When it comes to online marketing, the business strategy with the biggest payoff — if implemented correctly — is search engine optimization. SEO, at its core, is simply helping your website to rank higher in search engine results. But not all SEO companies perform this task as well as others. Here’s what a truly outstanding SEO company will know:
- SEO Practices Have Changed
Because the algorithms that determine rankings are constantly changing, the entire SEO industry is in constant flux as well. It’s important that whatever company you work with is keeping on top of all the latest updates and eliminating outdated practices that are now penalized as spam or “black-hat” techniques. It’s also important to note that sustainable, legitimate SEO is not a quick fix. SEO is a complex process that involves ongoing analysis and readjustment; there’s no magical formula that can put you at the top of the rankings in a week and actually keep you there. If you see a company making those types of promises, head in another direction as fast as you can.
- Link Building Isn’t Dead
In an effort to demonstrate that they’ve moved on from the manipulative practices of the past, sometimes an SEO company will tell you that link building is dead. But the truth is that, as far as SEO experts can tell, quality inbound links are still given enormous weight by ranking algorithms. The important thing is to make sure that you’re earning links in legitimate ways, rather than just buying directory links. A great organic SEO company will place helpful articles in your name in various places online (part of a strategy called content marketing), arrange for guest blogs and even get you quoted in news stories.
- Good SEO Looks Toward Conversion
Technically, SEO is simply about getting higher in the search engine results pages — SERPs, in industry speak — because the higher a website is in the results, the more traffic it will get. But a good SEO company will think about what happens once visitors get to your website, too. This is a process called conversion, and it’s concerned with getting visitors to become customers. As ranking algorithms become more sophisticated, barriers between SEO (appealing to algorithms and webcrawlers) and traditional marketing (appealing to people) are breaking down. No technique that makes your website less appealing to human visitors has a place in good SEO.
Would you rather work with a simple SEO company, or a full-service Internet marketing agency offering website consulting, conversion analysis and PPC campaign management services? Do you have any different opinions on what defines a top SEO company? Share your thoughts or concerns in the comments.