What Is a SEO Marketing Agency and What Does It Do

Nadica Naceva
Last Updated:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is to your online presence what a map is to a traveler. It helps guide traffic, bring visitors to your website, and increase visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

The importance of SEO is such that even during the Covid-19 pandemic when business activities were running low, corporate spending on SEO was around $46,650 million. Forecasts reveal that the figure is expected to be as high as $103,236 million in 2025. By 2030, the market will double in size. 

When combined with marketing, SEO becomes a powerful tool for businesses to create and maintain an online presence. In a 2023 survey, 4 out of 5 respondents said that SEO had a positive impact on their company's marketing performance. 

There are two ways to go about SEO marketing. Hire an in-house team for all your SEO efforts or outsource the work to an SEO marketing agency. The latter comes with many benefits, especially for small businesses and startups. 

But before you hire an SEO marketing agency, you should know what it is. What does such an agency do for you? Let's dive into the details and find out. 

What Is SEO Marketing?

SEO marketing is the process of optimizing your online content and website to increase visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). The "marketing" part refers to the use of promotional tactics and strategies to improve search engine rankings. 

Some common SEO marketing tactics include keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content creation. These tactics are designed to make your website more attractive to visitors. 

How Does SEO Marketing Work?

The normal trajectory for someone searching for information is as follows: go to a search engine, type in a query, and receive the most relevant results. The role of SEO marketing is to ensure that your website appears as one of these top results for relevant search queries.

There are over 200 factors that a search engine like Google takes into consideration when ranking websites. Here's a brief explanation of how this process goes: 

  • A search engine "crawler" or spider crawls your website. Crawling simply means browsing through your website. 

  • The search engine then indexes your content. Indexing means the content is now eligible to rank in search results. 

Where it ranks in search results will depend on its relevance to the search query and other factors. Ideally, your website should be set up to make it easy for search engines to understand your content and value.

Google, the leading search engine, confirms this as one of its spokesperson said, "...we should be able to crawl from one URL to any other URL on your website just by following the links on the page."

When you hire an SEO marketing agency, its job is to: 

  • Ensure your website can be crawled by search engines

  • Target relevant keywords and optimize content for them

  • Earn backlinks to your website from other authoritative sites 

  • Optimize on-site content and structure for better UX

  • Update SEO according to algorithm updates 

What Is an SEO Marketing Agency? 

An SEO marketing agency is a company that specializes in helping businesses improve their online visibility through search engine optimization. Typically, they include a blend of on-page, off-page, technical, and content optimization techniques for better search engine rankings. 

What Does an SEO Agency Do?

Overall, the job of an SEO agency is to improve a company website's visibility. However, there are several subtasks that fall under this umbrella term.

They may include: 

  • Keyword research 

  • Link building/acquisition 

  • SEO reporting and audits 

  • Content creation 

  • Technical SEO 

  • On-page SEO 

Keyword Research 

Keyword research means finding relevant key terms and phrases web users use to find information, products, or services in your industry. SEO agencies typically use various tools to identify the most valuable keywords for your business. 

One such tool is Ahrefs. You type in a keyword related to your business. Ahrefs’ keyword generator will give you a list of similar keywords along with their search volume, difficulty level, and other metrics. 

Ahref keyword research 
Ahref keyword research 

You might think, ''Well, I can do that myself.'' And you're right, you could. However, an SEO agency has the expertise to know which keywords will bring the most value to your business. They can also monitor and adjust keyword strategies as search trends change over time. 

Usually, they base the results on the following factors: 

  • Search Volume: It is the number of times a keyword is searched for in a specific timeframe. The higher the search volume, the more valuable the keyword is. 

  • Keyword Ranking: It indicates where the keyword ranks among other search results. 

  • Keyword Difficulty: It is the difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword. A higher difficulty score means it will be harder to rank for that keyword. 

