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What your SEO Agency should be doing for your business

December 12 2017

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What a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Agency should be doing for your business

Selecting an agency to provide SEO services can be a minefield, there are many agencies that will promise great results, however quick wins can actually provide more damaging returns in the long term.

Ethical search engine optimisation can be process driven, but the agency will also need to understand your business, what is valuable to your business and also profitable. Documenting these understandings protect both the agency and the client and ensures that both parties are working towards the same objective.

An SEO Strategy

The first aspect of what an SEO agency should be doing for your business is recommending and agreeing what the strategy of the business is to be. This may sound very basic, but without this there will be nothing to measure the success of the campaign. This could include target terms, agreed goals – which could be newsletter sign ups, sales or even just an increased number of page views – but without this understanding, how can any agency plan to execute this strategy?

Targeting terms

All traffic to a website can be beneficial, some more than others. Selecting what traffic as part of the strategy is key to the success and timeframes of a campaign. There could be many terms that the website is already ranking for on the second page of Google, if these are valuable to the business, it may be worth targeting these – or at least been aware of them prior to any changes.

Some terms may bring high volume traffic to a website, but have a very poor conversion rate based on the objectives set out. Other terms, terms such as “Research terms” may be good for brand awareness, but as the user is only researching, the chance of purchase at this stage is low. “Buying terms” or detailed terms can be a great deal more valuable – and often easier to achieve.

Site Performance

If Google is to maintain its position as the dominant search engine, it needs to continue to maintain its high level of service – returning sites that match the search requirements and provides the user with the information, product or services required. This is a factor which needs to be considered when looking at the content, not just for your site – but each individual page. Another factor in this is how the site performs – users do not want to land on a site only to have to wait for 30 seconds for the content to load. Or if a site is not secure, this creates risks to users – these websites are generally not ranked well within Google search results.

We’ve recently seen the launch of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – an Open source project to allow content to be created on fast loading pages. If on a mobile device (where Internet may not be as quick as the office) you search for latest news, you will notice that the majority of the search results are AMP pages. This Google backed initiative backs up the understanding that quick, efficient provided content are favoured over the lesser performing pages. We previously saw this with mobile friendly or responsive pages, pages designed to be easily read, viewed and navigated on mobile screens.

On Page SEO / Off Page SEO

On page or on site SEO relates to all of the elements on the site which are factors within Google’s algorithm to determine where sites are ranked. These are also factors which a webmaster should be in control of and easily monitor with tools such as Google Webmaster and SEM Rush. This could include broken redirects, duplicate tags, meta titles and descriptions and broken links, all of this management should be process driven with weekly checks and alerts in place. Less process driven is the structure of the website, which pages should be given greater authority and which less, what you want users to do on your site and what pages you don’t want google to even view.

Off page or off site SEO is the factors you are less in control off, these are elements which the likes of Google can pick up on other sites online that relate to your site. This could be malicious content or a reputation management issue, it could also be links from other sites to yours which can actually do you harm. Many links from bad reputation sites or link farms could be an indication of previous unethical SEO work, worst case scenario your site could be blacklisted by Google. Google Webmaster has a disavow tool which allows you to disassociate yourself with toxic links.

User Experience – an indicator of value – Conversion Rate Optimisation

Bringing traffic to a website is not the complete role of an SEO agency, we see it as half the job. Once traffic is on a site it needs to convert those visitors, or at least a % of those visitors into customers, so that you will comfortably achieve your goals and meet your targets. Understanding what a user does or fails to do on your website can provide you with clarity of why your site is not delivering the results you would desire.

Again in a Digital age there are many tools available for agencies now to easily discover where you may be falling down – recording users and the path they take can provide great insights – you may even discover different devices provide different results. Actually seeing this happen can create a list of quick changes that generate strong results. Increasing a conversion rate from 3% to 5% can be achieved quickly and efficiently – the value of this can be far more rewarding than even doubling the traffic to your website. Google Analytics, video recording with mouse tracking are great tools for this, we also have access to predictive software – different to recording where users are already on your site, this software tells you what users will see even before the site is live – and it is very accurate!

Measure, Improve – Repeat

SEO is not a quick fix and is a continual process. If you do not see value in what is being provided, you won’t continue. With our clients we constantly look for opportunities, improve users’ experience when visiting the site and track results with unquestionable data.