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Want to know a secret? despite what you’ve heard, you don’t need to hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company, you don’t need a marketing agency to come in and do your SEO. What you need is content that outlines the pain points your prospects are having, and details the benefits of your solution.

At NorthIQ, we like to think of ourselves as a little bit like Penn and Teller, we lift the veil of secrecy on the world of marketing and tell you things we’re not supposed to tell you. This makes us very different than our competition, and frankly makes some of them hate us.

The product most SEO companies deliver is snake oil, it will cost you a lot of money, doesn’t do much good, and in fact in some cases will actively harm your business. In the best case scenario, you will waste time and money building something tuned for algorithms that change all the time.

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about SEO, last year we wrote that “SEO is a Big Pile of Crap!“, guess what? It still is.

6 Months is Too Long

It takes 6 months for a good strategy to begin to pay off (in dollars) for your business. The problem is a new agency requires some quick wins so that you keep paying them.

Quick wins requires short cuts. Like putting your precious URL on content farms, which gets you links and temporary traffic boosts. It will look good on paper.

What they won’t tell you is this traffic isn’t likely to ever become a customer. Your bounce rate will skyrocket.

To multiply that problem Google doesn’t really want you to play that game and eventually you’ll pay the price when they change their algorithm or when they discover your site is on Viralnova.com.

Traffic without a purpose is just a cost. If you are just sending traffic aimlessly to your website, that traffic will not convert into customers, and you are wasting bandwidth, goodwill, resources, time and ultimately money.

There are plenty of other reasons why using an SEO company is not a good idea.

SEO isn’t tied to an overall marketing strategy

SEO is a tactic, it is not a strategy. When you hire an SEO company you pay them to get higher rankings. This strategy isn’t necessarily aligned to your marketing strategy.

Unless they are equipped with an understanding of what you’re trying to do it’s going to be very difficult to get that turned into, new leads for your sales team, or new customers for your product or service.

SEO is a small piece of a much larger picture for your organization. It needs to be treated that way.

Let’s say however your marketing group has their ducks in a row and are implementing on a plan. You’ve thought this rankings goal because you believe you can turn ranking traffic into leads or whatever your goal is.

The problem with this plan is that there is a very high chance that the traffic you’ll pay for is not the traffic that you need to be coming to your website.

SEO isn’t tied to business goals

SEO is not aligned to business goals. Sometimes business leaders will say “we need more traffic”, because they see a number like leads tied to traffic. More traffic is just more traffic. it is a cost, but if your conversion rate plummets, then you need more traffic to generate the same number of leads…and that’s just bad math.

SEO in and of itself does not contribute anything meaningful to the business.

A quality lead generation strategy has one foot inside the sales organization. A properly built machine that’s generating leads that sell needs a top of funnel that’s packed with gold.

Rankings for keywords in Google is pretty far away from that.

To get there your SEO plans need to focus on getting the right keywords connected with the right content that is heavily designed to convert. It needs to take into account your ideal buyer, who they are, what their needs are.

Chances are pretty good your SEO provider doesn’t care about those things.

SEO is easier to do the crappy way

Putting your site on content farms is an easy way to boost your rankings, and unless you know where to look it’s hard to see where exactly these links are.

It’s pretty easy to produce a report every month that shows the rankings of keywords this month compared to what they were last month. Because of the content farm there is every chance they are beginning to move up.

Those rankings don’t actually generate revenue for you. They are low quality links that represent low quality traffic.

We have come into organizations multiple times to find out that someone, at some point mined out traffic to one of these farms, and that those rankings were actively harming the company’s SEO ranking.

Obviously, many SEO companies do a fantastic job – the strange reality for a small business however is affording the good companies is out of the question. A small company has to hire a small SEO company and therein lies the problem. Small SEO companies are typically the ones who cut corners and do a poor job.

SEO done the right way is difficult and time consuming. It involves a painstaking review of your site, an understanding of your customers and a full audit of what’s occurring on your site. The right way involves an understanding of your offers and conversion points. And an understanding of your internal business needs.

SEO isn’t good for actual people on your site

When a typical SEO comes up with recommendations they are almost always in favour of an increased ranking. After all, that’s what you’ve paid them for.

Those recommendations often come at a cost – the content isn’t driven to engage actual potential customers on your site.

It reads like it’s stuffed with keywords, or maybe like a robot wrote it.

In our previous post on SEO, we gave this example of some keyword stuffed content that we liberated and changed slightly from a website that had been “fixed by an SEO Expert” (who promised 3x organic traffic in 6 months).

Platyplode Abodes is your one stop shop for artisanal platypus abodes.

Our pre-built artisanal platypus abodes are designed to give you the best artisanal abode for your platypus and will provide your platypus with the most beautiful artisanal platypus abode.

Our artisanal platypus abode will be sure to make your platypus the envy of all his peers.

Looking at that, you know that no human would ever write this. You know that nobody wants to read such awkwardly written nonsense, and you know it’s wrong, since it’s your site and your customers. They’re the “SEO experts”, and so you relented.

Good SEO should be good content for actual people first and foremost. It should be seamless.

NorthIQ’s final take on SEO

Good organic traffic is incredibly valuable – if you truly want to hire an SEO company keep the above statements in mind. They are probably not a good fit if they aren’t asking the right questions that helps them know your business.

Take care and choose the right vendor.

What you really need is a marketing company that looks at your holistic marketing strategy, not simply individual tactics.

NorthIQ doesn’t believe in performing one-off services like SEO, or Analytics, or Advertising. Marketing efforts need to be integrated with each other and with the business. Having multiple vendors each providing a single slice of an overall greater pie is a great way to fail for everybody involved.

Literally nobody wins.

And that’s why you don’t need an SEO Company.

About NorthIQ

NorthIQ is a digital marketing company that specializes in generating opportunities for your sales team that close higher than anything you’re currently doing. We use an approach that integrates content marketing, email marketing, paid media, web design & first class back-end infrastructure into one strategy to drive our client’s business forward.

Using our exclusive 3i methodology NorthIQ builds a lead database of interested prospects, mines and nurtures it to uncover potential buyers, and converts those to high quality sales opportunities.

Craig Oliphant is a marketing expert with over a decade of experience in digital marketing. He has built online campaigns for multi-million dollar companies, and seen massive returns from very small investments. He has figured out ways to achieve repeatable results.