Why Some “SEO” Agencies Are in For a Shock

What’s the problem?

Some of our so-called “competition” have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. Many clients are coming to us unhappy with their current SEO services, and rightly so. Many agencies are getting a rough idea about SEO then offering it as a service despite having no real understanding of it let alone experience. This is something which seems to gathering pace. With the concept of SEO being relatively new to most business owners and decision makers they don’t know what to look out for in order to ensure they end up with a decent company, which often they don’t.

With no real institution in place to regulate the industry (Yes we have Bruce Clays Code of Ethics, Google’s Guidelines and SEMPO but these don’t check up on people to ensure they’re competent enough to offer the service), and with SEO now being realized as extremely important we’re facing a situation where anyone and everyone who has something to do with the web in a business sense is claiming the ability to do amazing SEO.

Who are they?

It seems that often these are people and companies who have, until recently, been web designers. Now, as SEO practitioners will know, it’s helpful to know all about web design but you also need to know about marketing. This is the thing. We suddenly have all of these SEO’s popping up all over the place, web designers who have read up a bit about SEO and believe they’ve mastered it after fiddling around with Google’s keyword tool and then chucking some results into META tags. They’re completely ignoring the fact that SEO requires marketing experience too.

These companies then believe that they are able to offer SEO as a service, despite having no real idea of what it is. Companies who use them will expect results that they simply cannot provide. They will implement the little bits of knowledge they have obtained from reading Learn SEO in 24 Hours and a few blogs, and then as the months go by their clients will begin to complain, applying pressure to see results, results that aren’t coming. Once the “SEO takes time” excuse has been exhausted and our web design company has realized that this same thing is happening with a number of their clients, and they are going to have to disappoint all of them, they’re going to look and feel very bad indeed.

Why are they making this mistake?

On the surface SEO seems simple, once you learn the basics it’s easy to think that’s all there is to it and you’ve mastered it in no time… big mistake!

SEO is not as simple as it appears, if it was then there would be no need for SEO specialists like us, we’d just have any web designer implementing it into their web design services. Oh wait, they are doing that!

The problem is that when one begins to look into SEO as a practice, all they initially see is these “techniques” and anyone who can build websites can implement such techniques. I did the same thing. When I was studying at Southampton Solent University I did my final year project on SEO. I did loads of research, and loads of work. The project went on for many months in which I put in many hours per day into studying. By the time I had finished the project I was convinced that I knew all there was to know about SEO. I didn’t know squat, I just thought I did. When I look back now I realize how little I knew, and that had I been given the opportunity to offer my SEO skills to a client at that point I would have been confident in my ability to get them some great results.

Since that time I have learned and learned, through experience and study. Still now I can see that there still is, and always will be much more to learn and study.

When you scratch that simple surface of SEO, you start to see more, and then more, and more, and more. The further you dig down, the more you will see that you’re going to have to keep digging, deeper and deeper, and in many different directions. SEO, far from being that “simple” thing it comes across as, is a very complex process covering a very broad range. Unfortunately this fact is invisible until that simple surface is scratched.

The surface dwelling SEO companies out there, of which there are many, are in for a hell of a shock when they realize things weren’t as simple as they first thought, or just a lot of confusion as to why their “techniques” weren’t having the effect they had read they would.

In any case, eventually word will spread and business owners will know what to look out for and what to avoid (through costly experience for some) and there will come a time when SEO specialists will be recognized as just that, and not confused with web designers who happen to have learnt a little on the surface.

Regulation needed

There needs to be some kind of a badge that SEO’s wear to distinguish them from the amateurs, something that is acquired through testing and proof of knowledge.

Companies and individuals have a right to know if the agency they’re hiring have the ability to do the job, just like if you were hiring a car mechanic you’d want to know that he can actually fix your car, not just fiddle around underneath it and making excuses as to why it still doesn’t work, because he’s not really a car mechanic, he’s a baker!

Should You Use an SEO Agency for Your Business?

8 Benefits of Engaging SEO Agencies to Boost Your Online Presence!

Advertising has transformed to one of the most demanding and crucial aspects of having to run a business. This ultimately means that the overall success of your business is going to depend mainly on the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

Nowadays, online is where everyone’s at, which is also the reason why most businesses look to promote their products or services online. To do that, one needs to have a business website which will run their internet marketing campaign. With an abundance of spam links and countless other websites floating around in cyberspace, it’s easy for a business website to get lost or rank so low in the SERPs, that the chances of searchers to find the website are seriously diminished.