Case Study: Minty Digital, an SEO and digital marketing agency, improved FOLCBD.com’s search engine ranking through keyword analysis. In their efforts to improve search rankings, the company undertook a thorough keyword research process. It involved analyzing current content, refining on-page SEO components like meta tags and headings, and strategically integrating keywords into the content itself.


Minty Digital keyword research case study 
Minty Digital keyword research case study 

The new keyword strategy also resulted in a 30% increase in organic traffic. Plus, it led to a 48% increase in the company’s top 10 keyword rankings. 

Minty Digital keyword research case study
Minty Digital keyword research case study

Link Building 

According to Google, links serve as invaluable tools for connecting users and search engines to various sections of your website or relevant pages on external sites. The majority of new pages discovered by Google are through links, highlighting their significance in aiding your pages' visibility in search results

Link building per Google 
Link building per Google 

Links also enhance your content by directing users (and Google) to additional resources that support the topic you're discussing. SEO marketing agencies use various strategies to build external and internal links. 

Some of these strategies include:

  • Guest Blogging: In this strategy, the agency creates content for another website that includes a link back to your site. 

  • Broken Link Building: Here, they identify broken links on other websites and offer alternative content (with links to your site) for those pages. 

  • Link Reclamation: It involves finding mentions of your brand or content without a link and requesting for one to be added. 

SEO agencies also create a link profile for your website. A link profile is an overview of all the links on your website. These encompass internal links (connecting pages within your site) and external links (links from other websites to yours). 

The agency also ensures your ‘’link text’’ or anchor text is relevant to the link. According to Google, using relevant anchor text aids search engines and users in understanding the content of the linked page even prior to clicking on the link.

Anchor text for links 
Anchor text for links 

Case Study: SureOak, an SEO marketing agency, crafted a link-building campaign for a student loan refinancing company, which resulted in a 288% increase in organic users, the number increasing from 3,363 to 13,031. Organic sessions also increased by 204%, reaching 13,297 from 4,373 in the past. 

SureOak case study 
SureOak case study 

Content Creation

SEO marketing agencies also create a host of content for your website, including but not limited to: 

  • Blog posts and articles 

  • Landing pages 

  • Meta descriptions 

  • Page titles 

  • Infographics 

  • Videos 

  • Ebooks and whitepapers

These pieces of content contain relevant keywords, internal and external links, and engaging information to attract and retain readers. 

Here's what the SEO marketing agency will do in all these tasks:

Blog Posts and Articles 

  • Creation of a content calendar outlining the topics, keywords and publishing dates for your blog posts 

  • A team of in-house or freelance writers and editors 

  • Addition of relevant keywords and visuals in the content 

  • Recommendation of the number of posts and their content 

Landing Pages 

  • Recommendations on the number of landing pages and their content 

  • Addition of visuals in the content 

  • Creation of clear call-to-actions (CTAs) for each landing page 

Visuals (Images and Videos) 

  • Selection of the right visuals to complement the text 

  • Optimization of images and videos for better load times 

Meta Descriptions and Page Titles

  • Creation of unique meta descriptions and page titles for each webpage on your site 

  • Addition of relevant keywords in the meta descriptions and page titles

Case Study: SureOak helped CellWaves, a telecommunications company, deal with their lack of high-conversion keyword visibility through a blend of content creation and link building. The SEO agency developed five targeted pages to attract high-converting traffic to the company’s website. Their strategy resulted in the company ranking on the first page of Google for relevant keywords. 

SureOak case study 
SureOak case study 

SEO Reporting 

A notable difference between in-house SEO and outsourcing to a marketing agency is the reporting structure. SEO agencies are huge on reporting and documentation. 

We're talking spreadsheets, decks, and so much more. 

The documentation is the paper trail of the success of your SEO campaign. It is essential for several reasons: 

  • Providing transparency between the agency and the client 

  • Tracking progress and results over time 

  • Allows for adjustments and improvements in strategy based on data analysis 

An SEO marketing agency will provide regular reports, typically monthly or quarterly, that include the following details. 


