Digital marketing is all about attaining marketing objectives by using digital technologies. In a broader definition, digital marketing includes handling different types of online presence of a company such as company website, social media pages of the company and the company’s mobile apps. And all of these have to be in conjunction with various online communication techniques such as search engine marketing, email marketing, social media marketing and more. So, it can be said that your online presence and to be found online are the two most influential factors that impact the success of your online business. Now, you can be online without much effort but when it comes to getting found online, you’ve to have proper SEO strategies in place or else you may have to forget about obtaining success in your digital marketing endeavor. Eric Siu came up with these few Eye-opening statistics.
- 75% of the search users never look beyond the 1st page of search results.
- 70-80% of users rely on the organic results.
- Email and search are two highest performed internet activities.
- Companies with blogs enjoy 434% more indexed pages and they obtain far more leads.
- Inbound leads come at 61% lower cost than outbound leads.
- 81% of companies consider blogs as important assets to their business development.
- SEO leads have 14.6% close rate which is much higher than 1.7% close rate of outbound leads.
- Google holds 65-70% of search engine market share.
- 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
- According to a report generated by Marketing Charts, more than 39% of purchasers come from search.
- Each month, there are more than 100 billion global searches being performed.
- 6% of all internet users utilize search.
- Number of mobile internet users increased to 113.9 million in 2012 than 97.3 million in 2011.
These statistics are a strong reply to those who underestimate digital marketing.
Know your purpose – Some insights
Before you hire a SEO service provider for your digital marketing campaign, you need to understand your objective. These points will help you get useful insights:
- Stay industry-relevant: Efficient digital marketers keep a close tab on what’s unfolding, happening or changing in the industry to keep your business industry-relevant. Understanding the digital landscape and what its hot trends are is especially relevant today for businesses as it helps in planning the right way to reach the target audience using advanced omnichannel strategies. As a business owner, you are usually focused on your business and the products/services, often neglecting the marketing side. With digital marketers, you can stay abreast of the latest developments and trends in marketing and leverage the most effective tools and strategies to boost your digital exposure and boost sales.
- Capitalize on marketing opportunities: With their digital strategies and creative exercises, digital marketers can help in your brand’s exposure and appeal across key industry players. This will bring real opportunities and results your way that will be beneficial for your business. For example, by promoting a positive image of your company with respect to meeting in-trend demands, your chosen digital company can bring several marketing opportunities your way that you can leverage.
- Get full benefits of native ads: Due to changes in online consumer behavior, native ads bring more returns than traditional consumer media like banner advertising. However, businesses need to display their ads organically across different social media channels to influence customer buying process significantly. From deciding where to place such ads to their distribution plan, the entire job requires data-based decision-making that only professional digital marketers with significant experience are capable of doing.
- Use programmatic buying to curtail the customer journey: Programmatic buying is a form of data-driven advertising based on real-time bidding (RTB) across a variety of online, video and mobile platforms. Since it also takes into account customer segmentation and particular characteristics, only skillful digital marketers can handle it.
Since SEO is a key element of digital marketing, businesses need to optimize their online exposure and reach with SEO services that bait search engines to improve SERP ranking of website pages, thus bringing more web traffic and improved conversions. No wonder why hiring SEO services is important to improve your business bottom-line.
In-house / Outsource / Freelancer – Which one to opt?
An in-house SEO team can help with website issues, as and when they occur, apart from finding and fixing technical and search engine related issues. You can also involve them in sister websites or upcoming ventures. However, a significant budget is involved in hiring an in-house team, which doesn’t make it a financially viable option.
With an eclectic mix of SEO experts, technical resources and clients, outsourcing companies have the right mix of talent and expertise to handle your SEO needs.
A freelancer works similar to an SEO agency though s/he may not be able to handle complex tasks or issues that need brainstorming with experts.
Considering all these aspects, outsourcing your requirements to a reliable company with a varied mix of experience and talent on board is the ideal bet for your SEO needs.
Learn a bit about Digital Marketing
SEO has probably become the most important element in digital marketing today. From designing mobile friendly websites and optimizing them, encouraging seamless user experience while browsing your site, to getting organic links, using local SEO to attract local clientele, expanding your social outreach and getting your social content indexed, conversion optimization and page tagging, there’s a lot that business owners need to know about.
