SEO started out as something really awesome. Being clued-in to it and many of its tactics meant you’re hip to the latest marketing trends. But now, SEO by itself has evolved beyond awesomeness to a necessity.
Your business needs it to thrive and stand tall against its competitors. So in a way, SEO is like the air businesses breathe to survive competition.
But be reminded, doing it alone is NEVER enough. You have to be at the top of the latest SEO strategies and tactics to retain and attract customers, and continue growing.
To keep it short and straight forward, your business needs the services of a well experienced SEO company to rank atop search engines result pages and gain an age over its competition.
And, unless you’re an SEO expert with years of hands-on experience under your belt, then you should never look at SEO as another DIY project.
Do you need that coveted spot on search engines? Here are 10 possible reasons why hiring an SEO company in Singapore could be the smartest move you’ve ever made for your business.
Managing your own SEO campaign is bound to eat into much of your time, particularly if you’ve got limited experience on how get it done right. By hiring an SEO company instead of relying on your handyman skills, you give yourself enough time to focus on what you’re really good at – running your business.
SEO experts have tested their skills and, it’s apparent, they know how to get things done. They can help you handle the SEO affairs of your business and hoist you up the search engine ranks, leaving you with enough time to oversee other stuff in your business.
They have the knowledge and technical Experience
It takes a lot of learning and practical experience to come off as a professional SEO expert, save for the few who’ve forced the title on themselves instead of earning it.
An experienced SEO specialist has the required experience and skillset to play around with your site and all of its content and increase its visibility and ranking.
A good SEO company must have also worked with a broad range of companies. They therefore know how to appropriately handle your situation and customise their approach to match your specific needs and expectations.
SEO companies in Singapore are for the most part result oriented. They don’t just work their SEO magic and sit down hoping for things to shape up on their own. They instead start by evaluating your business goals, your website, and your industry competitors.
This allows them to come up with objectives and a comprehensive plan on how to achieve their goal. They’ll then get to work, tracking their progress every step of the way, and if things aren’t working according to plan, adjust it accordingly until they’re able to achieve the best results possible.
More Effective than any DIY effort
You might be good, as you claim. But you’re certainly NOT as good as someone that’s been involved with SEO for a decade or so.
SEO companies have the experience that allows them to get things done with minimal strain and wastage of resources. You might be good, but you’re bound to make mistakes they made long time ago and adjusted from it.
As a SEO company, you don’t get things done through trial and error. Your moves have to be calculated and measurable. Your expectations have to be not only clear, but in sync in with your goals, as well.
They Offer More than Traffic
In addition to increasing your site traffic, a successful SEO strategy should also help increase brand awareness. As your business climbs up the result pages of search engines, your business gets to receive a lot of exposure along the way.
This is beneficial as more and more consumers learn to trust your business the more they see it ranked at the top of search engines.
SEO has evolved
SEO has evolved a great deal since its inception. Or should we say, it’s constantly evolving?
The little tricks you had in your back pocket no longer apply. Neither can you spam or spin your way to the top of SERPs.
The things you knew about a year ago are either obsolete or NOT as effective as they were.
Google updates their ranking algorithms on a regular basis. And unless you’re keen on following them, you may even NEVER find out about some of these changes to make necessary adjustments to the strategies you implement.
SEO Companies know how to Cash in On Siri and Alexa
Google made it clear about a year ago that they’ll be paying more attention to long tail keywords.
Things have changed. So instead of people keying short tail keywords into search engines, they’re now feeding them with real questions. Siri and Alexa are not exception in this.
People want real answers, so they ask real questions. Meaning if you can’t get your web content indexed by Siri and Alexa as well, there’s a fair chance you might be missing out on something really important.
SEO Companies and Mobile Responsiveness
SEO has moved from keyword stuffing to quality content, mobile responsiveness and backlinks optimisation to name a few.
So if your site doesn’t adjust itself to accommodate different screen size, then that alone is reason enough to cripple all your SEO effort.
SEO companies understand about mobile responsiveness and the effect it has on SEO. They’ll start by evaluating your site for responsiveness, and if it happens it’s NOT SEO-friendly enough, they’ll make necessary adjustments to it before proceeding to the next step of the SEO plan they’re implementing.
Link Building has changed
Link building has evolved too. Spam links no longer work and neither are all links considered equal.
One reason SEO companies are creating digital PR teams. Meaning you have to keep working on the relationship you have with other influential blogs within your niche to create an impact.
Speaking of which, it takes time and a lot of hard work and perseverance to favourably position yourself for backlinks.
