SMX East - Finding and Succeeding With a Search Marketing Agency - Brian Harnish

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My presentation slide deck from Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at SMX East: Finding & Succeeding With a Search Marketing Agency

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SMX East - Finding and Succeeding With a Search Marketing Agency - Brian Harnish

  1. 1. SMX East 2012 by Brian Harnish Internet Marketing Specialist Twitter: @brianharnish
  2. 2. Finding An Agency Can Be a Daunting Task For the Small Business Owner  SEO has expanded and has become a larger industry than ever before.  It can be dauntingly difficult when there are more agencies out there competing for your business. But, it can be easy when you ask the right questions.  How do you choose an agency?  What type of agency should you go for?  Should you bring SEO in-house instead?  What common information do agencies need?  How do you discuss a comprehensive SEO plan with an agency?  How do you become most effective with your agency?
  3. 3. How to Choose an Agency  Requirements for best results  Choose an agency that aligns with your goals.  Choose an agency that aligns with your general business philosophy.  Find an agency that practices white hat, sound SEO techniques.  Find an agency that will tell it to you straight and doesn’t sugar- coat.  They also need to back up their experience, skills and knowledge with real world results.
  4. 4. What Type of Agency?  Do you need a larger agency or smaller agency? - Larger agency works well for smaller sites. They tend to have a one size fits all approach to their marketing services. Some situations, such as constant internal link building that can tip off SERP spam filters, can arise from having a larger agency do your SEO. - Smaller agencies have less clients (but not less talent) and tend to be able to offer better, more custom marketing campaigns and are well suited - for medium small business websites.
  5. 5. When Should You Go In- House?  Most agencies are limited to 2-20 keywords depending on the market you’re going after.  Ask yourself: • Do you want to go after 600 keywords? • Do you have a much larger, competitive market to tackle? • Do you have the budget for it?
  6. 6. Why Hire an In-House Team?  You have complete control over your marketing campaigns. - You can set the goals, the requirements for success, the metrics you wish to measure, and hold yourself and your team accountable for your website marketing success. - Going in-house typically means changes and updates can be done much faster than through an agency. - Anything custom you want, you can accomplish with in-house SEO.
  7. 7. Agency Communication  Should you choose an agency, how you communicate with them is most important. - Communicating changes - Communicating goals, strategy, and updates - Communicating your expectations - Ensuring timely delivery of execution of certain marketing tasks - Building rapport with your SEO specialist is especially important. - They will be more apt to do special, custom things for you because you’re they’re favorite client.
  8. 8. Different People, Different Communication  Different professions communicate differently  Depending on the agency, IT is mostly concerned with servers and keeping things running. They couldn’t care less about SEO but tend to understand its importance.  Coders are the backbone of the website. They build things from the ground up.  Designers are concerned with User Experience, graphics, developing a pleasing website presence that is attractive graphically.  Marketing is where your services will primarily be based, and your SEO specialist is here. You will end up communicating with marketing more so than any of these other specialists.
  9. 9. What if you are not happy with your agency?  We have all reached a certain point where the agency has outgrown our needs and we need to move on to achieve better results. How do you identify that you are not happy? ○ They are not providing the results they once did. ○ At first when they got your money it was all smiles and delivering things on time, but sadly that has gone by the wayside. ○ They are not keeping up with Google updates and instead continue to utilize old, out of date methods for SEO. ○ The last one is most important. Part of an SEO’s job is to make sure that they are up to date on all of the latest search engine algorithm updates, that they are able to adapt to them, and still deliver stellar results. ○ If these are not happening, and they don’t know what Penguin or Panda are, then it’s probably time to consider finding another agency that does know their stuff.
  10. 10. What Can You Expect Working With An Agency?  Working with an agency instead of doing the work yourself can be a good thing.  A good agency will keep you up to date on everything going on with your marketing campaign, and provide custom services rather than a one size fits all approach.  You don’t have to learn constantly, and can instead focus on things you want to do.  Results won’t happen overnight. It takes consistent efforts to achieve top, SUSTAINABLE rankings and an online presence.  To get the best results, you want to give the agency everything you know about your business, your products, your services, your customers, the keywords you want to target, your goals, everything.
