Anyone who has spent even just a short amount of time studying or researching SEO soon discovers that it is a rapidly evolving discipline. The strategies that worked just a couple of years ago may no longer work today. So what got your site ranked in 2011 can possibly penalize you in 2016.
From this, we can draw the following conclusion:
Those who shirk the responsibility of continual SEO research and testing, although they may currently rank high in Google, will eventually see their site slip in the rankings.
Because of this very fact, it is incumbent upon SEO agencies to have one eye on the future by investing heavily in their R&D department. It’s no longer enough for an agency to be ranked at the top for a keyword such as SEO Houston; that alone doesn’t mean that they are the best marketing agency in Houston to take on your business’ marketing campaign. But why is that?
This is a question we get all the time, and that is because it’s a good one; but the answer to it is simple: the SEO strategy that was used to rank their site may now be obsolete.
Let’s provide some context to make it a bit easier to understand.
When the Google search engine first came into existence, it was very easy to rank websites. All one needed to do was stuff their site with the keywords they wanted to rank for.
So for instance, if a marketing agency wanted to rank for SEM Houston (Search Engine Marketing), all they had to do was fill their site up with that term many times over. Google rewarded those who employed this technique with a first page ranking. But today, keyword stuffing not only will not get your site ranked, it will actually get it penalized, and possibly de-indexed.
Of course, this is a pretty crude example, but it gets the principle across – that Google is constantly updating its algorithm to make it more and more difficult for SEOs to game the system; and that implies that what worked in the past may get you penalized today.
But don’t worry too much. At the end of the day, so long as one is providing quality content that gets a bunch of shares, they will forever be in good shape.
What to Ask Your SEO
For those business owners eager to find an SEO agency that is forward thinking, and that is on top of the latest trends and algorithm changes, there is one thing we urge you to do.
Find out when they got their last first page ranking. Often times the agency has kept records of all this. Don’t be shy – ask to see them.
If they are reluctant to show you the records, then that is a red flag, though we must stress that that’s not always the case. Sometimes their clients want to keep things confidential. Not every business owner wants others to know that they invest in SEO, and that is understandable.
But if you can get your hands on said records, then pay close attention to the dates. Did they rank the site recently? Were the improvements significant? If you get a yes to both answers, there is a great chance they will be an awesome fit.
Regardless of whether you get to see the records, however, we suggest that you pay attention to and consult your gut. Often times you will know intuitively whether the company is generous and well intentioned.
The Depth and Breadth of SEO
When we tell people that SEO is constantly changing, one of the first things they ask is, “But what else is there to change?”
This question implies that our interlocutor is not aware of the depth and breadth of SEO. Chances are, they have never studied the field at any great length and aren’t familiar with the many methods and strategies that go into a successful campaign. Below we have listed just a handful of them:
- Keyword analysis: designed to discover the most searched phrases that best describe the products your business has to offer.
- W3 Site validation
- Setup Google Places: designed for improving local search results
- Title, Tag and Header Optimization
- Social Media Management
- Article creation and promotion
In any given year, some aspect of the algorithm changes, and that may change how any of the processes above are done most effectively. It takes a group of enthusiastic marketers to stay top of it all. Those that aren’t just don’t last.