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How many emails have you received promising you a first place slot in search engine results for just a few dollars? Much like the promises from the cousin of an ex Nigerian president with $1.5 billion to place in your bank account, they are hollow and misleading, and not very likely to improve your bank balance or your standing in society. In just the same way, getting SEO wrong can have severe consequences; anywhere from search engines banning your site, your site being panelised and continuously losing rankings for reasons you can't fathom or in the best case scenario, your company not progressing and simply wasting your money.
In this article SEKARI tries to dispel a few of the myths and give some guidelines on what you should be looking out for when choosing an SEO agency.
The most important thing to remember is that SEO is not a quick fix, the reality is that in order to start seeing good results from your SEO efforts it can take up to six months of hard work. A reputable SEO agency will work closely with you providing quick wins as well as long term Organic SEO strategies and identify realistic targets and KPI's, ensuring they are not just delivering traffic but real people that want your products or services.
Guaranteeing 1st Place
No respectable agency would ever guarantee first place, usually this is a promise reserved for the spammers of this world.
Don't expect immediate results and make sure all key stakeholders understand that you're website is not going to be in first place one week after hiring the SEO company, however good they profess to be. A true organic SEO campaign will take time and rely on many deliverables from both client and agency side before the search engines even begin to start recognising and indexing the new content and your site starts to move up the rankings.
SEO Best Practice
Make sure your SEO agency does not use what SEO'rs like to call ‘Black Hat’ techniques, or simply put, methods that spam search engines; something that the search engines really don't like. It happened to the management of BMW in 2006, when unbeknownst to them their SEO agency was gaining fast results by spamming and ignoring search engine guidelines and best practice. They saw some great results in the short term but in the end the site was completely banned from search engines and it took a long, long time for them to get back up the rankings, losing the company millions of dollars worth of brand exposure.
An SEO agency should provide fully comprehensive reporting on a regular basis because Search Engines are dynamic and rankings change continuously. A correct SEO campaign should start with an initial Research and Analysis phase followed by an ongoing monthly phase where the SEO agency works with you month by month delivering and supporting your SEO activities including continuous link building, backed up by monthly benchmark reports.
Multilingual & Localisation for UAE SEO
If you are an international company looking to market your website locally in the Middle East, you need to make sure that you hire a team of SEO experts that can cover a multitude of different languages, not forgetting localised versions of these languages such as Arabic. You need to make sure that the keyword research and the various tools that run the competitive analysis are run from that country to emulate the results of the local audience. Many SEO companies simply rely on translators to copy the English Key phrases and translate them word for word, and don't conduct the multilingual SEO research individually in that language, which inevitably results in inaccurate data. This is equally important for a company targeting countries in the Middle East for example, UAE based SEO. With 75% of Google searches in the region taking place in Arabic, localised Arabic SEO is growing in importance and as such Arabic SEO experts are invaluable in providing solid multilingual SEO across the region.
A common misconception is that SEO is all about secret tricks and techniques which the client shouldn't really know about, some form of magic which web developers sprinkle their SEO fairy dust on to a website to make it special. This couldn’t be further from the truth, you must make sure you have full access to the progress of your work and have explained to you, the techniques used that get the results. A good SEO agency will give you detailed reports and will impart their knowledge to you, they should even provide SEO training if you require it. After all the more the client understands about SEO, the better the working relationship will be, inevitably producing better results.
Many SEO companies will tie you down to a set contract of 6 months to a year with penalties for breaking the contract terms. This is quite a common practice as it usually takes about 6 months to start seeing results and the majority of the spending by the SEO agency is done at the beginning of the contract to gain momentum in search engines. Therefore this practice protects the agency from a company that doesn’t understand the long term dynamics of the work and gives the SEO company enough time to deliver results.