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Hire an SEO specialist, not a marketing generalist

What some marketing companies don’t seem to understand is that they can’t be good at everything. As Internet marketing takes off and traditional offline marketing like print and PR suffers, generalist marketing companies think that they too, can throw their hat into the SEO ring. They think that they have enough of a marketing background to be able to do well in SEO too. At this point, one of two things will usually happen.

The first option is to hire an SEO consultant to teach their staff everything that they know. This strategy doesn’t work because there is no possible way to learn all of the intricate ins and outs of SEO during a few full day consulting sessions. It takes years to understand SEO, and even then, it’s always changing. Sitting through a consulting session and actually handling an SEO campaign for numerous clients are two very different things. Additionally, it’s very rare to find an SEO professional that will be willing to share all of their hard earned SEO knowledge with a marketing company that will essentially become their competitor.

The second option that a marketing company may choose is to outsource the SEO to an SEO company and form a partnership. While this is probably the better option of the two, it still isn’t a perfect choice. In this scenario the client typically isn’t aware that the SEO portion of their marketing campaign is being handled by a third party. This means that the communication between the client and the SEO provider isn’t direct. The client speaks with an account representative at the marketing agency who speaks with the SEO company. In this scenario, a lot of important information can get lost in translation resulting in a less effective campaign that takes much longer to implement due to all of the back and forth.

Marketing companies need to understand that if they aren’t an expert at SEO, they shouldn’t offer it. There are far too many generalists in the marketing industry. This leads to a weak brand since there is nothing unique about the company. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, a marketing company should be great at a few things and realize what their limitations are.

While the idea of a one-stop shop marketing company is appealing, prospective marketing clients should do their research before signing on for services. There are very few, if any, marketing companies that can do it all well. It’s absolutely OK, and better in the long run, to work with different companies that are specialists rather than one company that only has a small bit of knowledge in a particular area.

Given the importance of search engine optimization, it’s work that you don’t want an amateur handling. In addition, it’s important to have direct contact with the person or company handling your SEO. There are plenty of firms that specialize strictly in SEO, and your best bet is to seek out those firms when you’re ready to start an SEO campaign.

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