Interview 1: Know Thy SEO
“The Truth About Digital” is a series of pieces designed to debunk and demystify modern business’ biggest bugbear: the ability to understand and integrate digital into traditional marketing. Using simplified examples, we will review concepts in digital marketing to help marketers navigate this complex space with ease.
Given last month’s news from Unilever and P&G’s new “rules of engagement” around digital advertising, we spoke to Maon Seidel, joint-CEO of NP Digital (formerly known as National Positions SA) to glean some insights into the often-misunderstood world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing.
Seidel has been working in media and SEO for twenty years and has a reputation for being a power-player in the field. When asked to tell us the Truth About SEO, he was quick to mention that SEO has developed a bad reputation in the market over the past couple of years and that his first piece of advice to marketers is: know thy SEO.
Are all SEO suppliers created equal?
According to Seidel, “The short answer is no. There is a huge amount of confusion when it comes to what SEO is and is supposed to deliver for brands. For most players, it’s a game of attrition. Many SEO providers sell services to smaller businesses for a nominal monthly fee, and their model is to ensure that they gain more clients than they lose. It’s most often not about real value or achieving real results for their clients but rather about achieving basic compliance to drive traffic to their client’s site. How much work would your company do for R2000.00 a month? My guess is, not much. Then why do we expect miracles for that amount of money when it comes to SEO?
Seidel continues, “Don’t get me wrong, there are excellent SEO service providers who do great work and do it well. The point is, you get what you pay for and it’s crucial to understand what you’re paying for and how Google operates, to discern whether you’re winning and if so, HOW you’re winning online.”
Compliance versus Strategy
There is a huge difference between SEO hygiene and compliance and an applied SEO strategy that considers a whole host of variables and is designed to achieve a set objective. Most players offer SEO hygiene which makes sites compliant but very few apply a calculated SEO strategy to drive ROI or other key measures. Seidel’s advice to marketers is: make a point of understanding how Google works. Become familiar with organic versus paid-for search, the subject of next week’s article, so that you can interrogate service providers on how the SEO will be applied to achieve certain objectives. Yes, focus on getting your sites SEO compliant but know that compliance is not enough to compete – especially in highly contested verticals.
NP Digital (formerly known at National Positions SA) is a Google Premier Partner and leading digital agency that specialises in delivering a qualified digital audience through mastering the art and science of search, performance and data. To add digital rocket fuel to any of your campaigns, call Maon Seidel on 011 022 9830