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The SEO (search engine optimization) and ORM (online reputation management) sector is enjoying explosive growth. Brands big and small are looking to increase their online presence and visibility. More than 90% of marketing communications managers plan to increase their SEO budgets or to maintain them at the same level over the next year, according to a study by Borrell Associates.
Media House International is one of the communications companies that has embraced ORM skills and our Chairman, Jack Irvine, is now heading up an international team who are servicing clients in the UK and UAE.
SEO, ORM and SEM (search engine management) are umbrella terms for a range of skills used to improve the digital presence of brands. This includes monitoring and updating social media platforms, back-linking, positive content generation, building targeted traffic, blog posts and developing an official blog for the organization or individual.
More and more consultancies and specialists are offering these services but in our experience the quality of service offered is patchy at best. Media House International has recruited the best in the world and, sadly, they do not reside in the UK.
The situation is reminiscent of the early days of the PR industry. In the 1980s the boom in the number of PR agencies was a sign of a flourishing industry and firms were keen to take on a corporate communications consultancy almost without understanding what PR really entailed and how to evaluate the service they were receiving.
These smaller agencies which have survived the crisis are still in existence because they are delivering an excellent service
Subsequently, there was consolidation in the industry and an overall shrinking during the recession of 2008-9. Today, there are about five giant PR agencies in the UK, with the majority of the industry made up of smaller players with a fee income of £5m or less. These smaller agencies which have survived the crisis are still in existence because they are delivering an excellent service to their clients and are succeeding in a highly competitive market.
The SEO and digital services sector is following the same curve of rapid expansion, followed by consolidation. There has been an initial wave of poor quality products and services on offer and widespread misunderstanding on the part of clients of what they are really looking for and how it can be achieved.
Clients must determine exactly what it is they are trying to achieve. Is it: reputation repair, reputation building, a level of visibility equal to their competitors, simply driving clicks to the corporate website or converting a higher proportion of page views to online purchases?
Many SEO firms promise to deliver all of the above but many do not have the sector-specific expertise to make good on their promises. In addition, an inexperienced SEO provider using outdated tactics such as suspicious link building techniques can do more harm than good to a firm’s reputation. A high percentage of SEO firms will have gone out of business three years from now.
There is no magic bullet which can provide your organisation with a new presence online overnight. Building a positive online presence is a painstaking process which takes time. At Media House, we have formed relationships with experienced SEO and ORM specialists and we are confident that the advisors we recommend are offering a service which will truly deliver results for our clients.
Ultimately, only the best will survive.