What Does an SEO Agency Do? A Lot, Actually.
A lot of business owners don’t understand what goes on at an SEO agency, meaning as far as they know, I (and the rest of my team) juggle hats all day.
First, let’s clarify what SEO even is. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of increasing a web page’s search rankings in order to increase online visibility.
What goes into white-hat SEO? Well, there are more than 200 factors that go into what makes a page rank high on the search results page, but the ones that matter the most (and the ones white-hat firma SEO revolves around) are:
- Whether or not your website is secure (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
- Whether or not your website is mobile-friendly
- How fast web pages load on your site
- Whether a web page has the correct schema markup (type of website code)
- The quality of your web pages’ content
- The length of your web pages’ content
- Presence of social signals that point back to your website
- Presence of quality backlinks that point back to your website
- Whether or not you have optimized images on your web pages
- The search intent of the user
How we influence the factors mentioned above are with a few key SEO services and targeted strategies. A good SEO company (like ours, for example) should typically include the following in their SEO contract:
- Website structure analysis
- Website content analysis, including conversion rate analysis
- Off-page online analysis
- Optimization of website code and structure
- Optimization of onsite content
- Optimization of off-page factors
WEBSITE STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
While Google and the other major search engines (who don’t really deserve mention, though I know Bing is trying really hard) stress that they want you to design your sites for users rather than search engines, let’s face it – it needs to be structured properly for the engines to read if you ever want to get those users. Things our web team looks for include:
- HTTP or HTTPS – The “s” at the end of HTTPS means your website is secure. You need a secured site even if you don’t take credit card payments online because Google gives secure websites preference in the search results.
- Analytics setup – We look for existing analytics tracking, and if there is none, we install it so we can better track where your leads and sales are coming from. This helps provide the most meaningful results for you.
- Robots.txt – This is the file that is used to prevent search engine crawlers from crawling and indexing pages on your website that you want hidden from public view.
- Site errors – These send signals to search engines that your site is not trustworthy and thus not worthy of being a premium listing spot. Common errors include 4XX errors, duplicate page content, duplicate title tags, missing title tags, and crawlers blocked by Robots.txt.
- Indexed status – Indexed pages have been found by search crawlers (like the spiders for Google) and deemed to have enough quality for relevant search phrases. Indexed pages will show up in search results and can drive organic traffic to your site.
- Sitemap – Your XML sitemap is a list of all the pages on a website that you want a search engine to index (not to be confused with the robots.txt which tells a search engine which pages not to index).
- Page speed – User experience is important for search engines – they know that users are impatient. This is why site speed if a factor in how well your website ranks.
- Meta elements – Duplicate title tags, meta descriptions, and site content can all negatively impact your site’s search engine rankings and click-through rate. Ensuring your meta elements are optimized will better your chances of being found on the SERPs.
- Conversion rates – we look for bottlenecks in the user experience and content that might be throttling leads. For example, we will A:B test different contact forms or links to find out which ones work the best for your company.
This is where I and the rest of the SEO team come in. By checking out the content you already have on your site, we can diagnose a number of issues related to:
- Voice search compatibility
- Poorly targeted keywords
- Poorly ranking content
- Duplicate content issues
- Missing pages
- Name-address-phone number inconsistencies (for local SEO)
- And more
Ultimately, your website content is the most important thing you can have—it’s what will attract visitors and convert them to leads. So once we get an idea of the content you already have, it will help us decide how to structure our plans for your website moving forward.
We also perform a keyword analysis to find the best opportunities to rank higher and connect with more customers.
Much of your SEO success takes place off your website, on review sites, industry blogs, online directories, and more. The good part about that is that if you’re really popular online or have lots of stellar reviews from past customers, it’s easy to rank really well for your treasured keywords. The bad part of that is most small companies aren’t that popular and many may have more negative reviews than positive, no matter how good their services are.
OPTIMIZING CODE AND SITE STRUCTURE:
Sometimes your site code and structure is in a good place and only needs a few minor tweaks. (Let’s be real—there’s ALWAYS something else you can be doing to outperform your local competitors.) When the SEO team at Blue Corona optimizes your site code and structure, you can rest assured knowing you have experts handling the job. But more importantly, we will:
- Structure your site’s navigation so it’s easy for people to find exactly what they want
- Clean up the code in your site so it runs faster
- Eliminate errors Google picks up when it crawls
- Add an XML sitemap so Google’s crawler can quickly visit the different pages
- Add internal links to pages within your site so users can flow to the places you want them to go
How Do I Find the Best SEO Company for My Needs?
Good question. An SEO partnership is long-term, so you need to be sure of who you’re picking. Remember those black-hat techniques I mentioned at the top of this article? You’re going to want to avoid those.
Not all SEO companies or content marketing firms live up to their promises of more traffic, better rankings (Note: rankings aren’t the real measure of success), and more leads. Avoid any SEO company that promises anything like the following:
- Overnight rankings
- Doubled traffic
- Instant leads
- Search engine submissions
- X amount of backlinks