TopRank Marketing Editor

Top 5 Reasons for Ongoing SEO Services

TopRank Marketing Editor     Link Building, Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tips

Ongoing search marketing consultingFor many companies, an ideal world involving Search Engine Optimization would be simple, quick and a one-time task to check off a list. An organization would create a website, optimize its content for target keywords and promote the site. Soon, the website would acquire a strong number of inbound links and start ranking for those target keywords. End of story.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. In reality, SEO isn’t just about adding keywords and linking. SEO is increasingly social and sits at the intersection of multiple business functions outside of marketing including public relations, customer service, recuitment and branding.

Ongoing SEO consulting is an important part of any internet marketing mix. Truly good consultants save companies significant expenses and contribute to increased leads and sales by providing unique expertise and insight into the technical, creative and increasingly social sides of internet marketing.

Back in 2007, Lee pinpointed 5 Advantages of Ongoing SEO Consulting. As we near the start of 2010, I think it’s the perfect time to revisit those points to see if they hold just as much weight today as they did 3 years ago:

Failure to implement SEO recommendations1. Ongoing search marketing consulting is important because a large percentage of organizations fail to implement the recommendations provided to them by their SEO consultants.

There are many reasons companies do not implement the advice they’re paying for. In difficult economic times, some companies aren’t able to justify the expense of making major changes to their content management systems or devote significant resources to content creation.  Many web development or copy writing staff are overbooked and SEO implementation requests never make it to the “done” checklist.  The best optimization recommendations in the world can be given, but if they aren’t implemented properly or at all, then they’re useless.

An experienced search marketing consultant can lend a hand in implementing recommendations at once, in phases over time or provide quality control oversight of client side implementation on an ongoing basis. Ongoing SEO helps companies avoid costly mistakes in situation such as when SEO work is overwritten or implemented in a way that actually hurts search engine spider interaction rather than facilitate it.

For one B2B e-commerce site that TopRank has worked with for several years, SEO oversight over time has been instrumental at achieving compounded search traffic. Because the company’s web site encompasses a vast number of product pages – and because product focuses change over time – ongoing attention to keyword glossaries, on page optimization, anchor text and link sources has been vital.

In order to maintain search momentum and integrity to target keywords and audiences, the SEO team revisits optimized content to ensure keywords are still relevant and that pages retain their ability to pull search traffic. Since 2007, top 10 search engine rankings for this site have increased by more than 150%.  While the value of “rankings” can be argued with Google’s new personalized search for everyone, ongoing measurements using consistent means can provide a relative measure over time. The end result has been a significant increase in relevant search traffic over time, despite changes in keywords and target audiences.

 

Ongoing link building2. Search marketing consultants can help organizations proactively build links over time.

Link building continues to be one of the most common victims of a neglected search marketing program. Yet ongoing link building is still one of the most critical factors in determining page relevancy, crawling and rankings.

From content marketing on social networks to optimized press releases to link bait, search marketing consultants can help organizations acquire links that drive traffic directly and influence better search visibility, which also drives traffic. SEO Consultants can even assist in more passive link building efforts such as directory submissions, bookmarking, widgets and operationalizing the link opportunities that exist with other types of online content such as job listings, events and public relations efforts.

For one retail SEO client, TopRank has provided ongoing search marketing consulting – ongoing link building, in particular – that has resulted in over 80% of all web site traffic coming from natural search. On any given month, the site receives anywhere from a handful to several hundreds of new inbound links from relevant sources. Since an ongoing effort to acquire links was started, the website and blog have increased unique visitors by 214%.

SEO quickly evolving3. Ongoing search marketing consulting is necessary because the search engine industry changes often.

This point may be more relevant today than ever before. The major search engines are constantly fine-tuning and the search engine landscape continues to change.  Bing didn’t exist 3 years ago and who could have imagined that Yahoo and Microsoft would actually be working together let alone Google achieving 70% market share?

