What Do SEO Marketing Companies actually do?
Brands engaging with digital marketing companies are quite intrigued by what happens in the back end to raise their positioning on SERPs.
Many may think that it is easy to get a ranking boost. However, the toil and effort that goes into improving a customer’s online visibility is a pain that can only be known to an SEO agency.
At the very base level, clients know that SEO agencies help improve digital business’s visibility and help them earn more business inquiries to boost their online revenue generation potential.
Now, how can this be accomplished? Here the explanation will go into technical aspects.
But there are three broad categories of tasks that constitute a well-framed SEO campaign:
- Pushing fresh and compelling content for helping the readers
- Adding relevant and meaningful backlinks to improve industry authority perception
- Monitoring performance of SEO campaigns, carrying out A/B testing, and then re-configuring the campaign based on what works best for a particular client.
The SEO agency will tweak these 3 areas and emphasize one over the other based on the industry and the target audience profile for the client company.
- 1. Initial briefing and needs assessment
- 2. Base level Optimization
- 3. Link Optimization
- 4. Fresh Content Creation
- 5. On-going monitoring of SEO campaigns
- 6. On-page and off-page SEO
- 7. Technical SEO
- 8. Keyword research
- 9. Link building/outreach
- 10. Content creation
- 11. Competitor research
- 12. Prevent negative SEO
- 13. Conclusion
Interested in doing a deeper dive about what an SEO company does? Then read on and be informed about the various activities and tasks they are entrusted with to enhance the SERP rankings originating from their target audience.
1. Initial Briefing and Needs Assessment
The very first step an SEO expert will take is to get a proper brief from the client.
They will seek to understand what you do, your products/ services, your potential customers, target market segmentation, and current site architecture.
Every client is different, and every client’s business need is different. Hence there cannot be an off-the-shelf solution that will work for everyone. What works for one client will not work with the same degree of success for another client.
Each business’s dynamics mean that the SEO agency will need to be on their toes to understand what every client does and then offer bespoke solutions.
Some of the key activities that happen in this phase
- Keyword research to find out the right keywords to target a particular set of audience
- Checking Google Analytics to see what the strong points are and what areas need to be worked upon
- Assessing Google Webmaster and embedded links within the website
- An exhaustive assessment of the site architecture
2. Base-Level Optimization
Now that the SEO agency is clear about what needs to be changed and what points to focus on, it will start working on SEO strategies.
It will list down the necessary tasks and their potential outcomes. It will also classify a particular task as a one-time activity or an on-going activity.
They will create a roadmap for all future activities which guide teams on what they must do for a particular SEO campaign.
The designer will focus on web re-design so that all elements are optimized for SEO, while the web developer will see if all meta tags are taken care of and that Google bots will know what is needed.
Ideally, the one-time activity needs to be completed first. The agency will then move to the regular/periodic activities needed to gain a higher SERP ranking on search engines.
Some of the activities involve the below –
- Link optimization –
Careful examination of all the links will show which links are spammy and which ones are genuine. All spammy or irrelevant links to the company will be removed.
- Website re-design –
Image optimization, code optimization, content optimization, and site speed optimization – all elements of the text are re-configured to meet the white hat SEO and Google norms.
3. Link Optimization
Link building is one of the key tenets of good SEO practices. SEO agencies know that link building is not a one-time activity.
Link building is a continuous activity. Your website might have links from another website that had good authority 6 to 8 years back, but it is not an authoritative site right now.
The SEO expert will weed out such sites and add backlinks to sites currently popular on Google rankings.
To avoid stagnancy, Google constantly needs to be fed with new and fresh links to know that your site is still reliable and deserves to be ranked higher, even in the present context.
Perhaps this need for constant validation is a reason link building emerges as a never-ending activity. There are many ways to build a link, and those are:
- On-going link monitoring
- Competitor research
- Brand monitoring
- Online PR
4. Fresh Content Creation
Content is the one element that connects the brand with the reader. Be it text, images, or videos, the right, relevant, and meaningful content will always elicit a higher degree of engagement from your target audience.
