What does an SEO agency do?

By: Richard Michie

SEO is more than just an essential part of our offering, and a powerful tool to accelerate projects across the entire marketing mix, it’s our heritage. The Marketing Optimist has its roots in SEO. It gave us our name.

Before I launched the agency, I worked client-side as Marketing Director, managing an in-house team of specialists. In a conversation with the head of sales at the company one day, he asked me a fateful question: “Can you get your team of marketing optimists to rank our pages?”. The phrase stuck with me, and when I got a minute, I registered the domain, and here we are!

When I began my career in SEO, life was so much simpler. There were nowhere near as many websites, apps had not been invented, and social media was still in its infancy.

SEO agencies, such as they were, charged astronomical fees, while fumbling around, learning as they worked, still identifying the now established elements of optimisation, and how these elements affected how pages were ranked in early google searches. 

Practices such as keyword stuffing, buying links, link farms, and even people selling pixels for $1 a time on their site with links back, were rife back then, and lots of them worked too. Thankfully that’s now a long-gone era.

So, what does an SEO agency do now?

SEO is now a vast sprawling specialism which covers a range of practises and disciplines, and requires both a creative and technical skillset.

  • It’s not enough to build a beautiful website and hope it ranks highly in the search engine rankings.
  • It’s not enough to have well-written pages of unique content, each optimised for a chosen keyword, that both delight your customers, and generate traffic.
  • It’s not enough to have a fast website that delivers quickly on a mobile phone. If you want to see how fast or slow your site is run it through GTMetrix, you might be in for a surprise 
  • It’s not enough to have all your products and services optimised, and easy to find/buy/access on your website. 
  • It’s not enough to have entertaining videos and beautiful photographs that show how your products, and the people behind them, can change people’s lives.

Not one single part of this is enough. Your website needs all these, and more, to be able to rank highly in the search engines.

And that is what an SEO agency does

A Search Engine Optimisation agency can manage all these elements, and loads more I haven’t mentioned to help your website not only achieve an impressive search ranking, but become a 24/7 conversion tool. 

Coming back to the question “what does an SEO agency do?”, the simple answer is:

We help your website pages to rank for chosen real-life search terms, creating (or directing you to create) content that speaks to the search term, your range of potential website users/consumers, and ensure your pages drive users to convert, generating leads or sales. 

The first thing an SEO agency should tend to is strategy.

All SEO activity must tie in with your overall strategy. This is key to getting your site not just to rank in the search engines, but to make it an effective marketing, and conversion generating tool, for your business. 

Ranking keywords that don’t relate closely to your business, products or services, is a pointless exercise. If a page on your site does not move your marketing strategy forward then it should be removed.

What does an SEO agency do?

A good SEO agency, like us, will work with your business to understand what your aims and challenges are, and craft an SEO strategy that drives your marketing forward.

  • We spend time finding out who our customers are and how you solve their problems.
  • We interrogate your entire website, to find the untapped opportunities for optimisation, and create a detailed proposal to help make it an optimised, conversion machine.
  • We test your customer services and check your delivery processes
  • We use your website as if we were a customer and find all the functional issues impacting its conversion power. 

But what exactly does an SEO Agency do to make your Search Engine Optimisation actually work?

  • Audit your website
  • Review your user journey through the site
  • Carry out keyword research
  • Analyse any penalties affecting your site
  • Analyse your internal and external link profile
  • Review the optimisation, and quality of, the existing content on your website, proposing what is missing in terms of content and optimisation. 
  • Create, or work with other marketing teams to direct the creation and optimisation of content. 
  • Deploy page optimisation (links, image alt tags, SEO titles etc), and other technical SEO tasks, to ensure website pages are fully optimised, and to maximise load speeds.
  • Create new content on a regular basis. This includes new pages as well as well-written blogs to support optimised website page content. 
  • Build links with external websites. This is where digital PR can come in. 
  • Monitor and report on the results of your SEO campaign, and propose the improvements and content required to increase your rankings, and strengthen optimisation. 

SEO is a long game, and results do not come quickly. If an SEO agency is promising you quick results, and high rankings immediately, beware. We see great results, but it takes time for rankings to settle, to get a reliable picture of where you stand.

It can take up to 6 months to see the rewards of search engine optimisation, and for more competitive terms it may take longer. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy for your business, which when done properly, can reap huge rewards for your company.

If we can help you with your search engine optimisation, give us a call on 0113 477 1210 or fill in the form below.

Interested in speaking to The Optimists?

Right from the beginning of our time working with The Marketing Optimist, they’ve taken the time and effort to get to understand Sharp Consultancy as a business and not just a client. We’ve seen a huge increase in the effectiveness of our social media strategy, particularly on Linkedin and we’re delighted with the impact it’s had on the business.

Jamie Caulfield

Regional Director, Sharp Consultancy

It was a pleasure to work with The Marketing Optimist on this project. It felt like a true collaborative effort on the day and they made the interviewee's feel at ease whilst talking about their journey on our RISE programme. The final video was professional and engaging, we have received great feedback around the quality and creativity of the case study. Including the video in our presentation made it come to life, with real humans sharing their stories, so thank you to the Marketing Optimist!

Hannah Prole

Impact Manager, Better Connect Limited

Case Studies


Marketing for Local Government

Moresby Hall Hotel

Hotel Rebranding

Sharp Consultancy

B2B Social Media for recruitment

The Edit LDN

Managing advanced eCommerce SEO

Better Connect

Digital PR and video production for events

Tango Networks

Marketing support for a global telecoms business

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