Since, paying a search engine to place your business website at the top of its list doesn’t come cheap, the next best thing one can do is to use search engine optimization or SEO techniques to increase the clicks to the website and help it work its way up the search engine’s results page.

Why You Should Hire a SEO Agency?

Optimizing a website for a search engine can be not only a tough, but also costly process, mainly because there is just too many business websites competing for the coveted number one spot on the page rank, by using the exact same keywords.

While businesses can opt to do their own SEO, hiring a SEO agency that has experienced search engine optimizers will no doubt, help businesses reap ROI in the long run. One of the best ways in which businesses can do that is by outsourcing their SEO needs to qualified SEO agencies.

The growing demand for SEO services has lead to a mushrooming of many a great number of SEO agencies fulfilling their business objective, which has lead many businesses seeking SEO services asking the question, “how do we find the best SEO service provider?”

Obviously, all those searching for SEO agencies will have to make their selection by passing SEO companies through careful and meticulous scrutiny, in order for them to get the best in search engine optimization for their business website.

Benefits of Using SEO

One of the most obvious advantages of using the services of SEO agencies is their ability to enhance the visibility of a business website, but that being said, business owners also raise concerns on affordability, which can only be analyzed when businesses know the benefits of using the services of SEO agencies. In more ways than one, the following are some of the benefits of using search engine optimization services, especially the right ones, which can allow businesses to enjoy the following advantages.

Target Traffic

While businesses embark on an SEO marketing campaign, they should realize that an entire marketing campaign can fall flat on its face if a business is unable to reach the masses, that is, their target audience. It doesn’t really matter whether your business website is attracting hundreds of clicks per day, if those visits are not from your intended target demographic, you will only be seeing them spending time on your website without actually buying anything, which is really the opposite of your marketing intentions.

Get a Well-Made Business Website

Even though, search engine optimization is necessary for businesses to compete with one another online, the importance of the website design cannot be undermined. While hiring the services of a good SEO agency can get you good marketing copy for your website and an effective use of the related keywords, having a brilliantly designed website will help a lot when it comes to attracting people and even the search engines to your website. This is true because search engines always take into account different aspects of usability and the overall layout of the business website.

Cost Effectiveness

The fact of the matter remains that while using radio and TV advertisements can be an effective means of marketing a business’s product or service, it still is very expensive, especially for start-up businesses. By taking their marketing needs online and hiring the services of an experienced SEO agency, a business is able to reach thousands, or even millions of people which they would have not been able to otherwise.

Using SEO Best Practices

Hiring an experienced SEO agency will allow you to get information on the various techniques they have adopted in their SEO tactics. Hiring a SEO agency that has been in the game for a while will also provide you with the added advantage of not having to worry about them using any SEO techniques while working on your business website.

Hiring experienced SEO experts will ensure that your website climbs the search engine ranks without using any illegal practices or short cuts that could produce short term spikes in the website’s ranking, but eventually lead to your website having to pay penalties.

Access to Latest SEO Techniques

Needless to say the field of SEO is constantly evolving, which means that it is important for businesses to stay abreast on all the latest SEO techniques that can help them stay in the game. That being said, businesses usually have little or no time to keep up with the latest developments in SEO techniques. However, an agency providing SEO services is all about being proactive in keeping up-to-date with the latest search engine news and changes in SEO techniques.

Cutting-Edge Tools

Keeping in mind the last point, SEO agencies are fluent in navigating through a wide range of online marketing tools that helps increase the value of your marketing strategy. Whether it’s using web analytics for carrying out research or conversion tools that monitor and report the usage of important keywords, SEO agencies know how and where to get the information they need to save time and reduce your in-house cost.

Comprehensive SEO Knowledge

As mentioned earlier, SEO agencies are usually the most qualified in dealing with various verticals of online marketing, mainly due to the nature of their work. Therefore, an SEO agency is able to solve a multitude of problems which a business simply cannot handle by itself. An SEO agency can work together with a business to provide an added perspective, when it comes to understanding and developing marketing strategies for different sectors and various types of business websites.

Bottom Line

Lastly, search engines like Google realize all too well that websites that don’t add value to a searcher’s experience on the internet are not worth a mention in their index. Furthermore, in some cases Google might also decide to drop your website from the SERPs altogether if you’ve used spam to get a higher page ranking.

