What Is An SEO Company: What Do They Do; How To Hire The Right One?

Want to hire the services of an SEO company?

Read this article first!

With so many newbies posing as SEO gurus and “experts,” finding the right fit for your business can be hectic. How will you confirm the expertise? Won’t you be burned?

In this article, I’ll show you how. I’ll answer the base question “what is an SEO company” and more.

I’ll discuss the typical services of an SEO company. More importantly, I’ll show you how to hire the right one for your business.

Let’s dive into the details already…

What Is An SEO Company: Services Offered & Benefits

An SEO company, firm, or agency is a team of individuals that helps businesses increase visibility and sales online using search engine optimization best practices.

At SERPReach, as an example, I use a combination of lucrative keywords, guest posting, and link building to increase visibility & sales for my clients. And we’ve been doing that since 2009.

So, whenever the phrase pops us, remember the highlights:

  • An SEO company is not just an individual — it is a team of experts on on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
  • The primary job of an SEO company is to increase your business’ visibility and sales.
  • An SEO company uses search engine strategies and optimization measures to get results.

Services Offered By SEO Agencies

SEOs offer a range of services. And often, your need is determined by where you are — not location-wise.

This is what I mean:

  • Has your website been audited?
  • Are your pages and content optimized for search queries?
  • Have you implemented some SEO strategies but with zero results?

Your answers will then determine the services you need. Nevertheless, there are baseline offers & packages you can expect from a typical SEO agency.

I sorted the baseline services into 3 stages:

  1. Analysis
  2. Optimization plan & execution
  3. Evaluation


During the analysis stage, the 10 elements below are considered:

Website Structure

Examining your website’s architecture is essential as it directly impacts the crawlability and indexation of your content and pages.

In addition to this, your website should be designed to be both user-friendly and search engine-friendly, enhancing your SEO efforts.

But it’s not just responsive design that matters; security is a paramount concern, and it’s not exclusive to e-commerce sites.

No, security is critical for all websites. Security is crucial for all sites. And FYI, secured sites [they use HTTPs] will rank better than the insecure ones [they use HTTP] – Google Search Central.

Ensuring a secure and well-structured website can boost organic traffic, improve the effectiveness of your SEO services, and facilitate the implementation of SEO tactics such as acquiring quality backlinks and creating relevant content.

Analytics Program

Analytics helps businesses comprehend sales data and monitor prospective leads. It is a crucial part of the analysis stage.

Otherwise, you won’t know your conversion rate. What content is bringing in the most traffic? How much of that traffic is converted to sales?

Analytics provides the answers to such critical questions.

Robot.txt File

A robots.txt file instructs search engine spiders to crawl and not to crawl certain web pages on your website. This is often intended to prevent your website from being overburdened with crawling queries.

Basic Errors & Negative Meta Elements

If there are errors on your website, Google will disregard your site. And it won’t matter if you have the best articles.

Erroneous sites translate to telling the bots you don’t you on the search engine’s first page. And you can’t blame Google.

No one will push a poor product on their landing or first-view pages.

So, what are these “basic errors”?

Examples include:

  • HTTP Errors such as HTTP Error 400, 401, 403, 404, 408, 500, 501, 502, 503, and 504, among a few others
  • Connection Refused by Host
  • File Contains No Data
  • TCP Error Failed DNS Look-Up
  • Blocked crawlers
  • Missing metadata

Negative meta elements [in descriptions, site content, title tags, and other things that provide meta info], like errors, can deter your SEO result. They will lower your rankings, at worst.


Being indexed is essential for a website to appear in SERPs. Without it, search engines do not even know your site exists.

Indexing can also mean a vote of confidence. If your site is indexed, it was checked and passed the quality test. In essence, your chances of ranking on search results will be high.

XML Sitemap

XML sitemap contains the web pages you want to be included in search engines. From experience, I see that businesses confuse this with robots.txt files. But they are complete opposites.

The robot.txt file specifies the URLs “not to be indexed,” while the XML sitemap specifies the pages “to be indexed.”

Website Loading Speed

Page speed, like security, is a ranking signal. No one likes to spend hours waiting to read an informational post, let alone on a sales page.

Like people, search engines also care about page and site speed. That is why it is a crucial element to be analyzed.

Further reading: How Important Is Page Speed For SEO? [Link to our article on the topic]

Conversion Rate

We are all doing business to make money—tons of it. In this regard, the conversion rate matters most.

