Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 34.228.115.216

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Hiring a pro SEO company - how to choose ?

     
8:54 am on Jun 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:June 8, 2011
posts: 28
votes: 4


After a couple of years of getting tanked by Google Panda I think it's time to consider bringing in an SEO company to see if they can find something that we're missing. However, I don't want someone who is going to either just sell me an automated report or whose only interest is selling me linkbuilding packages. I want someone who will honestly assess our site and tell us what we need to do to fix it. I just have no idea how to judge an SEO companies worth, the industry tends to be more directed to heavy selling of ongoing services than quality individualized website audits.

<snip>

[edited by: aakk9999 at 12:12 pm (utc) on Jun 3, 2016]
[edit reason] Removed "Can anyone make recommendation" as it is against ToS [/edit]

12:10 pm on June 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 30, 2008
posts:2630
votes: 191


Unfortunately we cannot make recommendations for a particular SEO company here as it is against WebmasterWorld Terms of Service [webmasterworld.com] but we can discuss aspects on how to assess and choose a SEO company for a particular task you require ("Website Audit")

For starters, here are a few threads on how to choose SEO company (and searching WebmasterWorld will probably uncover more):

How can find a reliable SEO servicer in this forum? [webmasterworld.com]
Questions on Hiring SEO Expert [webmasterworld.com]

You could also try WebmasterWorld Member Services [webmasterworld.com] where WebmasterWorld members are listed with the services they offer.
12:29 am on June 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9047
votes: 752


Put on a blindfold. Grab a dart. Don't throw it because you might hurt somebody!

Do you need an SEO third party is the real question.

Take a nap. Stop. Slow down. Get rid of the panic!

Then start day one, this being Day One with all we now know that old style SEO NO LONGER WORKS and go from there.

Cross the t's, dot the i's. Make sure the content is clean, clear, and if not unique at least ACCURATE. Examine your niche. Look at your competitors. Are they, too, suffering? And for those who are not what are they doing DIFFERENT?

Brought to you "BY YOUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS" at no expense. Sometimes you just need to face palm and start the process again.

This is not to say that there aren't "seo" (little letters deliberate!) companies which might help, but that self-help based on truly examining not only your site but your niche will serve you best in the long run. OR, another way to look at it, the DOLLARS are already fading, how much more do we throw at that?

Panda was indicated. Find out what Panda actually IS and do the opposite. I suspect it isn't just Panda or any of the other barnyard animals. Check the basic premise and see if it still works. If not, make a change.
1:10 am on June 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:Jan 13, 2014
posts:115
votes: 23


Ok here would be my checklist:

1) Onsite : Check for canonical , semantic structure of the site, coding errors and validation, blocked resources, orphaned pages , content duplication, thin content, hierarchy of webpages, validation, link structure, anchor text keyword distribution, link placement, parameters, speed, dns and nameservers, hosting environment.

2) User : customer journey, bounce rates, user interaction, drop off pages, conversion rates and traffic.

3) Social : engagement , structure, automation and reach

4) Offsite : inbound link frequency, quality, authority, disavow.

Most sites fail because of onsite or offsite problems...
1:47 am on June 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9047
votes: 752


3zero gets a plus one for identifying in more specific terms what I suggested after taking a nap. But do take that nap... and when you wake have a clear mind and go from there.
5:58 am on June 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 3, 2015
posts:132
votes: 64


I sometimes buy expired domains, those domains sometimes have baggage. This is kind of an abbreviated version, adapted to a domain you own.

I don't use ScreamingFrog, but I do use Xenu. They've both been mentioned a million times before, they'll help you figure out if you have some common internal site issues.
1. I like to look at where external links point to on a site. If links go to domain.tld/stuff/ton-of-variables.html - I'm out
2. Anchor text - If it's just 3 keywords - I'm out if it's random nonsense - I'm out Appropriate for the domain is good.
3. Links - percentage of no-follow, follow - mommybloggers have lots of no-follows, other sites not so much.
4. Title of Linked-From Pages - Appropriate? Topical?
5. Linking Pages - Where's the link? Good Page? Horribly written Page?

