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What to look for in a SEO company
wfernley




msg:244831
 8:54 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

Our company is looking to get a SEO company to help increase our rankings. We had one company in a few times and we are thinking about going with them. I just want to make sure I go with the right company.

They have a guarantee that they will increase our visitors by 2000/month. Also they guarantee we will rank top 10 for at least 5 of the 15 keywords we choose. Now the price they gave us included an analysis of our site, optimization consulting, search engine and directory submissions and a link exchange system. With that they will initially get us 500 links and hand submit us to 20 directories and auto submit to 200+ SE & directories.

Now I'm not sure if that sounded right to me. Like first thats only 66 visitors a day. It doesn't seem like that much of an increase to me. Also that guarantee would be with google and yahoo for top 10 ranking. If they did get us 500 links would that put in effect the sandbox issue with google and throw us up at the top 10 ranking just to loose it 2 weeks after our contract goes out?

What is everyone else opinion? Is there anything I should look out for?

Thanks for your help.

Wes

 

wfernley




msg:244861
 2:47 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

They are a web design company who also do SEO.

Marketing Guy




msg:244862
 2:50 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

- Can the SEO work be turned off instantly?
- Will you own any part of the SEO system (domains, sites, etc)?

If they answer yes to either of those then run a mile. ;)

Recapping on my previous post + some more stuff:

- Are the traffic estimates from PPC (pay per click) or organic search?
- How do you identify target keywords?
- Will you drive traffic to my site from any source other than organic search?
- What search engines will you be targetting?
- Do you have any other clients in my industry?
- Will you take on more clients in my indsutry?
- How do you review a potential source of links for my site?
- What experience do you have? Who are your former clients?

Leosghost




msg:244863
 3:05 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

BTW to be able to verify if indeed the site does use them
( like oddsod said )

You can ask them to include your name in the front page of the site in the comments ..if they already aren't identified some way when you "view source"..check the "new source" at the site via Google or whatever or even by typing in the URL from your own machine ( not their maybe cached version of "source code" display in their browser ..I'm suspicious.. I know..it's the "guaranteed" that makes me that way )..

If you can read source code ..what do you think of what they did..

Oh yeah and do they use "flash" nav systems or landing pages ( I love "flash" ..but in a nav it's SE suicide) ..most designers ( I'm one ..but I learned ;) dont understand that "flash" isn't for first page or nav ..

wfernley




msg:244864
 3:05 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks Marketing Guy,

I will have to ask those questions.

lloyd




msg:244865
 5:16 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Some one who is honest.

Don't laugh now. A company that has the resources to give your company the best results.

I have worked both sides of the fence. If you can afford it employee a marketing person who can also do seo. Even better someone who is an seo expert.

I work for a company and that is all I do and they are seeing the rewards for it. I used to work for a SEO company and you would be lucky to get one to two full days a month. See the difference.

Of course if you can not get someone on your books ensure that you buy as much time as possible a month and get the seo company to record every minute of work they do for you and get them to tell you what they have done in that time.

There are some excellent SEO Companies out there. Obviously I can not mention on the forum. Good luck and take your time to get it right.

pageoneresults




msg:244866
 6:43 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Get the seo company to record every minute of work they do for you and get them to tell you what they have done in that time.

I turn down clients who request this type of accounting. You'll spend as much time recording what you are doing that you are doing what you are doing. It's not worth the time or the effort. Sure, a summary of services is in order but to sit there and record every minute of work is not feasible.

If your SEO is providing you minute by minute accounting like that, then they have way too much time on their hands. ;)

Leosghost




msg:244867
 6:45 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Agreed ..it's not the time spent ..it's knowing what to do in that time ..

incrediBILL




msg:244868
 9:20 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I turn down clients who request this type of accounting.

How hard can it be to dump a list of target keywords selected, pages modified, any brief specifics done per search engine, etc. into a report? Besides, if your client wants it - BILL THEM FOR the report, and if you really don't want to write that report bill it HIGH enough that you'll enjoy writing it.

