In the final post in our #SearchSecret7 blog series for partner agencies, we look at the best and worst SEO practices, the importance of working with an ethical search agency and how search fits into the digital marketing mix.

The importance of ethics

If a search agency promises you – or your client – results that appear too good to be true…then they probably are. Dodgy SEO practices – so-called “black hat SEO” such as paid links, hidden text and keyword stuffing – are still around, if much less prevalent than they once were.

That’s largely because the search engines’ algorithms are much better at detecting and penalising sites using unethical tactics. So it’s vital to be aware of guidelines issued by Google et al to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of using unacceptable techniques and get penalised as a result.

Traffic will still go up and down as a result of algorithm updates. This isn’t your site or a client’s site being penalised: it’s simply a recognition that Google has been under-rewarding some sites. Moving them up inevitably has the knock-on effect of shifting other sites down the rankings. It works both ways.

In any case, it’s vital to work with an ethical search specialist who understands the updates and can make tactical tweaks to an SEO programme to improve results – without resorting to dodgy deals and guarantees of rankings which may work short-term, but will inevitably be caught by Google.

Don’t be a slave to the algorithm

That said, it’s not just about chasing the algorithm. Think about the whole digital marketing puzzle and not just the SEO piece.

That puzzle might include paid media, or conversion rate optimisation.

It’ll involve a long-term strategy not short-term quick hits, and require ongoing reporting, refining and testing.

And it’ll most certainly include a huge amount of high quality, targeted content and a website destination that people actually want to go to. One that’s useful, interesting and easy to navigate whether on a desktop or mobile device.

Indeed, at the heart of any digital marketing strategy there should be a laser focus on the user experience (UX). That’s what sits at the heart of successful digital marketing. And actually UX is also the bedrock of the Google algorithm.

So if you stick to creating a good user experience, you’ll never fall foul of the Google guidelines.


Next steps

I hope you’ve enjoyed all of the posts in the #SearchSecret7 series. They’re all linked below in case you missed any.

If you’re interested in becoming a Search Seven partner, do give me a call on 01273 329 122 or request a partner pack by filling in this form.

The complete #SearchSecret7 blog series:

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