Are you still at the crossroads about whether to hire an SEO agency or not? Many business and website owners can relate to this dilemma though, so you should not be all that scared about figuring out the pros and cons of paying companies that provide search engine optimisation services.
There are many advantages that you can get from relying on outside resources to promote your business online. Knowing the following advantages would likely convince you now to hire SEO specialists:
- Cut down on your workload. As if it isn’t enough that you have to take care of your business and make sure that you’re still making money, you also have to think about how to keep the public aware of your products and services. You can focus more on managing your business if you hire experts who know what the latest SEO techniques are. You will also have the assurance that all the services will be provided by skilled and devoted staff from analysts and copywriters to editors and marketing professionals. All these people work as a team with the ultimate goal of optimising your website and increasing its ranking in the search engine results page. You can also hire consultants if you want to develop in-house services.
- Expect professional help. Given the fact that you will get your services from an established online marketing company, you can expect that only professionals will handle your project. These experts would determine what your website needs after careful analysis, then come up with methods to increase your ranking in the SERP without the risk of doing something unethical. Good SEO service providers only pursue white hat techniques, such as organic link building, blogging, and other methods that require providing the web users with fresh, useful, and relevant content. The staff will provide all the help that you need to ensure a sustainable success for your website.
- Save time and money. If you hire a professional Internet marketing firm, you won’t need to train your own staff, which would have cost you a lot of time and money on your part. The good news is that the competition between the different firms has led to the availability of services with very competitive prices.
- Conduct a fairly easy brand awareness campaign. As what was mentioned before, the ultimate goal of SEO efforts is to increase the visibility of your website in the search engine results page. This can be achieved through guest blogging, link building, directory submission, article marketing, meta tag development, keyword analysis, keyword selection, website analysis, and similar techniques. All these methods would aim to increase your conversion rates. Your website visitors will turn into customers who actually buy from you.
The biggest drawback in hiring SEO agencies is that you won’t be in full control of your online business. Remember that you will be handing the reins to the promotion of your business to outsiders, who are also likely to promote themselves as experts. That’s why it is even more important to screen all the companies that are offering their services to you.
The worst thing about entrusting your online promotions to outsiders is the feeling of being kept in the dark. It can be quite frustrating if you don’t know what is going on with your business or how it is perceived by the market. You will also have to pay them for whatever it is that they are doing, especially if you hired a company that does not provide results-oriented services. Regardless of the results, you are required to pay them for their services. However, you can avoid this by hiring a company that fosters transparency in providing their services. They will consult with you, tell you what they are about to do, what the expected results are, and what actually happened after the plans were implemented.
In the name of transparency, the team will try to explain to you their process of promoting your business online. You have to at least learn the basics about SEO. It would be even better if the service provider will let you give some input and update you about what they are doing with every major step in the process. You will still feel a bit in control over your website instead of being alienated from the project.
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In 2013, search engines are all about content. This is expected to continue in 2014, especially with the fierce emphasis of the executives from Google and Bing to promote good user experience. Copywriting services will likely become more in demand this year.
Search engines define quality user experience as the ability of the users to find the answers in that they are looking for in your high quality content. This is worth pursuing given how becoming popular online and offline all boils down to good content.
According to marketers, 92% of their population rely on content creation for search engine optimisation. A survey even showed that it is still the most effective promotional strategy there is. However, the post-Panda times make it hard to pass any content as a good one.
Content Marketing Is All About The Content
If you want to establish contact and influence your market, you will need to pay them back with information, which is often seen as a valuable currency these days. This further emphasises that content is still king. A marketing campaign will lose steam quickly if it is based on bad content. To get long-lasting results, you need to produce good content at all times. This might mean a costly investment on your part, but it will be paid back in terms of increased visibility and better ROI.
Remember how search engines like Google really appreciate high quality content. This will in turn earn you broader search coverage, which can lead to increased website traffic that increases the ROI.
The Role of Content in Inbound Marketing
You can use content to attract the attention of your target customer during the different phases in their relationship with you in the following ways:
- Knowing-you phase. Blog content can be used during this stage because this is when you can introduce your products or services through organic search. This may later give way to premium contents from seminars and eBooks. The blogs might be your first point of contact with the customer so if you’re not that confident about writing them, you can hire SEO experts that provide copywriting services.
- Liking-you phase. The customers’ awareness of your business should be nurtured with the use of newsletters. This is when you can show them the extent of your knowledge, expertise, resources, and experience without overselling yourself. The newsletters may be eBooks or a series of emails composed of several blog posts.
- Trusting-you phase. Once you have captured the attention of your target customers, they have to learn to trust you. You can gain their trust through case studies, customer-generated videos, and customer success stories. It also helps if you get links, considered as votes of confidence, from other websites and good words from your customers through social media. During this phase, many customers who genuinely love your offers would be more than happy to participate in producing content for you.
- Trying-you phase. This phase is often neglected, but it is actually a good motivator to convince people to buy from you. The appropriate content here would be offline and online seminars, eBooks, and survey processes. At this point, you will have to deliver sample products or services at a zero or lower cost. You may also want to rely on workbooks, videos, checklists, and examples.