Just like every other profession, experienced people need to be paid for their time. Many times, they've structured their services to be subscription based, rather than one-time fee. With the time necessary to see ranking improvements, I think the subscription based model is pretty rational.
12:37 pm on June 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 14, 2003
posts: 4319
votes: 42


The vast majority of people selling SEO have no idea what they are doing and are snake oil salesman. Anybody who is good at it is very expensive and does not take on new clients lightly. Anybody charging under $2000 a month is just going to sell you smoke and mirrors but don't think that people that charge more than that must be good. Most SEO recommendation are web development upsells in disguise. I'm not saying all these things are bad ideas I'm just saying they are not true SEO. True SEO has to directly and profoundly affect your organic traffic.

Things to look out for

1. increasing page load time for SEO is just a web development upsell.
2. Adding keyword tags is useless busywork
3. Submitting your site to lots of search engines. This is just dumb
4. Any kind of link scheme
5. cheap blog posts that provide no real value
6. Social posts that are just reposts of other people's stuff
7. Change all URL's for any reason.
8. Change or add H tags
9. Switch entire site to https
10. Adding description tags
11. Creating microsites

SEO is hard work and a long road. The only reason a website will rank above the fold on page one is if the site deserves to be there. Make a site that deserves to be there. Unless your site is doing something against the rules at Google and/or somehow blocking googlebot your main goal is to make a site that people will use.

SEO is about lots of quality content. You can get some traffic with lots of junk content but it will end there. If you build lots of quality content you will get the same small traffic as junk content at first but the quality content will get links and shares which will raise the other quality content that did not make it to the top the first time around and so on and so on. Good SEO builds upon itself. Bad SEO dies quickly. Bad SEO is like building stairs but every time you build 4 steps 3 fall down and sometimes 4 fall down and sometimes the foundation falls down.

There are 100's of tiny factors that go into SEO and most of them only contribute a fraction of a percentage to ranking and some of the things people will tell you are outright useless or even harmful. Don't sweat the small stuff. It is still all about links and quality content is the only thing that gets you the long term legitimate links you need.

If your site already has lots of junk content then it would be good SEO to get rid of it. If it is getting good traffic rewrite it so it is better so the traffic can turn into more links.

I'm only talking about positive SEO not penalty detection and recovery.

[edited by: ogletree at 12:46 pm (utc) on Jun 5, 2016]

12:40 pm on June 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 14, 2003
posts: 4319
votes: 42


I forgot to mention I'm only talking about positive SEO not penalty detection and recovery.
7:17 pm on June 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

Moderator

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 9, 2001
posts:5802
votes: 132


I agree with most of Ogletree's list except that I believe in the value of well-crafted meta descriptions. They won't change how you rank but they can make a positive difference to how well your listings come across in the SERPs. Gaining more clicks because of a more attractive listing is positive SEO with or without a rank change.

As for changing or adding H tags, the value there would depend on what the site was doing already. I recently advised a site that was making completely inappropriate use of H1, and that definitely caused some weirdness in the SERPs. Cleanup led to improvement. Sound semantic structure is an SEO positive.

There are 100's of tiny factors that go into SEO and most of them only contribute a fraction of a percentage to ranking

Yes. But tiny factors add up, so don't pass up a chance for improvement just because it's small, only if it's too labor intensive compared to other possibilities.
7:34 pm on June 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 14, 2003
posts: 4319
votes: 42


My point was ROI on SEO spend and best use of time. My list had some items you don't do but most of them have value but have really bad ROI when it comes to achieving the goal of more organic traffic. Many of them help for conversions like site speed and meta descriptions. At the very least they should not be the first thing you do. They are the easiest thing to do and an SEO company can show they are actually doing work.

I don't mean to take away from technical SEO issues. SEO cleanup is completely legit especially junk content and past link sins. Making a site worthy of linking to should be the highest priority. If meta tags, conversion optimization, load time, and proper markup are part of a much bigger proposal then they are fine. I was just talking about when SEO's just do the small stuff.
8:30 pm on June 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

Moderator

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 9, 2001
posts:5802
votes: 132


Making a site worthy of linking to should be the highest priority.

