- The goal of SEO is to make sure internet users can find your website organically on search engines.
- However, SEO now encompasses many interconnected areas of specialization that the average business owner may not be familiar with.
- Seasoned SEOs use a robust technical skillset plus a host of specialized tools to achieve their goals day in and day out.
- SEO is a full-time, year-round job that takes a lot of hours, resources, and expertise to get right.
- Outsourcing SEO to a team of experts saves businesses time and money while garnering better overall results.
It’s almost impossible these days to run a business without knowing something about search engine optimization, or SEO. But as many business owners are well aware, there’s a difference between knowing something about SEO and actually achieving SEO success.
SEO is a full-time, year-round job that takes a lot of hours, resources, and expertise to get right. From strategy to execution to measuring results, seasoned SEOs use a robust technical skillset plus a host of specialized tools to achieve their goals day in and day out. That’s why entire agencies (like us!) exist solely to focus on SEO for our clients.
If you’re wondering whether or not to outsource SEO to the experts, keep reading to learn how doing so can make your life a lot easier.
What is SEO?
The goal of SEO is simple: to make sure internet users can find your website organically on search engines, like Google. This is in contrast to paid search, which involves bidding on keywords – i.e., actually paying to show up as advertisements for certain search terms.
However, the actual components of SEO are much less simple. As online search has evolved, SEO has evolved with it to encompass many interconnected areas of specialization, including making sure that your organic SEO and paid search strategies align.
These areas of specialization are an SEO agency’s bread and butter. Learn more about each below.
On-page vs. off-page SEO
The first thing to understand about SEO is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO. Let’s go back to the goal of SEO: having your website show up on search engine results pages (SERPs). Part of what makes this goal so challenging to achieve is the number of factors that determine SERP rankings.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple recipe for what makes a #1 ranking. Google only releases some information about how its algorithms work, and these algorithms are always changing. Plus, some ranking factors have nothing to do with what’s actually on your website or page. That’s where on-page vs. off-page SEO comes in.
As we’ve covered before, we like to describe the difference with an analogy to the music industry. “On-page” refers to the song itself – how it sounds, what the lyrics say, who produced it, and who it connects with – while “off-page” refers to the connections between artists, managers, and the public via networking and hype – the stuff outside of the actual song that nonetheless contributes to its success.
Similarly, in SEO, certain ranking factors deal with what’s on the page itself: technical tags, formatting, quality of content, presence of engaging images, etc. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, deals with factors such as backlinks (how many other sites link to your page and the quality/authority of those sites); a community of readers driving traffic, likes, and shares; and mentions (even those that aren’t linked back to your site).
If that already sounds like a lot, wait until we start talking about how to actually address these on-page and off-page factors. Keep reading to learn about the different components of each and where they overlap.
The goal of technical SEO is to improve how your site is accessed, crawled, indexed, and rendered. In other words, technical SEO is geared toward optimizing your site’s technical interactions with the search engine, which 9 times out of 10 means Google.
When Google crawls your site to determine where it should rank for a given search term, it’s looking for certain technical elements that will make for a good user experience. For example, if your page takes too long to load, that creates a negative user experience and can thus hurt your rankings. Optimizing your page speed requires technical web knowledge and skills, hence the name “technical SEO.”
Beyond page speed, technical SEO refers to all of the following technical aspects of your page:
- Mobile accessibility (how easy it is to use your site on a mobile device)
- Crawlability (how easy it is for Google to determine what your page is about)
- Structured data
- Site structure
These are just a few of the many areas of technical expertise necessary to any successful on-page SEO strategy.
The rise of local searches – think “near me” searches – has led to an entire subdomain of SEO. Local SEO encompasses both on-page and off-page practices geared toward improving your rankings for these types of searches. As such, what might seem like a small component of your overall SEO strategy actually requires a lot of specialized work.
For example, on-page SEO for local searches means optimizing your site for mobile use, unifying your NAP info, and targeting local-friendly search terms such as questions and long-tail keywords in your content. You’ll also want to focus on off-page strategies like citation building and reviews.
The technical and non-technical expertise required for this multi-pronged strategy is hard to come by without an agency that specializes in local SEO.
