In the world of online marketing, SEO has developed a terrible reputation. There is good reason for this. Alongside the hard working online marketers who thrive by working alongside their clients to create the right campaign for their business, there are also thousands of shady characters that are ready to ride in and scam businesses large and small out of massive amounts of money. These SEO Cowboys are tarnishing the good name of all other search marketers.
The question is, who are these Cowboys? Unfortunately, they can be hard to spot. It is unlikely that they ride a horse, there is little chance that they will announce themselves with the clinking of their spurs, and though they use black hat tactics to rob good honest companies of hard earned money, they seldom choose to advertise this. The whole business of being an SEO cowboy is to trick clients into believing that they are the good guys that will help you make the treacherous journey to the top of search rankings safely and in no time at all. The chances are, you won’t last long on the wagon train.
With businesses being hassled constantly by unsolicited emails and phone calls, it is important to determine what makes a good online marketer. So how can an SEO Cowboy be found? Even without a giveaway black ten gallon hat, it is simpler than you would think to separate the villains from the honest SEO guys. To find out if an SEO agency really know what they are doing, there are a few key things to consider.
- First of all, take a look at their website. What does the website look like, what is the website’s content like and more importantly, how are they ranked on Google? You should expect a good online marketer to practice what they preach on their own website. If they can’t do a decent job marketing themselves online, then how can you expect them to do a good job for you? If a potential SEO company approaches you and you can’t find their website, or it is dated and free of informative content, you would be wise to leave your cheque book in your wallet.
- Are they making unrealistic promises? Very often, if an SEO company is making a claim that seems too good to be true, that is because it is. As many businesses want instant results, SEO Cowboys often feed them what they want to hear, rather than telling them the truth. SEO is a time consuming process, and any company claiming that they will get you to the top of Google for numerous keywords overnight is likely to be using underhand tactics. Even though this may benefit you for a short time, it will do you considerable harm in the long run. Google is never fooled for long.
- It is a worrying sign if an Online Marketer trying to sell their services to you is not open about their strategies, or just bores you with jargon. If somebody claims that SEO is all a highly guarded secret, or talks at you, throwing big fancy buzz words in your face, there is a good chance that they aren’t entirely sure what they are talking about. Many Cowboys are great salesmen, but not so effective at SEO. It is also important to take note of what an SEO agency wants to know about you. A good online marketer should require as much information from you as possible about your products, services, competition, market and relevant keywords.
- Especially in the days since Google Penguin waddled into town, Social Media is an essential part of online marketing. Is your potential SEO company active on their social accounts? Do they use them correctly and effectively? If a suspected SEO Cowboy does not make regular posts, or if they don’t make relevant posts linking back to their website, they may not be too clued up on the latest Google algorithm changes and SEO techniques.
- Perhaps the most important thing to remember about SEO is that content is key. Google loves nothing more than content rich websites. Look at an SEO company’s content marketing efforts carefully to see the quality of their work. If an online marketing agency has a helpful website and a high quality blog on which they post great, informative and relevant articles on a regular basis, this is a very positive indicator that they know how to perform content marketing successfully.
Essentially, a good SEO company is an open company. Online marketers should be able to do for themselves what they claim to be able to do for you, and communicate with you on a regular basis so you both know what’s going on. For SEO to work successfully, it has to be a two way relationship, where the customer gets the same out of their online marketing consultant as they give to them.
Though many people have had negative experiences with the countless numbers of Cowboys marauding as online marketing experts, an SEO company can be a valuable addition to your business. Through honesty, communication, constant research and development, and most importantly, a cart load of hard work, the right company can help your business see excellent growth.
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your online marketing company? Well here’s a little taster based on some of the things we do on a typical day from our Birmingham SEO headquarters.
Firstly the day will start with a cup of tea – generally made by Claire because she is the most organised. Once the caffeine starts to tickle the taste buds we are ready to tackle a busy day ahead – because it is always a busy day if you are doing your online marketing effectively!
Monday mornings are the worst for most people which is why we like to treat our staff to a morning hoe-down as soon as they are awake. This does not mean that we do American style square dancing around the offices but more that we gather together to talk through the most important tasks for the week ahead to ensure everyone knows what they are doing who has responsibility for getting things done. Depending on what department you are in – sales, creative or technical – your day is going to be very different in terms of the work you do but will all be working towards the same goal – improving the online visibility of our clients.
Rather than bore you with the details let’s focus on the SEO team and what they get up to on a typical day…so without giving any trade secrets away they are skilled in creating content for clients’ sites, blogs, SEO, social media and SEO PR – in other words there is a lot of writing going on. It is this strength in online copywriting that we are truly proud of and what makes us such a special team – there is no outsourcing here – we just keep the staff chained to the desk all day and night (only joking…though there’s a thought…). Research also forms a big part of any day – finding newsworthy topics, identifying content is suitable for syndication, learning more about our customers so that we can be their social voice and generally keeping up with all that is new and upcoming in the big, bad world of SEO and online marketing. That’s something else we pride ourselves on – our ability and passion for R&D – without it we couldn’t keep up with new ideas, algorithm changes and the latest technology that keep us at the forefront of our industry.