I think it's more fear that they'll figure out they can do it themselves.

pageoneresults




msg:244869
 9:41 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

How hard can it be to dump a list of target keywords selected, pages modified, any brief specifics done per search engine, etc. into a report?

Not hard at all. I guess I work a little differently than others. My clients don't want those types of reports. They want to see that their website is generating ROI. The only way for their websites to be generating that ROI, is for me to be focusing on what I can do next to maintain and/or improve that ROI.

Besides, if your client wants it - BILL THEM FOR the report, and if you really don't want to write that report bill it HIGH enough that you'll enjoy writing it.

Of course, by all means. The time it takes to assemble those reports is the factor. Most of us have various programs available to us that present reports to the clients based on a wide of variety of factors. Ever watch a client look at one of those reports? lol! They get that glazed look? You know what I do now? I send them screen shots of the bar graphs showing a summary of the month. I then include a few paragraphs of my commentary. They see the continued improvement in their monthly traffic and it also translates to increased sales for their company. All of my clients have Brick and Mortar businesses, so I am in a slightly different position.

I think it's more fear that they'll figure out they can do it themselves.

Nah, I doubt very seriously that most will even want to try and figure all of this out. Sure, you can teach them the basics, but who is going to take care of everything beyond that? Do you think the small to medium size business owner is going to want that responsibility? I can tell you from experience that 9 out of 10 of them won't. I've tried it, been there, done that, etc.

There is just too much involved in today's SEM environment for a client to even think about doing it themselves. Which comes back to the topic of discussion, what questions should the client be asking their SEM provider?

Lorel




msg:244870
 3:39 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I got a call from a supposed "SEO" company last month. That's my specialty so I just kept my thoughts to myself and let him go on with his speel. He also gave guarantees he could increase my rank (i'm already ranking on 1st page for most of my keywords and get so much traffic I can hardly keep up with it so he obviously hadn't checked my site).

He gave me a couple URLs to check out that they had "optimized". I didn't have time to investigate closely until after he hung up, then I checked the source code and also what I could see on the site and what they had done was increase the keyword density so ridiculously high it made your head spin to read the text along with spamming the alt tags, image tags, comment tags and everywhere else they could get away with it.

They had repeated the name of the site ***34*** times on the home page. They just spammed the sites just below the point where it would be considered spam. Of course the sites were ranking at the top but nobody would buy anything from a site when they repeat the main keywords that often.

They had promised top placement in the search engines and that's indeed what they produced. That doesn't necessarily translate into sales. And it's likely to get the site banned for spam.

paybacksa




msg:244871
 5:29 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

They are a web design company who also do SEO.

Well, that doesn't mean they do SEO. I know three web firms that say they do SEO because they outsource SEO to my group. Nothing wrong with outsourcing, but if you ask them expert questions they will have to get back to you. Is that bad?

...ask what sites they SEO... ask them to put code into the source to prove it

No way. 80% of the time I am bound to confidentiality, and offer it to all clients. I also will never add anything to a client site that is not for the client (again, I put that in my contracts). I'd be very wary of any SEO who felt privileged to insert code on client pages that did not directly relate to the client's SEO work.

regarding good SEOs working on their own sites

Of course we work on our own sites. But we also like people and appreciate there is more to business than what you see on your screen. It is quite enjoyable to lunch at a top-tier venue as CEO of a successful company, with other CEOs. That inevitably leads to consulting and work for hire.

A regular topic of lunch conversation with clients is how socially inept many SEO types are, especially those trying to sell traffic. Those guys need to get out more!

{BTW, consulting is an excellent way to fund R&D periods. As sales drop off for an aging campaign and R&D ramps up, consulting allows you to earn additional revenues while expanding perspectives]

techsmith




msg:244872
 9:11 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Yes i do agree with all my friends posted above.I too do SEO work for my IT company, from many yrs i am resarching into new techniq for Ranking and brand visibity.

