Saying that the search engine optimization industry has changed over the years wouldn’t be enough to cover its entire evolution. SEO continues evolving today, and the simple factors that made you dominate search before have now been replaced by a complex web of elements coming from areas outside of SEO. It’s safe to say that white label SEO is headed where the rest of online marketing is going – towards integration.
To get a more in-depth look we interviewed Clayton Wood, marketing director for SEOreseller.com. Clayton has been a key ingredient to the success of several online brands, such as: TrueLogic Online Solutions, 365OutSource.com and HCR ManorCare.
Faleris: There are so many vertical solutions out there, we all want to hear more about the future of integrated services.
Wood: Businesses today tend to go for vendors offering a diverse suite of integrated marketing solutions. Consistency and communication emerge as major reasons for them seeking out one provider instead of individual agencies offering a la carte solutions. As a result, vendors are quickly integrating – a Gartner survey released earlier in 2013 revealed that 20 percent of companies have already integrated digital marketing with other marketing functions.
Faleris: What type of issues do companies currently face with their SEO vendors?
Wood: Poorly managed projects. Because many marketing vendors are still adjusting to the demand for integrated solutions, they have difficulty managing a wide variety of online marketing functions. As a result, projects end up poorly managed and monitored: deadlines start slipping, brand messaging efforts become inconsistent throughout different platforms, and business clients are not updated with the progress of their marketing campaigns.
Also, there is no solid campaign tracking. Clients with separate service providers for each online marketing function have difficulty collecting the information they need to decide on their overall marketing strategy. For SEO campaigns, for example, this means daily, weekly and monthly rank tracking; for social media, this means total likes, followers, and shares; for PPC, this means conversions per click, total ad spend vs. total revenue – and all of these tracked statistics need to be analyzed and viewed in relation to the whole campaign for a single brand.
Faleris: What do you think businesses are looking for now for their SEO services?
Wood: White label dashboards. Businesses want vendors that offer more than just services – they want providers that also offer integrated systems that make it easy to deliver the needs of their customers. Most a la carte providers and newly integrated agencies have not developed their own technology for customer service yet, relying on older cloud solutions like shared tables and documents to track their existing and take in new campaigns. As a result, clients are left to create their own branded reporting and customer service suites, consuming more time and internal resources that could have otherwise been used for more important company functions.
Faleris: It seems as though Google changes their algorithms so frequently that SEO vendors are always playing catch-up. How do you feel about this?
Wood: It's true. There is a lack and lag in SEO methodology evolution. Some providers offering a wide variety of online marketing solutions are having difficulty adjusting their strategies and methodologies to address changes in search algorithms, utilize new online platforms, and incorporate new technology into the existing strategy. The result is an outdated methodology that fails to deliver the ROI projected to their clients at the beginning of the campaigns.
Faleris: Most publishers are paying next to nothing to have content written by third-world writers who don't understand the different between high and low quality content. Thoughts?
Wood: At the center of integrating campaigns is the return to a publisher’s way of thinking, and the integration of traditional PR techniques to digital marketing. As a result, there is a higher requirement for quality, relevant and diversified content. Agencies specializing in more technical aspects of online marketing are having difficulty delivering this major requirement of integrated campaigns.
Faleris: It all seems very chaotic and confusing to the average business owner. What do you recommend to our readers who are having a difficult time understanding what to do next?
Wood: Integrating campaigns and solutions begins with addressing the basic issues discussed earlier. The initial result will be diversifying solutions provided from merely SEO to a wider range of online marketing solutions, from utilizing new marketing platforms to offering complete technology. Businesses looking for white label SEO solutions in the future will be looking for the following traits:
- Anticipates and adjusts methodologies ahead of Google. Algorithm updates can hit online marketing campaigns hard, especially SEO-rooted ones. Predicting the next step of Google can be tricky, but following the general direction of search trends and understanding the advanced concepts of search optimization makes it easier to evolve methodologies.
- Integrates Social, Local, and Mobile into SEO. Social optimization, local search, and mobile optimization have all moved up from being optional to basic services. This is the result of technology evolving at a fast pace, producing more channels from which users consume data. Incorporating appropriate levels of social (ex. social media integration into websites), local (ex. adding rich snippets to SEO solutions), and mobile (ex. using responsive web design) shows a more integrated approach while still allowing each to stand separately. Tying in campaigns will be made easier with these additions.
- Develops in-house management and reporting technology, and provides it white-label. Integrated campaigns require a central campaign tracking and reporting system that allows customers to access comprehensive reports easily. Having a branded client dashboard meets this requirement. It also solves the problem with project management – campaign progress can easily be monitored by customers directly through their dashboards.
- Markets for audiences, not for search engines. The main characteristic of integrated campaigns today is that they don’t consider technical SEO as the focus – they view SEO as a basic requirement for getting noticed online, a necessity that cannot be missed when beginning a marketing campaign online. What makes a difference is quality: targeted marketing for audiences. Integrating a PR approach to all online marketing aspects and creating for user experience and information makes integrated campaigns stand out from older, more outdated SEO methodologies.
As the demand for integrated solutions increases, the need to diversify and integrate campaigns becomes more urgent. Beginning with the basic building blocks of online marketing and working traditional and new media into SEO makes this process more streamlined and effective. This integration will continue as users become more exposed to a wider variety of technology through which information is made available.