It is interesting to note that the first step of link building may coincide with content creation. But that is fine.
Link building often necessitates the creation of fresh content. In this phase, there are 3 broad areas that the SEO agency focusses one:
- Content expansion
- Content marketing
5. On-Going Monitoring of SEO Campaigns
There is a list of KPIs that an SEO firm promises to deliver on. After rolling out the campaign, the agency needs to be on the constant lookout for these KPIs.
If any part of the campaign diverts from expected outcomes, the agency needs to take concrete steps to bring it back on track.
When any aspect of the SEO strategy is delivering great results across a specific area or region, then the agency can roll out a similar plan to other areas within the country or outside the country if desired.
Such real-time actions will be possible only when the company is in constant touch with the SEO campaign’s performance.
You may hear SEO agencies refer to “on-page” and “off-page” SEO.
On-page SEO refers to those elements on your website that you can directly control, like linking structures, formatting, proper use of headers, and so on.
Off-page SEO refers to tasks like link building, outreach, and anything else that you can’t directly control through your website.
There’s often overlap between on-page and off-page SEO work as well.
Technical SEO refers mainly to the architecture of your website. It includes things like:
- A clean linking structure
- Proper use of header tags
- Properly implemented 301 redirects
- Page load speed
These are very basic elements that must be set up correctly to build your SEO strategy on top of a strong foundation. Many of them can be fixed during an initial site audit.
Keyword research is the process of discovering the best search queries to target for your business.
This task may seem straightforward, but proper keyword research requires a lot of work. Many factors determine if a certain keyword is “good” and to what degree.
Search volume, level of competition, and user intent are just a few of the qualities that good SEOs consider when doing keyword research.
This is one of the most work-intensive aspects of good SEO work. A large portion of your website’s reputation in Google’s eyes is based on its backlink profile.
Essentially, the more high-quality links from high-authority websites that point to your website, the more likely Google and other search engines are to recommend your pages to their users.
There are a few different link-building strategies that most SEOs will utilize when working on your website, such as:
- Pitching high-quality content (infographics, videos, guest posts) to other websites
- Getting your website included in reputable directories
- Creating great content that gets linked to naturally
Link building requires a thorough knowledge of the process, as Google does not take kindly to websites with “unnatural link profiles” due to low-quality links, blatant link-building solely for SEO, and other less-than-reputable practices.
If your website gets hit with a penalty from Google, it could be completely de-indexed until you fix the problem. This means you need to get link building right the first time around.
SEO doesn’t work without content. Content creation can be anything from blog posts to site articles to comprehensive infographics.
The goal is to create high-quality content that other people will link to, either naturally or as a result of outreach.
Proper content creation is not as easy as it sounds. It can be hard to consistently publish content that adds value to your website, and the whole process is governed by keyword research and proper technical SEO as well.
Competitor research is a vital part of any SEO strategy worth its salt.
One convenient aspect of Internet marketing is how easily you can study your competitors’ strategies.
In the digital world, if something is working for a competitor, there’s a very high chance you’ll be able to use a similar strategy and see similar success.
Competitor research involves monitoring the backlink profile of competing websites to identify link opportunities, looking at the sites that outrank you for specific keywords, and checking in on competing websites to see what kind of content they’re making and how they’re promoting it.
Competitor research is of such importance because of how dynamic SEO and Internet marketing in general are.
Best practices are constantly changing, and keeping an eye on what others in your industry are doing helps you make sure you don’t fall behind.
This task overlaps with technical SEO and link building. Just like there are good backlinks, there are also bad backlinks that can hurt your site’s rankings.
It’s very important to keep track of incoming links to your site, so the bad ones can be removed via disavowing through Google or by politely asking the linking websites to remove them.
As seen above, an SEO agency has a wide varying range of tasks to be implemented to improve their client’s online business ranking.
An SEO marketing company has a wide-ranging mixture of tasks that it implements to ensure that their clients don’t ever have to suffer any drop in rankings.
We have highlighted some above to give you a fairer indication of what SEO marketing companies actually do and how they help their clients.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 17, 2019, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.