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What You Need to Know Before You Pay for SEO Services

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When you’re considering implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, choosing the right person to optimize your site is crucial.

Conducting an audit and coming up with a plan to optimize your site for each of Google’s 200 ranking factors could result in a list of thousands of potential SEO tasks. Some will be worth the time and effort of implementation, and some won’t.

Mistakes in prioritization can be costly. Focusing on the wrong tasks can require tremendous effort that—in the end—yields sub-par returns. And ineffective, expensive results aren’t even the worst possibility.

Why you should hire an SEO agency

When considering adopting an SEO strategy, you have three main options. You can try to do the work yourself, hire a full-time SEO specialist, or work with an SEO company or agency.

Here are the pros and cons of each.

  1. Optimize your own site

Doing SEO yourself may work. Especially if you’re just getting started online or if you manage a small website. It’s certainly possible to learn the basics of SEO and use what you learn to optimize your content for keywords or build backlinks. It’s also the most affordable option.

However, the low cost of DIY SEO is a trade-off. You’ll avoid the costs of hiring a professional. But you’ll also forego a lot of expertise. And that could potentially result in lost revenue. Professional SEOs can optimize your site in a way that guides true business growth.

Additionally, effective optimization is time-consuming. If you divide your time between running your business and optimizing your site, you’ll inevitably end up neglecting important tasks in one of the two areas.

  1. Hire a full-time SEO specialist

Another option is to hire a full-time, in-house SEO specialist. The advantage of this option is—if you’ve hired the right person—your specialist will have the expertise required to identify and prioritize tasks appropriately. They’ll also be able to dedicate 40 hours a week to optimizing your site.

Having a dedicated SEO specialist certainly has advantages over doing the work yourself. But it can also be costly. By hiring in-house, you’ll take on the expense of a full-time salary and benefits. And you’ll incur those expenses whether there’s valuable optimization work to do or not.

  1. Hire an SEO company or agency

Like in-house specialists, SEO companies and agencies bring the advantage of experience. In fact, SEO agencies likely bring more experience than specialists.

Agencies that neglect new optimization tactics and trends rarely stay in business for long. SEO agencies operate on successes and referrals, so they have a vested interest in knowing their trade inside and out.

The other major advantage of hiring an agency is that you only pay for work completed. Reputable SEO companies will conduct an audit of your site and provide a proposal for recommended tasks, reasons for their recommendations, and the cost of completing those tasks. You pay for the work you want to have completed, which can be less expensive than keeping someone on staff.

The cost of working with an agency can be daunting. However, make sure to consider the potential revenue growth that effective optimization will drive over time, and compare the cost of hiring an agency short-term to the ongoing costs of hiring in-house. Comparing the long-term costs of the three different options will help you make the best decision.

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What SEO services do agencies provide?

The services an SEO agency provides depends largely on the type of agency you choose.

Some SEO companies are full-service digital marketing agencies that offer SEO as an option. Others are boutique or niche agencies that specialize in a specific aspect of SEO. They might be experts in link-building or local SEO, for example.

Additionally, some SEO agencies will simply recommend tasks, while others will recommend tasks and perform the changes.

Types of SEO services you might need

Before you start the process of looking for an SEO agency, you should understand the different types of SEO services available so you can get a feel for the services your business needs:

On-page SEO. On-page services focus on optimizing your site, its pages, and its content for search. It includes technical SEO tasks like improving load speeds, metadata optimization, and mobile usability. It also encompasses content, media, and internal navigation optimization.
Off-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers to the optimization of external signals that impact search rankings. Generally, off-page SEO services focus on link-building. But social media marketing may also be part of an agency’s off-page offerings.
Keyword research. Keyword research is the process of collecting a list of keywords, determining relevancy, user intent, and competition, and using that information to produce a list of keywords that a site should be optimized for.
Content planning. Content planning typically goes hand-in-hand with keyword research. The agency recommends—or creates—blog posts, landing pages, and other content types that are designed to drive quality organic traffic to a site.
Analytics. Analytics services may include installing tracking software, setting up custom reports, teaching business leaders how to read and interpret metrics, and/or mining analytics for optimization insights.
Pay-per-click (PPC). Some agencies provide services that are focused on driving both organic and paid traffic. These agencies may offer optimization services for ads hosted through AdWords or another PPC advertising platform.
Local SEO. Local SEO is a specialized service that caters to businesses with customers located in a specific and confined geographic area. This type of SEO requires a different approach and typically includes optimization of Google Maps and other directory listings.

In addition to these SEO-specific services, many SEO companies—especially large agencies—offer related services like content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, asset and ad design, website design, and website development.

The first two steps in choosing an SEO company to optimize your site are

  1. determining what type of provider you want to hire (a specialist or an agency)
  2. determining what types of services you need

Next, you need to decide on a budget. Determine how much you can afford to invest in SEO upfront as well as on an ongoing basis. Figuring out what you can afford to spend on SEO before researching your options will help you eliminate potential providers that exceed your budget limitations.

With these three steps completed, you can begin compiling a list of potential providers. Your initial inclination will likely be to conduct a Google search and see who pops up. The best SEO companies will likely be those that appear in top results, right? Not necessarily.

Why searching for an SEO agency might not be your best option

The reality is that SEO companies that rely on search traffic are often those that are unable to secure clients through referrals. The best SEO providers usually don’t need to find clients through search. Their existing clients refer new clients frequently, so they grow their client base through word-of-mouth advertising.

There are a few alternative resources you can use to find reputable SEO companies:

Ask for recommendations. If you have friends, family members, or other connections that own digital properties, they may be able to recommend SEO companies they’ve worked with that produced positive results.

Take advice from industry experts. one of the leading publishers of SEO industry content—maintains a list of recommended SEO companies and consultants. Companies must be nominated to get on the list, and they’re only included if they’re determined to be expert practitioners and positive contributors to the SEO industry.

Look for local providers. There’s nothing wrong with working with an SEO provider remotely. But sometimes it’s easier to judge a company’s reputability when you can meet with them face-to-face. For this reason, you may want to browse Google Maps or another directory to find SEO companies in your area.

Review the websites of the companies you’re considering, and choose a few that you want to investigate further. Once you have a shortlist, you’ll be ready to set up consultations with the companies you’re considering. For more information SEO Services in Lahore

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