The digital marketing industry has a reputation for being fast-paced and changing rapidly. This holds true for topics such as Google algorithms, digital media, and technology, social media platforms, etc. However, when we tell a customer that we recommend SEO, the same questions are normally posed: “What is an SEO Company?“, “What does an SEO company do?” and “Why do I need SEO Services?”
SEO is a necessity for any sort of digital marketing strategy to be able to compete in any industry. In this post, you’ll learn what an SEO company, like Digital Logic, does.
SEO Agency: What Does an SEO Company Do?
What is an SEO Company?
Most business owners don’t have a clue as to what actually happens at an SEO agency. To understand what we do, you must first understand what SEO actually is:
What is SEO?
SEO is short for search engine optimization. This is the process of increasing a website’s organic traffic by increasing its search rankings, thus increasing overall online visibility.
SEO is the process of creating, editing, and reworking unique searchable content and coding that ranks well on search engines. This allows a company’s website to rank higher on the search engine results pages. Furthermore, in order for a website to rank on Google, the website must also be secure, fast, crawlable, and just as friendly on mobile as it is on a desktop. SEO also includes the process of gaining references from other major websites. This process is called backlinking.
Digital marketing agencies use a host of marketing techniques in order for their websites to earn and own media.
Why is SEO Important?
Why is SEO so important?
Well, 93% of overall online experiences begin with a search engine. And, 97% of consumers go to the internet to find local services.
So, if you aren’t showing up when searched for, you’re losing business, by the minute. No matter what type of business you run or own, SEO must be part of your overall online marketing strategy.
An important side note to keep in mind at all times: SEO services will always boost your bottom line, over time.
Black Hat vs White Hat SEO Agencies
Two types of SEO techniques exist white-hat SEO and black-hat SEO. There are many SEO companies in the US that offer black-hat services under the guise of being legitimate marketers.
You can probably guess which is good and which is bad. However, you’re here to learn, so let us take the guesswork out of the equation for you.
White-hat SEO gains traffic organically, based on time and effort, data, and keyword research..just by hard work, in general. Black-hat SEO can also get you to the top of the SERP (search engine results page), but you won’t stay there for long. These tactics usually lead to tarnishing your overall online presence in the end.
After all, how long do you really think you can get away with fooling Google. This is essentially what black-hat SEO is.
With white-hat SEO, your traffic will grow slowly, at first, but over time, your results will start to compound on themselves. The same cannot be said for black-hat SEO.
For you finance people out there: think of investments.
The exponential factor in any given financial equation is typically the time. It is the one constant, we all know, that has the ability to exponentially grow your money. On the flip side, can you take your paycheck down to the casinos and come out a millionaire? Of course, you can, and if you do, great! Does this mean it will happen again? No. Does this mean it will happen over and over? Absolutely not. Is it a smart choice? We’ll leave that up to you. So in short, yes, black-hat SEO can, in theory, get you to the top of the SERP (search engine results page), but will it get you there over and over, especially over time, absolutely not.
White-Hat SEO Tactics
There are hundreds of factors for why a website ranks the way it does, but these are the ones we have found to matter the most, and also, what white-hate SEO is comprised of:
- Website Security
- Mobile-Friendly Website
- Website Load Time
- Schema Markup
- Website Content Value
- Website Content-Length
- Social Media Pointing Back to the Site
- Quality Backlinks
- Optimized Images
- Searcher Intent
So, are we able to actually influence these factors? Absolutely, and we do, strategically.
Services Provided by SEO Companies
In order to influence the factors stated above, an SEO company should typically offer these in their monthly SEO contracts:
- SEO Competitor Analysis
- Website Structure Analysis
- Off-page Analysis
- Website Content Analysis
- Conversion Analysis
- Website Coding
- Optimization of Onsite Content
- Optimization of Factors Off-Page
Website Structure Analysis
We’ve all heard the Google spiel, “Don’t tailor your sites for Google, tailor your sites for your audience…” However, if you ever want to get to your audience, your website has to be structured in a way that the search engine can read it and read it easily.
Preference will always be given to sites that are more easily readable by crawlers.
- HTTP vs HTTPS– You probably haven’t thought twice about what the difference between the two of these is. The “s” at the end of this term simply means secure. You’ll need to have a secure website if you want to do any sort of e-commerce, and on top of that, Google gives preference to sites that are secured.
- Analytics Setup– If there is any existing analytics tracking setup, we look at them and determine what needs to be fixed. If there is not any existing analytics tracking setup, we employ them so that we are better able to track where your traffic is coming from. Analytics tracking will show you exactly how your money is being returned.
- Site Errors– Website errors send signals to the search engines that basically, your site is broken and not to be trusted. Ever clicked on something and a page pops up that says, “404 ERROR”? One or two of these will easily keep you from landing on the first page of the search engine results page. The same can be said for: duplicate content, duplicate titles, missing titles, or random instances where crawlers are blocked.
