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How To Choose a Search Marketing Agency, Massimo Burgio Sempo

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My presentation on "How to choose a search engine marketing agency" for SEM 2008 Warsaw (Internet Standard conference). The presentation is a remix from Chris Boggs' white paper of 2004.

My presentation on "How to choose a search engine marketing agency" for SEM 2008 Warsaw (Internet Standard conference). The presentation is a remix from Chris Boggs' white paper of 2004.

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • still good :) thanks for the hat-tip Massimo!
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  • I Know, Social Media Marketing Plus - I should update it a bit as today you should also be looking at how your search marketing agency is able to integrate social media efforts in your search strategy (and vice versa), and how to take advantage of the latest search features such as real time search etc.

    But yes it's true that the basics to assess a search marketing agency are still there - I hope you got the right one! Thanks also for the comment! best, Massimo
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  • Hey Sempo - even though your preso is 2 years old, its still an accurate and a good fit in 2010.
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  • Thanks paz, but as I say on slide 2, most of the merit goes to my fellow SEMPO Board Director Chris Boggs who wrote the original white paper back in 2004 - I just remixed it... =)

    Anyway, now that I'm on the A to Z wave, I should develop more presentations with this format on different topics - but they go long in terms of presentation time - maybe I should do the classic 1-10.... ;)
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  • Great slideshow!
    A to Z is a good idea for this kind of subjects, love it!
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  • 1. HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY Massimo Burgio SEMPO Board of Directors, SEMPO Global / Europe SEM 2008 WARSAW – MAY 2008 A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 2.
    • Chris Boggs, SEMPO Board of Directors (2004, remixed)
    • SEMPO Learning Center
    • Google Desktop application
    • SEM 2008 / IDG / IAB Poland
    HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY – CREDITS & KUDOS
  • 3. HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
    • algorithm is the heart of SEO work, and constantly changes
    • ensure ongoing maintenance is a part of any SEO deal
    A ALGORITHM
  • 4.
    • what’s your company’s business model? B2B? B2C? B2C2C?
    • adopt the power of blogs to help your search engine relevancy
    • make sure your SEO Company understands the nature of your business model
    B BUSINESS BLOGS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 5.
    • make sure you are not getting “boxed services”, but tailored to your business environment
    • always keep an eye on competition, ask your agency regular competitive reports
    • as Caesar said: “keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer
    C COMPETITION HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 6.
    • don’t accept proposal that rely on easy tricks that can get you banned
    • think of what’s beyond the doorway as searchers enter your site
    D DOORWAYS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 7.
    • ethics in methodology
    • check agency profile via search
    • try to implement an e-shelf strategy on SERP
    • “ if it looks and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck”
    E ETHICS EXPERTISE E-SHELF HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 8.
    • still using frames?
    • still using a flash splash-page?
    • skip that!
    • you might need to redesign entirely your website if built with frames or entirely in flash, no matter what the agency says
    F FRAMES FLASH HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 9.
    • agency should prioritize Google rankings
    • use all the resources available at Google Webmaster Central
    • “ I’ve seen the future: you were not included in it”
    • don’t forget that the majority of searches occur within the Google network
    G GOOGLE HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 10.
    • don’t translate or localize, try to approach international targeting through cultural adaptation efforts
    • rely on local hosting and domain names when targeting internationally
    • H1/H2 tags still matter!
    • not all search agencies are qualified to help with foreign language market segments
    H HISPANIC HOSTING H1/H2 TAGS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 11.
    • search agencies are companies that should understand in full internet dynamics
    • all your users are on the internet, no matter which demographic or social segment
    • your search marketing agency should suggest to integrate your search strategies within your overall online (and offline) activities and marketing mix
    • the Internet as a marketplace and a branding platform is here to stay
    I INTERNET INTEGRATION HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 12.
    • good search agencies should be able to move JavaScript in a part of the code where it won’t impede search engine robots to do their job
    • JavaScript can be bad, but not deadly, to search engine positioning
    J JAVASCRIPT HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 13.
    • forget about high-level keywords that “guarantee” rankings
    • adopt a deep keyword analysis, and deploy a consistent keyword strategy
    • ask your search agency to “think long tail”
    • a search agency should give you a list for approval of keywords to target after seeing your initial list and analyzing your site and market
    K KEYWORDS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 14.
    • discuss link strategy with your agency
    • the only good links are to and from sites relevant to your industry
    • avoid “link farms” and affiliate linking, when cluttered
    • optimize landing pages (both for search ranking and conversion), not only the home page
    • link farms are bad and can actually hurt your link popularity
    L LINKS LANDING PAGES HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 15.
    • title tag still important for ranking
    • description still relevant to users
    • a search agency should create META content that is unique to each of your pages to be optimized
    M META TAGS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 16.
