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Need Suggestions for Good Questions to Ask an SEO Consulting Company

My Boss is Trying to "Check My Work".

     
11:05 am on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hi. all...

my ceo has decided to hire one USA based SEO company for consultation...... and told me to prepare bunch of question for them ....
hey guys can you suggest me some good question... as this session he made just to check my skills....and now i have to prepare my self in a great way...

so please please.. ..suggest me some good question which i can ask them.....

11:43 am on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld seolancer.

Did you have a peek in this forum's Library [webmasterworld.com]?

You might find some good related topics there if you scroll down a bit.

12:58 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>decided to hire one USA based SEO company

Has he already hired the firm, or are your questions to be part of the interview process?

1:05 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hi.
no they have not hired.. and i'm suppose to be the seo for this Company they have hired them to cross check what i'm saying is right or not..as there are certain things where our views doesnt match..
out of that one is i'm against "doorway pages" and they recommend.... i prefer keyword rich good content .. they dont feel the same for this...

and as its USA based company and i'm a single employee.. our CEO has hired them for 5 hours consultation..and he want me to ask them question.. now i dont kow what do i ask them..?

1:40 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Here is a good previous thread on the subject:
Questions to ask an SEO Company [webmasterworld.com]
1:41 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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seolancer, personally, I think you have a problem.

It sounds like the SEO firm has already been hired for 5 hours of work to validate your own SEO efforts.

If the CEO intended to hire a top-level SEO firm to oversee and critique your work, then the qualifications of that firm should have been thoroughly checked out in advance.

In the two examples you provided - doorway pages and no need for quality, keyword-rich content - obviously means the chosen firm can do your company considerable harm if their recommendations are implimented.

What I would recommend to you, is do what your CEO should have done - and prequalify the 'so-called' experts.

Simply ask them for a half dozen or so SEO clients in competitive search areas, and determine what the ranking is, and how they accomplished it. You will quickly be able to determine each site's ranking and total results, index and subpage PR, backlinks (follow the links through to see if anything looks marginal), basic onpage factors they used (i.e. Title, H1, content keyword diversity, file naming convention, etc.), and if any keywords are hidden [using Ctrl-A] or if they are stuffing image maps.

The total results for each search are particularly important. If you are in a competitive field, and the SEO provides you with a list where the keyword results are a few hundred thousand or less - and you need a keyword phrase in the millions - then he/she probably can't help you.

Determine the search term yourself. If they are in the widget business, search for 'widgets.' They may have you search for 'pink deep sea widgets' that are at the top of the SERPs - but no prospective customer will ever find the site using that search phrase.

seolancer, as I mentioned, this process seems backwards, but until you have confidence in the 'teacher,' it's difficult to rely on them when your online business is at stake.

Steve

4:14 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think netguy is right, you do have a problem. This company obviously has a strong incentive to make it look like they know more than you.

Now I'm assuming your boss is either the owner, or someone responsible for making decisions that affect the company's bottom line. If so, don't allow yourself to get pulled into a technical debate over the best seo method, because, if your boss doesn't speak "geekspeak", then whomever "appears" to know the most in his eyes will win. Make sure your respose is in "results-based" language. It's what your boss will understand. Netguy is on the right track when he advices you to look at what results this other company has produced.

Also, consider asking them how they track results. I've had experiences with 2 different seo firms that clients of mine have used. In both cases, the client got zero results. It seems as if the company just took their money and did nothing. Since there was no method in place to verify this, there's no way of knowing if they actually did anything or not.

5:03 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Make sure your respose is in "results-based"

Most definitely...try to brush up on your "business speak" (ROI, conversions, revenue, sales, etc.) Focus on the vocabulary that you have in common, and not on showing the CEO what he DOESN'T know. Your boss is concerned with the bottom line. Let him know that this is your focus as well.

Ultimately, he will most likely learn the err of his ways, but you'll have to roll with the punches until then. It's sometimes hard for executive types to not want to have more control over some of the things that they don't understand. Reassure him that you have their best interests in mind, and that you are focused on the areas that matter to THEM.

Do your best to cooperate with the SEO company, and try to understand your boss's motives...otherwise you are just going to make life more difficult for yourself.

6:30 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is this a common practice in the SEO world?
7:15 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ask them if doorway pages can ever hurt your rankings or get you banned. If they say they are completely safe, show them all the evidence to the contrary.

If you can show that their tactics may result in a banned website, you should be able to convince your boss that he chose the wrong SEO firm.