As an example, in just a little more than a year, Google has completely revamped the way it crawls and indexes Adobe Flash files. Before summer 2008, it was virtually impossible for a Flash-based website to gain search engine rankings. Today, many of the rules for optimizing on-page text can apply to text in Flash files.

More importantly are the impact of personalized search for everyone, the influence of social media and real-time search. The implications for SEO with these recent developments are profound and consultants that are on top of such changes provide invaluable advice to their clients, saving time, money and increasing competitive advantage.

Keeping up with the changes can put a strain on companies’ IT and marketing departments. In a win-win scenario for the client, search marketing consultants stay on top of these constant changes and consult on the implications for individual client online marketing efforts. Not only will the client’s site continue to reap the benefits of SEO, but as Lee noted in his post, he or she can “look like a rock star to their management team.”

Marketing and IT departments short staffed4. Companies have thinly spread employees; ongoing search marketing consulting acts as “more hands on deck”.

Now, more than ever before,  employees are wearing multiple hats within their organizations. A company’s web development staff, copywriters or other marketing personnel might be tasked with SEO in addition to all of their other responsibilities. Compounding the issue, the person responsible for ongoing SEO might not even have previous experience in search marketing.

Having a search marketing consultant on board gives the people tasked with SEO with useful resource so they can focus more attention on core responsibilities.

For example, TopRank acts as a partner with a B2B distributor of industrial products for all of their online marketing activities, including content optimization, blogging and PPC management. With a capable internet marketing team as a resource, the client is able to focus its in-house employees on making sales. As a result of their top 10 rankings on important keyword phrases increasing by 125% since the beginning of the year, search traffic has also improved significantly. More qualified traffic = more qualified prospects for this B2B company.

Web analytics and metrics5. Many companies don’t actively or effectively use analytics on their own.

From measuring SEO performance to mining new keyword opportunities, Analytics are as important as ever.  This is especially true as organizations are increasingly demanding proof that their marketing budgets are being put to good use. Marketers must definitively prove marketing ROI and tie efforts back to corporate goals.  Concerns about effectively measuring web site ROI have given way to questions about measuring social media ROI.

Qualified SEO consultants have the necessary experience in monitoring keyword traffic, referral trends, time spent on sites, visitor interaction, social media conversations and other vital metrics to enable companies to make smarter decisions about what’s working and what’s not. The increasingly social and real-time nature of search brings new opportunities for on-demand SEO tactics that would be lost without proper analytics oversight.

Web analytics are certainly more present in most company online marketing programs with the introduction and acceptance of Google Analytics, but even there, constant innovation on the part of Google creates competitive advantages for those companies that stay current. SEO consultants providing ongoing web and social media analytics insight can reveal long term trends, cyclicality and the effect of the many changes mentioned above to an organization’s ability to attract new business and manage it’s reputation online.

Conclusion:

Organizations that invest in ongoing search marketing consulting are putting themselves a giant step ahead of the competition by allowing the company to focus on its core skills and relying on the SEO agency either completely, strategically or to fill in where needed. Do what you do best and outsource the rest.

Companies that hire and manage in-house SEO teams continue to leverage the expertise and strategic advice of competent SEO agencies to provide insight that proves highly valuable in staying competitive, reducing online marketing costs and increasing bottom line sales.

What are your thoughts on the value provided from ongoing SEO consulting? Do you think SEO can be handled in-house all the time, some of the time or never?  If you’re a company considering SEO, what are some of your major concerns with outsourcing on an ongoing basis?

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Comments

  1. Great post that does a nice job of updating Lee's earlier post with relevant recent examples of changes in the SEO landscape and how having a holistic, ongoing SEO effort that integrates with other aspects of the web marketing strategy, such as social media optimization and web analytics, can provide benefits.

    I'm really pleased to see the importance of web analytics in doing SEO work be emphasized (as opposed to simply obsessing over positions on SERPs). Over the years I have been amazed at how little attention many organizations give to their web analytics. I've met with huge corporations who had no idea of their basic web stats, let alone how to increase their organic search traffic. SEO consultants who can convince clients of the importance of monitoring their web traffic data, help clients better understand that data, and how to use it to achieve organizational goals are doing those clients a great service.