A roadmap is a high-level strategic plan with the goals and objectives for your SEO campaign. It highlights the timeline for different tasks and milestones, providing a clear direction for your SEO strategy. It may include: 

Monthly Reports 

An SEO report shows you the what and why of your SEO strategy's success. It shows you why the SEO agency did what they did, what their steps achieve, and what are the plans for the future. 

Monthly reports are usually common. Some agencies may do weekly reports for clients. They can include the following data: 

SEO Audits 

An SEO audit is like a financial audit, except that your website performance replaces the account books. It is a comprehensive review of your website to identify technical and SEO issues hindering your search engine rankings. An audit encompasses: 

  • Technical SEO analysis (website structure, mobile optimization, site speed) 

  • On-page SEO analysis (content relevancy, meta tags, internal linking, keyword usage)

  • Backlink analysis (quality and quantity of inbound links) 

  • Content analysis 

Technical SEO 

The ''technical'' part of SEO deals with the technical elements of your website. Some important elements are rendering, website architecture, crawling, and indexing. 

Technical SEO is important because it ensures your website is accessible to search engines. Here's how a search engine works: 

  • You post content on your website

  • Search engine bots/crawlers review your site's pages 

  • The search engine indexes these pages

  • The pages rank high if they meet the search engine's criteria

A technical SEO agency makes your website ''crawlable.'' It means that search engines can navigate through your website and access the content. 

The agency also creates an SEO-friendly site architecture. Basically, the architecture is how pages are organized on your website. For instance, there will be a category page for all your blog posts, a page for each individual blog post, and a main page that links to these posts. 

Site structure 
Site structure 

More importantly, the SEO agency will make your website mobile-friendly and responsive. Some strategies used by agencies for technical SEO include: 

  • Improving site speed by removing unnecessary code and scripts and using caching techniques to decrease load times

  • Making sure your website is secure by implementing HTTPS and fixing broken links or redirects

  • Generating an XML sitemap, a document that has all the pages present on your website and assists search engines like Google in crawling and indexing your site

Case Study: TuffGrowth, an SEO agency, helped starryai, an AI tool, get 50.7% non-branded organic traffic by improving their technical SEO, building programmatic pages, and designing new landing pages. Besides the traffic, the number of organic clicks also increased from 49,300 to 74,300 in a month. 

Starryai case study 
Starryai case study 

Local SEO

Local SEO refers to the SEO strategy in which a business attempts to become more visible in Google's local search results. It has to do with ''near me'' keywords. 

Suppose you want to look for a hair salon in your area. You would likely type ''hair salon near me'' into a search engine, and the local results that show up will be based on local SEO efforts

According to Google, these results ''are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.'' An SEO agency will ensure your business fares well in all these regards. It does so by: 

  • Entering complete data about your business on your Business Profile profile 

  • Verifying your location 

  • Entering accurate operational hours 

  • Responding to reviews and questions from customers 

  • Adding photos 

Case Study: Colorstone Marketing used local SEO to convert a local unknown company into a brand receiving over 400 calls per month. They did so with a combination of on-site audit, keyword research, competitor research, and backlink audit. 

Case Study: YashaaGlobal is another SEO agency that helped a local business in Jacksonville get an online presence. As a part of the SEO strategy, the agency targeted local keywords to improve the brand's local SEO and ranking. 

They also completed the company's business information on their Business Profile, published posts and images on the profile every week, responded to customer reviews, answered customer questions, and followed the Name Address Place (NAP) consistency rule. The result was a 375% increase in website visibility and a 450% increase in leads from local clients. Plus, the company ranked in top three on Google My Business rankings. 

Increase in number of leads with local SEO 
Increase in number of leads with local SEO 

Why Hire an SEO Marketing Agency 

A lot of businesses wonder if hiring an SEO marketing agency is really worth it. In most cases, the answer is yes. Here's why. 

Saves Time 

In any business, be it big or small, time is money. It's one of your most valuable resources. SEO is a time-consuming activity. It's not something you set once and then forget about. Instead, you need to constantly update and optimize your online presence to stay relevant. 

