Ignite your digital marketing

HOW TO HIRE A CREDIBLE SEO AGENCY

Posted on 8th Mar, 2017 by

Google released a document on Valentine’s day providing valuable insight into how brands should go about hiring an SEO agency, including guidelines on what to look out for and avoid when choosing and hiring an SEO specialist.

Included in this document was a video by Google’s Developer Programs Tech Lead, Maile Ohye. In the almost 12-minute video, Maile offers her advice on how to identify a legitimate SEO provider as well as what exactly constitutes ‘good’ (and bad) SEO. Curious to know which practices make the cut by Google? We’ve summarised the video below.

“An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website”

– Maile Ohye

GENERAL SEO HIRING PROCESS

Unfortunately, there are a number of SEO agencies out there who don’t play fair, often using illicit techniques in an attempt to manipulate search engines. These techniques, and the agencies that use them, should be avoided at all costs as Google does not easily provide ‘second chances’.

To avoid getting locked into a contract with one of ‘these’ SEO agencies, Google has provided an agenda to follow when interviewing and selecting an SEO provider. These are the steps Google recommends brands take when choosing an SEO:

STEP 1: Conduct a two-way interview – ask relevant questions to ensure they’re sincerely interested in you and the success of your business.

STEP 2: Check their references – the agency should offer you a list of clients willing to talk to you about their experience. If they can’t offer this, you should be cautious.

STEP 3: Request an audit – a good agency does their homework. Ask them to complete an audit, identifying any potential website issues and how they suggest to improve them, as well as what impact these changes are estimated to have on your digital campaign.

STEP 4: Decide if you want to hire – discuss with other decision makers within your business whether they think this agency is a good choice. Before deciding on an SEO agency, make sure all internal stakeholders are on board.

BONFIRE TIP:

You should leave your first meeting with a potential SEO agency feeling impressed and holding a proposal which indicates extensive research into both your company’s current position in the market, and your website.

ADVICE/KEY TAKEAWAYS:

In addition to the hiring process recommendations, Ohye also shared some useful insights on SEO basics as well as common misconceptions. Here are a few we found particularly agreeable and commonly find ourselves explaining to clients coming to us with limited search knowledge (or previous bad advice).

“SEO is not black magic” – SEO isn’t magic and it won’t work overnight. If an agency is promising instant rankings, avoid them, as they’re likely to be practicing bad SEO – this could cause irreversible long term damage to your domain and could greatly affect your digital standing with Google.

SEO suggestions should align with google best practices – ask the SEO to corroborate their strategy recommendations with supporting documents from Google e.g. an article from their help centre, a Googler response in their forum or a video (like this one).

Good SEO aims to improve the searchers’ entire experience – recommended changes should aim to not only create a search friendly site, but also a user-friendly site.

Quality SEOs will be genuinely invested in your business – they will be interested in learning about your business from a holistic stand point and genuinely care about your business goals, customers and other existing marketing efforts.

Good SEO takes time – allow 4 months to a year before you expect to start seeing real search results from strategy implementation. There are a lot of components in a good SEO strategy, and unfortunately no magic tricks to make them work faster.

An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website – investing in a user-friendly website will significantly help every SEO strategy implemented. You can’t build a home without a solid foundation.

“One of the biggest holdups to improving a website isn’t [the SEO’s] recommendation, but the business making time to implement their ideas.”

– Maile Ohye

IN SUMMARY…

The road towards finding a legitimate SEO agency is not an easy one. However, the outcome of your choice is vital to both the health of your campaign and business. These guidelines should help with the decision process and ensuring your business is left in capable hands.

You can watch the full video by Maile Ohye, titled How to Hire an SEO, here:

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Bonfire in The West: Retailers Told to Go Mobile

Posted on 7th Jul, 2015 by

There’s no denying that  mobile shopping has skyrocketed in the past few years and there’s no sign of it easing up anytime soon.

However,  many retailers are being left behind. Currently, only 30% of Australian retailers offering a mobile website.

Our CEO, Clay Cook, has shared some advice for struggling retailers in The West.

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2015 Digital Marketing Trends and Predictions

Posted on 12th Dec, 2014 by

As 2014 draws to a close, the predictions and trends for Digital Marketing in 2015 have already begun.

So we thought we would jump on the bandwagon with our very own (along with a few from well-known experts).

Here goes:

1. Mobile-Optimised Content Will Be a Must-Have, Not a Should-Have
Our Head of Digital Services, George Gavalas, predicts that mobile optimisation will play a big role in Digital Marketing in 2015.

“According to Forbes, 87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones. While a responsive design is paramount, Google has hinted that mobile usability is now ‘relevant for optimal search results.’ So, 2015 will bring about website content specifically for mobile users.”

2. Digital Analytics Will Get More Sophisticated
Google’s Analytics Advocate, Adam Singer, anticipates that marketers will demand more from analytics in 2015.

“We know from research, talking to users and being an active part of the industry that marketers are increasing emphasis on measurement. Our team even launched a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to provide a free and robust resource to educate marketers and help them succeed. An ever-expanding mix of devices and channels is creating even greater pressures for digital teams to quantify their efforts, but the technology is here and the market demand for talented analysts & data-savvy marketers has been in place long enough that 2015 is the year digital measurement finally comes of age. Smart brands have already formalized their efforts across organizations and efforts. If you’re not there it’s time to catch up.”

3. Marketers Will Demand More From Remarketing
Ad Remarketing (or Retargeting) was the new kid on the block in 2014. However, due to its proven success, our Digital Services Manager (and PPC King), Sam Zhao, predicts that marketers will demand more from Remarketing in 2015.

“I expect the technology that ad platforms use will become more innovative especially in regards to advanced targeting criteria. We’re already seeing hints of this from Facebook with Atlas and Google AdWords, so I expect we will see other ad platforms like AdRoll and Chango follow suit pretty quickly”

4. Shopping Comes to Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are already testing it, but Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, expects e-commerce and social media integration to deepen in 2015.

“This approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website). On Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily chatting with friends, browsing the latest trends, sharing photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. There are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytics challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.”

5. Don’t Count Out Google+ Just Yet
There are plenty of Digital Marketers who criticise Google+ and some are even predicting it will be gone all together in 2015. But, our Digital Services Manager (and resident SEO expert), Matthew Elshaw, suggests otherwise.

“Even though Google has closed their Google+ Authorship program, Google+ business pages are still an important part of the ranking algorithm. In 2015, I expect Google to further reward businesses that maintain an active profile with regular posts, complete business information and positive reviews.”

6. Will Marketing Strategies (Finally) Become Integrated?
Good question…. The experts have mixed predictions for this one.

Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, says no:

“I’d love to say that by 2015 we will truly see digital strategies that are integrated across social, mobile, advertising, marketing, comms, et al. But, we won’t. What we will see though is a more conscious effort to bring disparate groups to the table to learn how to collaborate across screens, channels, and moments of truth to deliver ONE experience to customers wherever they are in the lifecycle.”

However, Lee Odden from TopRank disagrees:

“Content creation, search optimization and social media will be less siloed as specific departments and treated more like skills that exist across the organization. Optimization will move beyond individual tactics and focus more on overall customer experience across channels. Marketing is everybody’s job and more companies will leverage internal resources through social business and collaboration platforms as well as participation marketing with their community to integrate scaled content creation and social media engagement.”

 

And there you have it…. Just a handful of the big predictions for Digital Marketing in 2015. Now it’s over to you… What do you think the most significant changes and important trends will be in 2015?

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