- Indexes– Index pages have already been found by crawlers and noted to have enough quality information for said pages to appear on SERPs. These are the pages that drive organic traffic to your website.
- Sitemap– Your website sitemap is a comprehensive list of pages on your website that you want the website crawlers to index.
- Page Speed– UX (or user experience) is important for search engine crawlers, as well. Google knows that it’s viewers are impatient. This is why the website speed is a factor for how your site is ranked. Most people click the “back button” after 3 seconds if the page hasn’t loaded already.
- Metadata– Duplicating tags, descriptions, or content can all bring your website down when it comes to SEO.
- Conversion Rates– SEO companies know how to test different calls to actions, different ads, words, you name it, to see which performs better for your site, with your target audience in mind. It’s a tedious process, but it’s one of the things that makes us, well us: defining goals and refining results.
If you already have content on your website, a good SEO agency will pick through the details and diagnose a number of missed opportunities in relation to:
- Voice Search Compatibility– Did you know that your website could also be optimized to be an answer for all of the “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google” questions out there? More than 41% of adults conduct a voice search daily, so this is definitely a trend your website should be leaning towards.
- Not so Targeted Keywords– The way you will search for your company is normally not the way a customer would search for your company, especially if you’ve been in the field for a while. We know how to find the best keywords for your industry.
- Poorly Ranking Content– This is typically one of those situations where an in-house marketer or business owner has attempted to DIY some SEO. Yes, it’s very obvious to us when this has happened within a company. Even though you feel like a specific piece of content is relevant, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, even we find the keyword results from research a little shocking!
- Duplicate Tags or Content– As we mentioned before, your metadata can definitely negatively affect your ranking with Google.
- Missing Pages– Or 4xx errors, as mentioned above.
- Location Inconsistencies- This is more specific to local businesses and location-based SEO. However, any inconsistency will be spotted by Google and as you probably guessed, will negatively affect your website’s credibility. For more information on Localized Targeting, look at our post on Geofencing and Geotargeting.
So, as you can see, your website content is absolutely one of the most important aspects of your website. SEO agencies know how to look at your prior content and help you structure a plan to move forward in the future.
A simple keyword analysis will help you find easy-to-fix opportunities in order to rank higher, faster, and ultimately get more conversions.
Although your website should always be considered your home base, a lot of your SEO “make or break” takes place off of your website.
Your name will come up on other pages, such as review sites, other blogger sites, social media, directories, and more. The good news is, if you already have a ton of good reviews out there and people already love you, you will find it fairly easy to rank.
The bad news is if you’ve let the negative reviews go unanswered, or if you don’t know what kind of reviews you have, there could be an issue. This will be a hurdle that an SEO company will help you maneuver around, repositioning your company so that it is in the ideal place for success.
The goal is to have a reputable company with a reputable online presence that your audience can trust.
Any good SEO agency will use the following to help you get there:
- Organic Traffic Increases
- Location Based Content
- Titles and Metadata with Unique Specifications
- NAP Consistency
- Authentic Reviews
- Updated and Reputable Directory Listings
- A Mobile-Friendly Website
- Website with Authority
These things can and will make a difference in your overall web presence.
Optimizing Code and Website Structure
Sometimes your website’s code and the way it’s set up is already set up well and may only need a few changes. However, we feel there is always something you can change to outperform competitors.
At Digital Logic we:
- Restructure your website’s navigation so it’s easier for your audience to find what they want
- Look into and clean up your coding so that your website is able to run faster
- Eliminate and maintain errors found my Google search crawlers
- Add or refine an XML sitemap so that Google’s crawler can run the website and individual pages more quickly
- Add internal links within your sites so that users can flow through your website anyways
Optimizing On-Page Content
How many times and in how many ways have we said, Content is King? When it comes to maintaining your website, it isn’t something that you can fix and forget. In order to continue to drive organic traffic to your website, you need to constantly baby your website: constantly create new content and constantly optimize the existing pages on your website. For this Digital Logic will:
- Reuse or remove duplicated content
- Ensure your titles and metadata includes your keywords
- Add well-written, content with the correct keyword terms in the correct places
- Create or optimize new landing pages to draw in new visitors
- Add images and format images to be more easily search
Optimizing Off-Page Factors
Your off-site presence is just as important as your on-site presence. For this Digital Logic will:
- Use local SEO to improve your presence when searched for locally
- Claim or update your online directory listings to make sure your information stays relevant and up to date
- Continually seek out newer, more or equally valuable directories to add
- Make sure your offerings match your online presence, for example, if you start a new service, your online presence shows that
- Find noncompetitive partner sites to trade blog information for more links
Search engine optimization is more than “fixing” your website and then letting it go. What is the use of making the changes, but having no idea why you’re making these changes? At Digital Logic, we analyze, we track, we test, over and over again. This process allows us to:
- Watch and analyze rankings, organic and paid traffic, as well as conversions
- Use the data gathered to refine and retarget
Should I Hire an SEO Company?
