I recently participated in a post titled – Tips when hiring an SEO Consultant where 10 people gave recommendations on what you should look for when hiring an SEO consultant/agency. I think for a lot of companies (in particular SMBs), this is a really difficult task. It’s probably how I feel when looking for a garage to get my car fixed. I am totally clueless in all things mechanical. I have no desire to improve my knowledge in this area, I don’t have time. I just want to pay someone to fix my car. Obviously the decision to hire someone to market your website is a lot more important than getting your car fixed, but it seemed like a good analogy 🙂
It appears Google is taking aim at the long list of blog networks that have sprung up over the past couple of years. Some of the biggest names like Build My Rank have even been shut down. Some of the other names to get hit (according to the IM world) include SEOLinkMonster, High PR Society, Unique Article Wizard, SEONitro, My Article Network, LinkVana and BackLink Canon. With Google also announcing a new “Too Much SEO” penalty, it appears the sky is falling for a lot of SEO folks. Here are 3 important things to note about what’s going on in the land of blog networks:
The world of online marketing changes at a crazy speed. Every month brings another thousand blog posts on new strategies you need to consider, changes to Google that may wipe out your business or an SEO prophet claiming they know what you need to be doing right now. 2011 was no different. In fact, it may have been one of the craziest years for those working in online marketing. So just what happened in 2011 and how should it affect your strategy next year? What follows is my own brain dump on this subject with links to some of the most important posts from 2011 (in my opinion) and how they may affect your business in 2012.
If I could tell you one secret from my SEO ventures so far, it’s half the nice, glossy, outreach, super advanced link building shit that people write about is not what gets sites to number one in Google. Plus most of the people churning out these posts are not implementing half the stuff they talk about, because it take’s way too f**king long and whilst you are trying to buy influencers dinners, take them out for a nice meal, buy them something expensive and paint their house for free in return for a link, your competitors got 1000 profile links for $200 and are kicking your ASS in the SERPs. Not only that, they are doing it for a lot less. They don’t care Google will come along and pan all their client rankings, a low cost outsource model and an investment in aggressive outbound sales means they will just churn through sites burning clients as they go. How can you make sure your link building skills are worth paying for?
WordPress is growing extremely fast, it’s running on 14.7% of the top million websites in the world and 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the US are running WordPress (get all the stats on WordPress here). One of the great advantages of WordPress for SEO is all the awesome plugins that are released for it. This is the first of 3 WordPress Plugins, that if used correctly, will give you super powers …. I kid you not.
If we follow the pareto principle, then either 80% of the SEO agencies that exist are rubbish or 80% of them are quality. I think we all know, it’s probably somewhere on the average to rubbish scale. Unfortunately there is a low barrier to entry within the SEO industry and a lot of the agencies you come across are nothing more than ABC SEO agencies. Take a site, provide keyword titles, meta descriptions, run site through submitting to directories, article marketing, rinse, repeat and finally retire to big shinny house on the hills …. ave it !!
Content is king again and there is an endless supply of great reasons why content is the life blood of any successful SEO campaign. Why content is king for SEO appears straight forward, great content will keep you free from panda’s clutches, it helps earn you social kudos that may influence ranking and it’s a great way to pull prospects into your site.
One of the best ways to set yourself apart from other consultants, agencies working in the SEO industry is to sit down with your client and set measurable goals. Provide them with a map to those goals, in a way the can understand and then be transparent on how those goals can be achieved. This was included in the excellent post from Rishi Lakhani titled “Nine Ways to be a Competitive SEO“. A lot of the time it can be a key differentiation between the good and the bad. I say a lot because there are times when your client doesn’t want all that data, goals, they just want to see their rankings go up. Nothing wrong with that either. You will find each project can be a little bit different.