Or… why it’s bad to be a lazy SEO!
After a number of dealings and conversations with SEOs and internet marketing agencies in recent weeks, it amazed me just how few actually applied well-researched and tailored strategies for their client websites. It sounds crazy right? But it’s completely true! So much so that I felt compelled to write a blog post about it as it struck me that there are still too many self-proclaimed search marketing experts around, just churning out the same lazy garbage, month after month.
I’ll be completely frank. We do from time to time outsource projects but not simply from a perspective of offloading work elsewhere. Not for a second. We do this to understand the techniques and work methods applied by others. We’re quite up front with our clients about it too so there’s no smoke or mirrors involved. Quite honestly… we like to know what the competition is up to, good or bad!
If we use an external resource, we do it for a very good reason. Either because a) we do not have the in-house skills to do a particular job; b) because we have so much work to do for a particular client, that we need additional hands to do some of the more (shall we say) basic donkeywork or in most cases c) because we want to ensure we’re one step ahead of the competition.
We don’t just farm stuff out to any Tom, Dick or Harry either. We have to be convinced that they are well versed in all aspects of SEO and can maintain the high standards that we set for all our clients. If not, it’s a no go.
However, in utilising a few external resources of late, it was apparent that there seems to be a widespread “one size fits all” mentality when it comes to SEO by quite a large group of agencies. I’m not about to name and shame anyone because frankly, that’s petty and childish but what it did highlight to me is that too many search marketers out there are taking far too little interest in the business or target markets their clients are looking to break into when that is the critical issue. It frankly shocked me but it’s going on and to a high degree. Agencies are simply applying the same set routines to each and every client and feel this is acceptable. It’s frankly shameful.
Every business is different so approach them that way!
When a client approaches us, our main priority is to get a complete understanding of their business first and foremost. That understanding can be made up of items such as their product or service offering, target demographics, competition levels, aspirations, brand identity and current position within their market. That’s even before we’ve ran a single on-site analysis!
We also ensure each of our clients have complete transparency on everything and we mean everything. That way, they know exactly what we propose going forward and what we feel is realistically achievable. Not just take the money each month and run with it until they get fed up and cancel. Good marketing requires creativity, a solid real world knowledge and the ability to adapt accordingly.
The agencies and SEOs we dealt with barely asked a question or communicated when a question had been posed. Thankfully, they were only working on test projects (unknown to them) but it told us something very positive. We’re doing the right things and they’re failing miserably where it counts.
Analyse, assess and strategise.
You can only truly expect good results if you’ve taken the necessary steps to analyse a website from a multi-dimensional approach. Typically, we saw a one dimensional outlook which was simply to analyse the website in isolation. In most cases, this would be the source code, structure and markup. Nothing else. That will only get you so far and we feel this is the typically lazy approach many SEOs take these days.
At Rocket SEO, we believe that you need to look at every marketing challenge from numerous angles such as:
1) Customers: does the website work in attracting, retaining and converting potential customers. This requires a good eye for creativity and communication as well as technical, source coding skills. Something many SEOs lack.
2) Competition: why is the competition ranking better and what can be learned from them to achieve similar results?
3) Authority: does the website have good metrics that suggest it has a trusted authority on the search engines. If not, why not and how can this be fixed?
4) Rank: does the site rank well for relevant keywords and if not, how can this be adjusted to influence the search engines the improve the situation?
The above points may seem very obvious to those who are already carrying out these types of approaches, but you’d be surprised by just how many aren’t.
Don’t create content for the sake of it!
What we typically see is many SEOs falling into the “content is king” trap. What this mantra should really say is “great content is king”, not just any old garbage. Yet time after time, we witness content that is worthless, of no sharable value and of little authority being created just to try to get a link or citation that will frankly do nothing for your clients brand identity, authority and in most cases rank.
You know the kind of stuff we mean. Cruddy slideshows, spammy directories and citations, “how to” PDFs, blog posts and wikis… stuff that no one will find of use and be treated accordingly. It’s the kind of content that lacks imagination and foresight yet is filling the web week after week.
Create killer content and you’ll rock the ranks
It takes creativity and originality to make killer content and that requires an understanding of your client. As mentioned above, if you take very little time to understand your clients business or aspirations, how can you possibly create content that will be suitable or sharable in the wider scheme of things?
If you really take the time to put the necessary foundations in place at the early stages, creating great content should be easy. It should come to you in a flood of ideas that will inspire you to build a body of work that will help to increase brand identity, trust, authority and a long term platform from which your clients site will only improve.
So our message is clear. Don’t churn and burn. Create and generate your way to a successful marketing campaign and you’ll have happier clients that stick around for longer and will give you glowing praise that will make your influence stronger in the ever growing world of SEO.