Even when you hire an SEO agency, knowing a bit about the latest trends will help you check if your chosen SEO agency is updated and using the right techniques to bring you the desired benefits. You can also evaluate various strategies to shortlist the ones that you think would help your business the most. Rather than blindly following your chosen agency; ask them questions, strategies and also suggest changes. This will ensure that the SEO agency works hard, to satisfy your targeted goals.
Things to look in an agency – A Checklist
- Experience: Though experience matters, you don’t need experience in a specific industry to be successful. An innovative bent of mind and flexibility, together with some experience is all that a savvy digital marketer needs to translate their services easily into almost any industry. Though you can hire a fresh graduate for your SEO services, you may not get to benefit from the experience and creativity with respect to things that could go wrong or when there’s a need to change strategies in tune with changing market trends or customer behavior.
- Alignment with your goals: Your chosen SEO service provider must understand your brand. Creating customer focused and SEO friendly content should be their priority. It’s also important for them to understand your SEO goals. This may need several hours of conference calls and emails to share content information related to your business vision, brand guidelines and success metrics so that both you and your SEO partner is on the same page before work begins. . In case you cater to a niche market, make sure your agency knows how to reach your target audience and influence them.
- Do they walk the talk: Check the SEO track records of your chosen SEO agency. Though they may not rank on the first page when they are in a competitive niche, you need to focus on finding if they are doing the basics right. Check if their business is the first on display when you search with their company name or any competitors are hogging the limelight. Examine their meta tags and if they entice you to click, their Google+ and Facebook pages, how well they rank locally etc. Rather than believing tall claims, check these basics on your own. You can also consider other factors like an SEO agency that ranks #1 for the top keywords in its industry or has been reviewed well by past clients for delivering promised results as all these show they know how to do it successfully.
- Verifying their claim (Case studies and research): If you need SEO services for a niche industry, say mobile app development for ecommerce, hiring a company that has worked on similar tasks for other clients and given good results would be a good way to start. In case you need a generalist SEO firm, get case studies and references from firms that have worked for clients with business model similar to yours. Also, check their portfolio to find past client company urls, case studies, online reviews etc. Not finding the firm doing work for real companies should sound an alarm bell because there may be reasons why they are keeping such things a secret.
- Pricing structure: SEO isn’t a one-off thing. It’s not cheap either. It’s a continuous process that requires consistent content creation, staying updated about the latest trends, tweaking strategies when needed, maintenance and patience to bring long-term results. You can’t get quality at a cheap price. So, white hat SEO that takes time to build your site’s reputation and boost traffic as well as conversions would have a significant cost attached to it. Since in-house SEO often involves use of resources and demands a lot of time and effort, thus making business owners deviate from core business goals, hiring an SEO service agency with a reasonable price is the way forward for most.
- How does their customer support look like? An ideal SEO service agency should have a robust customer support desk to get you expert advice and provide answers to your queries fast. They should also act promptly to troubleshoot any issues that may have cropped up. How efficient they are with their customer service indicates how reliable they are to hire!
Final Check – The important one
You should avoid the common red flags while hiring an SEO service agency.
Less reliable firms often guarantee over-the-top results like getting you to #1 spot within 90 days and then either fail to deliver or use black hat techniques to do unrepairable damage to your business. SEO Service should be 100% transparent.
Some firms may not divulge their proprietary technique but they still need to give you a road map of how they plan to work to meet your needs. You have to ensure that the company isn’t involved in automated link building, spinning or black hat techniques, all of which would have devastating effects on your business.
Failure to give you regular reports on SEO activities or reports that don’t match your own analytics, negative reviews or testimonials by past clients, past penalties imposed by Google, SEO package pricing that’s too cheap and no marketing or industry experience are other red flags that should make you run the other way.
SEO service providers offering money-back guarantees are also best avoided as this either means they aren’t in business for long or worse – have had unhappy clients in the past. So, make an informed choice while choosing your SEO service provider or digital marketer.
Happy Searching! :)