For SEO companies, most of them have a direct connection to authority sites, thanks to their ever-working digital PR team.
SEO Companies and Intend-based Marketing
Every update Google makes is geared towards linking their users with the exact thing they’re looking for.
SEO companies strive to understand your customers. They’ll study their habits, what they like, and how exactly they like to be addressed before coming up with plans on how best they can go ahead and target them.
That way, they’re able to direct the most of their marketing effort to their target customers. But that’s not all, they need to understand their personas and preferences to come with a sound conversion strategy.
How to Know if the SEO Firm is Using Black Hat SEO Strategies
Sure, hiring an SEO firm to improve your website ranking and promote conversion rate is a good idea. How do you know if the firm is not using black hat SEO strategies to push you down or up the results page further?
The mantra Trust but Verify should be applied when working with an SEO firm. One of the primary reasons why most online businesses fail to grow to their full potential is because they trust the SEO agency and never track the performance of the strategies implemented.
That is, they don’t take the time to look at exactly what the firm is doing to improve on-site and off-site SEO. Here are sure tips on how to know if the SEO firm is using black hat SEO strategies.
No Results to Show
Search Engine Optimisation is an ongoing process, and it may take months to start seeing tangible results. Give the agency enough time to create, monitor, and supercharge the campaigns, but still, be interested in knowing what they are doing.
Nonetheless, they should deliver something after the initial payment you make after signing the contract. Here are some of the deliverables you can request the SEO agency to provide within the first 2-3 weeks.
- A comprehensive SEO audit report
- Site backlink profile report
- Evaluation of the level of content optimisation on the site
List of articles with links to your site that will or have been published on site with a high domain authority These reports will keep them on their toes and confirm to you that the agency is doing working for you even though the expected results are yet to be achieved.
Agency Doesn’t Ask for Anything
The SEO agency has a team of experts who have the hands-on skills required to optimise your website. However, they cannot do it without your help. They will need some additional information from you to come up with custom SEO campaigns.
Here are some of the things that a reliable agency will ask you to provide;
- Admin access to the Google Analytics
- Admin access to the content management system
- Google Webmaster tools access
- Social media profile/accounts access
- List of target keywords you have been using to optimise the content
- Previous penalties and audits
If the agency does not reach out to get the above or anything else related to SEO, they may be adding links in spammy sites or using private blog networks to build your backlink profile.
For instance, without access to the content management system, they won’t be able to publish new content or improve low-performing articles. Without the list of target keywords and SEO audit reports, they won’t be able to create custom SEO campaigns and tailor-made content for your audience.
The role of an SEO agency in your brand is to work on the website and give you recommendations on exactly what you need to do to get ahead of the competition. Be wary of an agency that does not give recommendations or inquire about your previous strategies.
Unreliable SEO experts or agencies will generate hundreds of backlinks and hope that your site ranking will improve. They are not keen on interfacing and collaborating with you. They only focus on giving you a service to hoodwink you to think you are getting value for money.
The best SEO firm will establish a cordial working relationship with you. They will partner with your in-house SEO team to ensure that you get the highest possible ROI from the implemented strategies.
More importantly, they will furnish you with valuable tips on how to independently monitoring the strategies to continue enjoying high organic traffic and sales.
Don’t Share Information About their SEO Techniques
You are the client and deserve to know which SEO techniques the firm is using to boost your website’s ranking and performance. So, please don’t shy away from asking them what they are doing even as you concentrate on other business activities in your daily bucket list.
Here are some responses that are glaring signs that the agency is not reputable and you are probably being scammed.
- Our SEO strategies are confidential and not shared with clients
- Due to the nature of our work and industry, we’re not in a position to disclose information about our practices
- Our SEO packages comprise a broad range of things, but all of them involves ensuring your website impresses the search engines
- We do a ton of things; it would take hours to explain everything to you
- I’m not sure what the team is doing, but I will inquire and get back to you soon
All the above answers are signs that the SEO company is not reputable, and you should move with speed to terminate the contract. Expert SEO companies rely on white hat search engine optimisation practices.
They are always willing to inform clients which strategies they use to render the services. Needless to say, if the agency is using the right SEO strategies, why hesitate to share the information?
You Recently Got a Manual Penalty
One of the worst penalties you can get Google is a manual penalty.
You will get an email or GWT notification from Google if the bots note black hat SEO strategies are being used to improve the ranking of the website. Well, you don’t have to fire the SEO firm agency; instead, look at the various plausible reasons why you were penalised.
Google Webmaster Tools can help you to know the exact reason why you were penalised. One of the common reasons is unnatural links.
