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October 11, 2016 by Ryan Sanford

SEO for dummies: Why your digital agency should know their SEO

Having a proper understanding of SEO is essential when putting together a digital marketing campaign and any agency worth their salt should know all of the essential details of search, keywords, measurements and content most relevant to your targeted audience. If you are looking to source out your businesses online marketing efforts, you don’t have to be an expert in Search Engine Optimization but understanding the basics of your SEO strategy will give you an advantage when assessing your agencies’ performance.

One of the best places to start is to ask yourself what you do when you want to research something like the purchase of a new car, a good restaurant, travel destinations or anything you want information on… you “Google it”.  Say you’re searching for something generic like,”Calgary ice cream shops” on Google and in an instant, you’re presented with a million search results. You click the first link and you’re taken to a website claiming to sell ice cream in Calgary.

With a website that looks like it was designed back in the year 2000, you become a little wary and decide to do a little digging. You find the company’s blog, updated consistently, often with four or five posts a day.

Right away you notice the strange titles of the blog posts. Almost all of the titles have “Calgary ice cream shops” in them, either in a complete sentence or awkwardly stuffed at the end of another title.

For example, “How to find the best Calgary ice cream shops.” Ok, fine.

Let’s try another one. “What to do when looking for Calgary ice cream shops.”

What do you mean what do I do? I look. That’s what I do.

And then there’s this: “Jamie loves Calgary ice cream shops.” The name in the title is either the president of the company to which the blog belongs or the president’s secretary.

Keep in mind these are only the blog titles.

Once you attempt to read one of these blog posts it becomes painfully obvious that the only reason they exist is to increase the company’s Google rankings. A company like this figures that if they can stuff as many popular keyword search terms throughout their site, they’ll get to the top of Google’s search results and eventually generate more business leads.

This is a perfect example of why having a proper understanding of SEO is essential when putting together a digital marketing campaign. A good digital marketing agency should know that keyword stuffing is not only lazy, but turns potential customers away.

Here’s an example, taken from an actual website. I have highlighted the most obvious example of keyword stuffing. I won’t name the website for fear of furthering their SEO ambitions and to save them the embarrassment.

“Today the business world online is much more competitive, and that means that every business needs to work to stand out from the competition. The right custom web design Toronto professional will work closely with you until you have the website that you have always known you wanted and needed to see your business succeed.”

What’s missing in this example is the company’s consideration of its potential customers. It doesn’t really matter if you’re at the top of search results if users land on your page and they’re insulted by your underhandedness.

Blog posts written in vague language that preach without saying anything of substance is not only boring to readers, they are boring to write.

If you’re writing generic copy only for SEO purposes, then you’re more likely to get bored and run out of material, which in the long run means your blog withers and dies.

I see this all the time. I click on a link to a business in which I’m legitimately interested in only to find out they’ve gamed the system with “black-hat SEO” tactics that tricked me into clicking on their site. I immediately take offence and ignore that site, regardless of how high it is on Google’s search rankings.

If this bogus “Calgary ice cream shop” had used a digital agency with proper SEO optimization strategies, in addition to writing content that actually contributed something of value to the reader, they might be getting happier readers, and therefore, more leads.

It may take longer and require more effort than constantly typing “Calgary ice cream shop” over and over again, but it is worth the investment in a good digital agency who understands SEO.