No body can gurantee Top Ranking in my words an SEO can work hard to give you good ranking.

If any SEO gives you GURANTEE word you tell him to show you the rank and get the pay.

Best Regards,
BT

sandyeggo




msg:244873
 9:20 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I like that idea as a customer, but that will never happen. BUT it will sure rattle those that are just trying to snowball you for the deal... pretty funny!

incrediBILL




msg:244874
 10:06 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If they don't have an espresso machine they aren't real SEO, start with the coffee pot.

Gil0713




msg:244875
 8:18 pm on Mar 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

As many of you have mentioned, no one can guarantee a top position in any of the search engines. I do seo for a company in Connecticut as well as on the side.

I was updating my consulting site as well as the rankings for where the companies I have worked with rank. I was surprised that Google already indexed and placed among the top 5 results an eBay store I optimized for a client 2 weeks ago! I also noticed that Yahoo has among the top 5 (#2 in reality) one of the pages I optimized out of 112,000,000 pages - that is kind of neat.

To address the original question that started this thread. I would recommend any merchant to hire an seo consultant not to optimize his/her site, but to train the merchant staff on how to optimize the site- that is what I have begun to do.

WebGuerrilla




msg:244876
 9:46 pm on Mar 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

The idea that an SEO can't offer a guarantee for placement is utter nonsense.

A guarantee is simply a component of one's business model. If I review a particular industry and feel confident I can produce for the client, I have no problem putting my money where my mouth is. Offering a guarantee isn't the same thing as saying you are 100% successful on 100% of all keyword phrases you've ever attempted to optimize for.

It's simply saying that you are confident you can be successfull and that you are willing to except less/or no payment if you fail to meet the stated goals.

ogletree




msg:244877
 12:12 am on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem is that do you know if the SEO will really give you the money back and when. They can say that they are still working on it forever and never give you the money back. If they can't get the term for you they may not be able to do it for others and have no money left to give you the guarantee.

Tapolyai




msg:244878
 3:49 am on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

The problem still lies within one area.

Benchmark. A run-of-the-mill, no SEO/SEM/Web marketing experienced or even understanding business has no benchmark today to match a SEO/SEM professional.

How do I determine prior to engaging A verses B that they are legit, AND their work is valuable? Yes, yes, you all have listed some very good points. How does Mr. Joe Nowebexperience CEO hire the right professional?

(And don't tell them to read Webmasterworld, and such. That is unrealistic.)

Gil0713




msg:244879
 11:56 am on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good morning,

Tapolyai - in answer to your question. First and foremost ask for references that you can contact via telephone. Secondly ask about be the process the company/consultant will follow to optimize your site. SEO, if done correctly, is a labor intensive job and takes quite a bit of research through just about every phase. Positioning reports are a must - at the start to establish a benchmark where you are at, after that to ascertain any progress. You also want to know, in writing, what support you will receive after the work is done. If you have a dynamic site then the work gets more complicated since the consultand should work closely withyour IT department to make sure theyare all on the same page.

Leosghost




msg:244880
 12:09 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Paybacksa ..how does inserting the name of your prospective client in the "comments" tag on an internal page of a site risk squat ...?
It's way to easy for any suppposed SEO company to just outright lie ( under the guise of "confidentiality" ) and tell you that they SEO'd asite when in fact they had nothing to do with it ..

Happens ...

WebGuerrilla..problem with your analogy is it requires everyone to be absolutely honest and totally ethical ..the guy who is gonna write you a rubber check will always tell you ..I don't think so ..

And confidence in ones abilities just does not take into account changes in algo's or SE policy ..By the time one realises that the SEO company is crap ..maybe your business wouldn't have the cash left to sue them ...and maybe they might have already spent it on girls and nose candy!

oddsod




msg:244881
 1:44 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

how does inserting the name of your prospective client in the "comments" tag on an internal page of a site risk squat ...?