An algorithm penalty could also arise from not adhering to the existing or new Google algorithms. All is not lost, though; there are ways to recover from the penalty and get your site ranked highly. Knowing the exact reason you were penalised will help you know what you should do to turn the tide in your favour.
Drop in Rankings
First, it is important to note that a drop in the website ranking can be due to several reasons, and maybe the SEO company is not to blame. However, it should not happen if the firm is working and monitoring the performance of the site.
Contact the firm if you see a steady decline in rankings to get value for money. The SEO team may be applying strategies that are not in line with the stipulated Google best SEO practices. Review all the firm’s activities and consult widely to know if you need to change them.
Ideally, the firm should explain the drop and inform you what they are doing to ensure that the website climbs back to the top. They should take your criticism positively and shouldn’t wait for you to point out the issue; they should be abreast of the rankings using software and manual checks.
Drop in Traffic
Without enough organic traffic, you won’t generate enough sales. It’s a sign of how popular your website is to the target audience. Websites that are ranked on the first page of Google enjoy more traffic than the lowly ranked websites.
Sudden drop traffic often results from an algorithmic penalty. It’s bad for business, and you need to act fast to prevent a further drop in traffic. The first thing that you need to do is check if Google recently introduced a new algorithm.
If there is no new algorithm, then the SEO firm could be using black hat strategies and got the bots’ attention. Check the firm’s changes on your website in the last couple of weeks or when traffic started to decline.
With the list of changes, contact the firm and request they explain what informed the changes. They should be willing to reverse the changes professionally to promote the sustainability of your online business. Otherwise, the competitors will outrank your site and get your clients.
Ranking for the Wrong Keywords
Keywords are the pillars of your SEO strategies. The firm should carry out extensive keyword research to identify terms that the target audience uses to search for information related to your industry and the services you offer.
As mentioned earlier, the right SEO firm will request for a list of the target keywords you have been pursuing. They will also go the extra to identify other valuable keywords that should be on the list and create stellar content around them.
The keywords should be inserted in the content and other sections of your website, such as SEO titles, URL, meta description, and image alt. Continuously monitor your website’s performance using tools such as Google Analytics to know which keywords your site is now ranking for after hiring the SEO firm.
If you notice you are getting traffic from the wrong keywords, that signifies that the agency did not do proper keyword research. You won’t get any sales from such traffic since the searchers are not part of your target customers.
You also need to reconsider your decision to work with the SEO agency if you also notice you are not ranking for the high-value keywords you previously relied on to get traffic and sales.
The goal should be to get more targeted organic traffic by ranking for as many high-value keywords as possible. If for any reason, the traffic streaming into the website is from suspicious queries that are not related to your brand, the chances are that the SEO firm is not professional. They beat the system to increase traffic volume and pay no attention to visitors’ relevance to your products or services.
Increase in Linkbacks from Suspicious Sites
A backlink is one of the strongest ranking factors used by Google to rank websites. Having many backlinks means that many other sites trust your website, the content is relevant to the audience, and you are an authority. Google will reward you with a high ranking if you have backlinks from authority sites.
That said, you cannot afford to use black hat SEO strategies such as private blog networks and spammy forum comments to get the links. Keep tabs on your link profile after hiring the SEO agency to know the sites back to your site.
Google bots are smart and will detect an unnatural change in the link profile. Don’t wait for Google to penalise and de-rank your website; immediately you notice suspicious linkbacks from questionable websites, reach out to the firm for clarification.
The best backlinks are those from websites with high domain authority and are related to your niche. Links outside your niche will not have any significant impact on your site SEO and ranking. If the firm is targeting random backlinks, the value of your website will drop significantly.
Not to mention, Google’s previous perception of your brand will be compromised, and you will start noticing a drop in traffic due to changes in site ranking. Only a unreputable SEO firm will spray your website with such backlinks.
If not resolved, the site will be slapped with either or both manual and algorithm penalties. Unlike other signals discussed, you should immediately terminate your relationship with the SEO firm. It is impossible to create such spammy links unintentionally – the firm knew what they were doing and thought you wouldn’t know.
Excessively Optimised Anchor Text Mostly from the Spammy Sites
When doing backlinking, it is imperative to ensure that the right anchor text is used to ensure the SEO juice flow from the linking site to your website.
However, the unqualified SEO firms use overly optimised anchor text to fire up the relevance of the backlinks from the spammy websites. Back in 2012, 31% of all websites online were penalised for optimised anchor text for backlinking purposes following the introduction of the Google Penguin algorithm update.