7:24 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>Is this a common practice in the SEO world?

It certainly should be.

Unlike many professions, an SEO firm is easy to check out. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting client's go for the $199 'guaranteed top listing' deals without thinking to ask about referrals and performance. And, many 'so-called' SEO firms charge much more - and deliver nothing.

While many prospective clients may not be able to determine all the detailed SEO nuances, they can certainly type in 'widgets' in a few search engines for a widget site and ask why the company is not listed in the first 1,000 results.

If the firm says they cannot give out any of their clients - for privacy reasons, for example - then move on. Most legitimate SEO firms are proud to pass along their clients - and their clients are more than happy to assist in the referrals.

Steve

5:43 pm on Oct 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I had a situation similar to this yesterday.

In Sum: New marketer sits in on meeting, lets on he was a web developer before, did some checking on my work, company I work has been cutting back. I realize new marketer intends to take over my job bases on questions during my presentation.

I don’t mind validating my work, which is why I like to give reports in a presentation that my Client’s team can understand. I am secure in what I do and can validate my work well.

There is a saying: “Be slow to speak, quick to listen.

In your case, if you’re confident in your workmanship and can validate it… you have nothing to worry about. Listen to them talk and understand the theme and motive of the conversation.

For me:
I let someone who does not know what they are talking about talk, talk, talk until basically if they cook they’re own goose, and I can go on doing what I do best.

If they know what they are talking about, then there is something to learn. The hard part is making it work for you, and that is all in how you handle the situation. People notice panic, and the first one to panic or get upset looses.

In the end if they want to go with someone else, so be it. Business is business and if I am not doing my job right then I don’t belong there, because in the end it will be ugly.

For You and Your Boss:
Let your boss check your work. Welcome it!
Part of the problem is you may not be educating Him/Her on what you are doing. Offer a presentation, validate your work, and support future changes with a plan. Employers see the value in that and you will feel better about what it is you do.

7:45 pm on Oct 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Obviously, this next suggestion depends on your financial standing and whether you can live without this client for the short term...

In similar situations where "black hats" made promises to clients that I knew were against the clients best interests I simply presented my side and documentation from the biggies (google, yahoo, etc...) on what they allowed and what they didn't. Then I mentioned "opportunity lost" when the site dropped out of the serps completely due to constantly upgraded "spam filters" and how much time and money it will take to regain current standings. I've never lost a client to blackhats. Several friends have even pointed clients here in similar circumstances.

I'd suggest being very calm and professional. Disagree with spam tactics and explain the potential risk. If your client goes with them I'd suggest leaving on good terms and make sure they know you are available to clean up the mess when they get blacklisted, but your fees will have to be increased substantially. Just keep smiling.

6:13 am on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hi everyone,
thanks for your help and advice, as my first meeting with that seo coach is over, and now i'm in short of question, as they only know some basic SEO techniques nothing in deep,
and i'm surprise that they dont know how to caculate keyword density,they dont know anything about W3C standerds... and seo of that company dont know how to optimize site with some part of Flash in it...

isnt this strange.. if this is the case then anyone who knows some basic of SEO can be SEO and start their own company...

6:20 am on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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anyone who knows some basic of SEO can be SEO and start their own company...

You're not far off with that statement...

6:33 am on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hi

no i dont have any plan of starting my company of SEO as i feel i still needs to learn many things.. i'm not MASTER .. but yes i do better with what i know...

7:02 am on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes a lot of people that know a little about SEO, web design, networking etc start there own company. I have dones all 3 and I have seem total novices in all 3 totaly screw up. The tech filed is like applience repair or auto repair. You are more likely to find a bad apple than a good one. Be very careful.

As far as your kw density question it is bad they did not know how to figure it out but what they should have said is that it does not matter. KW density is not something a SEO pro worries about. You fit in your kw's as much as you can and still keep the copy readable.

There is no quick fix that will get your site ranked better. I could SEO your site perfectly with on page factors but you would probably not rank much better. Ranking is still backlinks and anchor text. If doorway pages are done correctly you will do fine. There are tons of people doing it and have done if for years and still rank well. The key is doing them correctly. The kew is that as long as they don't look like doorway pages they are not doorway pages. Every page in G is a doorway page. Look at WW it has 144k listings in G right now. Every time we create a new forum thread Brett gets a new doorway page. You don't have to make a forum but the key is that it does not look like trash, don't scrape, and keep pages at least 15% different.