    • usability comes first, for both users and search engine crawlers
    • site maps are paramount
    • google sitemaps is bliss
    • all of your main theme pages should be easy to navigate-to from any other main page within the site. You should have a Site Map
    N NAVIGATION HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 17.
    • SEO = ROC = MAO
    • ask your search agency to deploy an e-shelf strategy for your core strategic keywords
    • use online press release distribution (with tags and RSS) to maximize your organic listings
    • provide the proper relevant content, improve your traffic and linking, and you will appear within the organic listings
    O ORGANIC ONLINE PR HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 18.
    • PageRank is dead, viva PageRank!
    • integrate a paid search strategy (PPC) to your organic SEO strategy for maximum reach / effectiveness
    • learn the new 4 Ps of online marketing to avoid stress: Passion Patience Proactivity Perseverance - make sure your search agency adopted them too!
    • note that PageRank is only one part of the overall algorithm used by Google to rank sites: content and popularity make up the other parts
    P PAGERANK PAID SEARCH 4Ps HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 19.
    • check out agency references and proof of work
    • quality of work vs. quality of relationship
    • make sure your paid search campaign are not impacted by previous negative quality score
    • make sure that the money that you are investing in outsourcing SEO will provide predictable results
    Q QUALITY QUALITY SCORE HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 20.
    • good search agencies will provide you with rankings report within the top search engines for your targeted keywords
    • ask also for linking reports
    • don’t forget competitive reports
    • try to read the reports, and use them to assess and re-plan your strategy and operations
    • search marketing = highest ROI in the history of direct response
    • maximize your content distribution through optimized RSS feeds
    • regularly requesting your search agency updated reports
    R REPORTING ROI RSS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 21.
    • avoid agencies proposing “easy” spam techniques (cloaking, excessive keyword density, hidden text, …) to rank in search engines
    • Did you try SEMPO’s member directory and RFP section of sempo.org?
    • pimp up your e-shelf (and boost your SEO) with relevant social media results
    • help the internet get better: engage in social search
    • ensure that your search agency doesn’t use these methods, unless you don’t care that your site may be penalized after initial success
    S SPAM SEMPO SOCIAL MEDIA HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 22.
    • good SEO results take time, and so does a paid search campaign constantly optimized
    • if you are in a rush, use paid search and online PR
    • test all your efforts with alternative SEO strategies, landing page testing, and always test new channels (RSS feeds, social media, video content?)
    • after testing, test again
    • if you are in a hurry, buy listings through methods other than SEO
    T TIMING TESTING HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 23.
    • focus on users, not on search engines
    • users don’t navigate or search only within search engines
    • engage with users before thinking sales – listen to users on and off site
    • remember that users are in control of your reputation through the power of blogs and social media
    • universal search feeds on social media
    • don’t lose focus: website are for searchers not search engines
    U USERS POWER UNIVERSAL SEARCH HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 24.
    • look outside the bottle - ask your search agency to perform a consistent keyword and competitive research
    • help the agency help you by sharing full insight on your business, business language, and business strategies
    • always remember that the online scenario changes often, don’t get stuck on a vision!
    • adopt online video strategy as part of your SEO strategy
    • SEO is an iterative process
    V VISION VIDEO HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 25.
    • What You See Is What You Get
    • try to figure out who is the search agency who sent you a quote: search them on Google!
    • web analytics should be offered by your search marketing agency – ask them also to help you understand data, not only to send you reports!
    • if you cannot find anything about a search agency on the web and they provide no solid references: buyer beware
    W WYSIWYG WEB ANALYTICS HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 26.
    • factors that affects the selection of a search agency: local company, pricing structure, contractual terms, legal and resource capabilities, reputation, …
    • factors that affect client/agency relations: lack of communication client/agency, lack of resources, lack of understanding the nature of the work, lack of professionalism
    • factors that affect search performance: bad SEO choices, bad content, google dance, blog power
    • use common sense and analysis as opposed to emotions when choosing your search marketing agency
    X X-FACTOR HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 27.
    • google rules, but don’t forget Yahoo! is around
    • same as for MSN, NetSprint, Seznam, and local
    • integrate power of content, services and social media into your search strategy
    • perform SEO first, then submit your website for inclusion within the directory. Many search agencies will do this for you and build the cost into their SEO price
    Y YAHOO! HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 28.
    • engage within the blogosphere and social media space for max search engine effectiveness, brand exposure, and user interaction
    • increase relevancy and search penetration through optimized social media assets and buzz about it
    • adopt social bookmarking and use news sites to distribute your optimized press releases
    • adopt, optimize and distribute RSS feeds
    • as our French friends would say: au-revoir!
    Z ZE END BUZZ HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD SEARCH MARKETING AGENCY - A TO Z CHECKLIST
  • 29. THANK YOU! MASSIMO BURGIO [email_address] SEMPO Board of Directors, SEMPO Global / Europe www. sempo.org www. sempoglobalsearchblog.com     

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