For the last couple of years we’ve often heard the swirl of rumours surrounding the longevity of SEO, with many suggesting that SEO is dead. Let’s remember that SEO isn’t just about Google; if it was we could well say that the honeymoon period is over and we’d better get our credit cards ready if we want to do search engine optimisation “Google-style”. Their increased move towards paid search means organic optimisation is getting significantly harder and more competitive, but not impossible.
Client Knowledge Can Be a Threat
But what of the agencies who sell the traditional service of “SEO”? As an agency ourselves, we’ve not seen a drop in enquiries for SEO, but more client-side interests in how exactly we intend to optimise a website which is vulnerable after meeting and greeting Google’s zoo animals of Penguin and Panda. Clients themselves want to gain an increased knowledge in the SEO arena, at the same time showing their caution at placing their website in the hands of an agency who might make them
more vulnerable at the hands of further Google algorithm updates. It’s a tough call; how does an agency get client buy-in on an element like SEO which is notoriously hard to estimate ROI with, whilst at the same time reassuring the client that the way they work won’t get a Google slap from one of the many, and seemingly regular, algorithm updates. Life as an agency suddenly got tough.
Not only that, but an agency also has to contend with client-side SEO recruitment. More companies are realising the potential of hiring an in-house SEO and this can have a sudden impact on the agency. If you’re a big brand then employing someone in-house to do the SEO might seem like the best option, but it may not always be the most cost-effective. Still, it’s another element that the agency has to consider.
Agency SEOs Have The Hardest Job
It’s important to remember that not all SEOs can get it right every time, particularly with Google moving the goal posts all the time, so an agency can suffer just like everyone else. The problem with SEO agency-side is that there are so few second chances. If it doesn’t work as quickly and cost-effectively first time, clients aren’t likely to give you repeat opportunities to make it work. As an agency, it’s a balancing act between keeping up with the latest algorithm updates and trying to stay ahead of the game, and working on client retention to ensure they don’t give up on you when the proverbial shit hits the fan.
And let’s not forget the agencies that focus purely on organic SEO. Putting all your eggs into one basket might seem like a good idea when SEO is such a buzzword, but when you’re always playing catch-up with Google changes then you could find agency life gets even harder. It’s time to broaden your approach and offering.
So what can an agency do? In the next 12months we’re likely to still hear that “SEO is dead” by some experts, but perhaps we need to think a bit differently now. It’s less about SEO being dead and more about how the SEO agency as we know it can stay afloat given the challenges they face. If you’ve already started losing client s and you’re not being innovative with your SEO strategies then you’ll be left behind as the competition with client side vs agency side SEO continues. Let’s see what the next 12months holds, not least with the numerous algorithm updates we’re likely to see.