Besides, zero conversion is not only poor profit-wise. It is also a bad investment.

Thankfully, analysis will reveal the “why” and how to fix the issues.

Content Analysis

Content form of all digital marketing — even the traditional kind. That pretty much explains why it is a crucial element in the analysis.

During content analysis, SEOs examine these key areas:

  • Voice search compatibility of the content
  • Effectiveness of targeted keywords and key phrases
  • Sufficiency of the quantity and optimization of the content for ranking
  • Duplicate content
  • Missing web pages
  • Accuracy and consistency of contact information

Often, content analysis also includes keyword research. The latter will guide content marketing strategy.

Off-Site Analysis

The bulk of SEO is done outside the website. It is how you interact with customers, other businesses, and communities in and outside your niche. Your influence and voice.

This part is where link building comes in.

  • Does your website appear to be cited or linked to relevant blogs?
  • Have your customers rated your company on well-known platforms?
  • What are your ratings and comments on third-party directories like GMB, YELP, or Glassdoor?

Optimization Plan & Execution

The results from the analysis will guide SEOs on optimization plans [also known as SEO strategies]. This stage can be further divided into two subcategories:

Structure & Code Optimization

This is the part for improvement on structure and code optimization. It entails the on-page and technical elements of SEO.

And because structure and code are constantly changing, as evident in Google Algorithm updates, this part needs expertise only SEOs can provide.

That said, here are the details included in services about structure and code optimization:

  • Site and information architecture 
  • Error-free design and descriptions
  • Responsive web design and XML sitemap.
Off-Page Optimization

This part focuses on link building. Here, SEOs leverage their relationships with other SEOs to market and build links.

Here are the specifics:

  • Employ local SEO principles to improve calls & in-office visits and rank local search
  • Ensure that your business NAP [Name, Address, and Phone number] is consistent across all listings
  • Find fresh, relevant, and high-authority web resources for linking.
  • Create and distribute high-quality content, especially press releases.

Building relationships with the RIGHT companies or business takes years. Fortunately, SEOs have that luxury, and you can leverage their years of relationship building.


SEO is an ongoing process and commitment. So, there is a need to monitor, evaluate, and re-strategize.

Hence the benefit of evaluation services.

Benefits Of The Services Rendered By SEO Agencies

The entire reason SEO agencies still exist is that they make businesses money. You’ll get ROI on the money invested and yet have time to do other things — like spending weekends off with your loved ones.

Beyond saving time and earning money, below are specific benefits of the services SEOs render:

  • Access to SEO world and tools
  • You’ll learn new ways to improve your business
  • You will run your business 100% hands-off if you wish it so

Despite the services and benefits of SEO companies, should you still hire one? Do you need to?

Should You Hire An SEO Agency?

We’ll look at the question from 3 angles:

  • Need concerns
  • Timing concerns
  • Money concerns

Do You Need An SEO Agency?

I won’t bullshit you and tell you yes because I own an SEO agency. And no, you don’t necessarily need an SEO agency.

Here is what I mean:

In SEO, there are tons of DIY projects you can do. You only need a few instructions to complete them. You’ll find several articles on my blog covering such topics.

At the same time, there are areas of SEO you can’t do. The technical and link building aspect. For those, you need a seasoned agency.

When Is The Right Time To Hire An SEO Firm?

We already established that you might only need the services of an SEO agency for specific reasons. In that case, you should hire them at such times.

Beyond that, there are other times when hiring an SEO agency may be the best thing to happen to your business. Below are examples of such.

  • You or your team have no expertise in SEO.
  • Your in-house team is exceeding your allocated budget
  • You don’t have the time to devise and execute marketing campaigns
  • Your efforts are not getting results

How Much Does It Cost To Hire An SEO Agency?

I wrote an extensive breakdown of the cost of SEO [link to our article on the topic]. You should check it out.


SEO agencies, on average, cost:

  • $126-175/hour
  • $1502-6001/month

Also, you can hire the agency on a project basis to save cost. Either way, the result depends on the expertise of your hire.


Don’t hire any agency just because they carry the tag. Verify their expertise. How?

Ask the questions below…

How To Hire The Right SEO Agency (12 Questions To Ask)

1: What distinguishes you from other firms?

This inquiry serves as a valuable means to directly glean insights from SEO service providers regarding their expertise and offerings within the realm of digital marketing.

