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Most businesses that approach a services provider about partnering for an SEO campaign generally understand the value proposition of SEO.

However, what most companies likely don’t understand are the specific SEO services that will produce value for their company.

In a recent extensive guide to SEO services, research firm Clutch details five major factors for that allow businesses to make informed decisions about the best SEO services to invest in for their business and the right SEO firm to choose as a service partner:

The five factors the report analyzes are summarized below.

1. Types of SEO Services

Before launching an SEO campaign or approaching a services partner, businesses should first familiarize themselves with the various type of SEO services and the value they can produce.

SEO services improve your site’s search ranking using three sorts of services: on-site, off-site, and digital marketing.

The first service an SEO firm provides for your company is an audit, which determines the condition of your site from an SEO framework. An audit examines everything that that affects your firm’s search rankings and typically concludes with a recommended plan of action.

On-site services refer to SEO services performed on the physical structure of your site that are meant to make your site easier for Google to index. Forms of on-site services include:

  • Keyword optimization
  • Web design
  • Back-end optimization

Off-site services are done externally and earn links back to your site, which signals to search engines that your site is an authority on a certain topic. Forms of off-site services include:

  • Link-building and monitoring
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing

Digital marketing services differ from SEO services in their direct impact on search rank. Digital marketing services affect SEO but are typically used in a broader marketing context.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the main form of digital marketing that affects search ranking and provides short-term placement among the top results for target search terms through payment.

Analytics reports: SEO firms provide analytics reports that illustrate the progress of their SEO efforts. The frequency and depths of reports usually depends on the complexity of the campaign.

2. Cost

Cost is the universal factor of concern and consideration for SEO services.

Cost of SEO services depends primarily on the type of service and the complexity of the project: the amount of pages on a site that need optimization, existing digital marketing efforts, the back-end structure of the site, and the goals of the company for the campaign.

Cost for particular SEO services breaks down into three broad categories according to the level of services they entail.

  1. Basic: Usually between $300-500 per month and help small businesses and local contractors achieve local rankings
  2. Agency:(two ranges): SEO services in the $1,000-$3,000/month range apply to small businesses in competitive local markets and low-volume national searches. Services in the $3,000-$10,000/month range earn high-level search rankings for moderately competitive national searches and highly competitive local terms.
  3. Enterprise: $10,000+ High-volume e-commerce sites and large firms can achieve rankings for national search terms.

3. Pricing Structure

Organic SEO services are long-term marketing plays that yield ongoing results. Given the long-term nature of SEO partnerships, provider’s typically charge a monthly retainer fee to maintain their services.

Other forms of pricing for SEO services generally are charged in addition to the monthly retainer fee.

Performance-based pricing establishes key performance indicators that act as tiers that determine pricing. Companies are charged only if a particular KPI benchmark (search ranking, ROI, traffic referrals) is reached.

Package pricing provides SEO services at a fixed rate. Individual services, like an audit, are charged at a one-time fixed rate. Full-service packages are also offered by some SEO firms.

4. Providers of SEO Services

To go along with the multitude of SEO services is a corresponding variety of providers of SEO services. For the most part, providers differ on the level of agency offer companies over SEO strategy.

  • Agencies: control most aspects of a company’s SEO campaign: planning, execution, and ongoing efforts.
  • Consultants: offer support to companies to control their own SEO campaign. Consultants are not as involved as agencies in the day-to-day execution of the policy.
  • Software: Companies use SEO software to maintain their own SEO strategy. Popular examples are Moz and Ahrefs.
  • Digital Marketing Firms: Provide digital marketing services that affect SEO, like content marketing and social media marketing.

5. Factors for Evaluating SEO Firms

Beyond cost and services offerings, companies should examine attributes of a company that makes them a good fit for a services partner.

  • Use ratings and reviews sites, like Clutch, to get insight from past clients about their experience working with the firm. For example, how often do they communicate with a typical client?
  • Read case studies to see if a firm has experience working with clients of your size or demands.

Use Available Resources for SEO Services

Your company should use the available resources to research the major factors of partnering with a firm for SEO services: types of services, cost, pricing structure, providers, and additional factors for evaluation.

We suggest you refer to the Clutch’s recent guide to examine these factors in detail: clutch.co/seo-firms/services-guide.

 

Bio: Grayson Kemper is a Content Developer at Clutch, a B2B research and reviews platform based in DC. He specializes in SEO and IT research.