Any time a business uses a third-party's services, it's placing itself in a vulnerable position. This goes for any outsourcing, but especially for SEO and online marketing.
How many impressions can be had regarding your campaign? I don't mean the traditional advertising kinds of impressions, such as the number of times drivers cruise pass your billboard. I mean the impressions of onlookers, whether they are consumers, peers, potential consumers, etc.
I can't stress enough the importance of the diligence of the business owner in approaching an SEO service. Marketing is all about associating your market back to your brand and services/products. Wow, you're leaving that up to another source entirely?! Okay, the notion of 'outsourcing' is not mind blowing, but the notion of electing a hands-off, leave-it-to-the-experts is very much so.
Here are a few things your marketing company can be messing up for you.
Sure, at present, the Penguin update is a heavy topic of discussion; yet, the notions behind the update are as old as the Web itself. I believe many businesspeople have a limited understanding of SEO. It's not an insult to their intelligence; it's just plain fact.
It wasn't totally insane for businesspeople to be led to believe that a high number of links, signaling what you sell (anchor text), would grant you traction on this totally cool platform 'everyone' is now using to shop for goods/services, search engines.
However, let's speed up time to now, when traditional sentiments of marketing caught up to the totally new, cool way to market. Why should a particular domain/page associated with a product/service necessarily be a better provider of such because a search engine says so? Understood, the theory behind engines leads browsers to believe such, but it is a marketing promise (Yes! These engines are brands too! They want you to think they're great! And great for your business too!) - not a foolproof reality.
DO NOT allow your marketing service to go for numbers rather than quality. Do you make a distinction on quality? Why are you engaged in the matter to start from such a limited position of knowledge? Why are you letting others make decisions for your business?
"Content is…" I can't even stomach to finish the line. Actually, how many out there assume content strictly means written copy? It does not. "But Anthony, I need a specific number of keywords occurrences on my Web page or I won't get ranked, I won't get traffic, I won't get conversions…"
So, again, who is feeding you these sentiments? What kinds of content can best intrigue your targeted consumers? It could be a picture. It may be an epic poem… It may be a podcast… "But wait, pictures and podcasts don't have keywords! I need to inundate my pages with them to rank!"
Sure, ranking well for particular terms helps, but it's not a be-all-end-all necessity. That's like saying if search engines 'disappeared' tomorrow, your business would have to fold-up shop. Really? That would be unfortunate and majorly make me question what kind of brand you have going on over there.
Pay attention to your consumers and serve them with useful content. If you pay more attention to the desires of your target market rather than how many times engines can count your keywords, your business is likely to be more successful…because you're in business to please the customer, correct?
Search engine 'optimization,' to me, means your brand is finding ways to make engines work for you, not the other way around. So, it doesn't necessarily mean Google serves you first for your "chosen word"; it means your marketing team has utilized engines as another way to create associations to your users, which can mean A LOT of things aside from rank for a particular term.
Who are you placing in power to produce your content? The agency's writers? Have you seen their (you know, the writer who writes YOUR content) stuff before? What are their thoughts on content? Should yours be written? Audio recorded? Visually recorded? Stocked with images rather than written sentiment? What do you think about it? Do you have an opinion? Why not? You should know your service/product and consumers BETTER than the third-party provider; yet, you leave it up to someone else to make major decisions for your company?