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Friday, 22 February 2013

If your agency implies SEO is a ‘Dark Art’, change your agency

If your agency implies SEO is a ‘Dark Art’, change your agency Consultants are always keen to deliver good returns for their clients but probably less inclined to tell them how they did it. As a sport PR agency, our address book is not just a source of pride, it is the envy of many so as you can imagine, we share it judiciously. However, sharing contacts is somewhat different from refusing to share strategy or tactics. At ENS we pride ourselves on being open and nimble to respond to clients’ needs. So as the market evolves, we tailor our proposition accordingly, the upshot being that we now offer online public relations (supported by an impressive track record) as well as ‘traditional’ PR (remember when ‘new media’ was the phrase that was placed in quote marks?). This evolution has been led by all the key search engines’ requiring good content which, in turn, means a large part of what we deliver is SEO. Now that we are having search engine conversations with clients, it is truly shocking to realize just how many have been persuaded that SEO is the stuff of wizardry beyond the comprehension of normal mortals. If I am honest, I am not sure if I am more impressed than annoyed with the gall of anyone presenting SEO as a skill akin to alchemy – for all I know CJ Sansom, inspired by his own ‘Dark Fire’ book, drew up the creds that became the industry standard. What I do know that online public relations is like every other aspect of marketing I have worked in – success requires well applied levels of perspiration and inspiration. For my money too many agencies get very excited about creative opportunities – and don’t get me wrong, so do we. They are fun, impressive, easy to pitch, billable and moreover, they are the elements of your work that win awards (and if you doubt me, when did you last see an industry award for the agency that sent through the most press releases with fewest amends needed?). However, to overlook doing the basics well is to short change a client massively. From a client’s point of view, it may not be fun to sit through the technical details for how an agency plans to conduct the nitty gritty of the business, but if you can dedicate the time to listen, you’d be amazed at what you’d learn

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