Jul 15, 2019 | Robbie Gilchrist

When you hire a graphic designer, you can see what you’ve paid for. You can determine if the end result is ‘good’ or not based on if it matches your brief or if you like it, you can print it or share it online, and at the end of the engagement, you have a file that you can keep. It’s fairly tangible as to what you’re getting even though the actual design process is so much more than just the final output. 


SEO isn’t like that. At the end of an SEO engagement you might get a document of content changes, a report, something else, or nothing. What’s more, because each SEO engagement is a little bit different, any one of those outcomes could be totally appropriate. Because of this, there are a lot of people who don’t trust SEOs or who think that the practice is equivalent to selling snake oil. 


So how do you know what you should be getting or if your SEO is busy doing what they said they would?


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art and science of improving your website visibility and performance in the search engines. This involves some on-site work and some off-site work. 


Technical SEO Audits 

In-depth looks at the code of your site to identify any potential hurdles that the search engines (or visitors) might encounter on your site. SEO Audits also take a look at areas where you’re missing out on some optimization opportunities to be more competitive. Some of the things technical SEO audits look at include:


– Broken links

– Blocked pages

– Indexing issues

– Images missing alt tags

– Pages missing meta tags or title tags

– Incorrect use of heading tags

– Page speed

– HTTP/HTTPS links and content

– AMP & schema markup

– And more!


The output of a technical SEO audit is a fairly comprehensive report and list of action items of things that need to be worked on to improve website performance. 


Content Review and Optimisation

Even though good SEO is about so much more than just keywords, having optimised website content is essential for organic ranking success. Your SEO will be conducting keyword research, likely using a tool like Moz, SEMrush, or Clearscope, and will be checking your website’s search engine results page (SERP) rankings for those keywords. Your content will be tweaked, your meta tags updated, internal links adjusted, and other seemingly minor changes will be implemented, tested and tweaked to help you get stronger ranking positions. 


Most engagements will also include recommendations for additional content that needs to be created. This might be adding content to your existing pages or generating new content – written, video, audio, or imagery – that you can use on your site and on your blog, and share on social media and across other channels. 

Building Better Backlinks

Links to your site are an important way to build domain authority that can help boost your keyword rankings. Good link building is time intensive as it requires identifying good link placements, building relationships and building a community that supports your website and your content. It often also involves a lot of content writing if you’re working on building links by guest posting on other websites. 


Local business directories are essential for improving local business visibility in the SEPRs. Your SEO will also be focused on things like NAP consistency, tracking links, and building unique yet concise business descriptions. If you’ve had issues verifying your Google Places listing, they’ll be addressing that as well. 


Social Media Optimization

Social media posts generally fall under the ‘social media marketing’ umbrella, but there are many aspects that spill over to SEO. Profiles need to be updated with current and correct information, links need to be tracked, and often there needs to be additional tracking in place so you can link and report on your social media campaigns as part of your complete marketing reports. 


Analytics & Reporting

SEO is a data-driven enterprise with constant reporting, tweaking, measuring and optimising. As such, most SEOs are pretty versed in analytics and are going to be the ones cleaning up your Google Tag Manager account, setting up goals and updating your event tracking to measure your primary and secondary KPIs. 


The goal for almost every SEO engagement is to improve your online visibility, website traffic, and conversions of that traffic into qualified leads and sales. Regardless of what reports or tangible documents you receive in your engagement, you should be getting clear communication on the progress to reach the KPIs that you identified early on in your engagement. 


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