Stacey MacNaught: A step ahead in the industry

Stacey MacNaught SAScon 2015

In the second part of a tri-series of interview blogs, Tecmark’s Director of Search, Stacey MacNaught, discusses working in competitive industries.

Over the past decade, the number of SEO agencies has increased massively. We are now seeing a rise in the number of industry specialist agencies, those who gain success in a certain area and then replicate it for other clients.

From a client point of view, this poses an interesting dilemma.

Stacey said: “I can see why businesses wouldn’t want to work with an agency who is working for the competition, but Google is always going to show more than one result!

“As long as there are legals in place so that there is no shared data, why would you not want to work with an agency who has already done a lot of the ground work in understanding your customer and what they are looking for online? 

“You already know the customer activity, the touch points, what obstacles there are to getting a sale – so you’re basically starting your SEO campaign at stage two. There are things that are always going to be out of control of SEO – for instance, in travel, Thomson is going to find conversions easier than an unknown brand.

“That said, we prefer having the flexibility to work across a number of different industries.”

Read more about content-led SEO in competitive industries

As internet marketing and the various components of it have developed over the years, so has in-house knowledge.

Tecmark specialises with working alongside in-house teams, and Stacey believes it is now crucial for clients to now have at least some sort of expertise within their teams to ensure working with an agency works for them.

Stacey added: “It is preferable now for a client to have some sort of in-house resource, or at least someone who understands SEO. We probably wouldn’t recommend outsourcing everything, as opposed to maybe five or six years ago.

“There is so much information out there now, from Google, places like Moz and other reputable sites, that people can do some background work themselves.”

Working with in-house intelligence means that unifying the different components should in theory be easier, bringing together social, PPC and PR. But that’s not always the case.

“The relationships between SEO, PPC, PR and social must be strengthened. You can’t fully outsource social any more, especially when you’ve got such a big brand. All it takes is one intern to publish a bad tweet and it’s a PR disaster.

“The problem with social is that it’s also a customer service channel. Some brands, like KLM, embrace that, but you can’t just delete all the comments now.”

Read what KLM have learnt from five years of social media.

“One frustration for me is that I still don’t think SEO and PPC teams work well together, whereas they should be working closely as they both benefit each other.

“Search converts cheaper than PPC, but we’ve all got to understand that there’s a place for both. SEO isn’t for your immediate gain, but to have some internal understanding that everything is measurable on results and deliverables is better for us as the agency.”

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