As the search industry grows, more niche service organizations appear. These companies usually boast a tagline touting the fact that they “specialize in the search engine optimization of (insert industry here)”… Some companies even go so far as to provide complete web site platforms and content management systems for their clients.
Amazingly, these companies are successful.
It makes me wonder why companies would be willing to pay a premium to receive the same exact product that everyone else in their market has.
Invest in YOUR Search Marketing
Search marketing efforts are customized and planned to focus on your specific business goals. Your business is not the same as others in the industry — so why would you want to pay for the same products and services? How in the world can you differentiate yourself from the pack when you have the same web site, the same marketing and the same underlying systems?
YOUR search marketing needs to be unique. That’s not to say that a specialized firm cannot help you… But you must do your homework and review their existing clients’ sites and search marketing efforts. Too many similarities are not a good thing!
Template Based Optimization Kills!
While that headline might sound a bit harsh, I have found it to be true. Many niche companies out there who do little more than run your company name and other basic information through a series of templates. Those templates then dictate your page titles, navigational structures, META tags, etc.
Templates are great in certain situations. For example, if you run an eCommerce site with 2,000 products — it makes sense to have an optimized template that allows each product page to be optimized.
For smaller sites (under 100 pages), there’s little use for SEO templating. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it is counterproductive. If your marketing firm can’t take the time to optimize one hundred pages for you, what good are they really?
Many of these niche companies force search terms on you, telling you that they’re the best match for your business. While it could be true, ask for the supporting information to back this claim up.
Your search terms should cater to what you’re interested in, as well as what will work for your market. Niche firms should have a working knowledge of terms and engines to target — but your input should also shape the terms you measure success.
Get Involved Early and Often
As a bottom line, do not allow your firm to dictate what success will be measured by. Customized search marketing is not templated. It’s not off the shelf. And, it’s certainly not something that you shouldn’t have an impact on.
Get involved with your firm’s rep early and often to get a better understanding of what they’re doing to make YOUR business better. Too many people spend money on marketing systems and optimization plans that do little for them.