I’m astonished how some internet marketing agencies (particularly SEO firms) are able to get search leads without being able to rank organically for at least a few industry related keywords, e.g. “SEO (city),” “internet marketing (city),” “search marketing (city),” etc. These companies literally extend to beyond page 10 on Google.
It has been demonstrated that 40% of people don’t know the difference between organic and paid search results; so they end up clicking on an ad they think ranks #1. Most of us who read Business 2 Community take this for granted, but it’s reality.
Image source: http://bit.ly/1aA81hA
This is not to say that one company can rank for every keyword they want — for every service they offer. PPC supplements this need, but for people who are nervous about paying per click, now is THE BEST time to change SEO providers or partner up with one for the first time.
Why is this you ask? I hope that the experienced white-hat internet marketers can hasten to guess.
The Consequences of Google’s Penguin 2.0 Algorithm Update
Image source: shutterstock.com
The SEO world is abuzz about Google’s latest Penguin 2.0 algorithm update. At my company TechWyse, we noticed a significant change for our own rankings. We’ve earned a few big links recently, but we only saw minor fluctuations for our targeted keywords. But with the roll out of Penguin 2.0, we jumped to number one for our primary keyword!
With the latest Penguin update, sites that once ranked highly, have now been pushed down because of their low-quality link building. These sites also haven’t had time to recover from their losses (and are likely to try an do so through a short-term, link-spam approach). This is a great time to do your research and partner with an SEO consultant or firm that knows how to build quality long-term Penguin-proof links.
Make your short-list of internet marketing agencies walk the walk
Ask tough questions like:
- What terms do you rank for?
- Do you work with companies in my industry and what are their rankings?
- What will you do to build links for me?
- Is content and outreach a part of your SEO strategy?
If they can’t answer these questions, you should look elsewhere. That said, a company that can answer confidently won’t be cheap. Do your research and select a vendor who will provide an ROI that works for you.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
Image source: shutterstock.com
How do you tell a good internet marketing company from a bad one? The companies you see ranking on the first page for terms like “SEO (city),” “internet marketing (city),” “web marketing (city),” are likely the people you want working for you in the new-age of post-Penguin 2.0 SEO. If they can’t do it for themselves, how do you expect them to do it for you?
Keywords like the ones above range from medium-to-high competition, another way to separate the white from black hat SEOs is to do a search for the keywords you want to rank for.
Let’s say you’re a Toronto doctor who specializes in rhinoplasties. Perform a few different searches like “rhinoplasty doctors Toronto,” “rhinoplasty surgeon Toronto,” “nose surgery Toronto,” then check the footer links to see if there’s a web marketing company listed. It’s likely that the companies who rank higher are the ones who’ve built the best links for their clients.
Sadly, most internet marketers working on behalf of clients aren’t giving Google a lot (of high-quality links) to work with. So what we’re seeing in the SERPs are a lot of Yelp search listings, Google+ Local listing (still valuable), and of course Wikipedia listings.
Are You the Victim of a Bad Link Profile? Have You Been Hit by Penguin?
Maybe you’ve been the victim of an SEO company that built spammy links that have now been penalized. There’s good news for you. Google hasn’t forgotten about you. Ask potential vendors about Google’s Disavow Tool. This can effectively tell Google to essentially ignore the low-quality links your previous SEO company built on your behalf. Or maybe you’ve been a target of negative SEO, check out this Google Webmaster Tools to learn more about negative SEO and how you can recover from it.
Are You Still Loyal to Your Agency Even Though Your Rankings Have Dropped?
This is understandable; any good Account Manager can tell you that it’s all about the vendor/client relationship. My advice to those who’ve seen their rankings drop recently is this:
Ask your Account Manager if you can speak to the person who actually does the grunt work.
This would likely be the SEO Manager, Content Manager, Link Ninja, etc. Then ask them how they plan to work differently and adapt to Penguin. What new strategies are they planning to enact in order to regain rankings?
Working With a One-Man Show?
In my opinion, Penguin dealt a tough blow for these operations. One-person companies have limited bandwidth to do the time-consuming outreach required for new-school SEO. And it’s tough for them to retrain an offshore staff. More often than not one-man outfits are set in their ways and have a tough time adapting. When you work with a team new ideas become contagious and collaboration becomes the key to success.