If any of the following apply to you, you need to hire an SEO company:
- I want to grow my business.
- I’m not sure if my website is actually helping.
- I want to be found in my market.
- I want more leads.
- I want more phone calls.
- I want more sales.
- I want to be better than my competitors.
- I want to make sure my company has a future.
- I want to show up above my competitor in the search results.
How Do I Find the Best SEO Company for My Needs?
An SEO partnership is not something we recommend hopping around on. For the best results with outsourcing SEO, you want your SEO partnership to be a long-term relationship with a top SEO company. There are SEO companies that can boost you to the top, using black-hat tactics, but like mentioned earlier, this is not a long-term solution.
Not all SEO companies or agencies will live up to their promises, long-term. You’ll want to avoid any SEO agency that makes a promise similar to any of these:
- Rankings overnight
- Doubled traffic instantly
- New leads immediately
- Search engine submissions
- X amount of backlinks in “x time period”
- ROI projections with a quick turnaround
There are, no doubt, companies that can make this happen, but this can’t be maintained long term, and Google will eventually punish your site. Think of the investment versus gambling analogy above.
Signs of Black-Hat SEO
First of all, if the SEO agency made these claims, there should be a red flag waving. Companies, like Digital Logic, refer to these companies as “churn and burn” companies.
If you feel as if you may have hired a black-hat SEO company, here are a few more things to look for:
- Money spent on a lot of random, “less than ideal” websites (you’ll know)
- Using a program that generates tons of pages of, not quality content, but garbage (read your content. Continue to ‘spot check’ your content)
- Using duplicate or scraped content from another website (ask for their client list and double check businesses in the same industry). You will absolutely be penalized for stealing another site’s content. Yes, they can be similar, but this content will not add value unless it is more original than not.
- Spammy links
To be clear, these things can work in some cases. The problem with this is, it is a constant chase game and your website won’t grow exponentially as it should with organic traffic results SEO provides. If you haven’t used black-hat, take a small word of advice, do not start. It is a process you’ll never be able to cut yourself off from. Getting a Google penalty is something that goes away easily.
Another piece of advice, don’t go into business with anyone who pushes the right to retain copyrights on either metadata or anything else they analyze for you.
If they have the legal rights, the data is technically theirs, even though it’s your website and your business, that you’re paying for. If you choose to leave, they could strip your website down, and do so, legally.
At Digital Logic, we feel like your content, even though we create it, is purchased by you, and therefore, you own it, regardless of whether you’re with us or if you choose to go elsewhere. (By the way, we have a 100% retention rate with our Legal clients.)
What to Ask an SEO Company Before Hiring Them
Similar to the process with any other major purchase, you’ll want to look at online reviews for the company. Obviously, if there are multiple negative reviews, that’s something you’ll want to look into. You’ll also want to ask for examples of case studies or proven success if the company doesn’t offer that information up front.
Here is a list of example questions you can ask:
- What exactly is in my current contract? If you have a lawyer, let them look over it. If not, look over it with careful eyes. What all is included? Are there dates?
- What does the cancellation process look like? Will you be kicked out of your website, if you choose to leave?
- How often do you communicate with your clients? Will you know where your money is being spent? Will you have access to reports?
- Will I continue to have complete access to my website and my analytics account, at all times? Will I own my website
- Are there any guarantees with this contract? A good SEO company doesn’t do this. They understand that there are too many moving parts. If the company starts giving you specific guarantees and dates, back away quickly.
- Have you done any work in the past or present like this for companies similar to mine? If they currently have clients in your industry, ask for a list. It is great to have an SEO company that specializes in your industry, however, you want to make sure they aren’t duplicating content between multiple sites.
- How do I determine the right budget? Budgets aren’t one size fits all with SEO, and any SEO company that spouts off a number without asking several questions is one to be wary of.
- What are the fees and do you offer reports that show exactly where your money is going? You’ll want to know what you’re paying for, and what portion is management fee.
An SEO Company to Grow Your Business
If you’re still trying to choose the best SEO company or best local SEO company, you’ll need to take a minute and ask yourself: How do I want to appear to my audience online? Do I want to look like a legitimate authority in my industry, or like a spammy fly-by-night site? We’re here to tell you, if your marketers are a scam, your web presence will look scammy, as well.
If you want to become the industry authority and for your website to reflect your views, then a company, like Digital Logic, is more than likely, the one for you! We specialize in both local and national-level business marketing, offer a variety of services, along with a FREE CONSULTATION.