We now know that digital marketing is the ‘in-thing’. Allocating part of your advertising budget to marketing online is critical. But as many of you rush to pay for SEO services, we just wish you knew certain things. Of course quality SEO is always worth it. Search Engine Optimization can pay off immensely but only when done right and with some level of patience.
How we wish clients didn’t rush the search process or took time to understand some simple best practices that would lead to massive growth.
I’ve tried as much as possible to put all the little things we’ve experienced with different clients in detail to help you know what you paying for when it comes to search engine marketing. I really hope the information below helps…
Focus on consistent traffic increases
It takes a great deal of SEO work for your website to rank top for target keywords. A good search engine expert will have a process. Are they willing to tell you the places where they are getting the backlinks? Don’t get too excited when you see your website ranking top after a week of digital marketing without asking how they’ve done it.
It will be very unfortunate when the next algorithm update hits (which is anticipated to be sometime next year) only for you to be lost or even penalized because of poor search engine optimization strategies.
You should at least know whether the traffic is increasing consistently after hiring them. Many agencies, including ours still rely on link building.
Don’t force your online marketing agency to be too aggressive to give you overnight results.
You must understand that some backlinks can do more harm than good.
Many times we get pressured by clients who want to see their website rank first page after a week or two of SEO work. Truth be told, instant rankings are doable but NEVER SUSTAINABLE. The major downside is that, for you to get instant rankings, we’ll have to do a lot of spam link building (something my team and I detest completely).
The low quality backlinks that make your site rankings shoot up instantly can finish your website completely. So the next time an SEO agency is promising you instant results, run the other way.
Don’t trust every freelancer, some are great –others are terrible!
I personally respect freelancers because many of us, including myself, got to learn lots of internet marketing techniques from side gigs. But the thing with hiring a freelancer is that you’ve got to be extra careful. Some of them don’t have standard processes, professionalism or a clear approach of how they handle SEO work.
The freelancer (or even SEO agency) can get away with a lot if you are not keen on evaluating their SEO work. And because you’ll be giving this person access to your website, just choose a reputable you can trust.
We’ll need to access your website …..PLEASE
So you’ve decided you’ll try out this digital marketing thing. The next thing you know, the consultant wants your website’s username and password. We’ve had clients who are skeptical about giving their website credentials to internet marketing companies (especially the clients who have an IT department or specialist working for them).
To set things straight, most of the work done by search engine consultants is off-line. If there are website changes that need to be made, your search engine consultant will make it clear from the beginning. there are different ways to approach website changes. You may decide to connect the search engine professionals with your IT guy and let them communicate to ensure the changes are made. If you don’t have one, then give your internet marketing company access to your website for them to work on on-page SEO which is very critical especially during the initial stages.
To prevent data loss or security breach, you can ask the digital agency to document all the changes they’ve made on the site. Having to call your own developer or designer to make changes on behalf of the agency you’ve hired can lead to unnecessary delays. Don’t get stuck with a site that’s broken after changes were made by a freelancer or agency. Track changes on your own.
Best practices will generate long term growth in traffic
Google, among other search engines, have best practices, which are like rules that need to be followed. Your agency is not really forced to go by these golden rules but in case they don’t and the next algorithm update strikes, your site is at risk of being penalized.
So how will you know if an SEO agency follows best practices?
You’ve got to ask the right questions.
Ask about the strategies they will use to build quality backlinks that support your web pages. Remember no digital agency knows when the next Google algorithm will take place, the impact it will have and the penalties that will follow. Remember Google can always decide to trigger a manual penalty if your site is not following the best practices. It’s best to stay safe by doing the right thing.
It may take a while to achieve that top spot for a competitive keyword but always remember that years of following best practices (such as offering great content to web visitors) eventually pay off.
No one can guarantee a specific keyword ranking
So your agency promises the top spot and offers this as a guarantee. Is this even possible? Well it depends on the keyword you are targeting. Some keywords have little to no competition and hence ranking for them can be breeze.
But because most businesses are targeting the highly competitive keywords, don’t buy in the idea of guaranteed top rankings. Focus more on giving your customers value through content marketing.
SEO services should be combined with other marketing efforts
We’ve seen this time and time again. Clients who start paying for SEO services and forget about all the other marketing efforts. Search engine optimization will not achieve its full potential if done alone. The best way to grow your business online is to combine other forms of marketing with digital promotions and let them work together.
For instance, focus on strengthening your social presence, generate good content (images, videos, infographics) and share them in different platforms providing links to your site. Team up with a reliable content marketing company that you can trust to help you come up with amazing videos, infographics and articles. Have your website address on every banner, business card or brochure you give out to clients. All the other branches of marketing such as PPC, email marketing and content marketing have a part to play.
Don’t rule out other forms of marketing when you start paying for SEO.
You need a unique strategy for your industry
Whenever we get a new client, the first thing we always want to find out is what they do in order to better understand their niche or industry. We’ve had many clients who have very unique ideas and it’s impossible to put them in a particular industry or niche. That’s why we always customize our online marketing proposals.
Every good marketer knows the importance of adapting an SEO strategy to the needs of the industry.
So regardless of what service or product you offer, if you own a website make sure you give SEO a chance.
Share your goals with the SEO marketers
How will you know if what the agency is doing is successful? Have realistic and measurable goals and expectations and discuss them with your agency from the beginning.
Here’s what your set of goals should look like.
- You expect the X website to increase by Y% within the first Z months.
- You expect social traffic to increase by Y%
- You expect the bounce rate to reduce by Y%
- You expect keyword A to be on the first page within Z months.
When you have goals as specific as the ones outlined above, it’s easier to know whether the agency is succeeding or failing.
Good SEO services are never cheap
And finally, we’ve saved the best for last. Search Engine Optimization projects do require a lot of time and dedication. It can take a few months to see results but when it happens, you can add thousands to your bottom line.
If you are tempted to hire someone because their price seems lower than average market rates, think twice. But don’t choose a digital marketing agency because of price alone. Consider other things such as their list of satisfied customers and the reputation they have in the industry before seeking their SEO services.