How do you know if your SEO company is working?

By Tim Priebe on April 8, 2020

By Tim Priebe on April 8, 2020

We’ve been helping clients with SEO—Search Engine Optimization—for around 15 years now. Over the years, there have been countless occasions when I sat down to talk about digital marketing with someone and they confided in me, “I have no idea if my current SEO people are doing their job.”

Sound painfully familiar? Fortunately, there are some ways to tell if your SEO company is actually doing anything.

Questions to ask your SEO company

Let’s face it, you probably hired an SEO company because you didn’t have the expertise to do it yourself. As a result, it can be a challenge to know what questions to ask to find out if they’re doing a good job or not.

Fortunately, I do have SEO expertise! So here are just a few questions to consider asking your SEO agency:

  1. Are we focusing on on-site SEO or off-site SEO?
  2. What SEO activities are you guys doing on a regular basis?
  3. How often are you doing those activities?
  4. How are we tracking and modifying our approach?

Of course, knowing the questions is only half the battle. To understand what answers you should expect, let’s dive into the two major types of SEO.

While there are a number of ways you can categorize SEO, I’m going to divide them into on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

What is on-site and off-site SEO?

On-site SEO is any type of SEO work done on your actual website. Off-site SEO is any type of SEO work done on other websites.

Believe it or not, Google takes both of those into account!

While these lists are not exhaustive, the answer your SEO company will give you is most likely somewhere on this list. Only if they’re actually doing their job, of course.

On-site SEO checklist

On-site SEO—sometimes known as on-page SEO—can include any the following:

  • Technical SEO
    • Speed optimization
    • Monitoring with Google’s Search Console
    • Monitoring with Google Analytics
    • Monitoring incoming broken links
    • Monitoring outgoing broken links
    • Installation and setup of an SEO plugin
    • Ensuring HTML is set up in a search engine friendly way
    • URL optimization
    • Ensuring website is responsive (mobile friendly)
    • Setting up your website securely (HTTPS)
  • Content SEO
    • Ongoing SEO research
    • Regularly publishing articles based on SEO research
    • Including internal and external links in articles
    • One-time work on the written content on the website

Off-site SEO checklist

Off-site SEO can include the following:

  • Local SEO
    • Google My Business Listing
    • Monitoring third-party directory websites
    • Helping build and monitor reviews
  • Content SEO
    • Links on social media sites
    • Link building on other websites
    • Publishing articles on other websites

Again, those are not exhaustive lists. But if your SEO company is doing their job, it’s highly likely most of what they’re doing is on one of those lists.

Do SEO companies really work?

After you ask those questions, my hope is your SEO company is doing their job. But that leads to another question: Is SEO actually working for your business?

Just because they’re doing their job and generating traffic to your website doesn’t mean your website is set up to convert those website visitors.

If you’re not converting people who visit your website, then the SEO traffic is useless! Converting means that some percentage of website visitors do one or more of the following:

  • Buy directly from your website
  • Fill out a form with contact information
  • Sign up for an email list
  • Share something on social media
  • Connect with you on social media
  • Call your phone number

Of course, that’s only a sampling of possible ways a website visitor could convert. The point is that even if your SEO agency is doing their job, if your website visitors aren’t converting, then it’s not helping you.

Some SEO companies can also help you with conversions on your website. If not, then whoever built your website may be able to help.

First find out if your SEO company is actually doing their job. If they aren’t, find a new one. But if they are, it may be time to tweak or totally redesign your website.


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