search engine optimisation
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.
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.
For all those cynics who spend their time decrying the lack of jobs and saying that graduates have no prospects we have news for you….SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the place to be! This vibrant industry can offer IT graduates a place to develop the skills they have learned at University and use this as a foundation to build a career in the exciting world of internet marketing.
If you don’t believe me take a look at this video about our very own SEO it Right graduate Ridwan and listen to his thoughts on working in this industry:
Working with Birmingham based Graduate Advantage has enabled SEO it Right to develop a team of well rounded individuals who are looking to expand their knowledge in IT and in particular online marketing.
SEO is all around us – we all search online to investigate new products or services, make a purchase, read the news or catch up with our friends so the positioning of websites in the search results is something that affects everyone that ever uses a PC, laptop, smartphone or mobile device. There is no getting away from the fact that online advertising will continue to grow along with the associated services such as social media, combine this with the fact that we are all trying to keep up with what the search engines demand and you have a fantastic industry to be involved in.
Many branches of IT are in decline but SEO is very much on the up so if you like a challenge and want to learn new things within an industry that caters for the creative and technical mind – search no further than search engine optimisation.
Thanks to Graduate Advantage for making this video as part of a wider project to encourage young people that there are fantastic employment opportunities out there.
Posted by Frances Berry.