What Does an SEO Company Do, and Should I Hire One?

Posted on July 7, 2020
  • SEO companies play matchmaker between your business and your target audience
  • You should hire one if you want to make sure you’re getting found and want to turn your website into a hub of business
  • The SEO industry is riddled with grifters, hucksters and charlatans who are hawking snake oil to unwitting business owners. We offer 5 tips to keep you from getting grifted

SEO — three simple letters that open up a world of mystery.

It’s an equation of what’s on your website, what’s in your website, and who’s talking about your business online. The result determines whether or not your customers find you.

Getting found isn’t voodoo, sorcery or an exploitation of Google’s weaknesses — it’s strategy.

SEO adds a little magic to the rest of your marketing. The right SEO company will create a strategy that will draw more qualified visitors to your website and entice them to convert. Read on to learn what an SEO company does, whether you should hire one, and five things the best partners do.

team discussing marketing

What Does an SEO Company Do?

The tl;dr answer to “What does an SEO company do?” is that they help your ideal customers find you.

Your SEO company plays matchmaker between your business and your target audience. When your ideal customer looks for someone who does the one thing you’re really good at, your SEO company makes sure you’re at the front of the line.

They use several techniques that fall into three main areas. When combined, these strategies give your website Google ranking superpowers.

  • On-page SEO: If you know anything about SEO, this is probably the area you’re most familiar with. On-page SEO refers to what’s front-and-center on your website: the content. This element is where your team will look at the keywords and phrases that you’re ranking for (or should be ranking for!) and ensure you’re providing comprehensive, accurate and relevant information for your audience.

  • Technical SEO: This is the part behind the curtain. Technical SEO refers to all the stuff that lies inside the code of your website that makes it easy for search engines to crawl the site and make sure users have a good time (which is now a key factor in your Google rankings). Experts in this area act like a bridge, connecting SEO best practice with web development firepower to create search engine magic.

  • Off-page SEO: This is the most mysterious area of the equation. Off-page SEO refers to everything that happens outside the bubble of your website, most of which is out of your control. It’s a combination of who’s talking about you and who is linking to you that gives search engines an idea of how relevant and trustworthy your website is.

If your business has physical locations that service customers in a particular area, your recipe for search engine success will also include local SEO strategies. Comprising things like up-to-date listings and inclusion in local directories (on top of the other ingredients listed above), these strategies make sure you show up when people search “(what you do) near me.”

An SEO company will review your website to see where you stand at this very moment and make targeted recommendations to propel your website to the top of the Google listings.

If you’re wondering what kind of errors they might find, here are a few of the most common things we see (and fix!):

  • Site security issues: If a website doesn’t have up-to-date security credentials, search engines throw down major penalties.

  • Pages not ranking in search, or worse, the wrong pages ranking.

  • Poorly configured robots.txt: This is your website’s manifesto to the robots that crawl your website for search engines. If it’s not configured correctly, you risk key parts of your website not being seen at all.

  • URL and redirect issues: When you make changes to the pages on your website, like removing a discontinued product or updating the URL of a service page to better reflect what you do today, those old URLs need to go somewhere to properly transfer all of that SEO goodwill you’ve built up over the years.

Your SEO company puts all of these strategies in place to do three things:

  1. Make sure your ideal customers find your business
  2. Convert those visitors into hand-raisers by matching your offer to your target audience
  3. Convince those customers to buy from you

Neon sign

Should I Hire an SEO Company?

After reading about what an SEO company does, we know exactly what’s going through your mind. “All of this SEO stuff sounds exciting and full of potential,” you’re thinking — and it totally is! (Or maybe we’re just nerds.)

We’re a bit biased and believe everyone should hire an SEO company (and even better if it’s us!). But personal bias aside, we want you to make the right choice for your business and your situation.

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO company, here are three big reasons to make the investment:

  1. Your target audience isn’t finding you: There’s a number of reasons your audience doesn’t know you exist (yet). It could be because you’re not ranking for the right search terms, something’s amiss with your website’s structure, or your site loads too slowly. But whatever the cause, a good SEO company will identify the cause and propose a solution to help you meet your customers where they are.

  2. You need a boost to your marketing efforts: If your team is creating amazing content, but you’re not seeing an uptick in traffic, an SEO expert can provide targeted recommendations to amplify the reach of your content.

  3. You know your website needs work: If you’re making changes to your website, you want to make sure these changes don’t result in a mystery traffic loss or worse, a dreaded Google penalty. An SEO company will make sure your website is optimized to fit best practices.

people around a computer

5 Things the Best SEO Companies Do

As I’m sure you’ve picked up, the SEO industry is riddled with grifters, hucksters and charlatans who are hawking snake oil to unwitting business owners. But we don’t want you to get grifted. Here are a few things the best of the best do:

  1. They don’t make guarantees: This one sounds counterintuitive, but it’s legit. Anyone who promises you No. 1 rankings for any keywords is full of it. SEO best practices will make sure your site is in prime position to rank in the top slot, but at the end of the day, it’s Google’s call who gets the slot.

  2. They go beyond the rankings: Sure, your keyword rankings are important to your overall SEO. But rankings aren’t the only thing. The best SEO companies go beyond Google and take a deep look at your website, from the architecture all the way down to the 1’s and 0’s that create the code of your website.

  3. They’re laser-focused on all aspects of SEO: It’s tough to be a generalist marketer with current, in-depth knowledge of SEO. Google updates its algorithm all the time, and keeping up with what these changes mean, how they apply to your site and what to do about it can be a full-time gig.

  4. They play the long game: SEO is a long-term strategy. It can take months of planning, monitoring the data and iterating to see real results. Be very wary of anyone who promises you quick results in a short period of time.

  5. They provide strategic recommendations for other aspects of your marketing strategy: SEO isn’t a checklist of steps to follow to be No. 1 on Google. It’s the foundation on which all of your digital marketing rests. A great SEO company will offer strategic advice and recommendations that you can use to amplify the success of all your marketing efforts.

The Takeaway

SEO can be mysterious — but it doesn’t have to be.

Search engines change all the time, even when they’re not public knowledge. A good SEO company knows all the obscure signs to spot an algorithm change in the works, and be nimble enough to adapt your site.

If your target customers aren’t finding your business, your content marketing needs a boost, or your website needs work, it might make sense to hire an SEO company.

As long as you pay attention to the 5 things the best companies do, you’re likely to find a fantastic long-term partner who’s worth their weight in gold.

Want to unleash your website’s potential and see what SEO issues your website might have? Get your free website audit today. No strings attached, no bullshit — just good advice.