Anthony Basile

Your business can’t reach its potential if no one can find you. That’s an obvious statement, but an important one, and one that demands a response. In today’s digital-first business climate, how can you make your company discoverable online?

The answer lies in search engine optimization (SEO). This is a pillar of the modern marketer’s tool kit, and the crux of inbound marketing efforts. Inbound marketing means making yourself visible when people are looking for services like yours, and it’s essential for capturing the attention of independent, self-guided consumers.

But should you handle your SEO effort alone, or is it better left to the professionals? The answer will depend on your exact needs, now and in the future. Whatever method you decide on, it’s a good idea to go in with all the facts, so here’s the inside scoop on what SEO marketing agencies contribute.

What Does an SEO Agency Do?

So, what is an SEO company anyway? Generally speaking, it’s a business made up of experts who can handle each of the various sides of search engine optimization, from technical tune-ups to content writing and beyond.

The exact selection of SEO services offered by a given creative agency will be driven by your company’s needs, as well as its existing content marketing strengths and weaknesses. Within the umbrella of SEO, there are a variety of specific tactics that can help you succeed, and part of an SEO agency’s job is to recommend the right mix of these methods to get results.

These SEO approaches include:

On-Page SEO

This is perhaps the most straightforward kind of SEO. It’s based on the actual material on your website’s pages. This means search-optimized content, as well as the HTML structure of the site. Writing a new article designed to rank high on a Google search engine results page (SERP) is on-page SEO, as is optimizing existing content to better suit current conditions.

Performing on-page SEO work requires research and analysis in addition to pure content creation. The algorithms that determine SERP performance are always changing, so understanding the impact of those shifts is a vital complement to content writing, HTML upkeep and other on-page SEO actions.

Technical SEO

As a subset of on-page SEO, technical SEO consists of working on the backend of your website to get it up to scratch from a performance perspective. Today’s search engines weigh the technological aspects of the web experience when determining whether to recommend a site within search results.

This could mean optimizing the load speed of your pages, enhancing performance on mobile devices, clearing up bugs and error messages and more. The kind of expertise required to handle technical SEO is different from content writing or optimization. A well-balanced SEO agency team will have personnel who can handle all these aspects of the process.

Off-page SEO

Much like on-page SEO, the key to good off-page SEO activity is to figure out what will rank well in light of the latest algorithm changes. The difference, however, is that you’re not creating content on your own website. Instead, an off-page SEO campaign involves actions taken to build the reputation of your brand and its domain authority to help its content rank well.

You can create authority by encouraging external sites to link to your content, and engaging in off-site activity such as influencer marketing, digital PR and guest blogging. When these external efforts all point back to your webpage, that’s beneficial from an SEO perspective. As with on-page SEO, ongoing monitoring and analysis are vital for continued success.

Local SEO

Even in today’s digital world, people need to look up businesses near them physically, and they’re using search engines to do so. If your company owns brick-and-mortar locations, it’s absolutely essential to market your services to people in your area. Ranking well in a Google search with local intent requires a mixture of on-page efforts, including targeted content creation, with unique off-page tasks.

These off-page local SEO services can include correcting information about your company in online databases, so there’s no ambiguity about where you’re located. You can also claim and set up your Google My Business page, providing a one-stop location for consumers to find your business.

Find out how SEO agencies keep up with updates to important algorithm updates that affect search results.

SEO Agency, Consultant or In-House? Weighing Your Options

Working with a fully featured third-party SEO agency isn’t the only way to engage in SEO marketing, of course. Depending on the scale of your business and your needs around SEO and other forms of digital marketing, it may make more sense to go with a more hands-off consulting model or build out an SEO specialist department entirely in-house.

SEO Agency

Hiring an SEO firm is the most flexible way to get the type of services that can put your business at the top of SERPs. This is because these agencies employ a wide range of SEO expert teams working in every aspect of digital strategy. No matter which type of services you end up needing, an agency can figure out the solution and deliver a customized strategy to take your company to the next level.

SEO Consultant

Choosing a consulting model can be a helpful way to detect and address discrete issues with your SEO strategy. Perhaps you’ve found yourself lagging behind competitors in SERPs, or there’s a nagging issue with your off-page SEO to address. With that said, a consultant can only do so much compared to a full agency. If the issues detected in an SEO audit are serious enough, it’ll be up to either an agency or an internal team to resolve them.

Internal SEO Team

To achieve full control over your SEO efforts, you can hire your own personnel and build out a department solely responsible for elevating your organization’s SERP positions. This method comes with an important caveat, however — to bring in the diverse skill set necessary for comprehensive SEO services, it’s necessary to pay multiple full-time salaries. Small or medium businesses are unlikely to have the resources for such a move.

Making the Decision

The choice between SEO service models is up to you, matching your organization’s needs to the capabilities on offer. With that said, if your SEO requirements are too large to be tackled by a consulting engagement alone and your company isn’t big enough to build a full SEO team internally, a dedicated SEO agency represents the clearest way forward, and the best SEO company for you.

Learn more about the role of SEO business writers in handling various SEO campaign types.

How SEO Drives Business Outcomes

None of the debate about good SEO strategy would be worthwhile if these methods didn’t get results. However, time and again, companies have achieved strong return on investment when they’ve committed to SEO and content marketing.

Real-world case studies can serve as some of the clearest windows into SEO success. Some of these examples include:

  • A 443% boost in web traffic for a beverage dispenser business. The company embraced an SEO strategy with a strong content creation angle and reached page one SERP status for numerous keywords directly related to its core offerings.
  • $20,000 in extra traffic value per month for a food production company that built four fully featured and SEO-optimized websites, one for each of its constituent brands. SEO content writing helped each site raise up relevant SERPs.
  • 2,544 technical and on-page SEO issues discovered leading to a content refresh for a software provider. With these problematic spots exposed and corrected, the company was able to achieve page one SERP placement for 7 different keywords.

All the elements that add up to a complete SEO strategy can deliver value and return on investment. Add them together into a unified whole, and it’s easy to see how working with an SEO firm can drive your organization toward better outcomes overall.

No matter what your goal for the immediate future may be — more qualified leads, better conversion rates, stronger brand awareness, an improved customer experience or one of countless others — SEO success can help you achieve it. Ensuring that the right people can find your business when they need it is a key component in running a successful business.

Wondering how using good SEO to attract organic and paid traffic fits into your business strategy? Learn more about both kinds of activity.

Find Advice From an SEO Expert

A comprehensive, reputable SEO service provider can deliver the results your organization needs. In today’s world of sophisticated, opaque and ever-evolving SEO algorithms, there’s no quick-fix or low-effort way to achieve SERP placements. Rather, this level of success comes from the careful planning and attention of subject matter experts.

Writing well-informed content, tuning up the technical performance of your website, generating domain authority through off-page efforts. All these tactics and more can boost your profile and help you stand out in your field.

As market conditions shift, algorithms change and the makeup of your industry adjusts, you can keep turning to reliable SEO partners to come up with new strategies that will guide you through. An SEO effort is a long-term commitment — one that can keep paying off for years to come.