SEO – It isn’t a dirty word
16th March 2022
I hope you are doing well?
I wanted to contact you to let you know that we searched for you in Google and found that you’re only visible in the SERPs 24% of the time. We can help you with the following things;
- We can get you ranking at the top of Google this week
- We have a list of directories to that you’re currently not on for immediate results and visibility
Money back guarantee!!!!!
We have received 3 emails to the same tune, this week alone, despite the fact that we are in fact a digital marketing agency ourselves, so I like to think we kinda have it covered. We are feeling pretty confident that if you are a small business owner, you too will have received something similar.
Such emails are one of the main reasons that the term SEO is not generally well received. Over the years it has been the victim of a cowboy takeover, a favourite feature in spam emails and banded around by the unscrupulous.
Sadly, as a team we are hearing it reported from more and more of you, that you have been left confused, burnt or outright ripped off by so called SEO agencies, and quite honestly, that really gets our goat. We have worked with clients, who before reaching our door, have wasted hundreds if not thousands of pounds on digital marketing that has provided little to no results.
Whether you are new to SEO, have had a negative experience with it in the past or are already in the hands of a supportive SEO, we thought it was about time to put the record straight and hopefully make the whole process feel a little less daunting.
Why should you care about SEO?
We care about SEO because it is authentic and nurturing marketing that offers a great return on investment. That is why it is so dang infuriating when it is not treated as such.
You should care about SEO as a forward thinking marketing plan, to keep you ahead of your competitors in what can otherwise be a turbulent market. It offers a consistent and tangible source of promotion and importantly sales.
Investing in search engine optimisation will see you climb the organic search rankings for your key services, meaning when a potential customer searches in Google or an alternative search engine for your services or products, your website will be shown in the organic listings – these appear below the paid adverts that frequent the top of the page. The coveted spot is of course number one, but you will see a notable change in customer enquiries as soon as you break onto the first page, especially the top half.
Of course there is also a place for paid advertising, we talk about that in our comparison between SEO and PPC blog if you are curious.
What is SEO great for?
- Offering long term stability
- Avoiding the bidding war culture of PPC
- Providing you with the lionshares of user clicks
- Creating authentic, organic listings that are trusted by users
- Increasing content giving you a chance to showcase your brand
- Continual user testing keeps your website converting
What will SEO not do?
- Give you results overnight
- Tell you that you look great in that new hat
Who can offer SEO
The truth is anyone can offer SEO, the process is not regulated or monitored, although Google do have some hold over what they consider acceptable. We will talk more about that in a mo.
It takes time to plan, action and monitor your site’s performance but with a little training, you can carry out SEO on your own site. Consider though, SEO is a fine art and when carried out correctly can bring huge sales rewards, that alone is why we would always suggest leaving it to the professionals to ensure you get the best from it.
One of the biggest and most costly mistakes that can be made is to fail to recognise that SEO is an evolving measure. User behaviour and buying techniques continually change in relation to the market, technologies, search engine algorithm changes and other factors so it is vital that your onsite SEO moves in line with this.
When it comes to choosing the right digital partner it is important to pick someone that supports your values, understands your goals and continually evaluates user behaviour.
There are lots of amazing SEO agencies out there, who pride themselves on creating strategies that offer a great return on investment and honest and transparent reporting. Alongside that however, as in many industries there are also those that will over promise and under deliver.
The key here is finding a team you can trust and can develop a long-term relationship with. Don’t rush your decision or be tempted to take shortcuts. Check out testimonials, ask for current client referrals and review case studies. A reputable digital agency or a trusted freelancer will be proud to show you their portfolio and for you to chat with their customers to get a vibe for their experience with you.
What’s all the talk about backlinks and directories?
Links and directory listings are often cited by cold calls and unwelcome emails as a selling point to their packages. It is true, outreach and connecting with others is an important part of any SEO strategy, a part of this is obtaining robust links that add value to your cause.
Listings on multiple faceless directories is never the way forward, and in fact is a quick way to receive a penalty in some cases. Any links obtained must be checked for their value against the costs required to acquire them. As with so much in this industry, the focus should be on quality over quantity.
A few years ago the internet was full of those carrying out unethical tactics in order to gain higher rankings, this is known as Black Hat SEO.
Such methods included keyword stuffing, which involves cramming your service and product names into hidden realms within your site, within image tags or repeating it over and over in your copy to gain attention from Google. Google has become wiser to these techniques and in addition to monitoring for such practices, also offers a webmasters guide to encourage a white hat approach. This can be a useful starting point for business owners, webmasters and marketing teams to check that there is nothing that could be considered as underhand happening on their site that is impacting on rankings or in the worst case scenario would lead to a penalty. Penalties from Google can cause your site to drop from the rankings overnight, if you have suffered a recent drop be sure to ask an expert to help get you back on track.
How to choose an SEO agency
In simple terms, if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.
In the first instance, find a team who has a culture that reflects your own values and approach. Another good signal that they know what they are doing, is to Google their services and see how they fare in the rankings!
Once you have found a potential match, don’t be shy! Get asking some questions! Here are our suggested starting points.
Can I speak to your existing clients?
Anyone that is proud of what they do will be proud to share details of their previous successes with you, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Find out what industries they work in
Whilst at first glance an SEO’er specialising in your industry may feel like a win, actually those working in a single sector can be a negative. Afterall, if they are marketing several of your competitors too, only one of you can ever reach number one. In addition, any insight surrounding your digital gains, will likely be shared with them too.
How long is your contract?
Be careful with fixed or long term contracts. There should be no need to sign up for a 12 month package in order to secure a great agency. Instead find a partner who will work on a 30 day term. We love working like this, as it keeps us on our toes to keep you happy. After all, you are free to leave at any time if we don’t deliver.
How quickly will I expect to see results with you?
Anyone that offers fixed dates for returns and overnight success is telling fibs. The fact is, when it comes to this area of digital marketing, it takes time and has so many variables that will affect your results.
How often will I get reports?
Reporting is simple. Thanks to analytics data, anyone with the right skills will be able to make sense of your results and explain them to you, alongside reporting on their recent work and the strategy plan going forward.
Do you outsource your SEO or development work?
This is an important one. We know that there are large corporations masquerading as SEO experts in Norwich and the surrounding areas, but actually they are outsourcing the elements elsewhere. If you are not working directly with the team that is carrying out your work then they can’t truly understand your goals. In addition, having a developer on-site will help to get your technical SEO developments carried out quickly and efficiently.
What will you be doing in the first three months?
If it’s listing you on as many sites as possible, back away.
What do you need to get started?
Any digital agency worth their salt will spend time to really get to know you and your business. They will work to create a strategy that suits your requirements and they should have a bumper list of questions for you.
If you would like to get started with SEO or would simply like to have some fresh eyes across your existing strategy, let us know. We’ve got you.
(P.S. We are happy to answer ALL of the questions!)