You’re faced with a big problem. You’ve been putting it off for some time now but it’s time to focus on hiring a search engine optimisation agency to provide your business with online marketing services. Of course the first place you searched is Google for SEO agencies in your local area but you were shocked to hear of their price or confused by the jargon terms they were throwing at you. Why does it all have to be so difficult?
You’re faced with questions like “what does it all mean?“, “what exactly do I need?“, “am I overpaying” and more importantly “can I go offshore and get quality SEO from countries like India?“.
Besides, didn’t you just receive an email last week of some kind agency offering the latest and greatest SEO while guaranteeing their work?
Guaranteed SEO results huh? Sounds fantastic from a business owner perspective but does it come at a cost? How as a business owner can you start filtering agencies and understand whether an overseas agency has your best interests at heart?
Poor Process Quality
Now let’s just say that this goes for any SEO agency and isn’t something that should only scrutinised for overseas agencies. SEO is an industry where you’ll be rewarded for putting in the time to educate yourself and research quality before committing to any working agreement.
Here is an example of an email you might receive which highlights the monthly tasks and responsibilities they’ll conduct on your behalf for $150 per month. From this email alone there are some clear warning signs.
…..BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN…….as a business owner you must feel that learning Japanese might be an easier task. Let’s talk about some of these tasks:
Link building is an important area of SEO but current day SEO is concerned more with quality and relevance versus sheer quantity. What this means is that submitting to over 150 directory submissions that have little to no relevance to your business will in return have little or no impact to your rankings. With any new website as part of a local SEO strategy we might recommend that you build out a number of foundational links with the most relevant and quality Australian link directories such as Flying Solo, YellowPages, WhitePages, Truelocal etc.
Moz highlights that up to 20% of online businesses receive a penalty for spammy directory submissions, don’t let it be you.
Tip: It’s about quality not quantity
Social bookmarking is a modern-day method for storing, organising, searching and managing bookmarks of web pages. You simply create an account on a social bookmarking website and start building out a list of your favourite websites. Once again this method is focused on building low quality and irrelevant links to your website which will have very little impact. Understanding the industry you are within and who the authoritative sources are of industry news will allow you to focus on links that will signficantly boost your online marketing efforts.
Tip: Focus on high authority relevant links to your industry
Article submission directories are directories where users can submit unique articles and content for syndication. These directories allow users to embed links to other websites with relevant anchor texts and have been widely used by SEO agencies as a method of building links to your websites. At one stage these types of links were quite powerful but in more recent times they’ve been heavily devalued by Google.
Although this technique has worked in the past it was always going to take a hit. When it comes to link building you have to ask yourself “why would somebody want to link to me?” and in most cases the only reason to do so is when you’re providing something so valuable that your industry feels the need to share it with their own audience. Article submissions should be avoided and a quickly becoming an easy way to be penalised.
Tip: Consider guest blogging and creating high quality and unique content for an authoritative website in your industry
Press releases are a method for creating written or recorded communication that is directed towards members of the news and media and for the purposes of announcing something newsworthy. It’s important to understand that the key to press releases is first having something “newsworthy” to share. Thousands of press releases are being released every day so if you haven’t got something newsworthy it will simply become noise.
When you’re considering someone sending a press release on your behalf, ten times each month as mentioned above, you have to wonder what exactly will they be broadcasting about you? Once again Press Releases have their place, i’m not saying they have zero benefit, and can be used for a variety of purposes but should be used to promote something significant. In recent times Google has again devalued the links gained from these types of websites and as they also cost significant money to submit which is something that can quickly increase your online marketing spend.
Tip: Create linkable assets and conduct outreach to gain valuable links back to your content
Poor Link Building Practices Often Result in Google Penalties
All of the above link building methods if used incorrectly can result in a Google peanlty. If you were to accept the agreement shown in the email example above you’d be looking at over 200 backlinks per month and each link potentially coming from a unique and irrelevant domain name. Understanding the way most websites work you’ll realise that this is an unnatural approach and something that Google can easily spot and penalise.
Remember Google has the ability to profile billions of websites and establishing clear baselines it’s easy to spot natural vs unnatural approaches.
The SEO agency you’re working with should be comfortable providing you with a breakdown of the links that have been built as well as discuss the reasons why they feel a link is high quality and relevant to your business. Spotting good links and bad links can be a challenge but simply reviewing the site and asking:
- “is it relevant to my industry?”
- “is it a free listing or something that had to be requested through outreach?”
- “Does the site feel authentic or spammy”
- “Is a link to my site expected”
Link building practices such as the following…
Often end up as a penalty that looks like this..
Which often leaves the business owner with responses like this…..
Quality, Depth Or Duplication of Content
Recently Brian Dean from Backlinko, one of the fastest growing SEO blogs, highlighted that his schedule for producing content is one piece of content every six weeks. He says this is because of the time and effort that’s put into making the piece bigger and better than everything already available. This type of content can only be created with time and resources as well as significant knowledge and experience within the target industry.
Content is always highlighted as the king but what king would limit himself to just 400 words. I have seen low word count articles reach the first page but typically for terms that have a unnoticeable effect on traffic numbers, so what is the point?
In most cases 400 word articles on your blog or any other website for that matter will have little to no impact on your rankings, traffic or link building efforts. There is simply too much content available and Google has become very experienced at weeding out the good and the bad.
Read this piece for example and let me know if you can understand what it says..
Content is becoming the backbone of link building and quality content gives people a reason to share and link to your website. Quality content has the ability to generate natural shares and links but in most cases can be incredibly effective in gaining links through outreach and this is something that is simply not possible with 400 word articles. It’s as much about the promotion as it is about the content.
If someone is writing content on your behalf you should also be very wary that it may be content that has been copied from other sources. A quick and easy way to producing content is to review sources that have already been written and copy the content. It’s perfectly OK to use previously written articles as inspiration but it should always be in your own words using your own experiences.
Tip: Business owners should be involved with content creation and always be aware of content that is being published under their brand
When offshoring SEO services overseas another critical concern is for the likely language barriers that you’ll need to deal with. Consider the following email from Dinesh highlighting that “we will provide you the complete”. Online business can be technical but in theory it’s quite simple when working towards a long-term sustainable strategy. You’ll want to work with somebody who can speak to you without the jargon and help you simplify the process so you are comfortable with the work being completed.
Tip: Define what a successful SEO campaign will be for your business i.e. An increase of 10 sales enquiries per month at $1000 per client coming from organic SEO traffic.
It’s impossible to say that all offshore SEO will result in a bad experience but my experience has shown that driving a successful result is far more challenging. Not to mention that the effects from poor SEO put you at a disadvantage for future success too and can also drive up the expense of onshore SEO because of the clean up required.
My experience with having successful offshore engagements results in you, the business owner, having clear knowledge and expectations of what want to receive. If you know the process of SEO and can clearly define your requirements it can help drive positive outcomes. Ensuring that your processes are followed strictly will mean that you are in control. In most cases however you’re engaging and SEO agency to assist you because you don’t have the knowledge or the time and therefore being able to define your requirements is less likely.
If you’re purely shopping on the price of SEO services with the viewing of receiving the cheapest price possible your chances of receiving any form of quality greatly decreases. What is cheap now may not seem so cheap if it results in business loss or future clean up services.
I highly recommend that businesses seeking SEO look to a quality Australian agency who has a brand and reputation to uphold for the long-term success of their own business. Ensure that with any SEO agency you request case studies, references, referrals and examples of work to ensure that you’re confident that you’re receiving white hat services that won’t do any damage to your online business.