- Buying-from-you phase. This is another phase that many business owners missed out on during their marketing campaigns, thinking that customers have already bought from them anyway. However, it will significantly improve customer experience if you educate them about your products and services using content, such as an orientation or a new customer kit about what you are selling. You can give them in-depth user manuals or quick start guides.
- Repeat-buying-from-you phase. You would not want to wait around until the customers will realise that they still need your products and services. Enlist the help of your customers in spreading their success stories showing how good your offerings are.
- Refer-you phase. Make referrals easy on the part of your existing customers by developing certain tools for them. Work with your copywriting services to come up with content that will make introducing your business to other clients less challenging for your loyal customers.
Content creation is certainly an important aspect of any marketing campaign. It ushers new customers to your business, make them loyal to you, remind them of you, and help them convince other customers to come to you too.
These days, given all the changes from Google, it would be suicide for you to still use less than ethical SEO efforts. That’s why it is important that you at least know the difference between good and bad search engine optimisation efforts. A single mistake may cost you the entire website, which would be such a huge waste of resources on your part.
Ethical search engine optimisation refers to the methods used to optimise websites for the readers and web visitors rather than for search engines. This is the basic difference between white and black hat SEO techniques.
Unethical Tactics Explained
You may know the black hat tactics, which include the following:
- Developing content that creates a poor user experience
- Violating the rules imposed by search engines
- Using content that is meant more to gain the attention of search engine spiders instead of providing useful information to the users
These tactics used to be such a hit years ago. They were even considered legitimate back then. However, the excessive and improper use of these methods caused the search engines to brand them as unethical. Keyword stuffing is probably the most popular example of these black hat SEO techniques. It refers to the method of using a lot of keywords in a content, even if they are not really relevant to the topic.
Other forms of unethical SEO include doorway pages and invisible text. Doorway pages can’t be seen by users. They are mainly used to engage search engine spiders to give the site a higher ranking. Invisible text, on the other hand, makes use of keywords that are coloured in the same way as the background. It could be white on white or black on black, which means they can’t be seen by users but are certainly scanned by search engine spiders. These are tricks used to deceive the bots for a higher SERP ranking. If these methods are used now, you will surely get penalised.
Despite these risks though, there are still a lot of businesses willing to use these bad practices. They produce quick yet temporary results, making it seem like they are effective at first. But when you’re caught, the penalties would range from having a reduced website ranking in the SERP to being banned.
What Is Ethical SEO?
Given the risks that the use of black hat methods entail, website owners, businesses, and marketers realised that the only way to get sustainable and improved results is to use white hat SEO techniques. Add to that the fact that Google has made major changes in its algorithms, being ethical does seem like the best approach towards reaching the first page of the SERP.
In white hat SEO, the methods used are those in compliance with the search engine’s guidelines. It is usually about giving users informative and relevant content.
Content has always been king, but this point has been emphasised now more than ever with the introduction of the Penguin and Panda updates that are designed to ensure a good user experience. Lower quality sites are pushed back in the rankings, while sites with original content are being sent higher up in the SERP.
Content optimisation is best done using targeted keywords. Avoid overusing keywords though if you don’t want to be thought of as using keyword stuffing methods. Content should be original. It can stay unique through regular updates. But the most important thing to remember is to create content for the users, not for the search engines. Otherwise, users would be discouraged to visit your site and search engines may catch you and ban you from their results page.
Meta tags should be used in your white hat promotional efforts. These include title, description, and keywords and serve as an overview to the users and search engines. These tags should be original and relevant to the web page content.
For directory submissions, content should be submitted under relevant categories. A sitemap would help search engines find the links on the site quickly.
Although it would take time for the results to show from ethical SEO methods, they would be long lasting and significant. Temptations to use unethical efforts may be strong, but it’s just not worth it considering how smart Google and other search engines have become.
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If you are looking into implementing a search engine optimisation strategy, you might want to look into outsourcing this part of your plan rather than doing it yourself. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is an art and a science, which you cannot learn after reading a text or sleeping on a book overnight. SEO campaigns and strategies need expertise, patience, time, dedication and focus for it to work. However, if you are really interested on doing this part of your online marketing yourself, you always have the option to learn SEO on your own time.
You should know what activities are involved in it. Of course, the advantage of learning SEO is that you will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the SEO market. You would know the fundamentals and the basic foundation of a successful SEO campaign. To learn SEO means that your company has gained an asset out of you.
You have then acquired a new set of skills that can help the performance of your company online. If you learn how to implement an SEO campaign, you don’t have to worry about the progress of your campaign as you can monitor the project first hand. You will also have full control of what is going on with the project, and you can constantly monitor the employees working on it.
However, executing a sound SEO is not that easy. As mentioned, SEO is an art and science that needs expert hands and minds. If you are ready to learn SEO, you should be ready to do investigative work and research:
- You should know that SEO involves the use of keywords and keyphrases that are relevant to your company, niche and industry.
- You should also learn how to do On-page Optimisation and Off-page Optimisation.
