I can assert it with full conviction that there must be tens of thousands of SEO firms in the world, if not hundreds of thousands. USA, UK, India, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are replete with them. Other countries must not be far behind.
Everyone claims to bring you to the first page of the Google Search. They would all claim to bring in the highest organic traffic. Probably, you know a lot more about SEO firms as well.
The problem with SEO firms
While a very few of the companies might be true in their assertion, a majority of them are not. Most companies follow spammy techniques to rank you higher…which is actually a problem.
Why? Because you will be getting non-targeted traffic. No one would want those people to come on their website who would never be interested in your product or service.
It is like having visitors who want to purchase shoes online to a website which sells live chat software!
Most SEO tendencies simply put you on the top for specific keywords, and not for specific audience. This is even more harmful than you might think. Your website analytics might show good traffic and even engagement, but you would end up blaming your content or website design or may be UX for not getting leads.
The problem on the other hand was entirely different. You were simply getting a traffic of non-targeted audience, who probably would not buy your service.
SEO in 2015
The methods SEO firms used “way back” in 2005 are obsolete now. I use “way back” because a lot has changed in the realms of search since then. SEO is entirely different now, in 2015.
Google has rolled out a multitude of new updates to its ranking algorithm since its inception. There has been Panda update, Penguin update, Pigeon update, Payday update, Pirate update, and a lot more. The latest one is the Hummingbird—the algorithm about which your probable SEO firms should be updated with.
It has recommendations beyond keywords and content. Your ranking would automatically be lower if your website is not mobile friendly.
Moreover, with Hummingbird update, Google even penalizes you for using spammy ways to show up! Yes! Penalize.
That means, your SEO firm has even the potential to harm you without giving you a hint.
What’s happening in SEO community?
In SEO community, there seems to be developing two poles. One division maintains that the SEO has to be keyword focused, where long-tail keywords have to be used wisely. The other division maintains that it is all about the user-focused content irrespective of keywords.
So, which side you should go with?
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web Spam team, said once, “The objective is not to make your links appear natural; the objective is that your links are natural.”
The focus is slowly shifting towards being natural. But what is the way to be natural?
Content is the natural way
Let me start it by asking a question: what is your website made up of?
HTML tags? No!
Web design made using Adobe Photoshop and a variety of other graphic tools? A big no again!
Text? I am not ready for a joke.
So, what is it made up of?
Well, you already know the answer. CONTENT!
HTML tags are not what user read or engage with. They read content. Even when you are reading this article you are reading a content. Why, even Google check your website for content.
You need to know how efficient your SEO firms are to provide content services and with what quality. Creating a lot of quality content for your website will boost your SEO like nothing else. Why? For a variety of reasons.
It is content which is responsible for engaging the audience once they are on your website. Even if cheap SEO techniques get you a lot of traffic, it is not worthwhile if you could not hold them on the website. The bounce rate is one of the best measure of your website content.
With more content, you can target more long-tail keywords. And more content for a single keyword. The more keywords you have the more wide audience you can reach among your targeted ones.
Search engine have a natural affinity for new content. Google tends to show the fresh and new content on the top. This is something which natural SEO techniques cannot achieve for you. The best example of this is Google News. It always displays the recent content above.
So, what should you know about the SEO firms?
One thing only: what expertise do they have with content?
If your SEO firm cannot provide you content services for good SEO, they have still not updated themselves with the changes.
If you keep a watch on recent online marketing trends, you must be aware about content marketing. Also, you are definitely ahead of the curve if you know about inbound marketing. And if you know about inbound marketing, you probably are aware that content plays a vital role in it.
The better your SEO firm is at creating engaging content, the more chances there are for the truth in their SEO claims. They might bring you to the first Google search page.
But why content?
Have you ever heard about AI—artificial intelligence? All the big names you can imagine—Google, Microsoft, Apple, Baidu—are working to develop it.
Well, what does it mean for your SEO?
It means the content is even more important than before. In fact, Google’s search engine can do a few AI things even now. Instead of searching web pages for your search query, it tries to understand the meaning of your content! Mostly, with success.
Sounds big, right? It is.
Once Google’s Search Engine is able to understand the meaning of the content and context of the query, the old SEO methods will be wiped out once and for all. The best content will be visible to the audience, no matter what the keywords are.
They say, “Content is king.”
They are definitely right. Or even if they are not at this moment, they will surely be in the future. The SEO firm which knows how to work with content and make content work is the one you would want to partner with.