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What Does an SEO Agency Do?

What Does an SEO Agency Do?

Quick summary:

A good SEO agency should:

  • Alert you to any important SEO news or updates
  • Set your organic search goals and map out the strategy to meet them
  • Report on SEO efforts regularly to show quantifiable progress
  • Provide recommendations for on-page and technical optimizations

If you are wondering what the heck an SEO agency does, congratulations! Asking this question shows that you realize search engine optimization is critical for your website and your business overall.

If you’ve done even a little bit of research, you’ve probably realized that you do not have the time, expertise, or in-house staff to keep SEO efforts at the forefront of your marketing and web development initiatives.

Enter an SEO agency – if you know what an SEO agency can do for you, that is. This article will help you understand what an SEO agency should and should not do.

The right SEO goals = the right SEO agency

illustration displaying popular search engines

Before we talk about what an SEO agency can do for you, we need to talk about your goals. Different agencies specialize in different types of SEO, so knowing your goals upfront is key.

Do you want to have the #1 position for every keyword related to your business? Of course! Is that a realistic expectation? Probably not. But, if you’re willing to give an SEO team the time and resources to test, optimize, and inevitably re-optimize, then you are in a great position to find a team of SEO pros that can provide optimizations to help you reach that goal.

Since one company's needs might be very different from another company's, let’s lay out some initiatives that any SEO firm should provide.

What should a good SEO agency do?

illustration of person looking at data charts

A good SEO agency should:

  • Alert you to any important SEO news or updates
  • Set your organic search goals and map out the strategy to meet them
  • Report on SEO efforts regularly to show quantifiable progress
  • Provide recommendations for on-page and technical optimizations

Since most clients have the goal of improving visibility in organic search (i.e., showing up first on Google’s results page), here are a few more tasks an SEO agency can do for you:

  • Provide research into keywords, competitors, and backlinks
  • Create and manage your content strategy
  • Provide technical audits of your website

Is that all an SEO agency does?

The difference between a good agency and a great one is how well they communicate the progress of their efforts. A great SEO agency isn’t getting you more low-quality backlinks or getting great keyword positions for unimportant terms – the key is to improve the quality of users that find your business.

While you should expect to gain more website traffic, what you really need from an SEO agency is to increase the quality of relevant website traffic.

This idea ties right back to the goals that you set. Do you want 1,000 more pageviews or 1,000 more paying customers? Your choice here determines the actions a great SEO agency will take.

What should an SEO agency NEVER do?

illustration of vehicles for sale

Some SEO agencies are like a bad used car salesperson – they are in the business of promising the world to anyone who walks in the door, and they want to sell, sell, sell.

While a great agency partner will listen to your needs and create a strategy to help you meet your goals, bad agencies know how to set traps that can hurt your business and harm your SEO efforts. Any “churn and burn” scheme, from gaining hundreds of blog links to your site to purchasing thousands of social media followers (who have no effect on your SEO), should make you question an agency’s motives.

If a prospective (or current) SEO agency does any of the following, you should run in the opposite direction:

  • They own your website or URL
  • They never want to discuss your project or their progress
  • They push paid search campaigns to “improve” your SEO
  • They make it difficult to cancel your contract
  • They buy backlinks (often in bulk)
  • They have trouble providing references or examples of work

And finally, the absolute WORST thing that any agency can do is to guarantee you anything, especially in the field of SEO. If a company provides you a guarantee, they are either dishonest or genuinely don’t understand search engines and the algorithm updates that occur daily. Either way, run.



Hopefully, this information helps guide you when evaluating your search engine optimization needs. SEO changes every day, with every Google update. Find the team that can listen to you, educate you on best practices, and set realistic goals.  A great partnership can survive even the most drastic algorithm updates!

If you're interesting in finding out how your website could be improved, get a free site audit right now. You'll get your results in about an hour.

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