It’s often when a small business has a quieter than average month, when the business owner(s) start to rack their brains as to how to drum up business.
Loads of ideas may spring from seemingly nowhere, such as shall we attend that business exhibition that’s going to take place around the corner in a few days?
Yet, through your grapevine of business contacts, you may have heard that SEO is now the way to go.
However, this form of advertising is very different from other forms of marketing. That’s to say you can’t just plonk a large budget with an seo agency, and then expect the volume of sales via organic seo to soar (that’s despite what some agencies may tell you).
So, a word to the wise, if your thinking of investing in organic seo, well we would recommend sticking the kettle on, and have a read of this rather informative article before you do.
#1 You can only beat your competitors once your stronger than them
This is a fact that some seo companies neglect to divulge in an initial sales meeting.
That’s to say, eager to get your signature onto a contract, often some agencies will sell the illusion that results will occur over night. That’s while neglecting to inform how the algorithm actually works, and how results can be achieved.
So, in short, each website is evaluated by an algorithm, now if you want to optimise your website for Google, well there are over 200 “ranking signals” that are taken into consideration by the algorithms.
In short, backlinks, meta titles and content marketing are just some of the ranking signals that are weighed-up when determining how strong your website is.
Now here’s the heart of the matter, you can only overtake a competitor when your websites ranking signals are deemed stronger.
So, with this in mind, you have to be realistic that if a competitor has been investing in seo for some time, well you have to ask how realistic would it be to push them out of the way in the first month of your business investing?
Not very is the answer, so if you do sit down with an seo agency and they are laying all the cards on the table, by stating how strong the competition is from the outset, well this normally a good sign.
#2 SEO is not created equal
If your buying a new car, well its easy to shop around dealerships for the best deal. After all, one model car is the same as another, that’s if the spec is the same.
Well, this can’t be said about seo, the main reason being is that what one seo agency offers is normally quite different from what another agency offers.
One agency may well be adamant that backlinks are the way to go right from the get-go, yet another may say that the website requires more onsite seo. Who’s right, and who is wrong is open to interpretation, yet one thing is for sure, white hat seo is a must.
#3 Go cheap and it will cost you
You may now be at the stage where you are resolute that your business requires SEO. It’s at this stage you start to search for local businesses that offer seo services.
Normally there will be the agencies that are well-regarded, and offer white hat seo services.
On the other side of the equation will be those agencies that compete solely on price, and may offer deals that are often substantially cheaper than most other quotes.
Getting a good deal is one thing, yet if the agency does cut corners, and by this we mean using low quality seo, well this can cost a business later on down the line.
The reason being is some agencies try and fool the algorithms into thinking a website is more important than what it actually is. Often this is achieved through backlinks, yet one thing is for sure low quality seo will result in a penalty.
A penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty can sometimes be costly to recover from and mean that a website will see its rankings drop, or the website removed from a search engine all together.
#4 Will targeting these keywords really help your business?
Sometimes an agency that’s eager to secure business will state that they guarantee for a website to get onto a first page in a set timeframe.
Yet, as most agencies will tell you, guaranteeing results when the agency doesn’t know if a competitor will step-up seo activity at any time is somewhat of a risk.
As you can imagine, a business that’s used to occupying the top spot on Google will often fight to retain that position.
That is why an agency should use every portion of the monthly budget to leverage as much advantage as they can for their client.
Yet, an agency that’s sometimes eager to show results, will sometimes get a business to rank on the first page for terms which may not help their client.
For example, the business in question may well be a dental practice, so normally such a business would want to rank for the important terms, such as “dentist + area name”.
Yet, instead the agency may get the business to rank on the first page for “dentists that have good reviews within my area and are also cheap”.
Not many people, if any at all, will make such a search on Google, so in a nutshell it’s a pretty useless seo tactic, yet one that is sometimes used.
#5 we will pay you, that’s when I see results
Most leading agencies do not obtain payment when results are obtained, and that is with good reason.
The reason is that most businesses appreciate that in order to beat the competition, a benchmark has to be exceeded.
And for highly competitive industries, such car insurance for example the benchmark will be set high.
Meaning large amounts of quality backlinks, and countless articles will need to be written to attempt to exceed the standard set by one or many competitors.
With this in mind, its impractical for any agency to implement ongoing work without a payment.
Yet, once again some agencies do promise such results. Yet, what can sometimes happen, is some agencies may be confident that they will obtain results because they are cutting corners.
This means that some agencies will cut corners by fooling the algorithms, which will sometimes produce short term results (not advised, only use white hat methods).
Those results are often short-lived, that’s until the algorithm detects spam, and detects low quality seo methods being used. Which at this point a penalty is normally applied, and this can mean that the website will either be removed, or drop down the rankings to point that it will have no visitors at all.
So, this is why we will only use white hat methods here at our agency, we would also advice that all businesses only use white hat methods.
#6 Don’t be impressed by endless lists
So, you now have several quotes from a bunch of seo agencies in your inbox. Yet, now you’re in a bit of a dilemma, that’s because nearly all of these quotes are pretty much the same, that’s in terms of price.
So naturally the next logical step would be to ask these agencies what you will be obtaining for your money.
It’s at this point that some agencies believe that by listing endless lists of marketing jargon, that they will appear to offer better value for money.
When in reality this should send alarm bells ringing, and that’s because you should partner with an agency that explains things in a crystal-clear manner.
There’s no point in opting for an agency that is making out that they are the seo guru’s, and bombard you with endless marketing jargon.
#7 Can back-up what they advise with logic
There are so many businesses that have differing views of how seo should be implemented, and that is understandable, as some agencies are more effective than some others.
Yet, what we believe a business should fear is a marketing agency that just follows the latest craze or shortcut.
Instead some of the best agencies in the whole world understand white hat seo, know which methods are the best, and therefore take a long-term view.
That’s to say, such businesses don’t look for quick-wins, they instead build quality seo strategies that aim to adhere to the highest white hat standards.
We are such an agency, and we use our years of seo wisdom in order to implement our marketing strategies.
Marketing agencies that are looking to cut corners, and get a business to rank high for days, without considering if the website will get hit by a penalty, is a company in our opinion operating without logic.