Does anyone still need an SEO agency?

There are rumblings in some quarters that SEO is no longer a valued expertise. Indeed, some companies are even beginning to question the need for continuing to use their SEO agency, thinking that it has become a very generalised field and there is no longer any need for special expertise.

In today’s article we’d like to look at some of the reasons why companies may think that they no longer need an SEO agency, and the reasons why they absolutely still do!

There are two main reasons for questioning the need for retaining SEO agency expertise:

“SEO is no longer new: everyone now understands it”

Yes SEO has been around since the mid-1990’s. So what? Just because an area of expertise has been around for a while and more people are familiar with the concept does not mean that expertise is no longer needed.

Thinking of the 80/20 rule, it may be possible for a company to do 80% of SEO work themselves – for example content writing, keyword research, meta tags and internal links. But even if this is the case, this 80% would still benefit from specialist input and guidance to maximise its effectiveness.

Over and above this, it is essential to have experts who can handle the 20%: the more technical aspects and the keeping up to date with Google algorithm changes and handling any Google penalty issues. Aspects that can completely derail your SEO campaign if not handled promptly and professionally.

If we use the parallel of computer coding, that has been around for many more years than SEO – and is now being taught in schools – but it would be foolish to use that as an argument for companies to dispense with professional coders and just try to do everything themselves.

Like any other well-established discipline, SEO has grown and matured. It is now a valued part of most marketing strategies, and an essential contributor to success. To make a decision to devalue that contribution – and risk throwing it away altogether – would be foolish.

“SEO doesn’t produce instant results”

This is true. Some changes you make to SEO may not reap dividends for several months. Or perhaps your SEO has been performing well, until Google makes another algorithm change. In this sense, other elements of digital marketing strategy – such as paid search, social or email marketing – can achieve quicker results.

But in terms of a forward-thinking digital marketing strategy, effective SEO still has its place. Let’s look at the Top Ten reasons for this: reasons why it is still important to retain SEO agency expertise to keep on top of your game.

The Top Ten reasons you still need SEO expertise:

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  1. High rankings drive click-throughs
    Research indicates that almost 40% of all click-throughs go to the first three organic search ranking positions. This means that you need to be up there to drive click-throughs. Never underestimate the power of organic search: it is most often the primary source of website traffic and a huge part of most business’s website performance. If your website is perceived as being trusted by Google this will always work in your favour. Quality SEO will enable you to achieve this.
  2. SEO facilitates establishment of brand authority
    There are many aspects of your brand that impact its authority, but effective SEO can ensure that your website is easily discoverable in search. Establishing authority takes time, effort, and commitment. But effective use of SEO will also help to raise awareness of the value and quality of your product or service, and will be instrumental in encouraging customers to trust your brand.
  3. SEO can impact sales
    It is a well-known fact that customers will do online research before purchasing. A report produced earlier this year by Bazaarvoice – The ROBO (Research Online Buy Offline) Economy – indicated that 82% of smartphone users consult their phones before purchasing in-store and 45% read reviews before making a purchase. So if you can use SEO tactics to draw attention not just to your products and services but also to good deals and reviews, this could have a significant impact on the buying cycle.
  4. Local SEO for real time impact
    Another key element of SEO is local SEO. This enables brands to be visible when and where people need them. With the ever-increasing rise of mobile traffic, local search can and should be a fundamental part of the success of small businesses. An SEO agency will be able to optimise your website and its content to include local citations, backlinks and listings. This will enable people to find you quickly and easily, and draw them closer to a transaction.
  5. Improved User Experience
    One of the sometimes overlooked benefits of SEO is improved user experience. Customers know what they want and can get very frustrated if they can’t find it. We’ve all had the experience of clicking through to a website from organic search results and finding something completely different from what we were expecting. So your SEO agency can capitalise on this reality gap by the skilful use of SEO to guide a consumer to exactly what they are looking for, quickly and easily and using fewer clicks. This positive UX will then in itself feedback to Google and boost your place in search rankings.
  6. Greater understanding of best practice
    The landscape of the World Wide Web is forever changing, and without SEO agency expertise it can be a challenge to keep up with changes as they take place. In particular, the way the search world evolves requires constant monitoring so that any algorithm changes do not disadvantage your brand. If you fall too far behind with these changes, it can be extremely difficult to regain lost ground. Fundamentally, SEO can atrophy if you don’t keep up to date.
  7. SEO opportunities keep on growing
    It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have “done” SEO ie you have used enough keywords, tags and links to make your site visible. But if SEO is being used effectively there will always be opportunities that spring up from that use: opportunities to discover and leverage new opportunities to market your brand with passion and understanding. The better your understanding of SEO, the better you will be able to use it to make your product or service stand out from the crowd.
  8. SEO is relatively cheap
    All effective marketing activity has a cost. Whether it is time or effort or money, or a combination of the three. But SEO is relatively cheap in the overall scheme of things. Effective and professional SEO implementation will reap rewards for years to come, with resulting success in both branding and bottom line. If your business is currently evaluating whether you can afford to keep your SEO agency, perhaps the question needs to be turned around: can you afford not to.
  9. SEO is quantifiable
    The ROI of SEO may not be as easy to calculate as other areas such as ROI. It can be difficult to analyse the correlation between consumer actions. But it is possible. There are a range of measuring tools within Google Analytics that enable you to measure organic search traffic, assisted conversions, keyword effectiveness, and also UX factors such as page load times. Your SEO agency can provide you with all the data you need to evaluate the effectiveness and worth of your SEO campaign.
  10. Time is money
    As can be seen from the above steps, when it comes to SEO, there are no quick fixes. To keep on top of all of this – and to keep SEO working at its maximum effectiveness for you – takes time. To ensure that your SEO strategy is the best it can be, and that you are freed up to get on with all the other aspects of running your business, it makes sense to outsource this huge workload to an SEO agency. You wouldn’t think twice about outsourcing any other area of work that required specialist expertise, and SEO should be no different.

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