An important consideration when choosing an agency to optimise your site’s position in search is to know not just what they will do for you, but how they will do it. Search engines like Google are averse to any kind of trickery, and an agency that promises to unleash an armoury of tricks on your behalf might just end up causing lasting damage. So, as well as looking at obvious pointers like client recommendations and proven track record, it might pay to dig a little deeper.
The business of search engine optimisation (SEO) is increasingly becoming one of openness and accountability. In past years it was sometimes shrouded in the secret techniques used by some to fool search engines into thinking a site should rank higher than it deserves. Back-links were the thing, as many as possible and from any source. And they worked, for a while. Until the search engines caught up and sites found themselves dropping from the front page to the dark depths of search results.
Deliver the best user experience
Today Google and the other search giants are demanding more. They want sites listed highest in their search results to offer something of real value to their customers – a great user experience and original content that informs, educates or entertains. So it pays to question carefully the techniques an agency will use. Be cautious if their strategy is to trick search engines into thinking a site is more valuable to a visitor than it is. It might work now, but it won’t for long.
A site optimisation specialist who promises instant internet stardom is the modern-day equivalent of the pedlars who toured the Wild West with miraculous cure-all elixirs. Long lasting success on the internet does not happen overnight. For a site to endure it must be built carefully and steadily on sound SEO principles that aim to deliver the best possible content to as many people as possible. So look for a specialist with deep knowledge of what the search engines are looking for and, more importantly, what the wider internet audience is hoping to find.
Succeeding with content
There are three key areas worth discussing with your potential SEO agency. ‘Content is king’ is now a common phrase. To succeed, a site must provide valuable content that enriches a visitor’s experience and leaves them with an experience or some information they have not found elsewhere. Keywords are important, but not when they are crammed into a text so as to make it clumsy and unreadable.
Links are still important, but only when they come from sites that offer value themselves. Finally, ask the agency about social media strategy. Like the site it promotes, this should inform, entertain or engage its audience. Social media becomes successful when its audience is so involved they start liking and sharing information from it. Google, particularly through Google+, pays very close attention to this. The agency you choose should do too.