Content marketing is so intertwined with SEO that sometimes the two fields seem synonymous. Good content would be useless without good SEO practices to make sure it shows up on SERPs. Likewise, consistently publishing quality content that follows Google’s E-A-T guidelines can contribute to higher rankings over time, creating a positive feedback loop.
Sounds great, right? Of course, content marketing alone requires lots of expertise and resources, many of which are distinct from other elements of SEO – for example, access to experienced content writers. Most agencies have an entire department dedicated to content, with a team focused solely on creating a content strategy (including keyword research and publishing schedules), executing the strategy (writing/commissioning and publishing content), monitoring results (including refreshing or pruning existing content), and aligning content with the rest of the SEO strategy.
Each of these steps requires particular skill sets, plus access to and knowledge of monitoring tools like Google Analytics, that come built-in to any agency worth its salt.
As mentioned, backlinks are a major component of off-page SEO. But how do you get more quality sites to link back to your content without using shady tactics or spamming site owners? Through ongoing, strategic link building campaigns like those carried out by SEO agencies every day.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably gathered that SEO encompasses so much more than simply including the right meta tags in your content. Social media management is one of those off-page SEO tactics that can increase traffic, which is the first step to getting conversions.
But like every other item on this list, social media marketing requires a hands-on approach that goes well beyond posting on Instagram every few days. SEO agencies have social media specialists or teams devoted entirely to crafting social media strategies, calendars, content, and posts, then monitoring success using specialized tools.
Keeping it all aligned
One of the most important indicators of success for digital marketing is how well all of your strategies work together. Content should be aligned with SEO goals, and organic SEO should be aligned with paid search. This requires a concentrated effort to break down silos between technical, content, social media, and other SEO teams.
A good SEO agency understands this and makes cross-team collaboration part of its core approach.
Why outsource SEO?
As you can see, each of the above components of SEO represents its own field of knowledge and skills. Achieving success requires a lot of time and effort that could be spent on the core of your business – i.e., actually making your service or product as awesome as it can be. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are a few reasons it’s a good idea to outsource SEO to an agency:
Simply put, SEO agencies are the SEO experts. They are specifically educated and trained to take your digital marketing through every step, including:
- Building up your brand presence: Don’t even have a blog yet? While creating one might seem overwhelming to a business owner, an SEO agency has the experience to achieve this quickly and painlessly.
- Strategy: What are your goals and how will you achieve them? An SEO agency can create a detailed plan for each element of your SEO campaign and make sure they all work seamlessly together.
- Execution: It’s great to have a plan in place, but who’s going to be making all those technical adjustments, creating and publishing all that content, and boosting it on social? This is exactly what your SEO agency is for.
- Monitoring & measuring success: You’ve put all this time, effort, and money into SEO. How will you know if it’s been successful? An SEO agency will have access to analytics tools and know exactly what metrics to use.
By leaving this work to the experts, you’re ensuring that your resources go toward quality work with measurable results.
On any given day, SEOs use more data analytics tools, keyword search databases, and other SEO tools than you could count on one hand to help make their work faster, easier, and more accurate. Not only does it take time to learn how to use these tools, but they can also be expensive. That’s not to mention the labor hours it takes to plan, create, and monitor everything that goes into your SEO strategy.
When you partner with a good SEO agency, there’s no need to subscribe to confusing tools or train your team to learn how to use them – you pay the experts to handle all of that for you.
Choosing the right agency
Not all SEO agencies are created equal. When considering whether to outsource SEO, make sure you work with an agency that treats you as a true partner, relying on your knowledge of your business or product and communicating at every step, rather than keeping you in the dark.
At Redefine Marketing Group, we take this partnership approach seriously, seeing ourselves as an integral part of our clients’ teams. From day one, we treat every client’s campaign as if it were our own. Our roadmap takes clients through the following steps:
- Onboarding: We’ll set up all necessary tracking and access to platforms like Google Analytics.
- Discovery: During our longest phase, we dedicate lots of time to keyword research, competitor analyses, and getting to know your industry, brand, and goals.
- Execution: We craft and execute a plan tailored to your goals and needs, emphasizing communication, responsiveness, and transparency at every step.
- Optimization: We’ll monitor results and make adjustments as needed.
Think the RMG team might have what it takes to redefine your SEO strategy? Get in touch today – we can’t wait to help!