A guideline to hiring an SEO company – Be aware of deceptive practices.
Throughout the decades we have been in business, we have seen many factors that have evolved with regard to the effectiveness of Search Engine Optimization, web design, marketing and how that determines your page rank on the major search engines. We spend on average anywhere from 30 to 100 hours per month on each client’s online marketing and the marketing of the top key words and key phrases for their business and industry. Most of this is done manually by our hands-on experts in the field. When we talk with prospective clients to discuss their marketing interests we hear some shocking things on a consistent basis that need to be discussed.
There is rampant deception in this industry that needs to be addressed and that you as a business owner need to be aware of when you are hiring a marketing company that provides SEO, Link Building and Social Media Marketing. Let’s take a look at the SEO aspect of an online marketing campaign. A Must Read SEO Article for CEOs!
There are questions you need to ask when hiring an SEO, marketing and web design company, and the answers are crucial in making your decision of which company you are going to hire.
1) On average, how many hours a month does your SEO company actually work to optimize and market your company?
2) Does your SEO company do their optimization and marketing manually or by automation?
3) Will your SEO company not only work on internal website optimization, but also work on marketing your website externally?
4) Will the company provide you with a list of what they have done, quantify that and provide ongoing MEANINGFUL analysis of their progress?
5) What do they provide with regard to their external marketing efforts and will they provide a detailed list of what they accomplished?
6) Will they research the top competitive key words and phrases and use those in their SEO?
7) Are they marketing your business in the correct geographic regions?
8) Will they keep you involved with their marketing efforts and ask for your insight into their company and it’s goals?
9) What added benefits will they provide at no cost to you in order to boost your results because they care about your success and a long-term relationship?
10) Will they honestly and completely assess your website and current marketing efforts and provide a comprehensive list of objectives and plans to achieve them that will address all phases of a successful marketing campaign?
And always get a custom website design and not pre-designed templates.
We have conversations with several companies a day that are getting quotes from SEO companies and we have found a common list of disconcerting revelations from their experiences with other SEO companies. The first subject that comes up is cost and the conversation starts out like this; “How much do you charge? I got a few quotes for $150 – $250 a month and they guarantee great results!” Well, first off, no one can guarantee any specific result (provided that the objective is to compete using the top key phrases) because that is determined by the search engines themselves, not the company doing the marketing. I touch upon the subjects in the list of questions above and the business owner on the other end of the conversation usually is speechless. “You are the first company who has delved into these subjects and educated me this thoroughly!”
One common deception is what we call “The Phantom Key phrase”. We hear this one the most. A client hired a company to do their SEO. They tell me “Well, our current company has us #1 on Google and they got us there in just a few days!” My first question is, and I already know what the answer is going to be… “No kidding!, tell me what key phrase you rank #1 with?” Here is an example to illustrate a commonly practiced deception. One company’s CEO replied, “Broward County Plumber is the key phrase we rank #1 with.” Well, little did this CEO know, that “Broward County Plumber” is so rarely searched that there is practically no competition for that key phrase, thus an instant high ranking is achieved once their pages are indexed into Google. It looks and sounds great to the CEO of this company… HEY! I am on top! Then I explain to the company’s owner that a teenager with some coding knowledge could have accomplished this for free in about an hour. I ask, “Did you know that the key phrase “Fort Lauderdale Plumber” is the phrase that is actually used by people who need a plumber in your area? Did you know that key phrase gets TWENTY TIMES the number of searches that your current key phrase gets? And did you know that you are practically nowhere to be found on the search engines for that top competitive key phrase? We are talking thousands of searches a month that you are missing out on. This deceptive practice can be accomplished in several ways too. You can use keywords that sound like they are used widely but actually are not, change a letter, add an extra letter, pluralize a word, or shift the structure of the phrase and presto! you are #1 and the company’s owner isn’t aware that they are not using competitive and accurate key phrases. But hey, you got a great deal right?
To rank high with competitive key phrases takes a great deal of work and marketing and no legitimate, experienced company will put forth that kind of effort for $200 a month. They would be out of business fast. But for a couple hundred dollars more, hiring the expertise you need, you will get the results you want and your revenue will expand exponentially! A dramatic increase in business and ROI is what you are looking for, and your investment more than pays for itself. Too many times we have taken over the work of SEO and marketing from another company only to find that they have not touched anything in months. The xml sitemap was last updated five months ago! The pages have not been adjusted and the website has not expanded in months. But, Hey.. Ya got a great price!
Another way SEO companies can take on clients for bargain basement prices (which is very appealing to budget conscience business owners who make decisions on SEO without this knowledge) is to use automation. Websites or software which post your pages to the search engines and broadcasts data with a click of the button. You may have seen these options available within your hosting company’s website or advertised on television from ineffective budget website building companies who always use templates. Automation can only get you so far. It is inept and ineffective and provides a false sense of security that you have done what it takes to compete and market your website to the search engines. Software cannot do the expansive and integral manual work that is crucial to successful SEO and marketing of a company’s website and online presence. Sure, you can get limited results from little effort or automation, but boy are you missing out on a big piece of the pie and a great deal of business!
We have a client that hired us for SEO, Link Building, Press releases, web design Blog creation, entires and syndication and Social Media Marketing and signed a long term contract to do so. The problem was they didn’t want to pay to build out and improve their website which was sorely lacking in content among other things. I honestly told them that it is imperative they build out their website design and improve it’s structure for us to be successful in our efforts. They said, don’t worry about that right now, it’s not in our budget. Well, we DO worry about the success of our clients. So we went ahead and restructured their website, built it out, re-designed the website and expanded it with relative industry content, links and coding… absolutely free. They are quite happy with the amazing results and it would not have been possible if we didn’t go the extra mile for them and provide these added benefits. This and the services outlined above are the type of commitment you need from the SEO company you hire. SEO, Marketing and web design go hand in hand and it’s complex work, effort, expertise and commitment on a daily basis is what it takes to succeed in a competitive environment. Just like anything in life, the more you know, the harder you work, the more successful you will be.
In today’s economy and challenging business environment with tight budgets, cost seems to be a major factor in determining vendor hires. But, on the other hand it is a total waste of money to pay for something you are not getting or a service that doesn’t deliver what you need.
Author – David Nagle
Author - David Nagle