Search Agencies - not walking the talk?
We're currently looking at making some changes to the Base One web site, and naturally I have been tasked with ensuring that whatever we do is fully optimised for search. As search and social media are a core part of our offering, I decided to look at some of my competitors' sites to see how they go about ensuring they achieve page one positioning on Google for relevant search terms. I looked at some of what I would consider to be the top UK search agencies, and searched using obvious terms to see how well they were positioned.
To my surprise, I discovered that, with very few exceptions, none of them make the first page, and in many cases, they don't even seem to be making that much of an effort to do so. The first question is why? Like me, these guys spend every waking hour telling clients that nothing is more valuable than those top 5 search results, and yet they don't seem to do the same thing for themselves. The second question is does it matter? Are they judged on what they do for themselves or for others, and is it necessary, let alone a good thing to be top of Google for ‘SEO agency’?
Regarding the ‘why’, I don’t have a definitive answer, but here are a few thoughts:
Maybe it’s a case of ‘the cobbler’s children’. As we all know, the most difficult site to develop is your own, especially when you’re busy developing other people’s, and being paid to do so. The same can be applied to site optimisation.
It could equally be that these agencies regard the work that they do for their clients as their strongest sales tool, although I would say that this is one of the marketing disciplines where a company’s own efforts at promotion could be judged as relevant.
Or perhaps it’s not considered worthwhile putting in the effort to optimise for what are highly competitive phrases. Again, this is a question of having the time and the drive, although the potential rewards could be huge....
Or could they? My final ‘why’, which crosses neatly over into ‘does it matter’, is that maybe, bizarrely, leads for search generated by search are not that good in quality. Again, I would disagree with this, as would all those agencies buying these keywords for a not inconsiderable cost per click. There may be some time-wasters, but the fact that there’s a very healthy market here suggests to me that people are still making money here.
So does it matter? Are these agencies missing a trick by not demonstrating their expertise and taking advantage of the leads that will inevitably result from first page positioning in the search engines? Unless they know something about their potential clients that I don’t, I believe they are, and will be recommending the inclusion of several keywords related to search and social media in our site redesign.