Despite being a major marketing tactic for well over a decade, it's amazing what some people try to pass off as Internet marketing skills. The next time you're out hiring an Internet marketing agency, be sure to watch for these six warning signs.
1. They only report on keyword rankings
Keyword rankings might have been fine to report on five years ago, but today, it just doesn't matter as much. Sure, it's a good to at least have an idea where your site ranks for valuable terms. But if your site isn't converting, or you're ranking for terms that aren't relevant, it won't matter.
And, now that Google is rolling out personalized search results for everyone, your keyword rankings REALLY won't matter.
That's why its vital for a good Internet marketer to report on a variety of metrics. Things like traffic, conversions, changes in keyword referrals over time, links, and many other data points.
2. They preach single tactic strategies
There was once a day when you could survive online with SEO alone. Unfortunately, those days are no longer here.
Online audiences split and fragment in different directions almost daily. Which is why it's important to take into account multiple tactics when executing an online marketing campaign.
To borrow a tactic from the Granada Theater:
SEO - Goes Good With: Social Media, PPC and PR.
3. They guarantee results
Most of the major search engines base their business model on highly technical, proprietary search algorithms. This means it's impossible for anyone to know exactly how they work. The most any Internet marketer has to work with is an educated guess culled through many hours of research and testing.
What all this means is results cannot be guaranteed. A good Internet marketer will simply give you his or her best guess as to the performance of a campaign.
4. They don't recommend website updates
I'd say about 90% of the time, when we take on a new marketing client, we're going to recommend they make design changes to their website (unless we designed it, of course!)
Why? Because most (not all) web designers do not take marketing into account when they build a site in the first place, or, the site is so outdated that it has to be brought up to speed before any SEO or marketing strategies will have any effect.
It's all about having the right set of tools at your disposal.
Just like you wouldn't try to fix a car with a pen knife, you're not going to have success with a ten year old brochureware website, either.
5. They don't bring new ideas to the table
Internet marketing changes daily. You could make a career simply keeping up with the cutting edge tactics and strategies.
A good Internet marketer is, at the very least, keeping up to date with changes in the industry. And if they are in fact doing this, they should be bringing plenty of new ideas to the table.
New ideas are one of the few strategic advantages you can consistently count on when it comes to the Internet.
6. They don't talk about creating content
Internet marketing is about leveraging digital tools in order to drive qualified traffic to a website that converts in such a way that business goals are met. In today's web, the name of the game is content. Be that in the form of blog posts, video, or podcasts - you have to be creating regular, fresh content to succeed.
Fresh content is the engine that will keep your website growing, so if you're working with an Internet marketer who is not pushing you to create content - run far, far away.
Hat tip to Ian Lurie, who beat me to this post. Some of the points above were inspired by his spot on advice.