Given that these agencies need to showcase their capabilities, it’s advisable to request them to delineate their methodologies and prior experience, ensuring they possess a foundational grasp of digital marketing strategies.

You should prompt them to discern audience needs and desires, particularly during activities such as keyword research and deciphering search intent.

This aligns with their ability to cater to your aspirations for improved search ranking and enhanced visibility.

Their response to this query can provide an initial gauge of their proficiency in SEO.

As this question allows for open-ended responses, agencies are likely to provide detailed explanations.

By analyzing what they communicate and the time they invest in their response, you can gauge the depth of their expertise in areas like content creation, organic search, social media marketing, and achieving SEO goals.

Also, watch out for the recency of their claims. You can chip quick questions like:

  • When’s that?
  • Did that happen recently?

2: Can you walk me through a summarized version of your SEO procedure?

Ask the agencies to outline the standard pillars of their SEO approaches —with practical examples. Then, you can draw inferences about the agency’s expertise and proven results.

Complete-service companies should be able to explain how they can contribute to the overall success of your business.

So, let the agencies talk about their procedures.

Pro tip:

Lean toward agencies that use a combination of social media, search engine & organic marketing.

3: Do you inform customers about technical changes on the website?

Your website is set to undergo significant modifications at the code level to optimize its search engine ranking (SEO). These changes may even lead to a complete redesign, impacting various aspects such as navigation and aesthetics.

This might concern you, and it’s important to ensure that your hired team discusses these alterations with you. Hence, it’s prudent to confirm that the SEO company is open to communicating changes related to relevant keywords, traffic volume, and other elements crucial for SEO success.

Emphasize that this openness should extend beyond structural modifications and include aspects like content SEO.

Why is this transparency vital? Because the ultimate objective of SEO is not merely achieving better results; the process matters just as much.

In SEO, the end doesn’t necessarily justify the means. The means are just as critical. What if the agency altered your code with shady black hat strategies?

Furthermore, lack of awareness about these changes could potentially expose your website and business to technical issues.

Stay informed to mitigate any adverse effects on your website’s performance and overall business success

4: What resources do you employ?

The state of your website, backlinking strategies, the success of your competitors, and other factors are all assessed by SEO agencies as they start to design a campaign for you. The strategy’s overall performance may be impacted by the tools used.

So, what tools should SEO agencies use?

Frankly, there are tons of tools anyone can use. I’m not one to criticize others’ products. Regardless, I prefer:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Moz


Some agencies designed their own tools. Such firms will be a steal for your business.  

5: When can I expect to see the rankings?

Devising and executing SEO campaigns is a continuous process. So, don’t expect SEO companies to provide results within a week or so.

If anyone promises to deliver results in a week, avoid them.

So, when should be the baseline for increased rankings?

3-month is the standard. However, you might see results earlier or later than that. It all depends on the available resources and time commitments and workforce.

Plus, different organizations approach SEO at a different pace. For example, some might push 5 articles out per day. Others might only publish one post once in 2 weeks.

Either way, agencies usually have an estimated time to see results. Work with that.

6: How do you gauge project development?

Campaigns can be measured by several metrics like keyword rankings and bounce rates. It all depends on how users interact with your website in the SERPs and behave on your website once they get there. These metrics go hand in hand with your business goals.

So, confirm how the agency plans to gauge results. Ask for key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly benefit your company.

Here are the usual KPIs you can expect:

  • SEOs start with metrics from Google Analytics and assess factors such as website authority and the caliber of the search traffic you’re receiving.
  • Also, agencies might state that they consider the first URL on search results as the ideal prototype, or they might explicitly aim for the top spot.
  • Lastly, the agencies might only consider the revenue a check-in location generates, or they might consider a variety of KPIs.

Bottom line: choose an agency willing to go the extra mile for your business.

7: What’s the frequency of your reporting?

With detailed and timely reports, you can observe how your website progresses and where it may be improved in real-time.

Plus, an agency that reports progress is transparent. That is better than someone who will go mute from the start till the end of the project.

But how often should the report be?

Unfortunately, there are no standards. It all depends on the agency. You might get reports weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Bottom line:

I recommend agencies that have flexible choices. Your hire should be able to produce reports on demand. You might need it urgently.

8: Can you show some case studies?

Any seasoned SEO firm should be able to provide you with recommendations that highlight their prior accomplishments. This way, you can get a good indication of their expertise.

