In the old days of SEO, agencies could succeed even when clients were almost totally hands-off. Today, this is no longer possible: Effective SEO demands a healthy amount of client involvement. Here is why:
1. Content Quality Is Crucial
In SEO’s infancy, agencies could publish on-site and off-site content of questionable quality and still impress Google crawlers, thus elevating organic search visibility.
Today, however, Google’s algorithm emphasizes valuable content. In Google’s words, highly ranking content will be useful, informative, more valuable than competitive sites, credible, high quality and engaging — a very high bar.
SEO agencies cannot produce content meeting this standard without client input.
To produce effective SEO content, agency writers must understand the client’s industry, customers, value proposition, selling points, selling obstacles and branding — plus all of these items as they apply to competitors. Clients can also provide the best topic ideas, since they know the business and customer needs inside and out.
2. Content Is the Core of SEO
Over time, Google has refined its algorithm to eliminate many SEO techniques that used to produce better rankings. For instance, in the old days, agencies could pack keywords into the keywords meta tag to boost rankings. Today, Google completely ignores this tag.
The upshot: there are no shortcuts, tricks or magic to SEO anymore. Great SEO depends on creating quality inbound links, and outstanding content is the primary way to create these links.
If clients do not participate in the development of SEO content, they leave their agency with very few options to improve organic visibility.
Great SEO Agencies Minimize Client Involvement
All this being said, selecting an SEO agency proficient in content development reduces client involvement. Long recognizing the changes to SEO described above, we’ve steadily increased our staff of copywriters, editors, content strategists and outreach specialists. This allows us to do the heavy lifting of content creation and content marketing to obtain quality links. Given the vast importance of content to SEO, companies should carefully vet the content marketing ability of prospective agencies — it will save a lot of their time and improve results.