    I guess one final takeaway for SEOs is the importance of taking a more comprehensive view of their role and not just focusing on the core SEO tasks. Everything is inter-connected.

    • I agree Rob, most tenured SEOs do much more than defined SEO itself. The intersection with other digital marketing disciplines is growing and ultimately, anything that can be searched on can be optimized.

  2. Great post that does a nice job of updating Lee's earlier post with relevant recent examples of changes in the SEO landscape and how having a holistic, ongoing SEO effort that integrates with other aspects of the web marketing strategy, such as social media optimization and web analytics, can provide benefits.

  3. Great post ! I still can't understand why many companies everywhere don't use seriously analytics !

  4. SEO endeavors take time! Link building, effective copywriting an text composition -not to mention the expertise required in analytics – all stretch an already thin staff that much more. It is indeed more efficient to hire the expertise!

  5. I absolutely agree with this. I have the benefit of working in a leading internet company that serves up billions of impressions so understand how you have to be very obsessed with SEO to do well. However, I’ve also seen a lot of companies for whom internet is a ‘new channel’ and it is often very hard for them to understand how it works or who to rely on. One of the key issues with relying on an outsourced SEO firm is the inability for non-experts to differentiate the good firms from the bad and to establish metrics for assessing results. There are firms out there who still charge for “submissions to directories” or use black hat methods – being able to establish an ongoing relationship makes it easier to assess results and sets the foundation for a more robust/risk-free SEO investment. The fact that it takes time for organic search performance to take effect means that intrinsically you need a longer term relationship with the agency for it to work. That being said many SME executives don’t know enough about SEO to protect themselves from unscrupulous firms and it is hard to know whether ‘it is working’ until months down the line. The industry as a whole can do a better job of increasing transparency and helping executives to draw a more direct link between investments in SEO and bottom line.

    • Re: “The industry as a whole can do a better job of increasing transparency and helping executives to draw a more direct link between investments in SEO and bottom line.”

      That is an excellent point and I agree with you. At TopRank, we provide consulting AND training for our clients so they can become self reliant on the day to day (as well as strategy if they want to) and our time is focused on doing the things that can bring the most impact.

  6. Ongoing SEO consulting is vital to be able to keep up with the times. And it is not bad to outsource SEO if needed and if it works much more to your advantage. You just have to weigh the pros and the cons.

  7. I agree that these services should be on-going as the search engines rely on fresh links as well as older established links. If they see a website building a lot of links then all of a sudden falling off with the amount of links then they may think the page has lost is luster to visitors. I do think that many websites rely too much on SEO and not enough on trying to get targeted traffic through other methods such as social media which in the long-run will make you have a better website since Google is changing so many things away from SEO.

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  10. Excellent arguments, Michelle. To Rob and Lee's point in the comments – an holistic approach that can make sense of analytics and other data for marketing consulting is important for companies rather than doing one-time analysis.

    With TopRank's experience, what is the tendency for your customers to seek one-time consulting help vs. long-term relationships and are you seeing any companies that are building their own SEO expertise within their staff?

    • Hey Dayne, TopRank works primarily as an ongoing resource for companies to develop initial SEO strategy, audits and then help with some or all implementation, link building, analytics and training. More companies have SEO awareness, but very few have the time to stay current.

      While the number of one-time consulting projects have gone up, they still represent a very small percentage of overall work we do.

      • Thanks for the response, Lee.

        That’s great to know for companies looking for SEO consulting and strategy. It helps companies understand the investment involved once it’s understood that it’s a long-term process.

  11. Like leeodden says, I think the problem is that many companies vaguely understand what SEO is, but not enough to usefully implement SEO strategies.

    If you want to read more basic information on SEM, I've written an article you can read: http://www.psycray.com/sem-basics.html.

