An SEO company should obviously have a solid grasp on basic web design and content creation. Those are the main features of your website that will help search engines to recognize it as a high-quality, authoritative source on topics related to certain keywords. But of course, the work of an SEO company goes far beyond these features, and beyond the individual website as a whole.

While selecting good keywords and distributing them strategically around your site is an important first phase of your SEO campaign, the effects of that campaign will quickly stall out if you’re not driving new users to the site. In order to do that, your SEO company will have to start looking for the relationships your site can develop across the web.

So in addition to understanding design and content, the staff or an SEO company needs to be well acquainted with the overall landscape of the internet. It helps if that company has experience dealing with clients in fields that are closely related to yours, since that will probably help them to put you in touch with third-party sites that have proven helpful in the past.

Among these third-party sites are online directories, which are probably more numerous and also more useful than you realize. Some of these, like the ever-familiar Yelp and Trip Advisor, are just general listings of businesses within any number of categories and geographic areas. But there are also extremely niche directories which fly somewhat under the radar. These may not be hugely well-trafficked, but the traffic they do get will probably be highly relevant to the audience you’re trying to capture.

If your SEO company has done its research, it should be ready to get your site connected to these directories as soon as your campaign launches. And from there it can get started on the hard work of building organic links via social media, blogs, news sites, and so on. When your business is mentioned in any of these places, it may drive additional traffic both two and from your website and your directory listings, thereby making you part of a far-reaching network.

This is a goal that your SEO company should be focused on from the beginning. This is partly because that sort of integration is a sign of sustained traffic patterns. But it’s also because a wide range of active links show the search engines that your site is relevant both to its overall topic area and to the current interests of people who are searching for that topic.

These benefits will start to disappear as soon as links go dead, and your upward progress will fade when new links stop being created. This goes to show that the work of an SEO company is virtually never-ending. Even when it isn’t creating new connections on behalf of your site, it should be monitoring the old ones for activity and either reinvigorating them or cutting them out whenever they stop being an asset to your campaign.