Ever since 1995 Internet marketing and search engine optimization has dramatically grown and changed. This growth has manifested itself in the increasing number of businesses using their traditional marketing, pay per click marketing, and media buying budgets to invest in SEO services when they might have traditionally used it to finance other forms of advertising. With the levels of tools available to measure measure traffic and conversion rates while serving content specifically to a targeted user based on their behavior makes it an attractive prospect for businesses looking for another way of reaching their target demographic. As the search engines have grown, so has the marketplace and I see no reason why the industry will still not evolve. The question I ask to you is ” what should you expect from your SEO agency’s evolution”? Because quite honestly they need to.
Search Engine Optimization Expands
Rewind a few years ago and you can see how a standard search engine optimization campaign would largely consist of an expansive link building strategy, precise keyword research and solid on-page optimization. Let’s not fool ourselves, this today is still the staple of SEO and will be but, a whole host of new methods have been adopted by SEO agencies to give their campaigns more substance and bulk. Strategies that include content management and syndication, competitor research, keyword difficulty analysis, search vertical optimising (local, news, video, product, etc.) and perhaps most importantly social media outreach. These are the strategies that are spreading the boundaries of a traditional search engine marketing strategy and they are the ones that have the potential to yield the best results for clients. Is your SEO agency responsible for these new tactics? Have they try to introduce them to you as part of their on-going SEO strategy? Well they should have but to understand how these changes are affecting SEO agencies, it is worth understanding how these agencies are often structured.
The Structural Set Up Of A SEO Agency
Most SEO agencies have departments – Frank is the sales guy and John and Matt are the account managers. They are responsible for being the management for the agency and the client while establishing KPI’s and goals for the campaigns. Jim is the SEO Tech, Judy is the copywriter/link builder while Tony & Phillip are the programmers. While this departmentalization works well if you are going to use the agency specifically for one SEO service line such as link building, holistic SEO campaigns now require employees to have cross-over knowledge to reach the maximum potential for success. Let’s use a specific example. Google’s new “Freshness update” demands a website to produce high quality content regularly. It is now one of the most important aspects of a SEO campaign as it not only gets a website indexed more often, but it can often be used to develop brand awareness and to build an authoritative and diverse link profile for the website that in turn will help the overall organic placement of the site. We also know that this content has to reach the readers and spread throughout the appropriate online communities including social. We do this through good marketing towards various industry relevant blogs, forums and other social media channels – Judy’s (the copywriter) understanding how these blogs or articles will be marketed is essential in order for this content to be much more effective in an SEO campaign.
The Need For Multi Skilled SEO Personnel
Internal communication becomes paramount here as the increase in SEO techniques happen, clarity of internal communication is more important than ever and employees having a cross-over skillset can be hugely beneficial in SEO campaign management. Judy needs to be somewhat of an SEO tech or at least be trained on the basic principles of search engine optimization in order for her to truly be inline with her job duties and the overall performance of the agency. This may seem small and trivial but it really is not. This is a new responsibility for SEO and search marketing agencies as the evolution of the search engines and their more demanding requirements have to be met in order to achieve a high rankings. Will this change an entire SEO agency’s internal structure or blueprint to success? Of course not but it is worth asking your agency about and having them held accountable on focusing on some of the specific changes so that your SEO grows as the search engines do.
Are You A Web Marketer Or A Strategist”?
One of the biggest changes in the history of search engine optimization happened (and continues to evolve) last year called the Google Panda update – a change in the algorithm that has significantly altered modern SEO practices. The Panda update itself extremely complex yet in theory very simple. Bottom line – Google quality testers analysed a collection of websites they thought were of high quality, and a collection they thought were of low quality. Metrics of these websites are reviewed through means that Google has and we has humans do not and then the quality testers work is leveraged via Google’s algorithm which upgrades the sites that people thought were high quality and downgrading the sites that people thought were low quality. The reason this has affected traditional SEO so greatly is because it meant that producing good content, good accessibility and a strong link profile was no longer the high road to success to rank highly as this doesn’t necessarily equate to quality.
In the post-Panda world, these core SEO values still are the strong center of SEO but thought and strategy must be placed on design quality, improving all-round user experience and building a brand that people trust. Ask your SEO agency this – “Are you a web marketer or a strategist”?
What A Good SEO Firm Does
Good and forward thinking SEO agencies have been more than just “top of the funnel” thinkers for years. Good design, testing, website load times, and creating a positive user experience have been in their toolboxes for years. Has your agency talked to you about these things? Now, creating this positive user experience is a primary objective within an SEO strategy and will positively impact rankings. Search engine users crave this and SEO agencies need to embrace this as another step toward producing content-driven results that avoid the ad-heavy websites that marginalise user experience in favor of making a buck.
You as the client need to know that your SEO agency takes on this new responsibilities. It is no longer acceptable for a search engine marketing firm to just provide the basic SEO services like technically accurate content or to build a website that might be biased towards more frequent search engine indexing. But you as the client have the responsibility to hold your SEO agency accountable as well. You need them to be crafting intelligent, compelling, engaging content that visitors will want to share with their friends and need them to come up with the SEO strategy needed that will help your users deem your site as an authoritative website in your industry. Modern SEO is about creativity and striving for an innovative, professional end product that is optimised for search engine marketing and for user experience – observing how SEO develops from here will be fascinating.