Search engine optimization is critically important in today’s digital marketing environment. No less than 93 percent of all internet experiences begin with a search engine, while 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results. In other words, to compete with and stand out from your competition, it’s important to understand and take advantage of techniques that allow you to rank highly.
Of course, you already know that. Otherwise, why would you have started reading this post? Today, we won’t try to convince you about the value of SEO to your digital marketing success; we’re here to help you figure out how to determine the right SEO partner to get those high rankings and ensure that SEO is an integral and successful part of your digital marketing strategy. So when you search for the right SEO partner, here are three questions to ask:
1. Where Does SEO Fit?
When looking for a marketing agency to help you with your search engine optimization, it’s important to understand just how they view SEO. Some agencies may answer the question above by stating that techniques seeking to achieve high rankings should be your first priority. They’re not necessarily wrong; at the same time, focusing only on SEO and not viewing it as an integrated part of your overall inbound marketing strategy means you may miss out on some potentially beneficial possibilities.
Allow us to explain: treating SEO as an isolated tactic means going through each page on your website, determining what could help its optimization (from coding to keywords and link building), and then implementing those changes. But while this strategy may work initially, you will find that your web viewers may increase while your lead conversions don’t. And as any inbound marketer knows, generating leads is what ultimately pushes you toward marketing and business success.
That’s why an integration of SEO is so important. By finding a partner that helps you fit your optimization efforts into your overall strategy, you can begin to approach blog posts, landing pages, and even your social media efforts with SEO in mind. Your efforts will refocus from web visits to converting these visitors into leads and ultimately, customers.
2. Are You Wearing a White Hat?
Of course, an SEO partner that immediately points out higher rankings may not always get there in an ethical way. Since the beginning of search engine optimization, marketers have sought ways to “game the system” and circumvent algorithms with tactics like buying links, keyword stuffing, hidden text, and more.
In the SEO industry, these types of tactics are known as “black hat” – and they carry serious consequences that go beyond ethical implications. While your short-term rankings may increase, Google continuously updates its algorithm to penalize websites that engage in these unethical methods. And once you’re penalized, it’s difficult to recover: Google updates like Panda and Penguin caused several websites to fall from page one into the triple digits, while some were even deleted entirely from the search engine’s registry.
In short, it doesn’t pay to engage in black hat SEO – both on a personal and a results-oriented level. When finding a new SEO partner, you should be absolutely sure they only engage in ethical tactics to help your site.
3. How Do You Keep Up?
A major point of importance in both digital marketing in general and search engine optimization specifically is that the field never stands still. It’s always changing, and keeping your site atop the search results requires constantly keeping up with news and trends. For a recent example of this aspect, look no further than Google’s “Mobilegeddon” update that was released on April 21 and is now dropping websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices in its rankings.
Yet, there are still some SEO agencies that rely on tactics from a couple of years ago. That may work in some fields, but is downright dangerous in SEO: as we mentioned above, Google’s consistent algorithm updates can lead to serious consequences for your site. Not keeping up with news and trends by search engines like Google and Bing can be fatal.
That’s why it’s important for your SEO partner to know exactly how to stay on top of their field, consistently running tests and reading industry sites in order to be sure they won’t be surprised by any update. In addition to their vision of where SEO fits within your digital marketing and their insistence on white-hat marketing, it’s the third crucial question you should ask when determining the right SEO partner.