One of the challenges of working with a search engine optimization agency is knowing what it should be responsible for. Depending on the scope of the contract, an agency should provide these 11 core services.
11 Tasks of an SEO Agency
Have an SEO point of view. Unless you have purposely scoped your agency’s contract more narrowly, you should expect the agency to have an SEO point of view on any question you ask or any task you’ve been charged with. The personnel may need time to formulate a written response if it’s a complex issue, but they shouldn’t balk at the ask. In addition, you shouldn’t have to wait for a standing meeting to have a quick chat or get short answers.
Alert you to SEO news. When an algorithm update occurs, your SEO agency should tell you. When a new search result feature is released that you can take advantage of, your SEO agency should tell you. When voice search becomes viable … you get the idea.
When a new search result feature is released that you can take advantage of, your SEO agency should tell you.
Be your emergency responder. An SEO agency should be an extension of your business. If you’re forced to put everything on hold in crisis, your agency should do the same — with a reprioritization of deadlines for existing assignments.
Research keyword themes. SEO revolves in part around contextual relevance. But relevance to what? Keyword research determines the themes that your content needs to signal relevance to search engines. This research will also inform multiple SEO issues, such as your company’s content strategy, action item prioritization, and risk assessments.
Define SEO goals and strategy. It’s hard to know what’s realistic when setting growth goals. Your agency should have a methodology for helping you set strong and reasonable targets. Based on those goals, the state of the site, planned improvements, and natural search performance, the agency should be able to develop a strategy for the next year.
Recommend a content strategy. Content strategy plays a big role in your natural search performance. Your SEO agency may not be responsible for producing your site’s content, but it should have strong views on strategy. Agency personnel should generate new content ideas based on the behavior of natural search visitors, search trends, and your site’s architecture. The agency should also have opinions on how that content is designed and developed, to ensure that it provides the most possible benefit to natural search performance.
Report on performance. No matter how closely you’ve been working with your agency, it should report monthly what has been recommended and implemented, the impact of the recommendation, and the plans for the next month. This provides a good deliverable for your management to show progress and also provides an important timeline of activities.
Monitor webmaster tools. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools offer a wealth of information about your site — including errors, crawl statistics, impressions, traffic, and rankings. An agency should monitor all of these regularly. When a message is sent from one of the engines through webmaster tools, your agency should investigate it and report the findings to you.
Audit your site regularly. Sites change. Search engines change. Your agency should audit your site quarterly to evaluate its changes and address the negative ones. It should use the audit to form a roadmap of activities and deliverables that will advance your SEO program.
Sites change. Search engines change. Your agency should audit your site quarterly …
Identify technical issues. An SEO agency should uncover and solve technical issues that impact crawling, indexing, relevance, and authority. Once it finds the problem, the agency should communicate it clearly along with the solution. You shouldn’t expect your SEO professionals to know exactly how to fix coding or technical issues — that’s what developers do — but they do need to work with developers to direct the desired outcome. They should test the fix before and after launch.
Optimize individual pages. Finally, your SEO agency should optimize your content. This is the last of 11 items on my list because it’s the least scalable approach to SEO, which means it will likely have less overall benefit to an ecommerce site. When manually optimizing, your agency should target pages that have the highest potential for revenue gains. However, rather than focus on individual pages, it would be more effective to develop scalable content such as programmatically optimizing title tags. Thus your SEO agency should recommend automation first for faster results.