Internet Marketing 101
What to look for from your marketer? Not everyone is an expert
Any business owner will tell you to keep an eye on what your competition is doing. As such I am constantly looking at what other SEO and Internet Marketing Firms are doing. I generally focus on those that I would compete directly against but occasionally go outside of my area just to see what others are doing.
Some of these firms look very strong and seem to know what they are talking about based on their content and social media presence, while others could use a few lessons. It always amazes me when someone advertises services that they are not proactively using themselves. For example, if you look through craigslist you will see numerous people advertising that they are expert web designers, yet they do not have a website.
Often I come across a site that advertises SEO but they do not seem to have a strong understanding of what SEO is in 2014. The game has changed. You can no longer rely on a strategy that focuses on link spamming, email spamming or keyword stuffing. You cannot pay a black hat SEO to get you on the first page of Google. The tricks that many would be SEO firms used to get their clients to the top no longer work, and their clients are suffering while they scramble to correct everything, The fact is if the SEO firms were doing it right all along, and heeding Google’s warning, they would not be scrambling today.
Today your focus should be content, content, and content. Developing original, quality, relevant content is what will drive your site to the top, as long as everything else is set up properly. As long as the content is there, the rest can be achieved with a little help from a qualified internet marketer.
Rather than list everything you will need to do, I am going to list some of the things you should run away from if you see it on another firm’s site. This is not an all inclusive list but is a good starting point. If you are looking for a true expert in the field of internet/digital marketing make sure they are not trying to include any of these items as part of their own strategy. Your firm should be transparent. If you don’t know what they are doing then they may not be using ethical online marketing methods.
If you are looking for some things you should be focusing on as part of your plan, learn more on our guest blog post on Business2Community.com.
Probably most important, if they promise to get you the top spot of Google’s search results instantly…run and run as fast as you can. No one can guarantee that.
What Internet Marketers Should Not Be Doing
1. Flash Content-Flash content is not crawled by search engines. Meaning it is not seen by Google, Bing or Yahoo when they send their spiders out (sounds creepy, I know) to look for content. Flash content (as well as other similar content) is not readable by the search engines. The more flash content you have the less likely you will be found by search engines, which means you will likely not be discovered when people search for your product or service.
If your home page has flash content, or you have a flash intro as part of your site there is a very good chance the search engines will never find it.
Flash has also fallen out of favor of many people who use the internet, so much so that HTML5 was developed and it is rumored that Flash will eventually be phased out. HTML is the language of the internet. Other languages are built on top of HTML but without HTML you do not have websites.
If the internet marketer you are looking at has a lot of flash content, or java content, especially on the home (index) page of their site you can bet they are not very strong in the field of SEO.
2. Focus on link building as a primary strategy-At one time adding your link to as many resources as possible was indeed a strategy that would work if you wanted to get to the top of the search engine results page. So much so that large corporations invested a lot of time and money into this as their primary strategy despite warnings from Google.
Today, with Google’s recent algorithm updates, this strategy will prove costly. If your site invested in this as a strategy it is most likely suffering today. You should not be paying for links back to your sites or exchanging links with others as methods for link building. Google wants links to your site to basically be someone saying you are an expert on a subject.
If an internet marketer’s primary focus is on link building (most likely spamming) then their plan will not work with the algorithm that Google has in place now. It will most likely have the opposite impact and cause you to drop in the ranking.
3. Ignore Social Media-It’s the elephant in the very small closet. You simply cannot afford to ignore social media. If a firm says they are SEO experts but only have a couple hundred followers on Twitter or no presence on Facebook/Google+ then they do not take social media seriously. If they have not heard of Pinterest or Instagram then they are not prepared to develop your social media plan.
Social Media cannot be ignored. There is no question about it. You cannot survive without a presence on the major players of the social media world. It’s really that simple. Without this presence, and interacting with your audience you will lose out to your competitors.
4. Duplicate Content-Duplicate content on your own site, and on other sites can be harmful to your internet health. Google does not like duplicate content. If there is duplicate content Google will discount at least one of the sources. If one of the sources is discounted, can you afford to have Google decide which one it is?
If an internet marketing firm has duplicate content, duplicate pages or duplicate sites then chances are they are not aware of this rule, and probably others.
5. Ignore Your Audience-So many times I see where people are commenting on blog posts, social media posts or other internet content by an internet marketing company where a representative of the company does not reply. It seems to happen most when the comment is not favorable to the topic of the post.
This means the company is not engaging its audience. This is not the behavior you want from your internet marketing firm. Engagement is one of the most important aspects of internet marketing and should never be ignored under any circumstance. If you see an internet marketing not interacting with it’s audience this indicates they do not value their audience, and will not value your audience either.
The Final Word
Ask a lot of questions before you commit to a firm. Understand what their plan will be, ask for reports on the results of the strategy they have in place. Any good internet marketing plan will include tweaks to improve upon results or address negative results quickly.
SEO plans are constantly adjusted, updated and optimized and should include social media, content development and multimedia such as images and video. The best marketers use tools to check for all possible problems and correct them quickly. Ask what tools a potential firm will use.
Transparency is always key. If the firm cannot tell you exactly what they are doing and how they are achieving the results you should express concern. Remember, you are the client, not vice-versa.
If you have questions about what your firm is doing feel free to ask! We’ll look into it and let you know, for free!