|Paying for SEO service?|
Worth it or not? What do they do?
What are your experiences with paid SEO services. I have listened to pitches ranging from longer meta tags to creating 700 pages and linking them all to my company's homepage. I wrote them all off as junk but now my boss wants higher organic rankings in Google (we are 3-10 on most keywords) and he wants to pay a service to do it if I can't. Any suggestions on the efficacy of SEO's - which are good, which aren't, which things I can do myself?
I'd be careful of anyone/firms that "guarantees" number 1 etc. 2 variables that you can't control, the SE and other sites, including the ages of the domains and links.
It sounds like you have a pretty good presence already, with 3-10 for several key phrases. Are those phrases the most searched for in the Overture keyword suggestion tool? I can see broadening the number of key phrases you rank high for... You can do that by broadening sections of your site to rank better in those key phrases. (stick mail me about this)
Business users have tended to look at 2-3 pages of results, and seeing results in natural and paid listings also improved rankings in most research I've read.
I'd probably work on testing conversion of those clicks rather than trying to get higher unless you want to get presence in more key phrases.
|I have listened to pitches ranging from longer meta tags to creating 700 pages and linking them all to my company's homepage. I wrote them all off as junk |
hehehe that's what you should have done with the two examples you gave us ;)
MrSniffles, WebmasterWorld is the only place you need to get your company website higher up in the search engines. There are many many threads from basic to advanced levels to help you along the way. All you need is some time to read them. Have a look around the Google Forum Library [webmasterworld.com] where some of the best threads are.
If you have a particular topic you need help with, the best way to go about it is to post it in the appropriate forum.
If however you haven't got time to read or test and try some of these techniques and would like to employ somebody I would suggest writting a message in the commercial exchange forum [webmasterworld.com]. That's where paying help is usually offered or requested.
Hope this helps.
to creating 700 pages and linking them all to my company's homepage.
Tell your boss this will probably work. I have seen several sites get the number 1 position this way. Also tell your boss it is only a matter of time before your site gets banned. Do you want to pay someone thousands of dollars to get you kicked out of Google?
You are 3-10 for most keywords and you want it to be higher? I would stick to what you are doing at the moment. Maybe you want to try PPC to increase visitor numbers?
I would also say if you have Top 3-10 for most keywords then you are doing good. We do SEO and if you came to us, we would tell you that you probably can't do much better and not to waste your money. You have to realize it is impossible to get all keywords Top 10, if most of your keywords are top 10 then you are doing good. I would concentrate on creating more links on your own or save the money you want to spend on SEO and purchase links instead.
BTW, you won't be able to post under Commercial Exchange unless you have 200 posts.
|I have listened to pitches ranging from longer meta tags to creating 700 pages and linking them all to my company's homepage. I wrote them all off as junk... |
MrSniffles - You're right... the pitches you've been listening to are pretty mechanistic and not very smart.
Can't really comment on your rankings. Your top 3-10 may be great, or your targeting may not be well-conceived or broad enough, or it may not be optimal for ROI.
Basically, a good SEO is going to look at...
- your marketing goals
- search targeting
- your competition
- your budget
- site spiderability
- server issues
- internal site linking and PageRank
- page content and page structure
- inbound linking
- your meta tags
- etc etc etc
...and come up with a long-range iterative plan for modifying or tuning your site and improving and maintaining your rankings.
I don't put meta tags very high on the list. Meta keywords, eg, have been essentially useless for years.
The best optimization coordinates content development with marketing and linking. Sites that are optimized well for search engines also tend, I feel, to be optimized well for human visitors. Sites that are genuinely worth visiting tend to attract inbound links, and those are very important to your rankings.
I tell my SEO clients that some search results can be improved in months and some might take years, depending on budget. On some sites I can suggest a quick fix in five minutes, but generally it can take from a day to a week or two to scope out a site and market area, and then a week to several weeks or more to optimize the site initially. Site tuning and link and content building are then ongoing, with some areas requiring more attention than others.
