SEO practices have changed. So we have to change.
And so do you the client.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on a website remains indispensable. You want to rank high on Google, you just have to live with Google’s ever changing algorithms (criteria). There is no other way unless ranking in Google is not important to you. The SEO landscape has changed tremendously in the past few years and get this, it will continue to evolve at an even quicker pace. Most of the methodologies of SEO are now rendered less critical or even obsolete by Google’s latest algorithmic demands. For starters, Google’s emphasis is for more, better, educational, useful, helpful contents to be reflected in your websites. And that is not nearly enough for them. They would like to see frequent updates on your textual contents.
It’s undeniable that websites in our part of the world is image heavy with scantcopy text. That’s immediately a huge challenge for us; the client and us. First, is the client proactive in supplying us the SEO company with a constant flow of copy text ingredients for us to work with? Then, does the SEO company have the expertise to develop and produce SEO rich copytext out of the ingredients provided by you?
From our observations, SEO companies are still dwelling on the following areas:
- Website / Market / Keyword Research and Analysis
- On-site Optimization (H1 tags, Meta descriptions, Meta keywords etc.)
- Off-site Optimization (Article and Directory Submissions, Link popularity, Social bookmarking etc.)
- Analyze Ranking and Traffics, SERP reports The above are just SEO fundamentals. Imagine if all websites have the above done to them, then what differentiates each to the extent that it ranks higher over its peers?
What are our differentiators?
We have stopped thinking and operating like a mere SEO agency. If we had, we would have lost our relevance long ago. A good SEO these days (and coming days) should be:
- Should possess good design sensibilities. Why? A creative design is just a good looking website. A copytext heavy website is just plain boring. We have to be able to marry to produce a beauty with brains.
- We are brand builders. Really? Your website is a great brand building tool. Your website communicates the tone and essence of your company. How often do we step into a website and say hmm, I am impressed or my goodness I wouldn’t buy even if they sell cheap. We will critique your website with total honesty, even at the expense of offending a prospective client. If your competitors put out a much better website, shouldn’t you too? Too many clients fret over their rankings but are unwilling to invest in building a better presented website. In such a case, a good ranking does nothing to help convert your visitors to customers.
- We are communicators. Absolutely! If you can’t or not bothered to describe your products better, provide interesting information about your products or services, explain and educate your prospective customers on why your products/services are better than your competitors, the how else do you hope to persuade or arouse buying decisions? And those are the areas Google is emphasizing on. Just pasting photos is not enough. Your competitors have lots of photos too.
- We are pilots. We have to. Sometimes, we feel like fortunetellers. We have talked enough about the changing search landscape. Google, even though they won’t admit it, is going through a long period of experimentation. They are juggling many balls in the air. Look at the amount of acquisition, merges and development Google has been doing in recent years: Boston Dynamics, Nest, YouTube, Waze, Google Glass, Android, Google Docs, Google Plus, Motorola Mobility, Slick Login and counting. How is Google to display quality search results if they do not shift their algorithm paradigm? Google has openly admitted that their latest algorithm, “Hummingbird”, is redefined to also cater to voice searches and location searches.Our job is to discern Google’s moves; navigate your website around this turbulence and leave your competitors behind.
- Finally, we are your SEO ranking company. Get the above right, and you rank high plus enjoy a good rate of conversion.
The first thing you would do is to send out for quotations. That’s natural. And like typical consumers, we instinctively go for the cheapest guy or the guy with the most pledges. Better still, the cheapest guy with the most pledges. And that’s where problems start. And you end up disillusioned. Worst, you settle for PPC instead which is akin to expensive instant noodles. Before long, you feel the pinch of budget pressures. All these can be averted if you take the following steps:
- Sent out for quotations.
- Shortlist at least three companies (select three price ranges like small, medium and large).
- Get them to come and present to you. Arrange for your boss/decision maker to sit in on the presentations. You get a first hand impression of the SEO representative. More often than not, from the SEO representative’s presentation, you can somewhat discern the caliber of the SEO company. If you do not know the questions to ask, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be more than happy to furnish you with a list.
- Once you have decided on a SEO company, it’s important that avail yourself to visit the SEO company. And why not? You would travel some distance to buy something so why would you not make a visit to your selected SEO company to verify them? Talk to their SEO team; have a chat with their content writers etc, have a sense of their dynamics and energy etc. After all, you are going to be be spending upwards of a few thousand ringgit. Don’t forget that good SEO/rankings translate to better branding and increased sales while poor results cause you lost business opportunities.
- Finally and before signing on, verify their contracts. Ignore the claims stated in bold. Check the small prints. Question the ambiguous clauses. Pay special attention to those clauses that come with an *asterisk.