What Is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization primarily involves page ranking. This much has become common knowledge by now. In other words, SEO helps achieve your business greater visibility in the online world by improving the ranking of your page/website across different search engines.
An SEO expert or SEO agency will employ a host of different strategies to help improve the ranking of your business. These strategies can be roughly divided into two broad categories, namely ON-PAGE OPTIMIZATION and OFF-PAGE OPTIMIZATION. The first normally works with elements such as metadata, keywords, keywords placement, HTML tags, header tags, URL string and various other on-page or on-site details—all with a view to drive more traffic to your website. Off-Page Optimization, on the other hand, deals with things such as social bookmarking, social media marketing, link building, etc. The latter chiefly aim at building reputation and authority for your website/business across the online media since these factors have come to play a crucial role in page ranking in the recent years.
So, proper SEO strategies translate into greater visibility for your business and this can go a long way in boosting your sales.
However, is it all that SEO does?
Classically, yes, the role of SEO is to boost your page ranking. Over time, however, the scope of SEO has broadened to a great extent; and what we today call SEO services in general have come to embrace a lot of other things besides improving page rank in search engines.
SEO Firms of Today
So, for example, a SEO firm of today will offer you a variety of services that include one-time SEO audit, ongoing SEO, PPC management, content and social media marketing, reputation management, web design and more. Accordingly, you can opt for one or more of these services from the SEO agency you hire for your business. Some large and well-equipped SEO firms are able to take care of all your marketing requirements and if that appears convenient for you, you can hire a SEO firm to do an all-round job for you on a long time basis. Alternatively, you may opt for specific services that will help you realize specific goals within a given timeline.
What to Look for When You Choose an SEO Agency?
First of all, you must be well aware of your own targets before you hire one or another SEO agency. For example, what is your present goal? Are you looking for a sales growth of 20% or more in the period of next 12-18 months? Or do you want to see a 60-70% increase in leads over the period of next one or two quarters?
Having your goals clearly in mind is important when choosing an SEO agency and their services. Now, as for choosing the right agency, of course you ask for formal case studies, a portfolio and a primary consultation (often offered free by the agencies). It is always helpful for your purpose if the agency you are hiring has good experience in working with companies related to your industry.
That said, one must also keep in mind that we are living in a fast-changing technological landscape where numerous new business opportunities are getting created virtually each passing day. In such a scenario, it is not always realistic to expect from an SEO firm to already have enough experience working in your particular niche. If such is the case, it always helps if you let the SEO firm talk. In other words, let them relate to you their own experiences from the past. For example, what exactly did they do the last time they found themselves in a tight corner? What steps they took to get out of the rut? In addition to the consultation offered, these stories will often help you gauge the efficiency of a particular SEO firm and you will be accordingly able to decide if they are the right candidate for your job.