It is certainly no secret that to engage the interest of consumers, you need to provide them with a message. Your brand message may be delivered across many different channels, but it needs to be consistent. However, regardless of the message you want to convey, your customers must be able to find it — and you — if you want to turn content into revenue. This makes search engine optimization just as important as ever for you, despite frequent changes in how rankings are determined.
To solve the various challenges wrought by the digital age and assist with their brand strategies, many companies have engaged the services of a third-party SEO and web management vendor. These vendors help you keep your online content relevant and current, optimize your use of keywords and links, monitor your social media sites and perform various other web management duties.
In recent years, however, businesses are realizing the issues involved in engaging these vendors.
- They can be expensive. Prices vary by vendor as well as by the plan that you select, but these companies are in business to make money. With a typical plan, you pay a steep monthly fee for basic service — and basic service is almost never sufficient to provide you with any tangible benefit. Beyond the basic service, every action the vendor takes on your behalf, from updating metadata to changing your keywords and from posting new content to providing you with analytics, will be chargeable. If you are active online and attempting to provide your customers with the most engaging omnichannel experience possible, your monthly fees can be substantial.
- These third-party vendors also take away your ability to react instantly to changes in your strategy, the competition or current events. Your content has to go through your vendor before anyone else can see it. By the time the vendor gets around to provisioning that dynamite blog post you wrote on a press release you read this morning, the news will be stale. Your readers may wonder why you seem to be rehashing yesterday's news, especially if additional information has been released in the meantime.
- Like any industry, there are some agencies that operate in a less-than-honest manner. Although most vendors are extremely transparent and honorable, there are a limited number that are not above falsifying reports to show you what a terrific job they are doing for you. You must rely on the vendor to provide you with meaningful data, but you have limited options when it comes to verifying that data. You can always hire a third-party analytics company to validate the data and ensure accuracy, but it is likely that such an action will double your headaches and accomplish little else.
There is good news, however. You do not need to relinquish control over your brand message if you choose the right ECMS. One of the industry leaders is Sitecore, and it is just as user-friendly as it is powerful. Sitecore provides you with direct control over branding by:
- Allowing you to make real-time changes and post content instantly.
- Updating all content simultaneously. This means that you do not need to change your company logo, for example, on every page or template individually.
- Automating many marketing functions, including automated emails and personalized campaigns.
- Providing you the option to use Sitecore Analytics to aggregate data, assign values and measure your success. From the easy-to-use executive dashboard, you can choose a variety of filters and reporting options to ensure that you always have the most current information at your fingertips.
- Permitting you to drill as deep as you like into your data to uncover truly meaningful information.
Effective management of your online presence is critical today, and it is likely to increase in importance with every passing year. Given the crucial nature of your SEO and web management, does it really make sense to turn control over to a third party and deal with the related costs and delays?