Agreed, and lots of things can play a part in that. Actions that improve the user experience are often good for technical SEO too, and improving the user experience makes the site more likely to get links ... and so it goes. Many times an action can have more than one kind of benefit.

As for where to start, one has to start with what one finds, then work out from there.

Ogletree, I'd be interested to know what are the first things you look for when you're encountering a new site for SEO work?

My favourite place to start is to run a broken link checker over the site and see what it finds. The reports for that often yield useful insights even if there's no dud links.
4:10 am on June 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9047
votes: 752


As for where to start, one has to start with what one finds, then work out from there.

I start with what the user finds. And the SEs, too, of course. Up until she went into assisted living my 89 year old Mom was my beta tester. And couldn't ask for one better. :)

Friends and family will tell you more than a company contracted. Promise you that... they after all, know you warts and all and have no bone in the game. Friends and family will still love you even after they read the riot act (er, give you an opinion). :)
1:38 pm on June 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

Full Member from GB 

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 26, 2013
posts:269
votes: 36


IMO, The most important questions I think anyone should ask a potential SEO company:

1. Please provide me with references from at least 3 companies that have been with you for 2 years or more. - This cuts out 95% of SEO companies that work on the high client turnover model which has damaged our industry almost beyond repair.
2. Please show me at least 5 examples of successful link baiting campaigns carried out on behalf of your clients. - Only very few companies will be able to show you real evidence that they are able to generate viral ideas and take the campaign/project all the way through to its completion.
3. Please show me at l least 5 examples of referable content creation campaigns that have resulted in good quality links. - Most people can create content but only a few can create content that naturally attracts referrals (links)
4. Please show me a selection of competitive key phrases that you have managed to get to the top 3 position in Google search. - Most companies can show results, but only a few can show competitive results.

There are others but these I feel are great to get that initial "call to discuss" list. Be prepared to go through quite a few calls before you even find one that can do all of the above.

Technical abilities which is also very important are a little more difficult to gauge by just asking questions. A good conversation about the site, background and its history normally gives the SEO plenty of opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in that area and you should be able to feel very comfortable and in safe hands.

If they can demonstrate long term clients and successful, 100% kosher link building campaigns as well as the results in the form of high rankings then you are close to finding your perfect SEO / Online marketing company. However, expect them to be quite a bit more than your normal £300 / $500 most people seem to expect when looking for real online marketing. Always reminds me of when we worked on a furniture company and the owner told me that everyone (in the UK) wants British Made furniture but as soon as they are confronted with the price difference between British made and Chinese made furniture, their Patriotism dissipates at an astounding rate.

good luck.
2:12 pm on June 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 25, 2004
posts:1064
votes: 8


I think it's time to consider bringing in an SEO company to see if they can find something that we're missing.

The very word "Optimization" implies fine tuning, tweaking to get a very small incremental gain. You cant do that to beat out the competitor next to you unless your already mechanically very strong. Most "seo" efforts are an exercise in trying to mask over inherent problems through link building and tactical placement of relevant keywords on pages. Expensive little bandaids slapped on a deep gash that do nothing but make you feel like you have done something productive about improvement.

Before spending money with these "optimizers" honestly think about these issues;

Hows your domain name? Is it strong or a hyphenated amalgamation of industry key words? - if its weak don't be afraid to rebrand and change it.

Is your site responsive? Do you look closely at it with desk top, mobile and tablet devices? There are always trade offs between them.

Do you sell products or collect visitor information? If so you may want to consider https (if you don't have that already.)

On a scale of 1 to 10 what would you honestly give the design? Do visitors like the colors, the images, the look and feel of it?

Hows your content? Is it kept current or more "set it and forget it"?

How is your traffic monetization? Could that be made better? Is there a hole in the net where the fish are getting through?