Supporting clients is another vital part of the SEO’s day – helping customers to understand reporting so that they are getting all the information they need to develop their business, answering questions and providing training are just a few examples of how we provide support. The door is always open (apart from this week when it doesn’t work!) and we’re completely open and approachable in everything we do – I challenge anyone to find another SEO company in Birmingham or the UK for that matter who can provide the same honesty and integrity (ok so we’re probably not the only ones, but there’s nothing wrong in singing about your strengths).
Managing this business is stressful at times but then I wouldn’t have it any other way – working with a team of diverse, creative and enthusiastic staff makes coming to work each day something to look forward to and in an industry that never sleeps you can be assured that the next exciting thing is never far around the corner.
Tomorrow we will be dressing like pirates and eating cupcakes but that is all in another day at SEO it Right!
Posted by Frances Berry
From as far back as the early 2000’s, ever increasing lists of articles have been plastered all over the internet, making the bold, yet somewhat misguided statement that Search Engine Optimisation is in fact, dead. According to many more recent posts, the untimely fall of Search Engine Optimisation, (often known by its acronym, SEO) was due in significant part to the rise of the young upstart, Social Media. It is certainly true that social media continues to expand at a huge rate, and is becoming ever more important to businesses of all sizes, however, this does not mean that social media marketing has or will destroy SEO.
Each year, people spend increasingly larger amounts of time on the internet as it becomes more and more accessible through mobile web and applications. The continuing rise in popularity of social media can be directly linked to this. Users can access their social media accounts wherever they go due to the availability of mobile web, and it could be argued that this in turn has influenced more businesses to embrace social media marketing, as they can reach their target audience at all times.
It is true that although SEO has not died, it has changed over the years, and will continue to do so. As search engines have changed, SEO has in turn has had to adapt and evolve. Overlord of all that is search, Google, has continued to change its ranking tactics over time to reflect patterns of search. With the colossal rise of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and its own Google+, Google has changed the ranking weight of backlinks to have more emphasis towards social media.
Some may argue that Google Penguin, the latest change of search ranking strategies has helped to close the curtain firmly behind SEO, however, SEO can’t die. There is no ‘dead’ in the world of technology. There are merely continuous versions and incarnations. Rather than swinging its leg wildly at the bucket, SEO continues to evolve and adapt. Social media platforms do not challenge SEO; they influence it.
Though there will continue to be changes to search and social media, and other new technologies will continue to expand, Search Engine Optimisation will continue to thrive and transform. As long as there is Search, there will always be SEO, and there will always be search. People want to know more and more as fast as possible.
If you would like to learn more about Search Engine Optimisation, then feel free to visit www.seo-it-right.co.uk.
Is your SEO company in the top one million sites in the world? Majestic seo have produced a new tool and this is what they say:
Today we are proud to announce the Majestic Million. This is a new way to rank websites based on how other sites see them.
Majestic Million is useful as:
* An easy way to quickly assess the relative importance of a website
* An international metric, as we crawl from all over the world
* A sign of trust
* A way to see changing patterns over time.
See the position of SEO it Right below!! Not bad out of nearly 300 million websites worldwide!!
Posted by Frances Berry
The Prospect that you should have SEO on your site even before you develop it appears counter-intuitive, and in many different ways, it is. But, not entirely. I’ve been an SEO for over 4 years, and I still can’t get past the fact that optimisation continues to be the “after thought,” only entering play even after the site has been installed and operating for months or even years.
This mindset must change.
The achievements a website’s web marketing efforts can make or break many businesses. It no longer is practical to employ your SEO company only following a website has been developed. That’s like doing demographic research when you have already chosen your store’s location and invested thousands of money in putting together the shop.
Just like demographic research should be carried out to determine where and how a business sets up their brick and mortar store, SEO is needed before you start to program the first piece of code or design the first graphic for your website. The truth is, development and SEO are so completely intertwined which they both have to be considered together. Failure to do so frequently leads to expensive re-development costs as the SEO company requests changes that may have been done within the initial development stages.
I frequently get calls from businesses exploring Search Engine Optimization but would like to hold back until their site is fully developed and operational before they sign up with any particular SEO company. This tactic seems to make logical sense because business people often desire to make sure the web page looks and performs properly before dropping money into a long lasting commitment to an online marketing firm. But, SEO is just as much part of the business plan as the web development.
The web site marketing plan really should be one of the driving facets of web site development. But, unfortunately, many of the things connected to marketing are usually done wrong during the site development. That’s not saying developers don’t understand what they’re doing, quite contrary. Developers are usually great programmers, designers, and creators. They’re just generally not great optimizers. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s simply not what they specialize in.
Rolling out a web site that operates well below a it’s full performance capabilities isn’t only a waste of time, it’s a waste of money, even if you’re not quite ready to place the thing into high gear. It doesn’t make smart financial sense to develop an internet site that has got to be re-developed again when you get your SEO company involved. Nor can it make good sense to tie your SEO’s hands since you don’t wish to put money into site development again. Ultimately, this puts you in a lose/lose situation.
Posted by Frances Berry