Which SEO services can comfortably stand alone?

There’s a lot of talk of SEO being dead, which is partly because there’s so much overlap with other areas that it’s easier to kill it instead of fitting it in. But there are still quite a few actions that remain firmly in the SEO toolset without too much confusion.

Here are some of the SEO services that we offer that have little overlap with content marketing, social media marketing or any other form of marketing for that matter. If you were put on the spot and asked to define what SEO is, then you could always draw these out of the hat.

1. Page Titles and Descriptions

Writing good page titles and descriptions is hardly a fancy idea but then it doesn’t need to be when it’s one of the most effective and underrated SEO actions that there is.

Page titles are one of the most powerful on-page elements that search engines consider when ranking pages and writing a good, attractive meta description – in combination with a decent page title – is a great way to get more traffic from search. Especially when the majority of titles and descriptions are so bad.

There’s little or no overlap with this task, standard page titles and descriptions aren’t intimately involved with areas like social media marketing and they need keyword expertise to form properly.

Tip:

Avoid repetition of search terms in page titles – it’s not that effective and this repetition is also off-putting to viewers. Create a natural sentence that includes key search terms instead.

2. Site Migrations

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Migrating a site to another domain will involve web developers in some shape or form but when it comes to the search marketing part – the preservation of page authority and making sure a site’s not going to drop into the second page abyss – then there are definite SEO tasks to be defined and carried out. Mainly:

  • Legacy site crawling
  • Redirect mapping
  • Internal link mapping and changing
  • Identifying and changing valuable external links
  • Rank tracking
  • Site monitoring before and after (e.g. to spot 404s)
  • Informing Google about new URLs and site changes

Theoretically web developers could do some or all of the above but in practice there’s usually a line drawn between them and SEO because SEO expertise is needed for most of these tasks.

Tip:

Many site migrations are often left incomplete – with too many redirects in place because internal and external links aren’t changed to point directly at new pages. This damages site performance so internal links and valuable external links are best pointed at the new destination instead of the old.

3. Technical SEO Site Auditing

Going through a site to identify a site’s problems and barriers towards better search engine rankings is a pretty clear SEO task.

It’s less clear what exactly should be covered in these documents, reports or presentations. Reef recommends separating the technical, practical side of things as part of a technical SEO document and then including some wider recommendations separately: things can get very messy with too much about content and social media marketing in there – especially if you’re working as part of a big agency with people (or even another agency) already handling this stuff.

Tip: 

When it comes to writing up a site audit, keep it fairly short and simple – especially when it comes to jargon. Clients hate documents that resemble classical epics and contain the same kind of weird language.

4. SEO Content Editing / Writing

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By SEO content we don’t mean writing extremely threadbare copy about a given topic and adding so many keywords that it’s difficult to work out if you’re reading a webpage or an angry rant in a foreign language.

Writing SEO content should be about adding a sufficient, non-detracting number of keywords to content that is of an already high quality.

There are a lot of people out there who understand how SEO works and can also write good copy so if you’re working with such a person then this is something that be done in its entirety by he or she. And in more complicated situations, this is something that someone in the SEO team can do without overlap – building on copy that’s provided from an expert elsewhere.

Tip:

Keywords aren’t so important on pages anymore, length quality and detail are. Keywords can be useful, though, but start with the quality principle and then add some supporting keywords.

5. SEO Monitoring & Reporting

There are difficulties in SEO reporting: personalisation for one and there’s the broader issue of whether reporting on the midpoint of rankings is short-sighted. But most clients require some sort of report on SEO performance and that responsibility lies firmly within SEO – even though there might be some collaboration with other teams to create a fuller report that includes other mediums like PPC.

Tip:

Avoid the paradox of spending too much time to get the results that the reports report on and then getting bad results for the reports. We try to automate reporting as much as possible – most SEO services, like Moz and AWR for example provide some form of automated reporting and there are some specialised services too, like Trackpal, that can be used to create more tailored reports.

6. Link Disavowal

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Since Google started punishing sites for having manipulative backlink profiles and allowing webmasters to disavow associations with these damaging links, the process of link disavowal has become critical to anyone trying to restore a site that has been penalized.

There’s little or no overlap here, this is best done on the SEO side.

Tip:

Some of the automated tools used to disavow links, even from the big players, can be pretty unreliable and inconsistent. It’s usually better to start with these tools to get as much done as possible and then improve on the automated work by going through the data manually.

That’s just a few although there are quite a few more that we didn’t have space to include. Any other services that can be easily defined as SEO?

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