So, we have returned from three days of bedlam at the Internet World Exhibition in the Excel Centre, London… We’ve met a lot of new people, spoken to some amazing potential clients and seen first hand how some of the competition operate.
We’ve returned to the office tired but buzzing. It was an eye opener in many different ways. Some of the fashion was eye-watering, but I will come back to that, later.
Why we are Different From Other Online Marketing Agencies
Online Marketing Agencies are Still Giving Terrible Advice
We saw few stands for people within our industry advertising ‘black hat’ tactics like link building… Along with guaranteed rankings or rankings for a set amount of keywords. Frankly, this is sheer lunacy. Even if you’ve no experience within our industry, then the chances are that you’ve at least heard of things like Google penalties and algorithms. They are not buzz words, they are very real and following the advice of some agencies will land you with a penalty. It’s funny that many of the agencies who have been around the longest are still giving advice that was is outdated and likely to earn a penalty. The industry has moved of but these agencies have not.
How can you throw out a quote without first looking at a clients websites and needs?
Many of the web masters with enquiries we received informed us that other agencies had given them a price for their services on the stands without even looking at their website, their data or working out what actually needed to be done. I would not dream of working with someone who gave me a quote without knowing what they were quoting for or what I’d be getting in return. I think that throwing a price at a potential client without assessing what is required is careless and implies that money is all the agency cares about, not what they can do to help a client earn more!
Google Guidelines are Still Being Ignored
Bad advice goes hand in hand with a disregard for the ‘Law of the Internet’ and it seems that many ‘professionals’ in our industry are still unfamiliar with what is a sustainable way to achieve online success and what will land themselves and their clients with a penalty. I always feel a little shocked when agencies are working outside of the webmaster guidelines and I question how they still have a business.
I’m not being dramatic… If you break the law you stand a risk of getting caught and serving time… Online, things are not so different. With the exception that you WILL eventually get caught and penalised. It’s not a case of taking a few risks to help rankings, you are looking at short term wins vs a long term future. This still gets disregarded.
There is No Such Thing as a ‘One Size Fits All’ Strategy
Every website across every industry is individual. It will have it’s own rankings, it’s own strengths and weaknesses and certain elements may be perfect while others are sadly lacking. We work with each client as a separate entity: Some have received penalties as a result of sins from the past, some are content thin or have ‘dirty’ link profiles… Some may have no active blog, stagnant content… Others may be well represented on social media or have no presence at all.
Going back to the ’standard quote’ issue, no two jobs are ever the same, hence each requires it’s own strategy. For our own sake and the sake of our clients, we treat each job with fresh eyes. We trawl the data and work out where our time is best spent… this may change over time: As we work on the website content becoming better quality we may need to look at conversion rate optimisation or help with building their brand. Things like bounce rates and the competition in their industry should be accounted for… Why are people leaving the pages? How big is their industry? Why are some elements of their campaign working and other are not?
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A ’STANDARD’ APPROACH.
I Predict Many Agencies Will Be Swallowed up & Disappear
This may not be a popular opinion but when you receive the amount of enquiries that we do from web masters who have received penalties due to poor SEO efforts after working with other agencies then you start to realise that some very poor practices are in place. It stands to reason that if clients are having issues then the agencies causing those problems will too. Whether it’s down to a lack of care, a disregard for good practises or simply not being very good at their job, it is not sustainable.
If you cannot provide a quality service then you should not be in your chosen industry. It’s simple.
Online Marketing Agencies Should Practice What they Preach
I’m always dubious about Online Marketing companies that rank for none of the terms relevant to them. Similarly, any Pay Per Click Agencies that do not use any PPC services. We see competitors who do not update their social media, do not have an active blog and have a number of issues on their websites… Surely if you know what you are doing for your clients, then you’ll be doing it correctly for yourself?
Expectations are Still an Issue
The biggest single issue in our industry is client expectations. I think it’s this that may be partially responsible for why other agencies make the mistakes they do. It always comes down to things taking time and people being impatient to see a return.
Overnight rankings and conversions are a thing of the past, with many of the ‘get rich quick schemes’ of yesteryear being penalised by Search Engines that promise quality results that are specific to the queries being run. With the sheer number of websites available (and that number growing every day) the chances are you are not unique and taking short cuts to rank will be a short term win followed by an inevitable big loss. Ranking is hard. Interpreting data is hard. Getting every element of a website right is hard. If there was a sustainable, easy route to online success then everyone will be doing it.
Sometimes the short term pain will not see the ROI that a client hopes for… But it’s like a snowball; when the momentum gets going, things get easier. So work with an agency whom is honest about why is achievable and manages expectations.
Instant Results and Guaranteed Positions on Search Engines
All websites are at the mercy of search engines and their algorithms. No positions are guaranteed. No results are instant. If you want instant results then you need to look at PPC… Even then, you could spend a fortune for little return.
There is no point in ranking for terms that have never and will never be searched for, either. If you are in position 1 for …. Ooo… Let’s say “hamster shining service Staffordshire” and even if that is somehow tenuously relevant to what you do, then if there is no search volume then it is pointless.
To say ‘guaranteed rankings’ on any given term is a shot in the dark at best. You cannot possibly know how you’ll rank for any given term even though you could forecast it… after a few months of work. Maybe. But we still it it happening.
We Can go Toe to Toe with the Best of Them
DPOM has been around for a little over three years and from humble beginnings we’ve grown and become an agency to contend with. We offer a full range of online marketing services that are tailored to each individual client as we understand that each client requires unique help with their online efforts. You may start with a content thin website or have received a penalty, you may need help with conversion rate optimisation, you may need assistance taking your website to that next level… We’re impartial and would rather be honest and lose an enquiry rather than lie to get the job. We know we’re capable of making web masters money. Some of the top agencies in the UK are not giving a complete or reliable service but we know that we can. We’re up there with the best of them: Playing by the rules and building online businesses to their full potential.
We Plan on Being Around in Ten Years
There is a lot of short sightedness when it comes to online marketing. I’ve yet to work out the mentality of some other agencies who are providing outdated advice, risking clients (and their own) businesses with link schemes and ‘black hat’ SEO and essentially giving our industry a bad name.
The strategies they employ are simply not sustainable. We know SEO takes time and if you’re doing things correctly you won’t be risking future penalties. Any agency that is still resisting or ignoring Google Webmaster Guidelines will simply not be around for long… But they are happy to take a client’s money and throw it away in the mean time.
Oh and Lastly… Tight T-Shirts and Ladies Trousers
Now I would never claim to be fashionable but I think that’s probably a good thing. Whilst at the show we witnessed some serious crimes against future fashion, with men wearing what appeared to be ladies jeans and one stand had guys in t-shirts so tight that we assumed they had either been shrunk in the wash or bought from the childrens department. The t-shirt guys told one potential client that ’the ladies loved it’ – He made a bee-line over to us as I’m guessing he did not feel the same way as ’the ladies’!
By comparison our exhibition stand had three fat blokes with beards who actually knew what they were doing. If skinny jeans and kids-size t-shirts are a selling point then I would question the level of service you’d be getting. But then, maybe I’m just old and skeptical… Or I’ve seen a lot of other agencies getting their strategies wrong along with their clothing measurements. Wanting to appear good and actually being so are two separate things… But wearing your significant others ill-fitting apparel whilst doing it will just make you look silly.