In the current digital age where more and more business owners understand the benefits of SEO, it is astounding to see that many of these companies are making basic errors when it comes to their online strategy. The potential benefits of SEO for any company with a website are plain to see. It presents an opportunity for companies to engage in a highly targeted and specific form of marketing, which can result in more traffic and an increased conversion rate through a website. However, get it wrong and bad SEO can have quite the opposite effect. In fact, poorly thought out (and executed) search engine optimisation can actually result in a website being de-indexed from the search engine results pages (SERP’s) thus making it incredibly hard for potential buyers to locate your site. So what steps can you take to ensure that you do not fall foul of these common mistakes?
Unfortunately for the SEO industry there is a significant stigma attached to it due to the amount of companies that do a poor job for their clients. Having said that, much of this article is actually going to focus on how it is the responsibility of the client to keep a close rein on their respective SEO’s. Thus, when you are looking to make a decision to hire a company to take charge of an SEO campaign it is incredibly important to ask for references…..and check them. As with any industry, a reputable company will be more than happy to open their books in order to prove that what they have stated in their pitch to you is true. If a company refuses to give references – or if the references seem indifferent to the work that has been conducted on their account, then for obvious reasons it is advisable to look elsewhere.
Ignorance is NOT bliss.
It amazes me how many times I have come across business owners who know nothing about SEO and are happy to pay sometimes thousands of pounds a month to someone to do it for them. There is no shame in having limited knowledge on a subject – after all that is why companies outsource this type of service to specialist companies. However, not knowing anything about the service that you are paying for leaves you exposed for those willing to take advantage. Clearly not all SEO companies are evil bond villains, quite the opposite – but the issue is that not knowing anything about the subject makes you an easy target. So read a book, research online and learn the basic principles of search engine optimisation. It is not something that Google tries to hide, in fact far from it. All of the rules are clearly set out and easily accessible. If you do not fancy reading then book yourself (or your marketing manager) onto an SEO training course, there are companies like www.seocoursesandtraining.co.uk in London that are there to help you avoid getting scammed. Knowledge is power, so equip yourself with basic levels of information on SEO so that you can ask the right questions about how your campaign is going, what the plan is, and you will also be able to identify very quickly when your SEO is not doing their job correctly!
Search Engine Optimisation is a relatively slow process. It can take months for companies to climb up the rankings, and the intermittent months between employing an agency and seeing results can be a very tense time. Good companies will provide regular reporting on the work that has been done,ranking reports, and a plan for the coming months. Not only will these reports help to alleviate any fears and also give a clear understanding of the strategy moving forward, but will also (combined with some knowledge on the subject) allow you to spot very early on whether the amount of work being done is actually worth the price you are paying! So demand reports, and be analytical of the work that has been done – cross referencing it with the Google Webmaster guidelines.
Too many companies simply want to pay someone to do the work and know nothing about it. The points listed above will inevitably create more work for whoever is in charge of inbound marketing, but not as much as doing it yourself. This extra workload should be embraced because safeguards the company against losing money paying for SEO month and month and not seeing results. Arm yourself with this knowledge and reap the rewards of a slick SEO campaign!
The musings of Dan Millington, trainer at an SEO and Social Media consultancy based in London SEO Courses And Training