SEO Agency

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Business growth partly depends on hiring the right people to fulfill needed job roles. Accountants handle financial responsibilities, management roles go to employees with specific skill sets, and internet marketing experts handle digital marketing. Hiring an SEO agency may be the best option to support business growth.

What Is an SEO Agency?

An SEO agency performs search engine optimization, using on-page and off-page optimization strategies and tactics to increase a web page’s search rankings. The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to grow a company’s visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo and drive relevant traffic to its website.

You should design your website with one goal in mind ~ attracting visitors who want to learn more about your products or services. If this isn’t happening, something may be wrong with your web pages’ structure or content. SEO will help search engines and people understand your content and what your company does.

According to BrightEdge, 53% of website traffic comes from organic search, making search engines the number one source of trackable website traffic. Currently, Google is the top digital search channel, with 86% of the search engine market share. The bottom line is that to be found online, your website needs to leverage search engine optimization.

Hiring an experienced SEO agency can help.


  • Search engine optimization firm

An Ethical SEO Agency Uses White Hat SEO

There are two types of SEO in the online world: white hat and black hat.

White hat SEO uses legitimate methods based on Google’s and other search engines’ ranking factors to set up a website’s content, metadata, internal links, and schema to help it rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. These efforts have a long-term effect of allowing a website to rise in rankings and take advantage of search engine results page (SERP) features.

Black hat SEO companies, on the other hand, try to game the system to help websites rise to the top of search. However, these tactics ultimately damage a website’s presence.

What Does an SEO Agency Do?

What goes into white hat SEO? 200+ factors make a page rank high on the search results page. A legitimate SEO agency will use these factors as guidelines to help increase your search engine rankings. They will work to ensure you have the following:

 Excellent page experience

  • Correct schema markup
  • Quality backlinks pointing to your website
  • An organized internal linking structure
  • Helpful content that presents reliable information
  • Optimized images
  • Optimized metadata

They will also conduct the following analysis and optimization regularly to ensure your website is performing well in search and achieving conversion goals:

  • Keyword research and content recommendations
  • Link audits
  • Link monitoring
  • Website code and structure analysis and optimization
  • Website content analysis and optimization
  • Conversion rate analysis and optimization
  • Optimization of website code and structure
  • Optimization of off-page factors

What To Look For in an SEO Agency

It’s essential to weigh your options to ensure you’re selecting a company that you can trust to deliver the results you are looking for using ethical practices that will benefit your website long term. Let’s look at some important qualities to consider when choosing the right SEO agency for your business.

1. Good Reviews

No matter what you’re purchasing, consulting customer reviews beforehand is a must. Reviews provide firsthand experiences from others who have partnered with your prospective agencies. Consulting customer reviews can help better inform your decision and may even answer your questions about a prospective agency.

2. Realistic Offerings

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You should only look for agencies with realistic options for short-term and long-term growth. Due to Google’s ever-changing algorithm, no SEO agency can guarantee top-ranking positions. If an agency guarantees quick and high rankings, you should definitely consider another option.

3. White Hat SEO Practices

To be successful in SEO, it is crucial to do whatever you can to avoid search engine penalties. You need to be sure the SEO agency you partner with implements white hat SEO practices so your site doesn’t receive any unwanted penalties. Ask questions before making a decision! Honest SEO agencies will have no problem explaining their strategies in detail. SEO strategies that seem manipulative or unethical should raise immediate red flags.

4. Resources

Many quality SEO agencies offer resources that showcase their performance, strategies, and skills. It’s important for you to reference an agency’s eBooks, case studies, templates, and guides to help validate their skills and expertise. Some offers can testify to the agency’s ability to provide actual results, so be sure to check them out!

5. Partnerships and Certifications

It’s always a good idea to select an SEO agency with accredited partnerships and certifications. Companies with partnerships and certifications verify their legitimacy as quality agencies and prove their knowledge of SEO and essential SEO tools. You should consider agencies with partnerships and certifications from notable organizations like Google, HubSpot, and the Better Business Bureau.

6. Experience

When looking for an SEO Agency, always consider the level of experience companies have. The length of time a company has been in business is a good indicator of their experience level. Consider the various businesses and industries the company has worked with. Companies that have serviced clients in multiple industries will likely know what works and what doesn’t.

Why Should I Hire an SEO Agency?

An SEO agency has experts in different areas of search engine optimization that may be out of the realm of your marketing team’s abilities. SEO can be very complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, as search engine algorithms change, it can be challenging to stay current on the latest ranking factors and strategies for improving online visibility. You will likely see a greater return on investment and better results from using a professional SEO agency than you would from tackling this on your own.

Developing a Customized SEO Strategy

SEO requires constant work to ensure a company’s website is optimized. Good SEO agencies provide a range of services, including site audits, fixing site errors, and optimizing your website to leverage search engine ranking factors. However, the best SEO agencies develop a customized SEO strategy for each client. While the processes and tactics used may be the same for all clients, each company’s goals are different, and a great agency will tailor its SEO plan to help the company reach its objectives. In addition, they will be proactive and look for opportunities you may have yet to consider to help you meet your business goals and maximize the ROI of their efforts.

A siloed SEO team is not the best way to help a company attract the right website visitors. The best SEO agencies work in cooperation with your marketing and sales team to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding filling your marketing funnel and sales pipeline with leads.

Signs of Trouble with Your SEO Agency

A good search engine optimization agency will regularly communicate with you to discuss your goals, your website data, and how you’re performing in search. They should review your Google Analytics regularly to determine how your website is performing and whether or not their strategy is working.

