While these outfits can pull off miracles, their services should be considered something of a last resort.
In a recent blog posting over at SearchEngineLand.com titled,7 SEO Tasks to Complete Before Even Thinking About Hiring an Agency, blogger Amanda DiSilvestro walks web publishers through the steps they should be trying before shelling out those big bucks.
Here are some high points from her observations that are especially pertinent for casino affiliates.
Know What You Want
Agencies can be a help when you know what it is you actually want to accomplish. Do you need help establishing a post-Penguin link profile? Are you looking to knock out one or two especially tough competitors in your top keywords? Without a clear goal in mind, you’ll only wind up throwing a lot of money down the tubes.
Up Your Content Game
High quality content will draw more traffic and make your site stickier than any hired SEO gun (and it’s usually a lot cheaper, too.) Before you go off spending a mint on an agency, go ahead and invest in a good freelance writer.
No one is going to pretend that building up good links is easy, because it isn’t. These days it takes a lot of time and effort; and really isn’t something you can put on autopilot. That said, a solid batch of internal and external links is the equivalent of SEO gold.
Make New Friends
Along with your link building efforts you’ll also want to foster some guest blogging opportunities. This is another area that’s going to take some time, but guest blogging also exposes your content and sites to new audiences. Whether it’s an article about how online poker helps up your live poker presences; or how how read point spreads for a sports site, it all adds up.
Maintaining an interactive presence on social media sites is another, relatively inexpensive method of boosting your SEO campaigns. Unlike some of Di Silvestro’s other tips, this one can actually be pretty fun. If you start out by committing to Tweeting a link to every new piece of content, every day, you’ll definitely see some traffic spikes.
Use SEO Plug-Ins
SEO plug-ins like SEO by Yoast are plentiful, affordable and effective. Not only do they do the heavy SEO lifting for you the same way an agency would, they can also give you a better feel for your analytics.
Know Your Source Code
This may not be for everyone, but there are plenty of SEO tricks that start right there in the heart of your code. Making the most of things like canonical tags and robot.txt files is a lot easier when you can get under the hood yourself to do them.
The tips that Di Silvestro suggests are both basic and effective. You don’t need a lot of special SEO skills to make them work and, most of the time, they’re the same ones the agency is going to be using anyways.
What are your experiences with SEO Agencies? Share them in the comments section below.