He may not have meant that it risks anything. It is just not professional; it smarts of desperation. I doubt that any of the more reputable SEOs would do it. The site, after all, does belong to your client and using your client's property to post something of purely commercial interest to you (i.e. to help you make a sale) is a bit tacky. That is irrespective of whether it hurts the client or not.

paybacksa




msg:244882
 3:37 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

What do you mean the site is down? When did it go down?

Umm.. it looks like someone updated a page yesterday at noon, and the home page has been off since then. The only change I can see was to a comment, but there is also a broken tag...

The traffic's up but conversions are down? What happened to our Ads? What did the analysis say caused the change?

It seems there's a comment on the page that included the string "ASGF". Not sure why that's there, but I've traced it back to a child pr0n community in Elbonia. It's a code word for ****** and aparently our site is now #1 in MSN for that term.

Bottom line is if it is my site there is no one authorized to edit it outside the bounds of professionally contracted work, and that really sits upon a legal basis of intent. No one can guarantee no-side-effects, but everyone can and should guarantee accountability within the framework of professionalism and intent. As a client I might give you complete freedom to adjust the site for SEO, but I can still hold you accountable if you make a mistake and the intent is other than SEO of my site to meet our goals and objectives.

paybacksa




msg:244883
 3:50 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Tapolyai,

How does Mr. Joe Nowebexperience CEO hire the right professional?

Why is it any different than any other professional you might hire (doctor, lawyer, plumber)?

How does Mr. Joe Nowebexperience CEO hire an electrician?

You probably don't want to analyse the trust you commonly place in directories and certifying bodies; you probably want to believe they are trustworthy because it makes your decision process easier. But is it?

Is a licensed electrician with 10 years on the job trustworthy? Sure... but not cheap and he'll probably send an apprentice to do the work (nothing wrong with that). Somehow I doubt you are looking to hire/pay the stalwarts of the SEO industry. Did you spend time participaing in ElectricalContractorWorld.com before hiring the electrician? Had you done that you would have learned about inexpensive imported wire that lasts at most 1 or two years, poorly-publicised recalls of faulty switches that caused fires in hundreds of homes, scam training programs that were caught selling diplomas to untrained contractors, etc. Scary stuff you can uncover in almost any field.

Is a licensed elecrician with 1 year on the job trustworthy? What about a Doctor? Surgeon? Do you know about gag orders and secret black lists that protect bad practitioners from public scorn and consumer boycott?

How does Mr. Joe Nowebexperience CEO hire the right professional?

If Joe CEO has no web experience Joe CEO needs to hire someone who does. Come on, mate. The middle letter in CEO is "executive" for a reason.

oddsod




msg:244884
 3:54 pm on Mar 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's simply saying that you are confident you can be successfull and that you are willing to except less/or no payment if you fail to meet the stated goals.

Finding a good SEO company is a lot easier than finding one willing to take payment only after getting you to #1 for the keywords you have selected. :)

DaveAtIFG




msg:244885
 1:06 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you're still looking for an SEO wfernley, try a few searches. The HonestSEO web site is an exceptional "SEO Consumer" resource. THEN take a look at the SEO Consultants Directory. They make a sincere (and effective) effort to list competent and ethical firms.

Tapolyai




msg:244886
 3:21 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Gil0713, appreciate the points. I think my point was misunderstood. You and I understand (well not as much me) what is "the process the company/consultant will follow"... You and I grasp that "if done correctly, is a labor intensive job and takes quite a bit of research". Problem is SEO/SEM is a very very new "industry". It's not even an industry, it's a strange spawn of search engines.

paybacksa, it is different than any other professional because for a doctor you can look them up with medical board, a lawyer at legal bar, and a plumber at the Better Business Bureau (in the US). An electrictian, plumber, lawyer, and doctor have to earn a license.

As you said, indeed "certifying bodies", some I listed above do command some respect and do provide some assurances.

I wasn't talking about myself. I was talking about the general public.

