A digital marketing agency can be helpful in many ways for getting your website ranked in the search engines. On the other hand, it’s never a good idea to put your fate in someone else’s hands without doing your own research. Here are 14 things that your digital marketing agency may not be telling you.
1. Content Isn’t Enough to Rank Your Site
The old expression “Content is King” is still widely repeated online. This isn’t entirely a myth. Content is very important and it’s true that you don’t have much chance of ranking well without good, frequently updated content on your site. At the same time, it’s not sufficient to rule the search engines. Many other things matter as well, such as on-site SEO, links from authority sites and even your site’s loading speed.
A good agency will use something like Bright Edge’s SEO marketing platform or Moz’s Enterprise Tools which track all of these variables. More importantly a good agency will give you a login to your profile on these tools so you can see them for yourself and thus be able to keep them accountable.
2. Search Engine Results Cannot be Guaranteed
No matter how effective SEO marketing is, there is no way that results can be guaranteed. No honest agency will guarantee that you will be on page one of Google for a competitive keyword phrase or make any similar guarantee.
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3. Google Authorship No Longer Counts
This is not another one of those internet rumors you hear about, such as “SEO is dead,” which always turn out to be false. In this case, Google itself announced in August, 2014, that Google Authorship no longer counts towards ranking. So if your digital marketing agency is still emphasizing this, they are behind the times.
4. Optimizing Keywords in Anchor Text Can Do More Harm Than Good
This is a fairly recent development. Google is trying to discourage any type of SEO that appears unnatural. This includes using keyword rich anchor text. It’s fine to use some keywords in anchor text, but they should be used sparingly. It’s important to vary anchor text a great deal or your site is likely to get penalized.
5. Nofollow Links Have Value
While no-follow links don’t pass PageRank, they can still help you build traffic and potentially get other do-follow links. In fact, if your site only has do-follow links, Google may see this as a red flag that you’re using aggressive SEO tactics.
6. Local Rankings Depend on Links, Citations and Reviews
Ranking a local business with the search engines requires a multifaceted strategy. This includes building high quality links. Citations, which are listings of a business’s name, address, phone number and other data, can be found in directories, press releases, articles and other content.
7. Mobile SEO Is Extremely Important Today
Everyone knows that mobile devices are exploding. This requires websites to do things like create mobile friendly sites or use responsive design, which works equally well with all devices. SEO services that don’t address mobile users can cost you many potential visitors and customers.
8. Some Businesses Mainly Need to Focus on Local Search
If a business gets most of its customers locally, local search should be the priority. This means that many traditional SEO strategies, that focus on national or even global ranking, are not very helpful to many businesses.
9. You Need More Than SEO to Succeed
The idea that ranking in the search engines can create success for a business is a dangerous myth. You still have to focus on putting out a great product or service and developing positive relationships. For example, a restaurant that serves poor quality food will ultimately fail no matter how highly it ranks in the search engines.
10. Lots of Pages Does Not Mean a High Ranking
Some SEO firms try to impress you by telling you how many indexed pages they can build for you. This by itself is not going to guarantee good results in today’s SEO climate. Google now cares more about the quality and relevance of pages than how many pages your site has.
11. Videos Are Not Easy to Rank
Videos can be useful, but only if they are very high quality and get shared by genuine influencers. Some SEO firms will tell you that a video with lots of views, likes or favorites will rank highly. The fact is, it’s easy to buy views and likes at very cheap prices, and thousands of people are doing this. This is not, however, going to help your videos rank either on YouTube or on Google.
12. Ads Can’t Help Your Search Engine Ranking
You may have heard that if you advertise through Google AdWords, your website will rank better in the search engines. SEO firms that manage AdWords campaigns may encourage this belief. The fact is, however, that advertising and organic search results are two separate realms. You may get benefits from paid advertising, but don’t do it for SEO purposes.
However, ads to seem to have correlation with organic click through rates.
13. The More Links You Have, the Better
The time when getting thousands of backlinks to your site was the key to a high ranking are long gone. While reputable digital marketing agencies know this, some will still try to impress clients by telling them how many backlinks they can generate. The focus should be on the quality rather than the quantity of your links.
14. Social Media Signals Don’t Directly Impact Ranking
While social media marketing is extremely important today, some people have an exaggerated idea of how powerful it is for ranking a website. Google has gone as far as to announce that social signals do not affect ranking. Social media can still help you get more followers and website traffic, but don’t assume that lots of Facebook posts or tweets will bring your website to the top of the rankings.