If your agency doesn’t give you access to data on your website’s performance, fire them. There should be open access to your analytics, including: 

  • Organic traffic, impressions, clicks, bounce rate, etc.
  • Keyword rankings in search results
  • Conversion rates
  • Google Business Profile performance (for local businesses) 

Always Improving

A legitimate SEO company will also offer suggestions for improvements and revise its strategy to meet new business goals or when its efforts aren’t achieving anticipated results. SEO is a long game, and it may take time to see results. You will see periodic dips in traffic, especially when Google makes core updates. So, be patient as your SEO team works to make improvements.

SMA Marketing – What Does Our SEO Agency Do?

At SMA Marketing, SEO is our core competency and is the foundation of our digital marketing strategies. Our SEO strategy begins with an SEO Intensive. We carry out this two-month engagement in two phases. In phase 1, we run a deep audit of your website, investigate your competitors’ search strategy, and build a customized approach to help your site earn more organic visibility. At the end of month 1, we present your customized SEO Blueprint. In phase 2, we implement foundational optimizations on your website. Using the information uncovered in the audit, we address critical issues that impact your site’s visibility in search results, ensuring your website has a solid technical foundation before implementing the SEO and content strategies included in your SEO Blueprint. 

Our SEO Intensive is a crucial first step in creating a search strategy that delivers business results. With the advancements search engines have made, each industry and query poses different opportunities, and the traditional approach to SEO is becoming less and less effective. The SEO Intensive ensures we take the right approach for your business, saving you time and improving your ROI.

What Phase 1 of the SEO Intensive Covers

When it comes to driving relevant traffic to your site, there are hundreds of factors at play. Most companies focus on the on-page elements, content, and backlinks, often overlooking the crucial technical elements essential for search today.

The SEO Intensive is a deep dive into all aspects of your site that impact your organic visibility.

SEO Intensive Elements

Many agencies like to jump into tactics without fully understanding the complete picture, often resulting in poor results and rework. Our goal with the SEO Intensive is to get a thorough understanding of your business, your market, and how the search engines react. This allows us to get better results faster. A typical client sees, on average, a 25% increase in organic traffic within the first 30 days after the Intensive.

Semantic SEO:

As the semantic web grows, the need for structured content becomes essential. To rank in the highly-coveted Rich Features now available in the SERPs, you must structure your content for user intent and search engines.

Here are a few of the semantic SEO issues we investigate during the SEO Intensive:

  • NLP Content Optimization
  • Entity-Based Content Modeling
  • Structured Data Mapping
  • Content Improvement

Technical SEO:

Ensuring your site is fast and indexed properly is imperative to any SEO project. Our team digs deep into the code of your site to set you up for success.

Here are a few of the technical SEO issues we investigate:

  • Server Optimization
  • Crawling Optimization
  • Code Optimization
  • Indexing
  • Speed
  • Mobile

On-Page SEO:

Good On-Page SEO is one of the most essential aspects of SEO. We look at your website’s titles, meta information, content, and more to ensure your pages clearly express what they are about and who they are for.

Here are a few of the on-page SEO issues we investigate:

  • Site Structure
  • Topic Cluster Optimization
  • Titles
  • Header Tags
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Image Optimization
  • User Experience

Off-Page SEO:

You must be seen as an expert, authoritative, and trustworthy by the search engines to rank well. Many of these signals come from the quality of links to your site and what others say about your brand. We run a deep off-page analysis to uncover optimizations and opportunities for your business to grow.

Here are a few of the off-page SEO elements we investigate:

  • Backlink Analysis
  • Competitive Link Analysis
  • Competitive Traffic Analysis
  • Algorithm Impacts
  • Deep Linking
  • Trust and Authority

Keyword Research & Content Strategy:

Since the beginning, search engines have sought to serve up engaging pages without immediately returning to the search results page to try again. Therefore, each page on the site must include relevant, unique, and fresh content that is strategically optimized to rank for a site’s target keywords.

Here’s how we analyze your keywords and content:

  • Review all keywords you currently rank for
  • Uncover new opportunities
  • Audit your current content and suggest ways to improve/add more targeted content

SEO Intensive Deliverables

At the end of our month-long SEO analysis of your website, we present an SEO Blueprint, our custom SEO strategy that includes the following deliverables:

  • In-depth audit with a list of actionable tasks for site improvement
  • Content modeling strategy
  • Keyword research and optimization plan
  • Content marketing strategy

What Happens During Phase 2 of the SEO Intensive?

During Phase 2, we implement the foundational optimization and opportunities uncovered in the SEO audit. Our team of SEO specialists uses a combination of on-page, technical, and semantic SEO to help you reach your goals.

On-Page Optimization: Each quarter, we target pages that need to be created or optimized to influence your organic position.

Technical Optimization: Our team monitors the health and functionality of your site to ensure it meets search engine standards.

Link Auditing & Optimization: We focus on optimizing the links you have, removing toxic links, and optimizing your content so it naturally earns links.

Semantic SEO: Semantic search is the future of the web. We give you an edge few have today by building, maintaining, optimizing, and open-linking your custom knowledge graph.

Dedicated Client Success Manager: Your dedicated Client Success Manager will ensure that your SEO campaign stays on track and you get the results you’re looking for. They will provide you with:

  • Reporting via your data dashboard
  • Research and analysis
  • Bi-weekly meetings

At SMA Marketing, our digital marketing agency takes a customized approach to our clients’ SEO. We continually work with you to meet your goals, making adjustments when necessary.

To learn more about SMA Marketing’s SEO Services, contact us and let us know how we can help!

SMA Marketing Foundational SEO

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written on August 12, 2021, and has been updated with fresh content. 

Related article: 15 Interview Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Agency

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