A recent article from The Drum reports that 30% of UK retailers see search engine optimisation agencies as expensive and unable to deliver clear results, whilst another 15% found results disappointing.
Pretty damning statistics.
Had the dissatisfied cross-section engaged agencies with high prices, big promises and poor strategy? Or were these agencies taking the correct approach to SEO, but not adequately managing the expectations of the businesses polled?
Either way, the report suggests that both web agencies and clients alike need to accept that we’re all playing the long game.
The landscape of Search Engine Optimisation is almost unrecognisable from what it was ten years ago, with some of the most remarkable changes occurring in the current decade.
As Google and other search engines intended, this upheaval has been rapid and uncompromising for webmasters whilst fiercely enlightening for web users.
Best practice for website owners has been revaluated and the strategies and techniques utilised to achieve high search rankings insist on an ethical, authentic and user-focused approach to SEO.
The quick fixes - spammy inbound links, content farming, duplicated content et al - have passed from Black Hat to old hat, so we’re all in it for the long run and just about everyone has joined the race.
If an SEO agency offers you a standard SEO "package", claims "insider knowledge" of the search engines, or promises first page rankings, let your alarm bells ring.
What’s called for is effort, stamina, vision and no shortage of good old-fashioned hard graft.
This comes in the form of the gruelling implementation, evaluation and re-evaluation of on-site optimisation; content creation and distribution, meta-sculpture*, data analysis etc.
Beyond our own domains vital focus is needed on competitor analysis, guest blogging, ethical link building and signalling across a plethora of social media platforms.
The right approach for your business will be unique to your business.
Yes, it’s labour-intensive, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Improved rankings are the aim of the game but customer engagement and brand-awareness are all part of the bargain, and that’s where the enlightened client sees both the wider business benefit and their own responsibility for making their business story worthy of Google's attention.
Of course, ten years of revolutionary change won’t just stop now. We have no idea what the next Google algorithm has in store for us, or the one after that, but again we will have adapt, reassess and re-master.
What’s certain is that those putting in the long hard-hours will be far better safe-guarded than those taking short-cuts, because Google’s top priorities remain relevance and quality.
Because in the new age of Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, we all need to be prepared to be a Tortoise rather than a Hare.
For a free, no-obligation chat about your SEO strategy, call Mark Evans, our Director of Digital Marketing on 01534 488888.
*Meta-sculpture: A term we’ve coined to encompass all aspects of website meta-tag optimisation – meta description, meta keywords, titles, headings etc. It's a multi-dimensional artform!