For example, let us assume your website is “www.affordabletreadmillsonline.com,” and one of your target keywords is “affordable treadmills online.” Then, the SEO firm gets backlinks from one or more sites with the exact keyword as the anchor text “affordable treadmills online.”
You risk been penalised for using overly optimised anchor text, especially you get hundreds of such links. The only way so many websites will link to your website using the exact keyword or keywords you are pursuing is if you tell them to do so in exchange for something.
Below is a chronology of events to show that your SEO firm is trying to scam you.
- Your link profile used to have few links and no optimised anchor text
- You hire the agency and provide a comprehensive list of the target keywords
- A few weeks later, your profile has hundreds of links with optimised anchor text
Just like links from spammy sites, you should consider terminating the contract and scouting for another reputable agency.
5 Golden Rules for Working with An SEO Company
Now that you know how to tell if the SEO firm is providing you value for money, the next thing that we need to discuss how to work optimally with the SEO company. Here are six golden rules on how to work with the agency to get the expected results.
Carry Out Your Research
It is recommendable to carry out your research to know the various SEO practices recommended by Google before hiring the agency. Learn as much as you can about the industry and what your competitors are doing to rank higher than you and get customers.
The internet is one of the best sources of information about search engine optimisation. Review the previous algorithm updates from Google and other search engines, look at the strategies used by blogs and websites (even those outside your niche) to stay ahead of the curve.
All this information will give you insights into what to expect from the SEO firm. You will be better poised to identify outdated techniques that the firm may recommend, assuming that you don’t know much about the industry.
Earlier in this article, we mentioned that most SEO strategies take 2-3 months to deliver tangible results. Be patient when interacting with the SEO team to avoid exerting too much pressure on them. Note that the team will not be motivated to help you out if you give them unrealistic expectations or continuously change the goals. Relax, understand that SEO is a long-term investment in your brand, and it will take time to get all the results.
Don’t Expect Guarantees
Unlike other digital marketing methods such as social media marketing that often deliver results within a short period, SEO services come with no guarantee. The market is dynamic and Google is continuously looking for ways to offer the best results to users.
Steer clear of a firm that guarantees 100% satisfaction or a full money-back guarantee. The firm likely uses such terms to draw in clients who are desperate to rank highly but are overly cautious not to lose money.
Understand that the SEO campaign’s success depends on the power of search engines such as Google and Bing. They don’t have full control of the SEO campaigns because Google implements algorithm changes independently and without warning.
More importantly, SEO practices that worked well a few months ago may be null and void today. So, even as you continue to work with the agency, insist that the agency looks out for changes in the industry and make the necessary adjustments.
What Do You Expect from the SEO Firm?
Having no guarantees or rigid expectations from the SEO firm does not mean you should leave everything to chance. During the hiring process, seek to know what the SEO company will do to catapult your website to the top of the search engine results pages.
Here is a list of some of the things the SEO firm is likely to do on your website.
- Create backlinks
- Create fresh on-page and off-page content
- Check your link profile and work on it
- Improve the existing social media pages and profiles
- Carry out conversion rate optimisation
- Carry out A/B tests to determine the performance of the website elements
- Carry out a content audit to identify gaps and opportunities
It’s best to hire an SEO agency that offers a broad range of services at the same price to save time that you would have spent hiring multiple agencies. The research you did will help you gauge how the agency does the above activities to cover your end.
View your SEO Company as a Partner
One of the remedies for failure is a disconnect between the SEO agency and the client. The two parties need to work in tandem from the project’s start to when the goals are achieved. Concisely, you should perceive the SEO firm as a business partner who is determined to help you get results.
You will need to chip in and provide additional information and access to the admin panel and content management system. Search engine optimisation is a multi-faceted industry, and you need to be involved for the expected results to be achieved.
Delegating the SEO firm instead of doing the processes in-house will give your business the muscle it needs to get ahead of the competition. You will save time plenty of time that would have been spent training your personnel. You will also free up your schedule for other business activities such as product improvement, business meetings with associates, and new marketing strategies.
MediaOne Marketing is the go-to SEO firm that you can count on to help you get ahead of the competition. We take pride in helping businesses like yours generate more qualified leads by using only Google’s recommended SEO practices.
Over the years, we have put in place measures that enable us monitor performance of the implemented SEO strategies and adjust them accordingly. Our personnel undergo continuous training to hone their skills and expertise. By hiring us, you are guaranteed value for money and we strive to complete projects within the agreed time frame.
Don’t leave anything to chance – get in touch today for a free consultation and SEO audit.