I continue to be disappointed by how little many supposed SEO-experts seem to know about SEO. There are many lotion and potion salespeople in the marketplace right now … banner ad mills masquerading as search engine optimization specialists. They aren't very interested in the impact of language analysis and earned media on search engine visibility. They want to sell banner ad campaigns and make money off the creative and media buy.
Paid media campaigns are effective in driving traffic, but only a short while longer than they are active. They won't have the sustained impact of an earned media campaign, in which the inbound links are less likely to expire. The vast majority of banner ads are tracked using Atlas, Dart or an equivalent third-party ad serving service. In order to track the ads, the URLs are redirected through a tracking server which cookies the user and track in order to track their behavior on the destination site. This redirect negates the search engine impact of the inbound link -- no Google juice as my colleague Andy Barnett would say.
Andy is our agency's resident SEO expert. His perspective on the current state of the SEO marketplace is below:
"Focusing on site optimization worked well. In fact it worked very well in 1999. Today, however, for the overwhelming majority of competitive search terms, gaining inbound links is paramount to achieving success. Too many so-called SEOs focus solely on title and meta tags and forget that Google is not the gullible simpleton it was eight years ago. Yes, there is certainly a benefit to deploying unique title and meta description tags. And, yes, it is definitely beneficial to have an optimized URL architecture (read: static URLs) among other onsite tactics. But, at the end of the day, the only way to truly move the needle in Google is to establish inbound links. If you don't build links, you're not an SEO. It's that simple.
It's my belief that the future of SEO aligns perfectly with the core competencies of progressive communications agencies. It can be summed up quite simply: create compelling content and promote it through online outreach, social media, and other communications tactics. That is the way to build permanent, one way links from highly relevant sites to your client's site."
Organizations need sustained SEO campaigns which in simple terms combine thorough language analysis; using the right words, in the right places, in the right frequency; good meta data; relevant outbound links; and a solid outreach strategy that generates high-quality inbound links. The benefit of doing it right is that you gain something just as valuable as search engine visibility: long-term relationships with key stakeholders.
This does not mean I don’t value paid media campaigns and the positive impact they have on online visibility and site traffic. They should be used in combination with earned media campaigns to generate the best possible outcome. But beware traveling SEO salesman that present a large portfolio of banner ad campaigns. After the paid campaign they will move on to the next client and you will be left wondering where all your traffic went.