Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Review of SEO Services: What Your SEO Company Should Offer

Search engine optimization (SEO) companies are popping up all over the world. The spectrum of services that these companies offer is quite broad. When you consider the range of pricing options between outfits, it becomes extremely important to review what services an SEO company provides before selecting one to manage your online marketing campaign. You have to know what you are paying for. Let's review the SEO services you will need to successfully market your website in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the practice of identifying what search queries your website should be optimized for. If an SEO company does not offer keyword research as a service, it will be very difficult for your site to rank for the search queries you want to be visible for. Often, this will (and should) be the first thing an SEO company will execute to get your campaign off the ground.

HTML Recommendations

Optimizing certain HTML elements is a crucial aspect of SEO. More specifically, it is vital that the SEO company writes title tag and heading tag recommendations for each page on your website. The only way a company would be able to do this effectively is by having conducted sound keyword research as discussed above. These two services go hand in hand. Some SEO companies will offer to draft meta descriptions for each page as well, however, optimizing the meta description tags has no direct impact on your ranking positions in the SERPs.

Website Audit

A lot of SEO companies will offer website audit services to their clients. Unfortunately, the scope of a website audit can differ greatly between outfits, so it is best to understand what pieces of your website will be addressed in a company's audit. What to look for: make sure the company includes both general SEO and technical SEO recommendations in their audit. Finally, ask the SEO company if they have a developer in-house. If they don't, it is important to understand that you will need someone to put many of the recommendations in place (assuming you aren't a developer yourself).

Content Writing & Optimization

Optimizing content for search engines and people is an art, and it is becoming more so important for a well rounded SEO campaign after Google's Panda update struck the SEO community throughout 2011 and in to 2012. Many SEO companies have yet to incorporate content writing in to their core services offered, and if the company you choose to work with falls under that umbrella, make sure you have a back up plan. It isn't easy to write copy that both appeases the people on your site and the search engine robots crawling it.

Link Building

The grandmother of SEO services. If a company does not offer link building as a service, that should send up a red flag. A very large red flag. Getting other websites to link back to your site is the quintessential piece in boosting your visibility online. Backlinks send the signal to search engines that your website should be respected, and worth returning to people searching online. It is important to ask how the company build links, for example, do they use blog commenting, directory submissions, paid links, or content marketing as their primary strategy?

General SEO Consulting

This would be an ongoing service that most outfits should offer. SEO is ongoing, and really, should never stop unless you are taking your website down or you have gone out of business. As a result, you will need an SEO company that provides general consulting on a month to month basis. Considering how often Google (and other) search engines are changing the way they value and rank websites, this consulting piece becomes necessary as you will need the expertise to understand how to adapt to those changes.

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