  11. 11. Providing the Agency With the Proper Information  There is certain information the agency will need in order to move forward with your marketing campaign. ○ All applicable logins if you’re doing a custom site (hosting login, domain name registrar login, FTP). If you don’t feel comfortable with this, at least ensure that you have all the files in a format that you will be able to easily upload and install without much additional execution on your part. ○ Information for Local SEO (your business address, exact business name, DBA statements, Google Places accounts, Yahoo, Bing accounts, Yelp accounts, other review accounts) ○ Information for PPC (all keywords you’re currently target, your current PPC expenditures, your PPC goals, your Google/Yahoo/Bing PPC account logins) ○ If you don’t provide enough information, your agency will not be able to move forward with your marketing initiatives. ○ The agency will typically tell you their requirements but in order for your campaign to be successful, you should provide them with as much information as possible.
  12. 12. I Need To Switch Domain Names – What Info Do I Need To Provide? ○ Of course, your registrar’s login info. ○ Whether or not you host E-Mail with it. This is important – if you host email through your registrar and your agency doesn’t know, your email will go down when you switch domain names. Something called MX records for email need to be updated prior to the switch to prevent any email downtime. ○ All related login info - FTP info - Webmaster tools login info - Any additional account info - Any Bing, Yahoo, MSN, and link building account logins
  13. 13. Discussing a Proper SEO Plan with Your Agency  One size fits all approaches are the worst.  They don’t allow for all the different variations that can occur in a marketing campaign.  If you really want to dominate a market, you want to discuss an SEO plan that will remain competitive.  SEO has grown and with the demand for services, it’s no longer competitive to update your website once a month and leave it at that.  You need constant weekly (minimum) updates to stay ahead of your competition.  Your competition will be doing everything they can to get ahead, and that includes updates more often than what had been recommended in the past.
  14. 14. SEO Myths & Scams  There are some extremely good agencies, and there are some very bad ones.  The worst will use all types of myths & scams at their disposal hook you, as well as prevent you from going with a competitor.  Some of the common ones include: ○ We’ll get you results (rankings) in 24 hours. ○ It takes months and months to get results (when you’re asking them three months into the campaign why there are no results yet). ○ It costs thousands of dollars to get results (to get you to buy more additional services you typically don’t need). ○ LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing – No major search engine uses this. When an agency pitches LSI, RUN far far away. ○ We can’t provide you a listing of all the links we built. Chances are they haven’t really built anything valuable, and will use this as a smoke screen. ○ You can’t go after other areas in your marketing campaign.
  15. 15. Duplicate Content Scams  You won’t face scams in just SEO either. There are plenty of duplicate content scams to part you from your money. They require the utmost of discrimination to find. ○ The “replacing regular characters with exact replacement in cyrillic text scam. This has become relatively widespread lately. This scam won’t show up in dup content detecting software like copyscape, so it’s relatively easy to perpetuate. How it works: they use the exact letter in cyrillic that appears like an exact letter in the normal alphabet when they submit their content. In addition, the content won’t even be found on Google when it uses foreign characters. ○ To beat this scam if you suspect someone is doing it, is to type the text physically into Google or Copyscape, rather than copying & pasting it. ○ They use a spinner, submitting gibberish. This is relatively easy to spot, so reading the content you should notice some words are out of place and the content doesn’t flow. These are two signs that someone used spinner software to randomly generate the articles without re-writing them.
  16. 16. Conclusion  Finding and succeeding with an agency doesn’t have to be difficult.  By practicing sound business thinking and combining it with at least basic online marketing knowledge, you will be able to choose an agency that best fits your needs.  You will then be able to participate in reaping the profits from a very successful marketing campaign.

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