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There’s a new myth making the rounds: that your SEO company isn’t as helpful as they used to be.

In November, Mark Macias argued on Digital Journal that PR firms have replaced search engine optimization (SEO) companies as a go-to service for businesses seeking a more robust online presence. Macias admittedly owns a PR firm, so his argument should be taken with a grain of salt on face.

Earlier in November, Eric ‘E-Rock’ Christopher made a similar argument on the Huffington Post, citing changes in the Google algorithm that ranks search results.

“Some SEO experts say these algorithmic changes have been so effective that traditional SEO is now dead, or is at least dying,” Christopher explains. “The days of using automated software tools to quickly build backlinks to boost your SEO rankings are just memories drifting away into oblivion.”

To be sure, the most valuable SEO strategies are indeed evolving. This isn’t particularly new. Google has made strides in penalizing some SEO strategies that are designed to game the system. Gone are the days when you can rely on keyword stuffing to improve your sites results. But that doesn’t mean keywords have become entirely irrelevant. And it’s still generally good when other sites link to and/or mention yours. It’s just more difficult to generate those kind of links artificially.

The notion that SEO or SEO companies have become irrelevant is, however, severely flawed. To the contrary, it’s simply become more important to seek out the right kind of SEO services, preferably those that adopt a wider focus. For example, conversion rate optimization (CRO) has become another important factor when assessing a website’s success. How many of the site’s users are actually becoming customers or clients? Similarly, considerations like “bounce rates” and time spent on the site are also strong indications of just how effective and user-friendly your site is. None of this makes SEO any less valuable; it simply means you should also care about your web design. A number of companies can help you with both.

And it’s still worth seeking SEO help.

As the Australian-based Enderlin Independant recently put it, “SEO worked in the past, is working today, and 50 years down the line, it will still be working. The search engine algorithms or rules may change now and then, but search engine optimization will always be at the forefront in helping Google or Yahoo index websites faster.”

So long as Google needs to rank sites for search purposes, there will be useful strategies designed to help sites promote themselves in those rankings.

One of the best and most timely strategies is producing regular, quality content. By providing a service that targets potential clientele, you give them a reason to find and use your site—and that’s where conversion rates come into the picture. The first step, however, will always be getting a user’s foot in the door. SEO companies can help you do that, guiding you through the ins and outs of content creation and showing you have to deploy keywords most effectively. There’s still a science to the process that may not be readily obvious to the average site owner.

The trick, of course, is finding the right SEO company with which to consult.

You should avoid firms that promise all kinds of shortcuts, particularly when it comes to link-building. Google will know if you’re buying links, and it will penalize you accordingly. The best way to ensure others are linking to your content is by creating really good content. This kind of “If you build it, they will come” mentality is important in many facets of strong SEO strategy. It can take some time and effort, but you’ll see results in time if you’re doing things the right way.

Along those lines, be weary of companies promising instant overnight success.

“Effective SEO takes time, so you should be cautious of service providers who guarantee quick results and high numbers right out of the gate,” writes Business 2 Community’s Amanda Soderlund. “That can be a sign that the firm is engaged in black hat activities, which could damage your reputation.”

The same logic goes for increasing shares on social media. People are more inclined to follow you and share your content if it’s useful or entertaining. There’s really no easy way around that.

You can also broaden your influence by organically growing your presence in social media and the world of content creation, sometimes by hosting and contributing to guest posts with other sites in your industry.

These are the kind of tactics with which a reputable SEO company can really help. Some of them seem fairly intuitive, but getting each one of them right can be tricky. This is all the more true when it comes to on-page SEO factors that may require the expertise of a web designer. Those factors include things like title tags, meta descriptions, URL structure and loading time for pages. Many of them can essentially be automated, but you’ll want to consult with someone to be absolutely sure your site is up-to-date, mobile-friendly and easy for search engines to index.

While SEO strategies may sometimes sound like an intricate and time-consuming endeavor, that’s all the more reason to either outsource some of the leg work or at least consult with someone in the know. Remember that in the long-term, these kind of investments are almost certain to pay for themselves—and with a return on investment that can seriously outpace traditional advertising and marketing campaigns.

Don’t look at it like an extra investment. Consider it a better investment than many of your alternatives. When it comes to promoting your brand, it’s increasingly important that you’re as visible as possible in search engine results. That’s how people get their information when looking for a product or service. The days of Yellow Pages are long gone.

SEO, meanwhile, is still very much alive and well.  For answers to your SEO questions, contact us at 512-993-9993.  We are the SEO company you have been looking for.

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