Is SEO still worthwhile? Has social media killed SEO? Are SEO agencies going to rip you off?
This post shines a light on the often shady world of SEO, whether it’s still worth it in the age of social media, and how to make sure you’re not getting taken for a ride if you decide to work with an agency.
When searching for an SEO company to improve your search engine rankings and drive organic traffic to your website, it’s important to choose a reputable and effective partner. Avoid companies that try to tie you into long-term contracts, prioritize technical SEO elements over high-quality content, and promise fast results. Instead, look for an SEO company with a long-term strategy that focuses on white hat tactics and high-quality content.
First, to make sure we’re all on the same boat, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a way to make your website appear higher in search results on search engines like Google.
When you type something into a search engine, it looks through all the websites it knows about to find the ones that are most relevant to what you searched for. SEO is about making sure that your website is one of the most relevant ones.
To do this, you have to use certain words and phrases on your website (relevant keywords) that people might search for. You also have to ensure your website is easy to use and navigate.
By doing these things, you can help your website rank higher in search results, which means more people will be able to find it and visit it.
Why do SEO at all?
The biggest issue many companies have with SEO is that it’s not a quick fix. Results can take months. Actual ROI can take even longer. In a world of Instagram’s instant gratification and Facebook’s fast content sharing, why even bother?
The answer depends on your goals:
- Do you want to scale your business over the next five years?
- Do you want to invest in a reliable, long-term traffic source for years to come?
- Do you want to cut advertising costs significantly over the next few years?
- Do you want to be seen as an authority in your niche?
If the answer is yes to any of these, SEO could be one of the smartest investments you’ll make in your business. There are plenty more reasons too.
SEO VS SOCIAL
Studies show that organic search results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked than paid search results and lead to a 1.5x higher conversion rate.
Being ranked in Google’s organic search results (or other major search engines) could save you money over paid ads and produce better quality traffic over the long term
This is somewhat confirmed when you browse Reddit to see what people are saying about Google Ad results:
Ouch. It seems like this poster hit a nerve. Heaps of people agree with his idea of ignoring Google Ads in favour of organic results.
The psychology is that people often trust organic (or “real”) search results over paid results. And it makes sense; organic means real. This means the company didn’t “buy their way in” to the results.
But what about social media?
While it’s true that social is a huge opportunity for companies to find their customers, the reality is social traffic doesn’t convert as well as organic Google search results.
That’s because social media marketing focuses on who people are, whereas SEO focuses on what people think and want.
Which also explains why organic search gets 10x more traffic than social media.
Being at the top of Google’s organic search results ultimately means you’re more visible, prominent, and credible and targeting people who need your solution today.
SEO is an awesome investment. But there’s a catch…
Knowing whether you need SEO isn’t the real problem. The biggest headache is knowing who you can trust to take care of it.
(Unless you’re absolutely bananas and prefer to do it in-house. If so, more power to you!)
But for the rest of us, there are 3 SEO companies we all definitely want to avoid…
1. The SEO company that ties you into contracts
Seems reasonable, right? SEO takes time, so why not set up a contract? Well, it’s great for the SEO agency but a huge risk for you.
Do you want to be locked into a contract where you’re shelling out thousands of dollars per month for years without seeing any results… or ever knowing if it will pay off?
If you’re smart, you’ll have already validated your keywords using PPC to make sure you’re not going down the wrong path with your SEO agency (or your agency will have done this for you.)
But still, there’s always a degree of risk with SEO. Agencies that tie you into a contract might be great at what they do but terrible at communicating. Or perhaps there’s a culture clash. Or maybe you can’t stomach the fees anymore. In any case, a contract is always a cause for concern.
2. The SEO company that puts content last
Want to know the biggest secret to SEO success? It’s content. Lots of really, really good content. It’s the backbone of your SEO campaign, and any agency that treats content as an afterthought doesn’t know what they’re doing, doesn’t care, or both.
Whoever you hire, make sure they have a solid plan based around creating content; that’s what Google wants, what your customers want, and, subsequently, what gets you to the top.
3. The SEO company that promises you fast results
On the flip side of the contract-hungry SEO agencies keen to draw things out for months or years with little to show for it, we have the SEO companies that want you in and out like a bad haircut.
They know what you want to hear. Fast results. Traffic, leads, and customers in as little as two weeks. And any other number of misleading or outright deceptive claims to get you onboard.
Sure, getting a website to the top of Google in days is possible, but it’s often through shady tactics that Google won’t like and will penalize you for in the long run.
Google is smart. It knows all the tricks and has highly sophisticated algorithms to detect foul play. When websites get caught (and they always do), it means months, years, or even a permanent ban from being able to show in the search results. Not pretty.
It’s important to understand that search engine algorithms are constantly changing, and no one can guarantee a top ranking for your website. If an SEO company is promising you first page rankings, it’s likely that they are using questionable tactics that could ultimately harm your website’s rankings.
So there you have it – 3 SEO agencies to steer clear OF if you’re serious about playing the long game, getting to the top of Google, and staying there for years to come.
Have you ever been burned by SEO agencies like these in the past? Please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know.