- You should also familiarize yourself with white hat SEO and black hat SEO.
- You would also need to learn how to monitor and adjust your campaign that it stays current, fresh, and relevant to search engines and to your consumers.
These are the basic things you need to know if you want to learn SEO. It may take some time for you to find and absorb information that you need, especially when misleading information is available on the internet. If you are not in a hurry to launch your website, you can learn SEO as you go. However, if you already have a website and is eager to drive traffic to it, you always have the option to outsource this part of your plan and have professionals under your employ.
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There are so many types of SEO services that it can be quite confusing for the business clients and website owners to choose from. Online marketing firms seem to have come up with new services in their bid to entice more clients and amaze them with such. However, such offerings will not work unless they are customised to meet the goals of your online promotions.
Discussion with Consultants
Usually, the firms would tell you that they will let you discuss your requirements and aspirations for your website with their expert SEO consultants. Think of it as a brainstorming session wherein you will formulate comprehensive strategies to position the website in your target market, increase its visibility, and boost its traffic for you to profit from your site. All these strategies will always have customer loyalty, brand awareness, and sales development at their core to ensure that you will have increased ROI.
During the consultation, online firms usually offer the following:
- Audit. The consultants will check your site, monitor it, and assess all the changes that will help optimise it.
- Content optimisation. Content should be developed for the readers’ benefit, not the search engines. The firm should review and change your content for easier search engine bot indexing, without forgetting that they should be informative and relevant to your business. This is how good user experience is ensured, as per Google’s guidelines.
- Blog posting. This solution is more about producing optimised blogs that talk about your products and services. It could be a technical description or a review of your offerings to the market. If they are done well, they can gain the attention of the web users and turn them into potential or actual customers.
- Article submission. This is almost like blog posting, although it is more about comprehensive writing. It is more formal than the casual tone used in blogging. However, both services can be used to directly talk to the customers and lead them to your website.
- Image optimisation. Not all the images that you use on your website can be seen by visually challenged web users. They might not even be crawled by search engine spiders. This is why experts can optimise your images and get them indexed to help you get a good ranking in the search engine page results.
- Directory submission. This is one of the oldest types of SEO services that still work now. That is, if you ensure that your content will be submitted to relevant categories. This can help broaden the visibility of your website online since website owners and webmasters often source some of their content from reputable directories.
- Link building. This is among the most effective off-page optimisation techniques that you can still use now. Links are established from another site to yours through your blog posts, profile, forums, image posts, blog commenting, and articles. With this method, web users who are interested in your products or services can simply click on your link and be redirected to your website.
- Social media marketing. This is considered as one of the rising stars among all the SEO methods that can be used these days because of how search engines are giving more attention to social media. If you don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you’re losing so many opportunities to get a better ranking, not to mention to establish a platform for a direct communication with your market.
- Mobile SEO. Considering how there is an increasing number of people who are now using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to access the Internet, your website should be accessible through mobile search engines too, such as Google’s.
- Multilingual optimisation. If you want to expand your business worldwide, multilingual solutions will make your site more accessible to international customers.
- Location-based referencing. Users will be provided information about local businesses or services.
- ECommerce solutions. These are services designed for eCommerce sites, which are meant to help boost relevant traffic and sales.
Which Is The Best?
If you are keen on knowing which is the best SEO service among the ones mentioned above, there is no definite answer to that. What is more important is what your website needs, what your marketing goals are, and what solutions can reach out to your market more. For instance, social media marketing might be the best approach for a company selling the latest gadgets, seeing how the market of a younger generation would spend more time in their social media accounts. Everything should be customized to your website’s needs. The best among these types of SEO service is also one that is in full compliance with the search engine guidelines and one that is developed ultimately for the users.
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There is a continuous demand for Search Engine Optimization companies all over the world. If you are managing an online business or planning to launch a company website, you will come to understand the need for SEO agencies to help land a good spot in the search engines. It’s one of the reasons why there are a fast number of companies getting involved; the demand for SEO companies is increasing.
UK SEO services are effective in terms of helping start-up, small and large companies alike. Agencies in the UK understand that the organic searches have continued to grow despite economic constraints and uncertainties. They are also affordable.
More and more consumers are relying on their computers, PDA’s, smartphones, and iPhones to search for the things they want and the things they need. The next hard step of the process is finding companies that are good. Every one says they are good; but over 80% of the companies don’t know how to do it, or are so outdated in their methods what they know doesn’t work.
There is a continued increase of trust in the companies providing these services and the quality of their service. In fact, 2012 seen an increase in companies providing these services from 9% to 13%, which is quite a significant increase.
What are the services provided?
A typical company can provide you services such as search engine optimization, analytics, link building, content marketing, social media or community management, and others. Of course, services may vary from one company to another.
You have to make sure your getting the best value for your money. Whether you are looking for an agency that can provide you localized or globalized strategies. You should be able to ask the company to devise a localized plan to target your local customers, or you can ask the firm to devise a global approach, for your online marketing strategy. Either way, a reputable firm, should be able to help you achieve success online.
In answer to the initial question; such companies can be very effective provided you choose the right one.
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