What to expect from your SEO agency
No two SEO providers are the same and neither are the services they offer. However, there are a number of things that most will include or offer as part of the services they provide. Understanding these can help you decide which SEO provider you want to work with as well as to hold your SEO provider accountable.
The SEO industry has a bad reputation of agencies taking clients money each month, even locking them in to lengthy contracts, and failing to deliver any real results. Often clients are left confused as to what they are paying for.
Understanding what results you should expect, what you should see your SEO provider doing and understanding the different types of packages they offer will help you determine if you’re getting what you need and what you pay for.
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is about increasing your visibility online via search engine results pages. It is the process where the SEO provider makes necessary changes to your site in order for search engines to find your site easily and index it for specific keywords and search terms. This will then mean you rank higher in search results for those keywords, and so will drive traffic to your website.
Common SEO Services (What the SEO does)
Packages are often sold as a monthly cost per keyword. However, while you might be paying for keywords, there is no place where keywords are bought expect for PPC or google ads. Search engine optimisation is about generating organic search results and organic traffic. Therefore, those costs are actually calculated based on the estimated time it will take the SEO to optimise a page or website for a given amount of keywords.
What you are paying for essentially is the work that the SEO provider does for you. Generally, that is calculated on man hours (at their end) but you are charged on number of words.
The work they do will depend on what you pay and the agreed upon package. However you should always know exactly what you are paying for upfront.
Generally their work will include the following;
- Ensuring your site is coded correctly for speed, so that search engines know what they are looking at, and to prioritise what search engines index for example.
- Monitor core web vitals and provide recommendations for fixes and improvements to ensure your site is functioning correctly. This includes LCP or load speed, CLS or content layout shift (how much page moves on loading), mobile responsiveness, robot txt use, all site maps submitted correctly, and others.
- Ensure the right content and structure of written content on your web pages. This includes search terms optimised copy, H2 and H3 headings, the right percentage of keywords used (no keyword stuffing), length of text, readability etc. These are just a few.
- They may add text, update titles, add titles, recommend blog content or topics for you to post or provide content writing services to do this for you.
- Ensure that you have the best optimised media on every page and that it is titled and tagged correctly, including your search terms and keywords where relevant.
- Updating seo titles and meta descriptions
- Building internal links from pages and blog posts on your site to other, relevant pages and blog posts on your site.
- Build backlinks from other sites back to your site through backlink outreach campaigns, guest blogging, and social media shares.
- Manage backlinks including having those from “toxic” websites (websites with low domain authority that are irrelevant or spamy in nature removed.
- They might manage your google my business page, reply to reviews, add posts and update links to your site
- For local SEO they will also get you added to relevant local directories and ensure consistency of NAP – Name, Address, Phone – in your footer, google business page and directories online.
- Provide regular performance and tracking reports with recommendations.
- Manage your PPC / google ads account
Tracking Reporting on SEO Peformance
Reporting to you should include;
- What keywords they have optimised your site for and what pages they have done that on.
- How those keywords are performing for you – that is, what position you are ranking for those keywords and any change from the prior period (lost or gained).
- Backlink audit report
- Site audit – errors and warnings and recommendations to fix.
- Traffic to your site and demographics – however this isn’t really necessary in a report as you should have access to this in both wordpress and google analytics.
There is normally a set up or onboarding fee charged. This is normally where they will complete research to ensure you have the best search terms or keywords selected. It may also include things like content plans, keyword mapping (what each page could win on and changes to make), competitor analysis etc.
What to expect from your website developer
From your website developer (if separate to SEO provider), you should expect the following. That is in addition to web development and what you would normally expect I suppose;
- Security! WordPress do regular updates with security patches. Your site should always be updated with the latest instalment of wordpress at a minimum. WordPress 5.7 is slated for release on March 9, 2021. You should be at 5.6 currently.
- Your theme and plugins should be up to date also
- Updates and checks for conflicts should be happening in a staging environment. Whether you have access to that or not is really up to the developer I suppose.
- Access to google analytics set up for you
- Access to search console set up for you
- Good security plugin is vital
- Confidence that, if they are managing your hosting, your site will not go offline
- Your site should be coded correctly for speed (under 2 seconds), so that search engines know what they are looking at, and to prioritise what search engines index for example. They should be open to working with your SEO provider on this.
- Monitor core web vitals and fix problems to ensure your site is functioning correctly. This includes LCP or load speed, CLS or content layout shift (how much page moves on loading), mobile responsiveness, robot txt use, all site maps submitted correctly, and others.
- Add tracking code to track performance of campaigns (eg. Traffic from social or google ads etc) and goal completions (what people do on your site and so you can monitor conversions via analytics in order to recommend the right changes and strategy to increase conversions) – FYI conversions are where you take a visitor to a paying customer and it normally involves a few different goal completions.
You have every right to admin access for your site. However, developers may be reluctant to provide this because mistakes can be made by inexperienced website owners and editors. Respect that you can easily undo hours of hard work very easily.
What they should expect from you
There a number of things you should do as a client to assist both your developer and your seo provider. That includes things like;
- Providing complete and clear written as well as verbal briefs for any work whether it be project based or ongoing
- Compress images for them if you can. Otherwise, ensure they understand you need their help with this.
- Provide copy where you can. Otherwise ensure they know you need their help with this.
- Don’t make an unreasonable amount of changes or alterations on the fly. Know what you want and what you want to say first. Many providers will try and be nice and do a lot of changes for you without charging you at first. They may not want to sound petty or upset the relationship so wont mention to you that you are abusing their time.
Not getting what you expected from your SEO?
If you aren’t getting the results you expected from your SEO, it’s time that you looked elsewhere. However, be mindful that it does take some time to see results. Don’t expect it to happen over night but you should start to see ranking improvements in as little as a month or two.
Your lack of overnight ranking success may not be the case of a lack of performance or work. It’s best to raise your concerns with them.
It’s also good to be mindful that search engines and the digital space is continuously evolving. Google make changes to their algorithms daily. A good SEO provider will plan and strategise for the best results but it could be possible that some things were out of their control.
While you may agree on a package, your SEO provider may also need to make changes to their plans, ramping up one element and another down, as time goes on in order to deliver the best search results. If this is the case, you should be made aware of any changes and the reason why at the time.
Working with Found Online
Found Online takes a holistic approach to SEO. That is we work across all digital platforms and manage all aspects of activity online in order to get better search results faster for business in competitive markets.
Contact us to see what Found Online can do for your business on 1300 010 396 or send us an email at email@example.com