What does an SEO agency do?
Of all the business services available, the role of an SEO or digital marketing agency is probably one of the more difficult to define.
You know what your accountant does, and you’re probably well aware of what your cleaning contractors do, but what does that SEO agency do? What is the secret sauce that means your website begins to get found in Google, or, as many people have found, doesn’t?
For many years, SEO as a skill was shrouded in mystery, but it really doesn’t have to be because the essence of SEO is quite simple, and regardless of what you may have heard, it’s not some dark art known only to a few.
Defining SEO and related services
The first thing to do is to define what SEO is in relation to other actions your marketing company might be engaged in on your behalf and help you meet your business goals.
Your aim as a business selling a product or service is to get them in front of customers who want to buy, and there are many ways of doing that, and many ways of getting people to part with their cash.
Digital marketing is just one of the ways you can do it, and even then, there are many methods you can use in order to reach your target audience.
Your web presence is affected by so many different factors that it’s impossible to cover everything, but here’s a summary of the types of things we do here at Calloway Green.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
It’s a misnomer because we don’t optimise search engines at all, but what we do is make it so that your website has the best chance possible of being found for keywords that will lead to people buying your stuff.
“Organic SEO” is the process of getting your site found in Google standard, non-paid for part of the search results.
Your site is unique, but there are certain aspects of it that will either be of benefit or detriment to Google’s index.
For example, Google will tend to prefer sites that are faster and more secure over ones that are not.
Also, there are certain ways in which the text, images, videos and other items can be optimised to get the most out of Google and, if you like, “please it” so that it will favour your site above the competition.
What we do
There’s a lot to do here because this is an ever-changing area of SEO that we need to keep on top of.
- We analyse your competition constantly, checking their ranking, analysing their content and looking to see if anything they’ve done has had a positive or negative effect.
- We keep a constant check on Google’s updates, sometimes they change the way they do things, update their terms and conditions, make algorithm changes etc. If we notice something that affects you, we will adjust what we do.
- Website technical site audits are run daily on your site and they’re looking for errors, server issues, network problems, things like that. Because we’ll have already looked at your site when we started, it’s unlikely there will be any major issues, and temporary problems such as server downtime won’t cause Google problems and is unlikely to affect search results, but if there are persistent errors, we want to catch them.
- Ongoing keyword research is also important. Target keyword usage changes based on trends, social media, conversion rate changes etc. so we want to stay on top of it.
- We also constantly analyse site structure, looking for ways we can optimise it to make it easier for the search engines to “crawl” and improve your site rank in the search results. This could mean changes to title tags, site speed, updating existing content or or in some cases changing overall web design to better support customers.
In conjunction with your writers, or just using ours, we’ll create content based on the keywords we want to get your website found for.
Defining your content strategy is important, as it guides us and you to help discover the type of content we need in order to better rank for your targeted keywords.
It involves keywords analysis, a content creation calendar and all of this has to be aligned to your website structure and marketing strategy.
Content marketing is arguably the most important aspect of your SEO campaign, as Google favours sites that have great content that people enjoy reading.
But it’s not just about the content, it’s also about how it links to other parts of your site, how long it keeps people viewing and how it relates to other articles.
We need to take into account title tags, the target keyword for each article, how it might attract inbound links and what happens when it receives site traffic.
Again, we’re analysing what your competition is doing and looking to beat them at every turn.
Guest post outreach
This is the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of an SEO agency’s work.
It’s no longer a fact that backlinks are the most important factor in organic SEO, but they still help, and sometimes they can help a lot.
Many companies talk a lot about link building, but we honestly don’t think it’s something that should be focussed on, as it could end up harming you rather than benefiting.
We email hundreds of bloggers over the year and ask them if we can write for their site, or if they can write something and include a link to our sites. It can be useful for them, too, because they’ll be wanting to promote their site through content marketing, much the way we are. Site content is important for everyone.
However, many of them then ask for money – which we don’t get involved with.
Google is pretty clear that paying directly for links in any way is against their terms and conditions, and while some agencies will build you hundreds of links to make themselves look good, it’s not necessary and may end up in your receiving a penalty.
This means we only get a few links a year for most of our customers, but you know what, that’s fine.
We’ve ranked websites in the top ten for really difficult keywords when we’ve only got three links.
Because the links bring traffic, and the content aspect of our SEO work has been good, so Google understands it’s the best site.
What’s more, you build links naturally through other methods.
One link on a good site could attract a lot of visitors who will link to it themselves; it’s like a flywheel effect.
If you want almost instant traffic, then Google Ads is the way to go.
We can manage your campaigns to optimise them to ensure you’re getting the best clicks for your money, but also discovering more keywords, finding the best converting adverts, A/B testing, and many other technical and analytical geeky things to make sure you make money.
Our tools use millions of pounds worth of data to constantly adjust, measure and track you, your competition and trends.
Conversion rate optimisation
This is the real geeky stuff.
We use a combination of tools to better understand your website and how people use it in the real world.
From heatmaps to mouse click tracks, through the use of pop-ups and calls-to-action, we’re looking to extract every last conversion possible out of every user who visits your site.
Sometimes a small change to the timing of a pop-up can have a huge effect on whether people will buy from you.
We can also go deeper.
If you sell products from a catalogue, we can show your customers related products that they’re most likely to buy in addition to what they’ve got in their shopping cart based on what others are buying, and on past behaviour.
It’s all very technical and based on constantly updating behaviour metrics, user experience scores and real-time data.
So, that’s what an agency does!
That’s just a summary of what digital marketing involves.
Each one of the items above goes into a lot more detail when we’re doing it, and there are many nuances involved in each customer as every marketplace has a different target audience.
However, regardless of platform, whether it’s Google, social media, ads or anything else, the basics are the same. Boost your online presence, improve user experience and get found in the search results.
Google Analytics won’t tell you where you’re going wrong, but it will give an experienced eye the information they need to improve your search engine results.
Facebook insights is good, but it won’t tell you how to improve your site content or online visibility.