Digital Marketing encompasses SEO, PPC Paid Ads, Social Media and web design factors. Basically anything that is used to promote your business electronically (digitally).
Often SEO is the first thing a company thinks of when they enter into the digital space. So we will mainly focus on that.
Specifically we want to shed some light on why it seems that SEO is so complicated when it doesn’t need to be! Hopefully this will then make your task of picking a good SEO provider a little bit simpler.
1. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google
It is true that sometimes (often) people expect very unrealistic results from SEO, and they expect them in a very short span of time.
To a large degree that perception is because of the (many) fraud SEO companies that claim to get you a number 1 rankings in just 15 days! It’s easy to fall into this honey trap if you don’t know about SEO. I mean it sounds good.. right?
Google themselves warns about these types of offers here (quote)
“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google….”
How many phone calls and emails do you get daily which promise this? As a Digital Marketing Agency we even get them – which is somewhat ironic!!
Google clearly says it isn’t possible!! So who are they trying to kid….
2. Know what Google is actually looking for
You don’t have to know the technical details but having an idea of what it is that Google looks for will absolutely help you. Google even went to the trouble of making a video video about it…
They clearly state that SEO is a long game. If you check out the video referenced above you will see they recommend 4 – 12 months for SEO. (Not results in 15 days!)
3. Also know that not everything Google says is true/ accurate/complete
Let’s not be naive here – Google make a great deal of money from their Google Ads service. ( Adwords is actually a great service and often fits in alongside an SEO strategy very nicely. )
But Digital Marketing Agencies don’t pay a commission or tithe to them, so they make nothing from them.
And site owners don’t pay Google for the traffic they get by being highly ranked in the search engine results. So they make nothing from them either.
So it’s not really in their (financial) interest to tell us everything we need to know in order to rank our websites in their organic listings is it! They would much rather you bought their ad services.
Google do not reveal all the factors that they look at when deciding how and where to rank a website. No-one outside of Google actually knows 100% what they look for! Plus they change and tweak these factors a lot!
In any field where there is a lack of factual data, people will inject opinion or rumour or just plain make things up and swear it is true! This is what makes the world of SEO seem confusion and often contradictory and, quite frankly, a bit dodgy at times. Arbitrary “facts” and extraordinary claims can be made with no need to prove them.
However realise that the better quality SEO experts and Digital Marketing Specialists are not the ones doing this. They are infact working hard at backward engineering the Google ranking algorithm. Outside of Google itself, they know more about the search engine algorithm than anyone else.
Such knowledge is hard won. So these guys are not likely to be your bottom tier providers.
And as mentioned Google has a habit of changing things around..so even they have to be constantly revising and watching.
The point here then is remember that Google is a business and they want you to buy their products (Google Ads). They are under no obligation to tell us anything about their search engine ranking system at all. Thankfully they choose to share some info and we can work out most of the rest! Just be sure that the Digital Marketing Company you entrust to do this has the capabilities and resources to do so.
4. Some SEO is actually bad for your website
One thing we do know for a fact is that Google doesn’t like people trying to manipulate their search engine results. Some SEO techniques are heavily frowned upon and can end up getting your website penalised if used.
From this we get the idea of Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO.
Whilst deceitful SEO techniques such as spamming and link hiding should absolutely be avoided please be aware that these two terms are very arbitrary.
Black hat SEO could be defined as being the use of techniques Google doesn’t like and White hat SEO being following Googles guidelines 100%.
But we already know that the “things that Google doesn’t like” changes quite often and that they don’t tell us everything that they do like either. It is not unusual to see a website stuck at the bottom of page 10 even though it “followed all the rules”
So what do you do?
Simple – partner with a good quality digital marketing specialist who understands your business goals and your desired outcomes ( more leads or more sales or more subscriber or more brand awareness etc) and let them take care of it. You already have enough to do (don’t you)
They will do everything that they can to improve your key metrics without risking the the wrath of Google. And not only that they will most likely be working on getting you traffic from other sources as well- not just Google.
Your safest approach is to pick a Digital Marketing Agency who can demonstrate results gotten. One which is able to give you a clear and concise marketing plan for the next 6 or more months – in writing. And one that can easily contact if you have any questions. Then let them do their job..
So before hiring any SEO or Digital Marketing company, it’s necessary to do your own research and know as much as you can about SEO and the company you are about to hire. Here’s a checklist for you…
Things to consider before choosing an Digital Marketing company:
- Check any references providing. This might be tricky due to confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements restricting the SEO provider giving you their clients full details.
- Read reviews about them on the Google profile.
- Ask about the amount of experience they have.
- Will they provide in writing exactly what will be done and when.
- SEO is an ongoing process. So will they provide reports so that you can measure your progress. And will they be around for the long term?
- Do they offer conversion rate tracking as well? After all you want your increased traffic to be beneficial to your business…
- If everything does go bad – check that you own the data and have full access to things such as your Google My Business profile after the SEO Company has gone.
Mistakes to avoid when choosing an SEO company:
- Choosing a company that guarantees a number 1 ranking on Google.
- Signing a long term contract with no escape clause and no trial period!!
- Signing up for a generic plan not specifically tailored to your business goals
- Going with a company that offers a slew of impressive sounding services and an extremely low cost. These are absolutely guaranteed to be low quality providers who will end up damaging your site and its reputation..
- Avoid any SEO company that employs tactics such as using hidden links or If their link building strategy involves getting hundreds or low quality links from irrelevant sites. Avoid anything that might be considered “black hat”.
Note though – what Google considers as being black hat changes all the time! So, your SEO specialist needs to be aware of that as well.
TOP TIP: A good place to start is often with an SEO Audit. These are often provided free of charge and give a very good indicator of what the Digital Marketing Agency proposes to do to help you improve your website and digital stake.