keywords with a high search volume but zero relation to your business.
As a result, your website does receive a lot of traffic, but none of it matters to your business.
That’s why most SEO companies look at your website traffic, as well as conversion rates. For example, our work for Bar’s Leaks, an automotive repair solution company, saw both their site traffic and conversion rates increase by more than 50 percent.
3. YOUR CONVERSION RATES
SEO does more than drive traffic to your website — it drives relevant, high-value traffic. It’s up to your SEO company, however, to determine which keywords offer the most value to your business. That’s why our agency, as well as our dedicated account managers, take the time to learn about your company.
With an in-depth understanding of your business, your SEO company can develop a smart and competitive keyword strategy that maximizes your conversion rates. They can also spot quick ways to improve your website’s usability, which makes it even easier for users to convert.
For your business, the process of auditing your website, researching your keywords, and launching your strategy demands a tremendous amount of time. In most cases, it’s time your team doesn’t have, which is why partnering with an SEO agency allows your company to move forward with this strategy.
How much of an impact can SEO have on conversion rates, though?
Consider Bricco, a local fine-dining restaurant that wanted to increase its conversion rates for reservations. With WebFX as their SEO partner, Bricco saw their conversion rate for reservations increase by more than 90 percent. In addition, their site traffic rose by 53 percent year over year.
4. YOUR WEBSITE’S SEO
Whether you’re new or familiar with SEO, it’s important to recognize that SEO requires a skillset. If you want to succeed, it’s essential to understand the technical side of SEO, as well as the user side of SEO. Otherwise, your site will fail to rank and keep users engaged.
Partner with an SEO company and your business gains access to an experienced team of professionals. WebFX, for example, features an award-winning team that includes some of the best digital marketing specialists in the business.
A partnership with an SEO agency also saves your team from the time-commitment of SEO.
With more than 200 digital marketing specialists, it’s a seamless process for us to audit and optimize your website for SEO. Remember, however, that SEO doesn’t deliver results overnight. It’s an ongoing process and can take several months to drive results — if an agency tells you differently, find another.
An excellent example of what an SEO company does — and what they can do — comes from Sharrett’s Plating, a full-service plating company. As a part of our data-driven SEO strategy, which included web design, we increased their quote requests by 60 percent and their organic traffic by 270 percent.
5. YOUR REVENUE
No matter your digital marketing strategy, from SEO to PPC, you’re looking for a return on your investment. That’s why it’s critical to partner with an SEO agency that prioritizes your ROI. At WebFX, for example, we measure our success by yours.
If you’re leading your SEO efforts in-house, it’s a massive amount of pressure to deliver on your company’s investment. The demands are higher if you’re new to SEO or in-charge of a small team with limited resources.
With an SEO company, you can resolve these stressors. You can also maximize the success of your SEO strategy, which can lead to an even bigger return for your business. For companies that want an impressive ROI, WebFX is the top choice.
In the past five years, we’ve driven more than $1.5 billion in revenue for our clients. It’s an impressive example of what SEO, as well as an SEO company, can do for your bottom line. For your business, more revenue can mean more team members, locations, or services.
How do you find a trusted SEO company?
If you’re thinking about partnering with an SEO agency, use these three tips to find a trusted company:
1. CHECK THEIR REVIEWS
A past client can save your company a lot of hassle — and help you find the best SEO company. While you want to read through an SEO agency’s testimonials, it’s also helpful to browse their reviews on other sites.
Clutch, for example, is a go-to website for researching digital marketing companies.
Each review features tons of helpful information, like the reviewer’s budget and industry. Read these reviews and see what past and current clients say about an agency. WebFX, for instance, features more than 100 reviews — we’re also the number one SEO agency on the acclaimed site.
2. RESEARCH THEIR PRICES AND SERVICES
In most cases, SEO companies avoid publishing their prices and deliverables online. Agencies that do, like WebFX, can save your team an immense amount of time. In an instant, you can learn if the agency matches your budget and requirements.
If you’re interested in an agency that doesn’t share their prices, you will have to contact them for a custom quote. This process can consume a lot of your time and without any payoff, as the company may exceed your budget.
As you review agency prices, remember the risk of low-cost SEO services. They often result in “cheap” SEO, which doesn’t provide your company with the results that SEO generated for companies like Sharrett’s Plating, Bricco, or Mosquito Magnet.
3. LEARN THEIR APPROACH TO SEO
Overlooking an SEO company’s approach to SEO is easy, especially if you’re new or unfamiliar with SEO. It’s critical, however, that your team investigates each agency’s strategies and values when it comes to SEO.
For example, does the SEO company value client transparency — or, do they see it as “too complicated” to talk strategy with your team? For reference, you want an agency that values your business and sees themselves as an extension of your team.
That’s our view, at WebFX. In the SEO industry, it’s a unique perspective, and it’s one reason why our client retention rate exceeds 90 percent. It’s also a driving factor behind our client recommendation score, which is 488 percent higher than the industry average.
Looking for a trusted SEO company?
With a proven track record of increasing client revenues, WebFX is a trusted partner for small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) worldwide. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we offer not only SEO services but also content marketing, PPC advertising, web design, and more.
Ready to increase your company’s revenue?