However, SEOs might not reveal the company’s names for privacy reasons. Nevertheless, you should see the metrics and a few notable partnerships on their portfolio. 

Also, it might be best if the case studies are for businesses in your niche or around your city. Local expertise of your business or your neighborhood is a plus.

Lastly, check the testimonials in the case studies. Think of it as a friend telling you off on a project or encouraging you on it.

Plus, reviews reveal the human side of agencies. Learn about it before hiring them.

9: What issues can you see on our website?

It helps to conduct an SEO audit before developing a strategy. While this typically requires tools and effort, you can still ascertain a specialist’s intuitions by asking them what they think of your current website.

An expert can give you a quick on-the-spot audit, even without tools.

Asking this question will reveal more about the agency than your site. It will further give you an insight into how the SEO plans to resolve the issues.

Plus, the assessment [of your website’s usability, design, and content] can provide a sneak peek into how well you will get along with the agency.


Off-page analysis can’t be judged with a cursory scan. It requires a tool and a considerable time as the process involves technicalities.

Overall, don’t expect an agency to diagnose every issue on your website at first glance. That’s not the purpose of this question.

Get the basics and move on with other questions.

Search engines are evolving and adding new factors that SEOs should note when planning their campaigns. Google now uses over 200 ranking variables to determine how to rank pages, although they frequently add new ones.

And mind you, it’s not just Google. Even LinkedIn updated its algorithm recently.

You see, the industry is constantly evolving. As such, SEO firms must be dedicated to researching the trends.

So, ask your prospective hires. Prepare ahead too. This way, you won’t be misinformed.

If the agency didn’t mention what you read, ask directly. For example, ask this:

Do you know about the Helpful Content Update and how it relates to AI-generated articles?

Also, you can ask the agency about Google Webmaster Guidelines — a remarkable resource for learning about appropriate SEO. Any SEO professional should know about that. 

11: How much would the hiring cost?

For starters, anyone can charge anything they want. So don’t think an agency is trying to rip you.

It’s simply a matter of choice.

Either low, moderate, or high prices, the cost should be clearly stated from the state of the project. It is even best if the range is on the agency’s site.

Side note: I wouldn’t recommend an agency without a website. How can you claim to help when you don’t even help yourself?

Furthermore, there should be no hidden costs or additional charges later in the project — unless you got an extra.

Your prospective hire must detail where your money is going so you know what you will get. That’s the least the agency can do, frankly.

While the focus is on the agency, there are a few things to note from your end:

  • Often, your needs and urgency will determine the price.
  • There are several packages. You will be the one to pick the one that best meets your budget.

Regarding budget, don’t neglect the moderately-priced agencies for the cheap ones. If the quoted rate seems too incredible, it is likely a scam. You’re better off without such agencies.

Lastly, SEO is a financial commitment. There must be a written procedure to stick to the rules. Ask for your responsibilities and fulfill them. This is the only way to enjoy the best of price and value.

12: Will there be any changes to our website once our collaboration is over?

This question probably sounds strange. Regardless, ask. You can never be too sure if you’d continue the partnership with an agency.

What if the agency fails on all fronts? Won’t you find another firm?

In such an event, you need assurance that the agency won’t return your site to the dark ages.

In other words, ensure your website’s content and design remain intact and can fetch traffic if you ever decide to split from your SEO agency. You might need to terminate your contract earlier than intended if you are experiencing financial difficulties or other issues. The termination clause is the part that applies to you the most, and early termination may incur some fees.

So, before you sign up for any service, understand the contract’s conditions and go through the contract with the SEO firm.

Now, you know the questions to ask and services to expect. Are you ready to hire an SEO agency? Do you still need one?

Ready To Launch Your SEO Campaign?

Hiring an SEO company is a no-brainer if you want to reap the most results from your SEO campaigns. You can scale your business 100% hands-off.

But who can you trust?

SERPReach, my SEO agency, will serve you with supreme quality services and boost your traffic, leads, sales, and profits. We have a string of case studies to back that claim.

Still on the fence?

It is absolutely alright if you delay the decision to hire SERPReach. If that is your situation, it is okay. 

In fact, we also want you to take your time to make an informed decision. That is the only way to make this a win-win situation for us and your business.

We are available around the clock to answer your questions if that helps calm your doubts. Let us know when you’re ready.

Contact us for a FREE audit of your site.

While taking your time, it won’t hurt you to partake in our free offering: