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Questions about my seo firm....

my confidence in their expertise is eroding...looking for input

     
9:03 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Our small firm chose to go with a "recognized" seo firm...and have been questioning the decision ever since.
(in their defense, we're only approx 2 months since inception)

Some of the issues that have led to a loss of our confidence:

1) 5 weeks after our contract payment, no optimization had been done. Although we were told that actual optimation would take place after 5-7 days of keyword reasearch.

Is this normal?

2) Multiple instances of "we'll have another optimized page ready for you in a couple days"....5 days later I still have to inquire about status of said page. (not necessarily a knowledge/expertise complaint...but I did'nt hire a firm because I wanted to babysit them). The little annoying stuff is innocent on its own..but in conjunction with a lotta "little stuff"...startin to move me towared a bit harsher analysis.

3) Most recent optimization technique involved setting up a page to help spiders find our "backlinks".....the firm included their trademarked info, blatant self promo language, and 2 links back to their site ON OUR PAGE! We were not informed (much less asked) about these links.

Ironically, this page include a seal(link to their site) trumpeting "ethical seo"...who's standards this firm supposedly established.

Promo language even uses first person dialogue...this is particularly frustrating....the "us" and "we" in this endorsement is me, and I knew nothing.

quote of their promo language:
<snipped>

Am I being a difficult client? ...or should I question the placement of self promo language and 2 links to their site?

This post is not intended to be a rant.
Do I need to lighten up or do I have legitimate complaints?

Thanks for your input.

(seo recommendations welcome..sticky me)

[edited by: NFFC at 9:09 pm (utc) on Mar. 28, 2003]
[edit reason] Specifics removed [/edit]

9:20 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sounds fishy

"trademarked info, blatant self promo language, and 2 links back to their site ON OUR PAGE"

Maybe you should be charging them for links. I'd get away before your damaged for more than the deposit amount.

9:25 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>Our small firm chose to go with a "recognized" seo firm...

Obvious question - how did you come upon this "recognised" seo firm. Hopefully it was not from an unsolicited email that they sent you.

Did you check with other clients what they had done, and if it "worked"

There are a lot of charlatans about :(

9:36 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Our small firm chose to go with a "recognized" seo firm...and have been questioning the decision ever since.
(in their defense, we're only approx 2 months since inception)
Some of the issues that have led to a loss of our confidence:

Your time in business -- matters not, their status of "recognized" seo firm -- is this from their point of view or their existing / past clients point of view.

1) 5 weeks after our contract payment, no optimization had been done. Although we were told that actual optimation would take place after 5-7 days of keyword reasearch.

Is this normal?

Normally this is not normal - what does your contract say?

In defense - sometimes problems do arise - however, the contracted firm should be explaining these issues to you. If you need to contact them about timings -- this is normally a "warning".

2) Multiple instances of "we'll have another optimized page ready for you in a couple days"....5 days later I still have to inquire about status of said page. (not necessarily a knowledge/expertise complaint...but I did'nt hire a firm because I wanted to babysit them). The little annoying stuff is innocent on its own..but in conjunction with a lotta "little stuff"...startin to move me towared a bit harsher analysis.

This sounds quite strange - "we'll have another optimized page ready for you in a couple days" -- this leaves me to believe "doorway pages" are being developed. In this instance - you may not be getting what you paid for.

3) Most recent optimization technique involved setting up a page to help spiders find our "backlinks".....the firm included their trademarked info, blatant self promo language, and 2 links back to their site ON OUR PAGE! We were not informed (much less asked) about these links.

"Most recent optimization technique involved setting up a page to help spiders find our "backlinks"...

rubbish! - spiders don't need help finding your backlinks. This is (IMHO) the "recognized" seo firm wanting the spiders to find their backlinks from you. They are in all likelihood setting up links from you to them and receiving "link popularity, quality link anchors and PageRank to their business at your expense.

Re-read your contract - find out if the contract actually indicates that you must display their logo and links to their site. If not remove them.

If permission for this was not requested and received these should not be there.

Ironically, this page include a seal(link to their site) trumpeting "ethical seo"...who's standards this firm supposedly established.

Promo language even uses first person dialogue...this is particularly frustrating....the "us" and "we" in this endorsement is me, and I knew nothing.

quote of their promo language:
<snipped>

Am I being a difficult client? ...or should I question the placement of self promo language and 2 links to their site?

This post is not intended to be a rant.
Do I need to lighten up or do I have legitimate complaints?

Thanks for your input.

Effectively you seem to be paying them to promote themselves rather than them promoting you... I highly recommend - requesting your money back.

fathom

9:39 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a bad deal to me. The self promotion stuff sounds shady to me. Also there shoud have been something done within 5 weeks. You might not see any results in the search engines in 5 weeks but they should be well on their way to having your site optimized.

Get your money back. There are much better people you can be working with.

9:41 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Some of initial selection criteria:

1) find out who ranks well for their own terms in serps.(after many hours on WW recently...wish I would have come to WW and gone off referrals...or contacted some of the pro's here)

2) Conduct fairly lengthy email dialogue with candidates..then spend time on the phone with the firm principles.

3) attempt to check ref's with happy customers...(not as easy or practical as it may sound)

4) get back on phone with top 2 candidates...then decide.

(oversimplified description)

10:17 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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attempt to check ref's with happy customers

Not always dependable. I know of one seo firm that specializes in optimizing sites for keywords that they pick, usually for localized search terms that are uncompetitive and easy to nail. The terms sound reasonable, "widgets in the Scottsdale area." But nobody searches with those terms, and no traffic results.

Regardless, the customers are always besides themselves with joy to see themselves in the top 5 for otherwise relevant keywords, without knowing that nobody searches for them, and the effort was for nothing.

This seo firm features the client testimonials.

11:41 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My gut feeling is this:

They are an honest firm....but my campaign is not being managed as professionally as I'd like (timely correspondence etc) perhaps because they've over-committed to projects or I was assigned to a less agressive account mgr...etc.

Had a conversation with the principle today re: the promotion and links without permission...naturally he had an explanation that he felt justified his actions. I do not agree with his tactic/opinion...but I can understand his attempted logic (along the lines of branding: "intel inside" etc). I don't at all agree, and can't imagine how this could do anything but hurt his reputation...but not ready to call it sleazy.

Way to early to judge their actual optimization results or expertise...but have plenty of feedback to determine "Do I have confidence in the specific team assigned to my project and can I work with them?"

NO.

12:05 am on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the quick input from all. Moving forward.
5:10 am on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think it is important to post some generalizations here so that other members in the same situation can appreciate what is beneficial to them (and their sites) and what is not.

Many design companies and SEM(O) often place a link on clients sites.

"Site design by..." or, "Marketed by..." and in itself this isn't bad... but a fair exchange, when the client is paying for the service?

1. If this is assumed by the servicing company without so much as a request, without permission, or not part of the contractual acknowledgement... then a very bad practice.

2. If the servicing company provides an equal value opportunity like: the client receives a equal number of links back - hmmm... a fair exchange.

3. If backlinks to the servicing company is more than 1... then clearly this is self serving.

4. Ad space costs money - therefore the servicing company should be at least offering yearly fees for such an ad (or a service price reduction).

5. Regardless of how good or bad the servicing company is at their service, if number #1 point applies... immediate removal of links is warranted.

6. Although I personally don't agree 100% with all of Google's page on SEO's - point #4 Links to SEO [google.com] is valid. Particularly if the SEM(O) never ever informs you of it.

7. A very good test - ask your SEM(O) for a link on their mainpage... and see what the response is?

6:19 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Robbie-

Am a bit late to seeing this (and thus, post back and let us know how you decided to handle things from here). However, can give you the following feedback:
1. To see nothing after 5 weeks, IMO, is ridiculous. However, and this is worthwhile for future reference, a timeframe should have been sketched out for you on the contract. [e.g. estimation to complete: 2 weeks, or whatever- although some lag time should be accounted for if the client is slow to respond to requested materials, research, input, etc.]

I *do* tell clients that depending on how the optimization is structured, they may not see good results until 2-3 months after the project is complete (optimized pages up, robots have spidered the pages, etc.) however, if they were also managing PPC for you, you'll have seen the results sooner.

2. Customer satisfaction sounds poor. Most companies that I know (and individuals I like working with) will reply same-day email (or latest, next day) unless they've been on a trip, sick, or other larger justification.

3. Blatant self-promo for their own company is extremely poor professional behavior, again IMO. Then again, I wouldn't advise blatant self-promo for your own company (that is, you need to step away from the hype to market effectively to an audience you have respect for). Again, while I don't (and while most of the good SEOs I know don't) EVER link back to our own companies from a client's site, this doesn't mean it can't be done in a minimal way for other reasons. But this doesn't serve my clients. And can, in certain instances, adversely affect their rankings.

I think your complaints are legitimate. However, it also seems there might be poor communication. They may well be an honest, legitimate firm. However, their techniques, slow response time, etc. do not recommend them to me. Or encourage much faith. Am interested in hearing what you chose to do.

 

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