There was a time when no one knew what a search engine marketing company was. It was about ten years ago, when optimizing a website was not something most people were even thinking about yet. There were plenty of people who were beginning to experhyment with it, and the term “search engine marketing” was used on the Internet for the first time in 1997, but it was not yet a trend.
In those early years, most people took care of trying to get their websites found by search engines through fairly simple methods like Meta tags and the most rudimentary search engine optimization on their main web pages. Soon, however, the search engines became much more intuitive, spidering complicated the ranking systems used by the major search engines and things got more complex. When search engines began penalizing for pages that were obviously geared more toward ranking than actual content, there was again a shift in how SEO was handled.
The Rise of Small Search Engine Marketing Companies
By the year 2000, there were hundreds of small mom and pop style search engine marketing companies that had sprung up. Their popularity rose rapidly as more and more companies realized that the complexity and stringent guidelines of search engine rules and spidering algorithms simply changed far too rapidly for them to keep up with in-house. Adding in the cost in both time and money of having an in-house employee researching, optimizing and writing everything from e-mail sales letters to web content, it was obvious that hiring an SEO company was more effective.
Soon these companies began specializing in a variety of areas, including pay-per-click, added-value content, hyperlink analysis and plenty of other types of marketing strategies particular to the Internet. With so many new strategies that changed on a daily basis, Internet-based companies began to rely more and more on the expertise of companies which did nothing else, and so could keep up with the always evolving industry changes.
Establishing Themselves as Experts
Around 2003-2004, there was another shift in the industry. Search engine marketing went corporate. More than one SEM company grew to such an extent that they became established players in the marketing industry and lost that cottage industry feel. These are the same companies that began a trend that continues today. They are taking fewer, bigger clients in order to make more money.
It’s a strategy that makes sense for them, but it’s left some smaller companies out in the cold. The reason is clear; more and bigger companies, including huge international ones, are now relying on SEO, which used to be the arena primarily of small to mid-sized companies. It is uncertain as to where that leaves the smaller companies regarding their SEO needs.
There are plenty of people out there willing to take on small businesses as clients; the problem in a market that has exploded like this is determining which ones are going to give you the best performance. You can find SEO copywriters who work independently, but they cannot coordinate a complete marketing plan and generally don’t have the research capabilities to steer you toward a comprehensive plan. Other companies may focus primarily on only pay-per-click and e-mail campaigns.
For the best performance, you need to find a search engine marketing company that provides you with a full menu of services on a monthly basis, including:
Search engine optimization
Thorough research & guidance
Link building programs
Internet marketing tools
Great two-way communication
There’s a final ingredient that cannot be easily gauged but you can probably discern after a few conversations with a company you’re considering hiring, which is integrity. There are companies that go above and beyond simply writing up SEO articles and sending them to you. These are the companies where you don’t get lost in the shuffle. Look for a search engine marketing company that will develop a relationship with you and you’ve found a winner that will help you build you company’s presence on the Internet to amazing levels.