Hiring an SEO marketing agency saves you time because they take over the SEO tasks. So, you can use that saved time to focus on other business operations. 

Technical Knowledge 

SEO isn't a mono-dimensional field. It's a combination of various technical factors like website design, content optimization, backlinking strategies, project management, data analytics, keyword research, computer programming, and more. An SEO agency will have personnel for all these skills. 

Saves Money

You have two options. One, you can hire professionals for every skill we have mentioned above. Two, outsource SEO to an external agency. The latter is often a cheaper alternative. 

Better Results 

You can definitely hire an in-house SEO expert and hope for good results. But, an SEO agency has worked with multiple clients from different industries and has a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn't. 

They also have access to advanced tools and resources to drive better results for your business. 

How Much Does an SEO Marketing Agency Cost?

The cost of hiring an SEO marketing agency can vary depending on the scope of your SEO marketing project. Typically, there are three pricing models: 

  • Monthly Retainers:  It is the most common pricing model, where you pay a predetermined monthly fee for ongoing SEO services. The monthly cost can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. It depends on the agency and the services included. For instance, an agency may charge you $3,000 per month for on-page optimization and content creation.

For instance, WebFX charges its clients for a set number of deliverables every month. 

WebFx pricing 
WebFx pricing 
  • Project-Based: Sometimes, businesses may have a specific SEO project, such as website redesign, international expansion, or reputation management. In such cases, the agency will provide a fixed quote for the project.

PienetSEO charges based on six-month-long projects. The price depends on the number of deliverables and your business size. 

PienetSEO pricing 
PienetSEO pricing 
  • Hourly: If you only need occasional SEO support, some agencies may offer an hourly rate. However, this model can become expensive if the agency charges a high hourly fee or takes longer to achieve results. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of an SEO Marketing Agency

The cost of hiring a SEO marketing agency can be influenced by several factors. We can categorize them in two types: business-related and agency-related. 

Business-related factors include: 

  • Goals: What do you want to achieve with your SEO strategy? Each goal may require different approaches and resources, affecting the cost.

  • Timeline: The timeline for your project can impact the cost as well. For instance, if you need quick results, the agency may have to allocate more resources and work harder. That could cost you more money. 

  • Project Scope: The more extensive and complex the project, the higher the cost. For example, if you have a large website with multiple landing pages and need SEO services across various channels, you'll have to pay more. 

Agency-related costs are as follows: 

  • Payment Structure: As already discussed, agencies can charge based on different payment structures. The type of structure you choose affects the overall cost.

  • Experience: More experienced SEO marketing agencies usually tend to charge more. 

  • Location: Outsourcing SEO services in some areas are costlier than others. For instance, SEO services in the United States are more expensive than those in India.

  • Services Included: Some agencies offer additional services like content creation and social media management. These services can add to the cost but may also provide more value for your investment.


An SEO marketing agency takes over all tasks related to SEO, including the on-page, off-page, and technical sides. It also works on local SEO and builds links with other top-ranked sites. 

The agency's primary goal is to ensure your business appears high in search engine results. Ideally, you should outsource SEO to an agency if you don't have the know-how, time, resources, or expertise to manage SEO yourself. 

The cost of outsourcing depends on the tasks to be undertaken and the agency's reputation. Usually, it's more affordable than hiring an in-house team. 

About the Author
Nadica Naceva is a storyteller, reviewer and strategist with an instinct for blending the worlds of online advertising and content creation. She's been in the game for nearly a decade, navigating the currents of SEO optimization, content marketing, and the digital strategies. Her path has taken her through the dynamic terrains of digital marketing, including stints at SEO and web design agencies and finally settling down as Head of Content at Influencer Marketing Hub. Nadica's approach to content? It's all about depth and precision, favoring insightful, well-researched material over the superficial or overly automated. It's this mix of in-depth knowledge and down-to-earth style that really makes her stand out as a reviewer and a voice worth listening to in the digital marketing world.