Were all guilty of falling short on some of the above (this poster included!) but the point is if you have x dollars to spend on an "seo" company, the reality is it probably would offer a better return if spent on the more fundamental building blocks of how you get, and monetize your traffic.
2:53 pm on June 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 4, 2001
posts:2278
votes: 77


I think the most important test of an SEO company is where THEY rank in Google. :)
3:14 pm on June 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

Full Member from GB 

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 26, 2013
posts:269
votes: 36


Lol... Agree, but although an SEO company should be able to rank itself, its also important to determine how they achieved it. I.e Just because a company is number 1 or 2 for the term "SEO companies" does not mean that its going to be there next month, let alone next year.

Take the top 10 - 20 results, and filter all the ones that have unnatural links pointing to them and you are left with very few if any.
3:27 am on June 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 3, 2015
posts:132
votes: 64


Take the top 10 - 20 results, and filter all the ones that have unnatural links pointing to them and you are left with very few if any.


I'll venture that most sites with some age behind them have unnatural links pointing to them. But, those unnatural links are to some degree natural because every site that has been around a while will have similar links. Blatant link profiles with an intent to manipulate are usually pretty obvious, those are the ones I'd be more concerned about.
12:37 pm on June 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 17, 2015
posts: 111
votes: 32


I know my site has problems, it's finding someone who can tell me. I know it's cheap but I'm considering going on a freelance site and choosing one of the listings stating "we can figure out if..."

My site for it's dictionary term, 90k listings, has dropped from 7th to 10th recently. Only 230 backlinks but all of the placements above are dictionary sites with definition. I used to be top, with a menu but not for nearly two years. I should be getting more traffic than I am.

*I didn't mean to hijack thread but yes it's not easy selecting someone, especially when don't want to spend loads.
1:48 pm on June 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2359
votes: 626


@timemachined
My site for it's dictionary term, 90k listings, has dropped from 7th to 10th recently.


What exaclty are you ranking in 10th position for? Is this the average position or a position for a single specific keyword?
9:17 pm on June 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 17, 2015
posts: 111
votes: 32


The domain I am using is a dictionary word. I used to be first as you might expect, that's why I think something is wrong. I used to have the menu of links underneath too. Dropped to 7th, been there ages, but recently went to tenth for the term and site name. May be not enough links in but I keep thinking something else is wrong.
2:23 am on June 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 1, 2016
posts: 2359
votes: 626


@timemachined
Why would something be wrong? Searcher may be searching for the word that happens also to be your domain. Their intent may not be to find your domain so it is only normal that the serps include other sites ahead of yours that better match intent. This is the problem with using a "dictionary" word, as opposed to a branded domain name, with a branded domain when a user types the domain name into search the intent is most likely to find that website, whereas with a "dictionary" word the users intent is ambiguous.

In my view these are the types of things a good seo should be aware if, but it is very difficult to vette the on the basis of these subtleties, without be aware of them yourself. If you are aware of them yourself, then you do not need an seo, you need a developer who can put the ideas into a website.

And there is no right or wrong choice in the scenario above, maybe having a "dictionary" word as domain is optimal for the business model of your site. Again, I have trouble seeing how seo can be separated from the core business of a website.
11:42 am on June 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:June 13, 2016
posts: 5
votes: 0


just try someone local, never abroad, I had bad experience in the past.
2:16 pm on June 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3524
votes: 324


I get emails from SEO companies all the time, but they usually get directed to the spam folder. Here's the content of one that came this morning
Would you like to increase the leads / sales generated from your website?

Would you like to be listed at the top of every major search engine such as Google, Yahoo! & Bing for multiple search phrases (keywords) relevant to your products / services?

Would you like an abundance of laser targeted high quality visitors to your website every day?
We provide a complete solution for your Online Business need.

Our Steps and the Activities to Rank You Smart

1. Keywords Research
2. Competition Analysis
3. Optimized Content Creation
4. Keywords Optimization
5. Back Link Creation/Link Building
6. Submission to Search Engines and Directories\
7. Submission to Article Directories

We are a team of 170+ professionals which includes 50 full time SEO experts. We are proud to inform you that our team handled 450+ SEO projects and obtained 100000+ manually built links in the past 1 year.
We will be glad to assist you with offering our services.
Let me know if you are interested and Iíll present you with a proposal that would not only improve sales of your company but also brand your products.
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members