How to Choose an SEO Agency

When trying to find an SEO agency it can be very difficult to establish a list of criteria especially when you don’t understand the SEO process. Almost every SEO consumer would expect a good SEO agency to appear in the top of the major search engines for all their relevant key phrases. Although this concept seems very logical it doesn’t necessarily reflect upon the other agencies which aren’t. There are literally thousands of SEO companies out there and with a relatively small number of positions on the first page, it’s impossible for all the agencies to prove their value by being on the first page. It’s only when you start to break down the current high performing SEO agencies that you start to develop a better understanding as to why they are there and most importantly why you should not use them. There are endless checks you can do on an SEO company but I would strongly urge anyone to carry out the ones listed below followed by any further checks you believe to be suitable.

Search their company name

Searching their company name will inevitably bring up their directory listings, article submissions and social networking pages but if the company is relatively large, there will be some feedback somewhere. It’s highly likely if someone has had a good or bad experience with an SEO company, they would have mentioned it on a webmaster forum or a blog. It’s very important not to take these reviews at face value because some unethical SEO agencies promote their services this way, if it’s a forum look at their post count, join date and response from other forum users.

Look at their portfolio

If an SEO agency is good at what they do there will be an endless supply of testimonials, don’t be afraid to ask the agency for previous examples of their work. If an SEO company advertises a large amount of clients but yet only displays a set few of testimonials, ask them why or even better ask the owners of these websites. Webmasters are more inclined to tell you what’s not working or hasn’t worked as opposed to what’s working well.

Check their back links

A large proportion of online marketing is back linking and there are endless amounts of free tools to check the back links of a particular website. The quality of the websites linking to this SEO Company will reflect upon the ethical standard of their work. If you find an agency to have a vast amount of back links from websites you would consider as being spam it is highly likely this is the approach they will take to marketing your website which is against all major search engine guidelines.

It’s very important to know how an SEO company will work on your website, if at some point you believe you are being blinded by technical jargon or if you feel as if the company is not being completely honest it’s highly likely the agency is working unethically or in SEO terms using Black Hat SEO. If at any point you discover Black Hat SEO I would strongly urge you to leave that SEO company.

Finding A Good SEO Agency

Well done search engine optimisation, often called SEO for short, is designed to allow websites to show up in search results when people search for products and services rather than simply company names. The idea is that people looking for things online are able to find a business website without any prior knowledge of the business or its name. There are all manner of tricks and techniques which fall under SEO, but the good sustainable methods (also sometimes called “white hat SEO”) are based around the idea of making your website easier for search engine to read and understand, meaning they rank you higher in searches for appropriately relevant terms.

It is not uncommon to decide to outsource SEO to external marketing agencies and other companies, but there are far too many dodgy types out there who like to take companies seeking SEO – especially local and small businesses – for a very expensive ride. How then does one actually go about finding a good, honest and legitimate search engine marketer?

It is actually incredibly easy to find a decent SEO agency online. Go to a search engine like Google or Bing and type in “SEO agency.” Ignoring the paid ads at the top, whichever firm has landed at the top of the search results are what you want – they must be pretty good at SEO or their own website wouldn’t be so high in the natural listings!

To narrow things down a bit, you could try extending your search. Say you live in Essex and want a local agency – just type in “SEO agency Essex.” Or if your website is specialised and you want particular help with it you can add your industry or site type – “SEO tourism” or “SEO eCommerce” for example. This can be a great way to find niche SEO agencies who have specialist expertise in your field.

Sometimes SEO agencies (or at least people claiming to be SEO agencies) try to solicit companies by sending them emails or submitting contact forms with various enticements and offers. However if you see something like this come in then it is best to ignore it – if a company which supposedly specialises in search engine optimisation is reduced to spamming inboxes to get business rather than, say, doing SEO so their own website ranks highly and people can find them anyway, chances are they aren’t very good. The same is true of SEO services advertised on paid ads at the top of search engines or on banner ads on other websites. If their search marketing is any good, why are they having to pay for their placements?

Another thing to bear in mind is to steer well clear of any SEO agency that promises you “top position for x keywords” or something similar. Nearly all modern search engines used personalised searching, meaning that everyone sees websites in slightly different ranking positions depending on their personal search history. Absolute rankings are a thing of the past, any anyone claiming to deliver this kind of service is lying through their teeth. Modern SEO will use sustainable “white hat” techniques in order to bring useful traffic to your website, not use exploits and dodgy tricks, which will constantly get them slapped by search engine updates like Google’s infamous Panda and Penguin algorithm changes.

