If you can’t be found in Google, you might as well be invisible online. Around 90% of all searches go through Google. And the people searching rarely progress past the first page of results. That’s why search engine optimization services are so popular.

What are SEO services?

Search engine optimization services, also known as SEO services, refer to strategies for improving search engine rankings that are offered by SEO freelancers, consultants, and agencies for a fee.

Working on behalf of their client, these SEO companies improve web pages so they are more likely to appear first on Google search engine results pages (SERPs). These top positions correlate with more search traffic, and more traffic to your website means more potential customers.

Components of SEO success

Though they use different pricing models and operate in different niches, SEO services will fall into three main categories:

  • On-page SEO: SEO techniques executed on your physical web page.
  • Off-page SEO: SEO campaigns executed outside your physical site to increase your authority.
  • Technical SEO: SEO strategy that involves performance aspects of your website, like page speed and web design.

When it comes to choosing SEO services, it all depends on your business needs. You may want to opt for a general SEO package, or you may need help in one specific area. Most SEO consultants and agencies offer an SEO audit to help you figure out the best course of action (get yours instantly, here).

Types of search engine optimization services

Broadly, search engine optimization services help you improve your search engine rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. More specifically, there is a set of accepted “white hat” techniques that enables SEO specialists to improve all aspects of a business’s website. Here are the most effective services you’re likely to encounter:

On-page SEO services

On-page SEO services revolve around keywords and content creation. Here are some of the services you can expect to find in this category:

Keyword research

This service involves extensive research into the search terms people use to find your business. With an idea of the terms and phrases they use, you can improve your keyword rankings with targeted content creation that draws more organic traffic.

Local SEO

For small businesses that do most of their selling offline, there are few services more valuable than local SEO. This service helps you prepare to be found by shoppers in your area. Think “plumber in Toledo” or “shoe store near 02563.”

Google search results page for "plumber near me."

Content marketing

Without content marketing, keyword research can’t be effective. In order for people to find you in Google, you have to create quality content filled with relevant terms. This post, for example, is targeting searchers who are typing “SEO services” into Google.

Conversion rate optimization

There’s a lot more to content than just keywords. Landing page experience is a big part of the way Google ranks your content now. Tactics for conversion rate optimization can actually improve landing page experience and your search rankings.

Off-page SEO services

Off-page optimization is SEO work that takes place off your website, and it mostly revolves around generating high-quality backlinks. Here are some marketing services you may find in this category:

Online presence management

Your reputation can be ruined by a few bad Google results that appear high up on search engine results pages. Whether that’s a bad review or a negative news story, reputation management can help you hurdle those results with positive ones of your own. Though this is more common for enterprise businesses, since they deal with more press and reviews, small businesses may also find it valuable.

Link building

The more links there are from other sites to your own, the more Google trusts that you are a high-quality source of information. By linking their visitors to your web pages, these sites are essentially vouching for you. The more established and trustworthy these sites are, the more valuable their links to you are. These are known as backlinks.

Social media marketing

Is it typical for an SEO agency to offer social media marketing? No. But if you’re getting SEO services from a full-service agency, they might recommend social media marketing. The reason is that it can amplify your content and increase the odds you generate backlinks.

Graph showing relationship between Tweets and links.

Graph showing the relationship between Facebook shares and links.

Guest blogging

Like social media amplifies content, guest blogging can amplify brand awareness. By contributing a guest article to a related website, you can gain access to a new audience. Not only that, but many guest posts allow a link back to your web page to add to your backlinks.

Technical SEO services

Technical SEO revolves around improving the performance of your website for search engines and visitors. Here are some techniques and you expect to find in this category:

Penalty recovery

Google will hand out penalties if you’ve been caught using unapproved tactics to try to game the search engine. You’ll lose rankings, traffic, and sales. You could even be removed from results altogether. Penalty recovery services will help you regain your standing in Google’s search engine.

Page speed optimization

Page load speed has a major effect on user experience. If a page doesn’t load instantaneously, a visitor won’t wait. They’ll hit the back button and look for a faster page. This service involves looking at aspects of your site like media and code to determine ways to speed it up.

Mobile site optimization

Any digital marketing strategy that doesn’t prioritize mobile is doomed to fail. Today, Google has plans for mobile-first indexing. If your mobile website isn’t optimized for users and search engines, this service can help you.

The difference between mobile-first and desktop-first indexing.

SEO tool setup

While it may not be often listed, an SEO agency can equip your marketing team with the SEO tools it needs to operate effectively on its own. That may include, Google Search Console, Moz, Ahrefs, SEO plugins for WordPress, Google Analytics, etc.

Screenshot of Google Search Console.

Page optimization

SEO experts know how to improve your pages so that they’re easier for search engines to process. This includes technical tactics that involve optimizing meta tags, canonical tags, schema markup, internal linking structure, and robots.txt implementation.

How the rel=canonical tag works on duplicate content.

How to find professional SEO service providers

To find quality SEO service providers, you can check review sites like Clutch, or even read our review of some review sites here. Or you could just as easily start in Google. No matter what you do, there are some things you should look for to determine if a provider is right for you:

Look for social proof

Testimonials from satisfied customers, logos from well-known clients, awards, and certification badges can be good signals that an internet marketing agency is trustworthy and successful.

Find someone experienced in your industry

While SEO principles remain the same across industries and businesses, individual tactics vary. An e-commerce website will use different techniques to move up SERPs than a website for a dental office will. When work with someone who knows your industry, you can be confident they have an SEO team that has the knowledge, experience, and contacts to move the needle in your industry.

Look for case studies that show a positive track record

Just because an SEO company has worked in your industry doesn’t mean they’re good at what they do. Case studies will show their specific process, along with results they were able to achieve. Look for a case study featuring a business similar to yours — size, industry, problem, etc. If they’ve overcome a similar challenge before, chances are they can do it again.

Find out which SEO services you may need

If you’re a small business without an SEO team, or an enterprise with more pages than they can handle, SEO services are right for you. But to know which you need, you have to know what’s wrong with your pages. Find out instantly with an SEO audit below, or get in touch for a free consultation.