Modern SEO: Snake Oil vs Structure

by | Mar 10, 2020

Modern SEO: Snake Oil vs Structure [Plus, 5 Important Questions to Ask a SEO Agency]

Understanding SEO, even on a basic level, is helpful in recognizing scams and companies that are just out to make a quick buck. That’s why we take the time to educate you about the work we’re doing and to share ongoing reports on our progress.

Over the last 9+ years, we’ve analyzed a ton of data to know what works and what doesn’t work in SEO. From authority link building and content creation to contextual link building and guest posting, we keep your site growing to increase brand awareness and increase your ability to outrank your competitors. 

Do I Really Need SEO?

Have you ever questioned whether or not you need to invest in SEO or if you can simply hold off until your company grows? This is a common question that we have heard all too often when talking with business owners.

SEO is a legitimate strategy for driving traffic to your website, ultimately increasing leads and conversions. But, unlike paid advertising, SEO takes time to be implemented properly. There are no shortcuts, no cheap tricks, and no easy answers. As a result, we recommend starting SEO as soon as you are able to.

Obviously, as an SEO marketing company, we’re going to tell you the same thing that every other agency does: SEO takes time. It takes time to research your market and niche. It takes time to run analyses on your existing site. Most of all, it takes time to produce quality content.

And that’s just on our side of things. It can take as little as 2 to 6 months for search engines to recognize your website. But, it can take as long as 4 to 12 months to begin seeing results. 

So, how can you tell if your SEO services are working? Simple, hold them accountable and look for real structure. 

Snake Oil vs. Structure

As consumers, we’ve all been subjected to marketing hoaxes at one time or another. From quick-fix diets promising results in a week to MLM schemes disguised as the next million-dollar idea, we’re all familiar with these kinds of products and services. Being enticed by such offers is an inclination we’re all familiar with. The same can be said for SEO.

While we would love to tell you every agency has your best interest at heart, that’s just not the case. With so many individuals and agencies claiming (and subsequently failing) to take websites to the top of Google’s search results overnight, it’s easy to see how the industry as a whole can seem like a sham. This cycle of distrust can quickly disillusion any small business owner. 

Generally speaking, marketing agencies fall into one of two camps when it comes to SEO — those that follow best practices and deliver tangible results and those that make empty promises and advise you to just “trust” that their services are working. The most important thing to remember is that a reputable marketing agency will never guarantee a specific ranking on search engines. If they do, stay away. It is impossible to deliver on such a promise (even Google says so).

Bottom line: a reputable marketing agency will never tell you to just “trust” in the process. A quality SEO firm is going to show you what they’re doing and provide feedback for recommendations. 

Our Approach

At Harris & Ward, we employ a two-prong approach to achieve success with our clients. First, we identify areas you’re already doing well in and reinforce those with a safe, diversified, link building strategy. This will help build the foundation for the second part of our approach — competitive research. 

To ensure we’re growing your presence in the search results, we use advanced competitive research to find what’s missing from your site including high volume, low competition, valuable keywords. Once these are identified, we’ll do the heavy lifting to build out relevant, well-researched content designed to gradually increase your rankings in these new areas.

5 Important Questions to Ask an SEO Agency

While it may never seem like the “right” time to start SEO, a good rule of thumb is to pair these new services with a site launch or redesign. By doing this, you and your SEO team can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from top to bottom. But, how can you tell if you’ve found the right agency for the job? 

Easy! Treat the hiring process as you would for any other employee. At the end of the day, the agency you hire is going to be a crucial part of your team. Here are 5 questions to consider when hiring an SEO firm:

  1. Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some case studies?
  2. What is your experience with businesses in my niche?
  3. Do you offer other marketing services to supplement organic search business?
  4. What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
  5. How frequently can I expect to communicate with you? 

Though every relationship you enter into will always carry a certain risk, asking these crucial questions can help you understand which “camp” your prospects fall into and what you can expect from them. 

To learn more about Harris & Ward’s SEO services, contact us today!




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