Once you’ve found an SEO company that looks mostly all right you’ll need to ask them some questions before you leap into their services. As well as the usual checks like existing client list and testimonials, it is a good idea to speak to someone directly on the phone or in person. Here are some good questions to ask them.

Who does their search marketing work? Is it handled by in-house staff? Do they do any outsourcing, especially to foreign companies? A lot of agencies outsource to cheap link builders in Asia who tend to produce very low quality work that can have a negative impact on websites in the medium to long term.
How often do they report, and what format do these reports take? Any professional SEO agency should be providing regular updates to all its clients, along with written reports detailing actions taken and progress made.
What kind of skills and qualifications do they have? Take a look at their existing client lists for any recognisable big names, and see if they have anyone who is Analytics qualified. Some companies even use quality standards like ISO 9001 which is an excellent sign.
What else do they do? A lot of these companies are primarily website designers who are resellers for outsourced SEO services to boost their profits. It is better to look for an online marketing specialist to ensure you get a good quality service.

If you don’t have the money to hire a professional SEO agency there are other options available. Some companies will let you pay for a one off website review to make recommendations on how to improve your site from a search marketing perspective, or you could research current techniques and ideas to do SEO for yourself.

Many online marketing methods are in fact startlingly simple. Boost your domain authority by getting other relevant sites to link back to yours. Get a backlinks boost as well as general marketing benefit by using social media like Facebook. Keep your website full of regularly updated and good quality content to encourage people to link to you as well as grow the site’s visibility and importance. Use a good, solid SEO plugin for your content management system, and make sure your website’s code is error free.

Remember you’ll get a natural boost from modern search engines if your website is

Well designed, easy to use and nice to look at
Full of good, up to date and useful content designed for real people, not search engine robots
Free of errors, fast loading and devoid of spammy ads or buggy code

Things a Reliable SEO Agency Can Do for Their Customers

What an SEO Agency can do for you.

The days when you could find shortcuts to rank your site have become history. Today, things have changed a lot, all thanks to the new Google algorithmic updates. It’s no longer possible to create keyword-rich content and have it do well in search engines. It is of immense importance to proceed strategically, and that’s why it makes a lot of sense to work with a professional SEO agency in your local area.

Here are the reasons why these reliable companies perform better:

They Start with a Competitive SEO Analysis

Know what your competitors are doing these days to secure the top rankings. You have to develop a strategy while considering the current marketing strategy of your competitors in your mind. The competitive SEO analysis is the key here, and only a top SEO agency is in a position to analyze your competitors for what they are ranking for and what methods they are using.

A reliable SEO agency can always handle it better because they pay attention to several things. They start by identifying your competitors, which is an obvious thing to do actually. The real professionals will use competitive analysis tools to dig deeper. It means they will find how many sites or pages are ranking well for your selected primary keyword.

The professional agencies are also going to check the real authority of your competitor sites. For this, they use several tools and consider specific factors such as the age of a domain as well as the number of unique linking root domains. Finally, they will compare your website and determine exactly where you stand as compared to your competition. This helps them define a perfect strategy that impresses Google and outsmarts your competition.

They Optimize Technical SEO Elements

No matter how good you think you are, it is hard to compete with a true professional when it comes to optimizing technical SEO elements. There are strategies, but it is hard to find a set rule to win the SEO game, especially amidst of ever-changing search algorithms. The professional SEO agencies will always spend some time making sure the structure of your site is appropriate, and it comes with a good URL, effective sitemap, and optimized images. It is equally important to consider the usage of Meta tags and find the best anchor text for your web pages.

The fact of the matter is that SEO is very much alive even after the latest Google updates, but it requires a proper strategy and serious effort to rank your site high in the search engine results pages. It is now important than ever to optimize your website using the right on-page and off-page strategies. You cannot win the race with wrongly selected keywords, and of course, no one is going to get a good user experience reading keyword-rich content, which you have designed primarily for search engines. Your marketing efforts now have to be for humans, not just for search bots. With the whole process getting complex and tricky, it makes sense to take your time and find the most reliable and experienced SEO agency in your local area to move up the ranking ladder.