In order to succeed, a business must make smart financial decisions. Often, this means saving money by cutting out unnecessary costs and finding solutions that have the least impact on their budgets. There are some instances, however, in which the cheapest solution may wind up costing the most in the long-run.
To the uninitiated, both search engine optimization and content creation can seem deceptively simple. After all, how hard can it be to write some website content describing your company, add some links, and throw some keywords in for good measure? Yes, doing those things is simple: doing them right, however, is an entirely different story.
Quite simply, good results require experience, expertise in the latest industry changes, and dedication to producing the best possible results. Quality SEO and online content don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but if it sounds too good – or too cheap – be true, it probably is. Going cut-rate is taking a huge risk that could seriously damage your online reputation, waste valuable time, and, by time the damage has been repaired, end up costing far more than hiring a professional from the outset.
Search Engine Optimization
It seems that everyone knows someone who dabbles in search engine optimization in their spare time. SEO as a part-time interest is great for someone practicing on a personal website as a hobby. However, correctly optimizing a brand’s customer-facing website and online marketing efforts requires more than a working knowledge of SEO; it requires in-depth expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of the latest techniques, practices and algorithms.
Search engine optimization is a multi-faceted process that includes both on-page and off-page tactics. The quality of your SEO can be the difference between high rankings that get your site in front of the very customers you want, and letting your site get lost in the crowd – or worse, banished completely.
Watch Out For:
In SEO, there is generally no such thing as a “quick-fix”; good, lasting results take time to cultivate and build, and rushing any part of the process, from defining your search engine target audience to strategizing on keywords and content to link building, is a recipe for failure. Professional SEO experts understand that getting results will require careful implementation and monitoring over time. Beware of any firm or SEO specialist that promises instant results, such as immediate top listings in search engines or a huge number of links overnight. In fact, Google has directly stated that “no one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” Such promises are generally a sure way to spot inexperience or shady, “black hat” techniques that are not only ineffective, but likely to have severely damaging consequences.
What Could Go Wrong?
Because of the many components of SEO, there are a number of potential points of failure that can lead to completely ineffective results. And unfortunately, all of them can easily get you in hot water with Google if your expert is inexperienced, out of date, or unscrupulous. Since the release of Google’s Penguin algorithm earlier this year, sites that had turned to link-building through link buying, spamming, or other low-quality methods have been paying the price by taking huge hits in their search engine rankings, or even getting blacklisted completely. The search engine giant has also clamped down on over-optimization in recent algorithm changes, punishing tactics like keyword stuffing.
The content on your website or blog is there to do more than make a page look filled-out; great content provides value to your brand by creating interest and “selling” your message, and provides value to readers by clearly and concisely giving them the information they need to learn more, solve their problems, and trust your brand. When copy is written well, it can help build a strong and lasting relationship between customer and brand. On the other hand, many of us have had the (unfortunate) experience of reading poorly written, over-optimized website copy: paragraph after paragraph of content with little substance, but an overabundance of keywords and phrases. Not only does this ineffective content waste your time and money, but it can actually work against you.
Watch Out For:
Crafting effective content takes a good amount of time, expertise, and research. It is custom-created for each client – and each project – to effectively convey the brand’s message, engage readers, and assist with SEO by optimizing the page or project for a target audience. Many times, “bargain” content is produced by content mills that focus on speed rather than quality, quickly churning out massive amounts of regurgitated, low-quality content. Before hiring a content writer, ask to see samples of the writer or marketing firm’s work.
What Could Go Wrong?
From a reader’s point of view, shoddy content is, at the very least, annoying and distracting. The benefits of your products or services are lost in the distraction (if they are even fully explained in the first place), and as your readers lose interest, your site – and your brand – also loses credibility.
But readers aren’t the only ones who may be turned off by poorly written content; search engines are likely to notice, too. For years, Google has taken an aggressive stance towards penalizing sites that cut corners with filler instead of providing valuable content. Not only could your content wind up boring readers instead of compelling them to take action, but poor content can also make it harder to find your site in the first place.