  12. Great points for continuing SEO consulting. Any business that wants to stay competitive must continue with SEO efforts. What happens when they stop and their competition moves forward full force? Even though content based SEO is a “forever” marketing tactic, posting and forgetting just won't work. Online marketing has become far too massive for any business to consider stopping their efforts.

  13. seoservicesorangecounty says:

    Great post on on going seo services. I also not understand why companies not getting analytics result seriously. It is good option to outsource seo project to seo companies.

    Thanks

  14. frankspady says:

    Very well said, I wish everybody thought like you.

  15. tessacarroll says:

    You make some great points, Michelle. However, I do believe that it's possible for companies to handle SEO in-house. At least to an extent. Once a member (or members) of your staff are given the proper tools to handle SEO themselves, the consultants role can be diminished to a supporting role with your own employees handling the brunt of the work.

    Tessa Carroll
    http://www.blogs.vbpoutsourcing.com

    • There are many, many influences on search based marketing and it's absolutely true that a company can handle most if not all of them in time. It really depends on internal resources, and I mean REAL resources, as well as the competitiveness of the industry. More competitive categories require constantly evolving tactics to gain a competitive edge. SEO consultants working with many, many clients are quickly exposed to new tactics and can bring that competitive advantage to clients quickly. They're also more prone to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding the implications of major changes to the way search engines work.

    • brandviagra says:

      One of the key issues with relying on an outsourced SEO firm is the inability for non-experts to differentiate the good firms from the bad and to establish metrics for assessing results. There are firms out there who still charge for “submissions to directories” or use black hat methods – being able to establish an ongoing relationship makes it easier to assess results and sets the foundation for a more robust/risk-free SEO investment.

  16. “Ongoing search marketing consulting is necessary because the search engine industry changes often.”

    Especially true since organic searches are free, and the secret to Google's “web crawling algorithm” can change at any moment, unlike PPC.

  17. Good stuff Michelle! In the hospitality and catering industry, the particular issue of reputation management has become increasingly important – not just in Ireland I'm sure, as a driver of the need for on-going SEO consulting services.

  18. Hi nice….

  19. Just one question! After read this post, I would like to know if buying some of these services from amazon.com or ebay it is a nice idea to improve my site fame! I can see some names like abcmarketing, drive-marketing, aladygma-marketing that sell lot of backlinks or other services. What do you think about them?

  20. “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” — this is really true. With today's economic crisis and its effect to cost of employment, more and more companies have been relying to extend resources through outsourcing and putting partnerships to internet service providers in maintaining and continuing full training to SEO consulting. As this also takes part as the most multiple task related in product promotion and with the power of the audience's search, this aspect should can help automate online activities in different ways, and in less time, making it reach more targets easily.

  21. Great job. It is very informative about SEO.

  22. I like this post and just wanted to add that ongoing SEO consulting is also helpful to organizations that are in a regular or constant state of adding new content to their sites.

    Additionally, I think its helpful for there to be an inner play between a firms SEO and branding efforts such that when a company undertakes a new branding campaign they also mount complimentary search campaigns to take advantage of searches that are done around the new brand campaign terms.

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  24. Great tips, I'm always looking for ways to maintain my seo efforts.

  25. HighSearchEngineOptimization says:

    While it may sound juvenile, I find the picture in the third point to be a little amusing.

    Okay, okay. Serious face time. I think that SEO takes too much time for companies. I know that serious SEO can be done in about a day starting, and then a few minutes the next day. The growing problem is that it's not one website doing this, it's thousands, dare I say millions. They're all doing the same thing, at the same time, using hte same methodology. Thi smakes it harder for everyone else.

    In other words, it's a simple case of the hedgehog hugging problem.

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  30. Funny, found the exact same article posted two weeks after yours here: http://blog.converget.com/2009/12/31/top-5-reas… (wish I could no-follow that.)

    Might want to look into this? In case someone else is taking credit? I could be wrong and it's a legit copy but just in case.

    Great article! Very helpful.

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