Should you trust a digital agency with your SEO content?

A steady flow of SEO content is critical for any business or brand that wants to rank on Google (and Bing, but nobody really mentions Bing). Organisations of all sizes outsource SEO content production to digital agencies – but are they making the best choice for their business?

We’re a leading Bristol SEO content agency, working with leading brands and supercharging startups. In this article, we’ll take you through the content creation process and explain why trusting your digital agency with your content could be a costly mistake.

What is SEO content?

All content on your website – from the titles and tags to blogs and whitepapers – is used by Google to rank your site. We won’t go into how it does this, but having great content on your site is arguably the single biggest thing you can do to improve your ranking.

Digital agencies will spend time optimising the content on your site to focus on your target keywords. That’s a great start, but Google also wants to see that you’re regularly publishing fresh, compelling, and engaging content.

In most cases, when we talk about content production, we mean the regular production of blogs. This can include short-form content (500 words), long-form content (1,000 – 2,000 words), whitepapers and case studies. Many businesses also create detailed FAQs which provide answers to common search terms.

All of this should be collated in an SEO-focused content strategy that’s based on high-quality keyword research.

OK, so it’s not a simple task, and it takes several independent experts to create something effective.

Many digital marketing agencies will offer to create a content strategy and SEO content for you. They’ll make you a compelling offer with a single price. So, what could go wrong?

Err, quite a lot, sadly.

Do digital agencies outsource SEO content?

In almost every case, yes. They do this because having a team of writers is expensive, and unless you can guarantee them enough work (like we can), they’ll be sat around warming their hands – and that’s not good business.

Digital marketing agencies face three choices when it comes to commissioning content:

  1. Outsource to content mills
  2. Pay the lowest price in the UK
  3. Pay a fair price in the UK

We’re not going to name names, but many digital marketing agencies choose option 1 or 2 – and you pay the price.

Outsourcing your SEO content production to content mills. This means your work is farmed out to the person who will do it the cheapest. In many cases, this is someone working for almost nothing, churning out meaningless content to hit a word count. In other cases, they use AI tools to create content for you.

Other agencies will employ cheap UK writers. Of the two options, it’s the least bad – but you’re still not going to get high-quality content with authority. The problem with this approach is that price – not quality – is the determining factor.

OK, so you may get a short-term boost for posting any keyword-dense content on your website, but in the end, poor-quality content will damage your site. `Why? Because the Google algorithm assesses your content not on the number of keywords you use – but on how you use them. It’s actively analysing your content to see how well it answers users’ questions and the value it offers.

But that’s not the worst part…

Can you optimise SEO content too much?

Have you ever clicked a search engine result and started to read a blog that made almost no sense?

That’s because it’s optimised for search engines at the expense of a human reader.

How does this happen? It’s because SEO writers use a variety of tools (SEMRush, Surfer SEO, Google tools) to optimise content. These systems analyse the content and provide tips, including how many times to use the keywords, variations on keywords, and in some cases, how to structure entire articles.

These tools are powerful and effective. We use them ourselves. But we don’t let the optimisation occur at the expense of the reader.

We’re able to use these tools to help shape SEO content, but they can’t replace the expertise of a professional writer (and a judicious editor). The SEO content we create expertly weaves in keywords where they add value. We don’t just drop them in everywhere to somehow attempt to trick the Google algorithm.

Here’s an example of bad SEO content:

“Searching for a great Bristol SEO content agency? Copywriting Bristol is the city’s best SEO content agency, creating optimised SEO content for business that need it. If you want to speak with the Bristol SEO content experts, call us.”

If you’re getting this sort of content from your digital agency, ask for a refund.

This may have worked in 2010, but the Google algorithm is becoming ever more advanced and can spot attempts to game the system. This sort of keyword-dense junk content will soon become a thing of the past.

All hail the almighty algorithm!

Do you know who is writing your SEO content?

OK, so you’ve contacted a Bristol SEO agency. Good start! The city is full of amazing digital marketing experts. You’ve agreed to a series of 10 blogs (that’s a good start).

We recommend that you ask who is going to be writing your blogs and what their experience is.

Is English their first language? Do they have subject matter knowledge? Are they paid a reasonable amount for the work they’re doing?

Secondly, you should also take the time to read every piece of content that’s posted on your website. If it’s public, your customers, clients, and any visitors can read it. What kind of impression would it make on them?

Ask your digital agency to ensure everything is proofread by a naturalised English speaker. As well as ensuring that spellings are correct and grammar is great, they can check the sentiment and tone of voice.

Short-term impact v lasting rewards

SEO content is all about satisfying the Google algorithm. But if you attempt to game the system with crap content, what works today, won’t work for tomorrow.

Simply put, if the purpose of your content is just for SEO you’re thinking about it all wrong.

Instead, consider creating content that your clients, customers, and anyone interested in your business would actually want to read.

Once you’ve identified the keywords and the themes, identify ways to add value. Don’t create the same type of content as everyone else. (Content tips for 2023 etc.).

Instead, write something original and with authority.

In the future, SEO isn’t going to be about how many keywords you can include, but will be based on the quality of your content and how your audience engages with it.

Should you trust a digital agency with your SEO content?

Err, it depends.

Some digital marketing agencies invest in great quality content from professionals because they, like us, understand the above.

We know they do because we work with them. (But it’s all white-labelled, so we can’t actually tell you about it here. Buy us a drink, and we’ll spill the beans…)

Other digital marketing agencies don’t. We know of some who outsource content production overseas and add an incredible markup. They’re profiting while your SEO is suffering.

Our advice? If you’ve read this far, you should already know it…

  • Work with a UK-based agency that you can trust
  • Check all SEO content
  • Write for your audience, not an algorithm
  • Employ professionals and pay accordingly
  • Contact Copywriting Bristol

(Feel free to ignore the final bullet point if you want, but you’re missing out.)

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, and if it inspired you, feel free to share it far and wide.

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