After working full time as a SEO professional for several high profile companies I decided to go out and start my own agency, SunBird Interactive. I’ve had the chance to see both ends of the coin and came to the conclusion that most SEO agencies simply don’t deliver. They promise first page rankings and tons of “qualified” traffic but what they end up giving you is a bunch of useless analysis about keyword density and on-page factors that’ve waned in importance in the face of countless Google algorithm updates:
- Panda – In my opinion, this was the first rolling update to address spammy content farms and singular-minded on-page optimization techniques. The people hit hard by this were content farms and low quality websites that ranked in search results simply for stuffing webpages full of key phrases. Popular SEO tools like Raven and SEOMoz have placed less importance in grading on-page factors, as evidenced by their lack of coverage in blog posts.
- Penguin – This absolutely destroyed a lot of lead generation websites. This update targeted SEOs that employed heavily targeted anchor text to rank for certain phrases. This used to be a knockout punch technique that worked for many years: if you want to rank for a certain word or key phrase then the links pointing to you site needed to contain the keywords you’re going after. Anyone who’s been in SEO long enough knew this was coming. It is reported that this update effected up to 10% of English language search queries.
Hiring a SEO Agency
Many businesses struggle to hire a qualified SEO expert because quite frankly, they’re hard to find. You can search all over Google but often times you’re left with unreturned phone calls and the realization that for reliable support you may have to hire an agency. There are several benefits to hiring a SEO agency. Most important is that they’re held accountable.
if you’re running a website where a lot of money is at stake it can be retroactive to hire a consultant because often times they’re unable to tackle the multiple responsibilities required to run a modern-day SEO campaign. It’s no longer good enough to throw a bunch of links at a website and expect it to rank well in search engines. These days you need web designers, copywriters, social media experts, analytics professionals, and much more. With an agency you get all of these. The downside to the agency model is that you need a lot money and usually have to sign long term contracts. Under the guise of “SEO takes a long time to kick in” these agencies can justify this model. Don’t be surprised though, if you talk to many companies who’ve been burned by this mindset.
Hiring a SEO Consultant
People looking to save a little money will find hiring a SEO consultant as the first logical choice. Besides economics there are other reasons why you may want to hire a consultant. An important thing to consider when launching a scalable strategy is agility. An agency often comes with the same redundancies that big private companies come with so someone looking to launch a quick campaign will hire a SEO consultant/expert. These independent SEO experts have the ability to come in and work hand and hand with your product and marketing teams to ensure that you have an unbiased, top-down look at your current SEO objectives