As Google continues to change its algorithms, search engine optimization professionals are in high demand. PR firms know this and are looking to cash in on the new SEO requirements. You may find that you are being contacted by these firms asking to take on your SEO projects. It is a normal progression for these PR firms to reach out to capture some of this SEO business. However, our blog article today is written to caution our clients to be careful when hiring outside PR firms. You could help or hurt your website.
PR firms are soliciting for new SEO business:
Public Relations firms today use one of three options for SEO. They will build their own in-house team, work with other free-lance professionals or hire an outside SEO company. In the past, these PR firms have stayed mainly within the PR and marketing genre. However, with the build-up of SEO, many PR firms are now offering SEO services along with their normal marketing services. Although it is very normal for PR firms to solicit for new clients and offer new services, we have found that some of them have no expertise with search engine optimization.
Do your due diligence before hiring a PR firm:
Research before you hire any PR firm to make sure you know who you are hiring. Have them provide other websites they have done SEO work for and ask for references. Just remember, not every person who advertises their services are proficient in SEO technology.
What results have they provided others?
We are suggesting that you go further before hiring a PR firm. Ask to call the website owners whom they have performed SEO services for to receive a reference. Ask to look at their Google Analytics to determine what results they have attained for the client. If you fail to do this you may be setting yourself up for a bad result.
You could have your website compromised:
Several of our clients within the last month had hired a PR firm who were promising big results. Unfortunately, the only result several of our clients got from these so-called PR professionals was to have their site files completely removed from the server. The site was erased and disappeared from the web.
All of the work done previously was lost, including all of their blog posts and all changes to the site since the site inception. Our client had to pay to have their sites re-done. This was an expense which they could have saved had they been more cautious in allowing this stranger to access their “C-Panel.” The bottom line is this. Look before you leap (so to speak). Make sure the PR firm is also familiar with search engine optimization before you send them money. You may be asking for big trouble otherwise.
Ask the following questions to be sure they are SEO professionals:
- How long have they been involved with SEO?
- Where were they trained to meet Google requirements?
- Will they provide the contact info for other sites they have worked on?
- Do they do their own SEO or hire it out to another company?
- Do they offer guarantees or promises for rank results?
Promises or guarantees of improved website rank:
This is not a realistic promise and no one can guarantee a rank in Google. Rank improvement takes time and effort and there is much work to do to get your site up to speed with Google requirements. Google algorithms can change anytime and only those that work for Google directly, know the real story on how things work. If the company will not give you references or provide you with contact info of other clients, it is best that you say “thank you but no thanks.” It is what you don’t know that can get you into the most trouble.
A company’s online presence is now more important than ever. Stay current with the new trends for 2018. Build your website to be an “authority” website by following the steps below (as mentioned in the article entitled Future Proof Your SEO Strategy:
- Pay attention to user experience signals
- Make sure your site loads quickly
- Go mobile-first
- Get ready for voice-search
- As you re-design the site (ask for a secure server)
- Create longer blog articles
- Add reciprocal and relevant links
Hiring an outside individual for SEO:
To cover all steps above, if you have no time to learn SEO yourself, you may find that you need to hire a professional. Keep in mind that everyone these days claim to be an SEO professional and these so-called experts will happily take your money. This includes those that work at PR firms. Be sure that you look for seasoned and qualified professionals that are familiar with both genres (PR and SEO). To stay safe, and make the right decision, contact your web developer to have him or her refer you to a PR professional or an SEO expert they are familiar with.
The good, the bad and the ugly of SEO and PR:
The good news is that any of us can learn SEO by spending the time to become familiar with Google requirements. We can also hire someone we know and trust to be responsible for SEO and maintaining our website by blogging regularly, using good marketing strategy and staying current with social media. Today, small and large companies are now committing more of their budget each year to Public Relations projects and SEO requirements. It is a necessary evil and all of us who are in business have to bite the bullet and put some of our revenue toward this purpose.
According to many studies this year, SEO will bring in even more return on investment (ROI) in the years ahead. The bad news will occur when a client hires an individual with no expertise in this challenging industry. The ugly truth is that you can actually harm your site by hiring indiscriminately without doing your due diligence.
On the other hand, you can enjoy a true advantage by choosing the right PR Firm and/or SEO professional.
Hurry back for more next time from the design wizards at Inside Design Orlando.