A very good question and one that no doubt comes with a variety of different answers depending on which SEO company you speak to. Some will play on any lack of technical knowledge and simply supply you with an extra large serving of nicely fluffed spiel, while others will drone on about nothing but rankings for certain keywords. If you’ve ever spoken to or dealt with an SEO company before (that is poor-average) then I bet you still don’t know what they actually do, am I right?
What I want you to gain from this post is a firm understanding of what an SEO company SHOULD be doing for you, so when you next have to meet with or deal with one, you know what you should be expecting in terms of their work and the level of service you should expect to receive.
So without further ado, let the master class commence!
The First Thing Any Good SEO Company Should Do
“Talk To You . . About You And Your Needs NOT About Themselves”
Before any talk of their services and what they offer or price or keywords or how good they are and what they can do for your company, they should first take a minute to shut their mouths and listen to what YOU have to say and what your business actually needs from a digital marketing campaign.
“You might need more sales of a specific product, more leads, more exposure for your brand, specific location targeting . .”
. . whatever . . the point is they can’t know this without having a consultation with you to talk about you . . not them! An analysis of your existing website should be done as standard!
Only after talking to you about what you want are they in a position to go away and put together a digital marketing plan which they can then talk through with you and iron out any creases before agreeing to start work. To put the plan together they MUST carry out research. Research of your audience, the keywords, the competition and any other necessary areas. Be very careful of any SEO company that does not follow that initial format.
What SEO Companies Should Do After You Sign On The Dotted Line
“Personally I think SEO companies (well, good ones anyway) aren’t really “SEO” companies anymore”
They are digital marketing companies because SEO nowadays has merged with social, with video, with building an audience and many other variables. For a diagram of most of the variables to a campaign see this post about internet marketing strategies (opens in new tab).
No doubt your website (if you have one) will need some amendments and tweaking to correctly optimise it in order for the campaign to run to its full potential. If you do not have a website then one will need to be built. This is what’s known as the “setup phase”. The main things an SEO company should be doing is as follows:
Web design and build – the design for the new site (or the changes to the existing site) will be created along with all the required graphics. You should be consulted at each stage of this to confirm that you are happy or if you want anything changing. The SEO strategist will plan out the structure of the site based on the campaign objectives and research performed at the proposal stage. They will schedule all the content to be created for both new and existing pages and will go through the site and adjust/create the right optimisation for each individual page (or at least the ones relevant to the campaign if it’s say an ecommerce site with 10000 pages for example).
This will involve things like titles, descriptions and headers that are correctly optimised for both search engines and visitors alike. The other thing that the SEO strategist will instruct is correct calls to action across the site in the right places. This is essential in converting the visitors into leads or customers. There needs to be a clear goal that you want the visitor to take on each page. If you requested any apps or a specialist version of your website for mobile browsers then this will also be implemented at this stage – see how many SEO companies mention apps or mobile versions of your site!
Regular Onsite SEO – This will be on an ongoing basis because if you stop . . your competitors won’t! So what does an SEO company’s work entail each month? This can vary but a broad overview would be looking at the campaign and creating/designing a content strategy for the month. This is where new content, images, infographics, videos or whatever is needed for the campaign, is created and published on the site. This should often be in line with current trends and industry news so that hot topics are covered which should maximise audience engagement. The onsite posts also need to be in line with the keyword research, the site structure as set out in the setup phase and the objectives of the campaign as oppose to simply random posts.
Regular Offsite SEO – I think every man, woman, child, dog and gerbil know that link building forms a part of SEO but nowadays this MUST be done the right way otherwise it could potentially harm your site. Well to be honest all of it can harm your site if you are unlucky enough to hire a bad SEO company (of which there are several – we come across some shocking examples of work on a regular basis). Link building should be regular and natural from high quality and relevant sources only with lots of variation.
Social Media – I can’t remember a day when I didn’t check my Facebook! That’s bad that isn’t it! But most people are the same which is why social media is such an integral part of modern day digital marketing. Social signals also form part of search engine ranking factors now which is another reason why it’s needed as part of an SEO/Digital marketing campaign. People also have come to “expect” your business to have social media accounts and it adds to trust. The SEO company should be at least giving you a presence on the main social sites. By that I mean they should be sharing the content that they create (in the regular onsite SEO) across these networks. Depending on your digital marketing package, they might also be actively engaging with your audience via these sites and creating viral content to further grow your audience.
PPC – You may or may not choose to include paid traffic but if you do then what the SEO company should actually do, is design and setup the PPC campaign whether that be in google adwords, bing, Facebook, mobile, youtube – see how many SEO companies mention mobile or youtube to you! 😉 – or whatever platform you decide on. This will involve keyword research and selection, campaign and ad group selection as well budget control. The campaign will need to be monitored on a regular basis and tweaked continuously for optimum performance. This is what the SEO company should be doing regularly to ensure the campaign runs as efficiently and profitably as possible.
Email Marketing – If you agree on this option then the digital marketing company will set up the opt in (subscribe box) with relevant call to action and “hook” along with any squeeze pages (pages designed to get people to opt in to your mailing list) on your site and any autoresponder sequence (automatic emails sent on a schedule whenever anyone signs up). They will then send regular emails to your list of subscribers which could include updates, single promotions, helpful information or a sales funnel – usually a combination of all of these.
Affiliate Program – If it applies to your product or service and if it is something that you agree upon, then the digital marketing company will setup an affiliate program where affiliates are paid only when a visitor that they send to you converts into a sale or lead. This will be monitored and managed on an ongoing basis.
Reporting – The SEO company should produce a monthly report to talk through with you which will highlight whatever was agreed. This could be traffic, conversions, visitor engagement, visitor demographics, top keywords and pages and even forensic analysis (such as what companies visited your site if you are B2B or a heatmap analysis of your site pages). This is where any action points for moving forward can be agreed so you know exactly what work an SEO company should be doing for you each and every month.
Analysis – The SEO company should always be analysing the available data for your website. By doing this they will be able to see what is working and what isn’t as well as highlight hot keyword clusters, topics that the visitors find engaging, best converting elements and much more. This data should all be used to refine and grow the campaign for optimum performance.
“And There Was You Thinking That SEO Companies Don’t Really Do Much!”
Well let’s be honest, some SEO companies won’t do that much but the good ones will do all the above and more and tailor the campaigns to the needs of your business, both initially and on an ongoing basis . . as oppose to an “out of the box” solution.
If we sound like a good, honest digital marketing company that you want to talk to about your digital marketing plans, your concerns or have your questions answered by us then ring UPSearch HQ on 0161 236 7161 or use the contact form below.