No two sites are ever the same, and anybody who's got a plan before they've spent time looking at your site is going to waste your money. I'd inherently distrust an SEO who guarantees position. I'd also be prepared to pay for consultation up front.
Usually, for the long term (and search engine optimizing is a long term process), lots of work and attention to detail is involved, and that involves commitment in addition to time and money. If a client's not into it, it's awfully hard to pull them by the ears.
Some of the best SEOs in the world hang out on this board. Some put out shingles... some keep a very low profile... some aren't for hire. You can hang around the board too, read lots, search the site with Google, and ask good questions, and you can learn to do it yourself.
Sometimes you can do it yourself with a good SEO consulting. I think you need to hang around a while, though, to find out who knows what he or she is talking about. It takes some knowledge to shop for an SEO intelligently.
As for SEOs that aren't good... I personally am not a big fan of the companies with the big dog and pony shows, and, as I said, don't trust the operators with quick ranking schemes who guarantee position.
It may also turn out that you know a lot more than you think you do.
I've done really well with optimizing sites just by reading Webmaster World every day for a couple of years. So well, in fact, that I had a web designer friend set up a meeting with one of his clients.
The client had been paying $2000 a month for two years to a big outfit to get traffic to their site. After two years, the site was only getting 1500 visitors a month, and you couldn't find it anywhere in search results for the terms they wanted.
I laid out everything that I would do for them, again based on what I've learned here. What was their decision? To stay with the company they're with now, but pay for "additional services." [bang head against wall]
I wasted $2,000 on SEO with [snip] which is supposed to be one of the best SEO services out there. Complete scam, my rankings did not improve and they made claims that some of the keywords were ranking high when in fact they were ranking well because of PPC campaigns I was running. What's worse, they never even followed through on their reports, I think I only received 3 reports at most when they were supposed to send me updates every two weeks.
I would recommend doing your own SEO. You know your site better than anyone else, and almost all of the claims out there of being able to rank you on top are not true. Use common sense, focus on specific keywords throughout your page, have the keyword in your url, maintain a good density, place it in your title and description meta tags, use the keyword in links out and into the page, use the keyword in bold, italics, use the keyword towards the top of the page and make sure it appears throughout each paragraph on a page. Do these things, and you'll have better success than any SEO service out there.
[edited by: pageoneresults at 1:43 am (utc) on Dec. 13, 2004]
[edit reason] Removed Specifics - Please Refer to TOS [/edit]
|I wasted $2,000 on SEO with [snip] which is supposed to be one of the best SEO services out there. Complete scam, my rankings did not improve...I think I only received 3 reports at most when they were supposed to send me updates every two weeks. |
This is not indicative of professional SEO but your experience with one firm at one time.
I feel professional SEO is more like consulting than selling services, yet many customers want a service-for-fee solution. They want regular keyword ranking reports, or lists of 900+ search engine submissions performed on their behalf, or similar things that aren't really helpful but which he client thinks is positive. Some clients think that if they get volumes of paper reports, they are getting value.
Truth is, one good tip from an wise SEO can be worth far more than $2000, no follow-up required.
Of course most cases are not like that. Somewhere in between is a productive SEO engagement. SEO is not like car washing where you drop off your car and pick it up cleaned. It is more like nutritional consulting. You pay for the expert to advise you on how to eat, but staying healthy is your job.
If you're not ready to start exercising, don't hire a fitness trainer. If you're not ready to change your eating habits, don't hire a nutritionist. If you're not ready to listen to the advice and follow the guidelines, which often means STOPPING other changes or NOT adjusting active PPC campaigns, then you're not ready to hire an SEO (many experienced SEOs won't accept the work).
Sure there are some things you can do yourself, but there is no way you can do what I do as an SEO consultant unless you spend 35+ hours per week focused solely on SEO issues, testing, and analyzing (I spend about 50, but I assume you are brighter, younger, and smarter than me. Large firms spend more).