The next major step in the SEO/SEM industry is to create an acceptable professional organization that has ethical and professional requirements. Such organization, (which might already exists) need to market SEO/SEM and make the organization the de facto requirement to be considered an SEO/SEM professional.

Example - In the US The term "Realtor" was created by an organization, and was made into a household name. A real-estate agent in the US who is not a member of the National Association of Realtor, will not make it. Prior to the NAR, there was no way of telling which agent was ethical or professional other then having an "expert" on hand as you suggested it.

You say that "Joe CEO needs to hire someone who does have web experience". Wait... Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If I hire someone who will recognize a decent SEO/SEM then they are capable of doing it, ergo I just hired someone. If they are not capable of recognizing it then what did I spend my money on?

What I am trying to say is we talk about how the tree has bark and branches, and there are leaves at the end of the twigs which hang off of the branches. We even discuss the root systems and such.

Most people don't even know there is a forest out there! SEO/SEM professionals NEED, no, MUST create a reputatable organization that will provide guidelines - more for the general public to see and realize their value, then for themselves.

:-D

paybacksa




msg:244887
 1:58 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Tapolyai

RE: BBB and other certifying organizations, I was thinking, that the average consumer who believes these groups claims, is not the SEO buyer.

RE: Chicken and the egg syndrome: my best clients have excellent IT people. SEO is a specialty, especially when you get past good webmastering. Sure they canibalize the SEO task list, as I think they should, but that just keeps me challenged and justifies high rates.

BTW, the chicken/egg logic problem has been solved. The DNA that defines "chicken" either existed in the parent, or was created by a mutation in the egg. Test the DNA and you'll know for certain which came first, LOL.

Most people don't even know there is a forest out there! SEO/SEM professionals NEED, no, MUST create a reputatable organization that will provide guidelines - more for the general public to see and realize their value, then for themselves.

I agree, at the level of reputation. An SEO must create a reputation for credibility. I dont know about organizational level. It's always good for the community aspects, but I'm not sure an SEO organization can effectively serve its SEO constituents.

I liken SEO to the competitive intelligence pros. Pretty hard to establish credibility, even if earned. I think they trick is in keeping the offerings broad and the clients large, so as to obfuscate the actual efforts conributed. That way you still can claim a client and get a solid reference.

FireTown




msg:244888
 5:09 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Seo is one of the industries where you do NOT want to save money at the wrong end. You may be paying someone to hurt you as a lot of black hats have gotten their clients penalized or banned from the search engine results pages.

jschmitz




msg:244889
 4:38 pm on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have been reading all this with great interest. I have two comments:

1) somewhere someone posted 'an hour a day to do my own SEO -- I don't think that this comes close to enough time

2) I am just a regular person who has gotten good at SEO, I am not a giant firm, and I am using my taletns for my own very nichy-y sites BUT I LOVE OPTIMIZING for other businesses!

Maybe that makes me stupid for not putting up mutliple adwords/adsense sites and getting in the top ten and making a huge chunk of dough -- but it's kind of like an art to me, and I love practicing the art itself.

Huge chunks of dough not in my pocket. Sigh.

judy

dadress




msg:244890
 2:16 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree as well. There are way too many variables that go into getting good rankings. I actually spent many hours getting one of my sites top rankings. It was a combination of getting the correct keywords, making changes to the site on a daily basis, listing with all the engines, increasing link popularity. I started out at about 200th for the search engine rankings and over a period of a few months went to top 10. It was also a daily struggle of maintaining because as other sites do the same yours go down a notch.

Dave

[edited by: Woz at 6:02 am (utc) on April 10, 2005]
[edit reason] No Sigs please, see TOS#13 [/edit]

Lorel




msg:244891
 8:23 pm on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)


It was also a daily struggle of maintaining because as other sites do the same yours go down a notch.

Right on! it's a daily struggle to keep ahead of the other SEOers.

This 61 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 61 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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