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Reputable Seo Company
Posted 13 October 2005 - 02:52 PM
rcjordan over at Threadwatch finds it amusing that a thread over at SEW asks about "reputable seo companies"
How about you?
Posted 13 October 2005 - 03:56 PM
"SEO's" (gurus if we agree to that that term perjoratively) have been quick to learn what car mechanics have always known: if people don't know the words, if they don't understand the ideas, if they are daunted by the specifics, then they are rich targets.
So I don't think the thread is funny; nor oxymoronic. I actually would love to see a collaborative "SEO best practices" statement/pinned thread from the mods here and the trusted resources elsewhere. Something akin to Rand's factors list combined with Jill's new 10 tips - but just a list that might give people like "reputable SEO" poster something by which they could evaluate firms/decisions. That might be competely useless in the large world, but even within HR it might answer a lot questions before they're asked.
My more than two cents. I am out of breath. Sorry for the length.
Posted 13 October 2005 - 04:35 PM
That would, of course, be unfair to many SEOs who don't engage in the dirty tricks that give the industry a bad name.
Poor Aaron must be smarting from the criticism he and I took on the LED list this morning (and I think it's odd and ironic that he and I should be on the same side in any discussion). His comment at ThreadWatch certainly reminds me of one person whom I've accused of horn-tooting a bit too much.
Although I suppose he could be talking about me, too.
Posted 13 October 2005 - 05:01 PM
Here is what i mean ...
A client walks in the door looking for seo services. The site is reviewed.. It is deemed both unfriendly for seo purposes as well as the overall sales/marketing/conversions capability stinks. Basically, this is a site that throws up products and expects them to sell just because. The good seo's answer to them is, we can help make the site more search engine friendly, drive targeted traffic, etc.. the good seo also points out the fact that it's not a website that will convert traffic to sales very well. this second point, the potential client wants no part of listening to and just wants more traffic.
Since not all good seo's is his or her own boss.. the job is still accepted and work commences.
6 months later.. the angry phone call comes and it goes something like this..
angry client says: "i've spent all this money on so called seo and have nothing to show for it!"
good seo's response: "Ok sir/madam, let’s take a look at your log files and see what you mean. The log files show traffic has risen from about 150 unique visitors a day to about 1,800 unique visitors per day, from the first months averages (when work commenced) to this months averages (the date of angry-ness). To make sure this traffic is targeted and not just crap traffic, the good seo goes over all referrals, etc. All stats lead them and the client to believe that the traffic has increased dramatically, and it is well targeted to the products and services being offered."
angry client then says: "If i have all this new targeted traffic, why am i still only getting 1 sale per week!? That is what i was getting before i spent all of this money!"
good seo's response: "well, it seems that your website is not very effective in converting traffic to sales. this is something that was mentioned pre-contract and we offered our services in addressing that problem. you clearly stated that we were not to touch the design elements on the page and to leave the copy as close to what is already there as possible."
angry client says: "right.. and your point is?"
good seo says: "that IS my point. all the traffic in the world is not going to buy a thing from your website in its current state. there are no calls to action, you have no unique selling point, your prices are higher than all of the competition, the competitions websites are much more pleasing to the eye, are built to convert, use proven marketing techniques to help drive sales.. not to mention forums and opinion sites related to your product are filled with horror stories about your company and the products you provide. why would a potential buyer choose to buy from you when there are plenty of better options?"
angry client hangs up the phone and stays angry. the truth hurts.. and instead of going ahead and making their website more user friendly, they instead go on bad mouthing good seo and the seo process in general.
as this example above is hypothetical, it is something i've seen, heard, read, etc.. quite often lately. many clients are looking for that magic bullet and are quite crushed when they realize that it doesn't exist or that straight search engine optimization could not provide it. more traffic is great, but in this case it turned out to be a bad thing. because of the seo process, now there’s just more people shopping on the web who won't buy from angry client. angry client spreads his/her venom about the industry and discredits its merit on the whole as something in the realm of an advertised ‘make a million dollars in you underpants’ scheme, or something that just plain doesn't work.
misinformation, spite and a general disregard for ones own culpability at its finest. and it doesn't help our industry in the least. granted, a client with a website such as this should be turned away at the door.. but not all businessmen and women are that honorable. they see a potential client who has been informed of the possible problems but is still willing to pay to 'get more targeted traffic' or 'higher rankings' and they accept the job. the good seo does what is asked of him/her.. uses the little bit of flexibility that he/she has and creates something out of nothing.. performs a true miracle raising targeted traffic exponentially in as little as 6 months.. and for what? an angry phone call and a discredit to their name and craft.
bad, bad seo
Posted 13 October 2005 - 05:58 PM
Posted 13 October 2005 - 06:46 PM
And I believe that, just as eventually private organizations such as the American Medical Association and government agencies such as the Food & Drug Administration stepped in and put the snake oil salesmen out of business, so eventually the SEO "wild west" phase will end.
Maybe not through government regulation (at least, I hope not), but perhaps through some form of self-policing. The first steps have been taken with the formation of several industry groups. Not all of them have indicated an interest in establishing "best practices" or performance standards, but at least people are getting organized. It's a start.
Of course, even maturity of the industry won't get rid of all bad SEOs nor will it "cure" all unrealistic client expectations. There are incompetent doctors despite all the regulations governing the medical profession, and there are still patients who expect the doctor to be able to solve any health problem with a quick prescription for the latest "wonder drug" without any lifestyle modifications or work on the patient's part. But at least there are mechanisms in place that try to identify the bad doctors, punish them when appropriate, and prevent them from causing harm in the future. And there are plenty of public information programs and PSA campaigns that attempt to "cure" ignorance/laziness on the part of potential patients.
SEO is still a very, very young industry, even in "Internet years." The business has a lot of growing up to do yet, IMHO.
Posted 13 October 2005 - 09:41 PM
I've had such an increase in emails and calls lately from people who have yet another "gift" site or "satellite dish" site or whatever, that email and say "can you get me in the top five for these specific keywords (and then they're like wedding gift, birthday gift, etc.)
I write back and say NO.
But how many others do they write back that say YES...take the money, but of course don't ever get the rankings?
Now, granted, a lot of these companies are asking for guarantees because they've been burned before, so one hopes that they eventually either get into another business or find someone who is willing to work on a percentage of sales basis or something.
These clients really don't get it though. They don't think it's unreasonable at all to just assume it should be simple enough to get their same old same old yahoo store gift site number 1 for their top phrases.
Where's my magic wand when I need it?
Posted 13 October 2005 - 10:09 PM
If I had a magic SEO wand, I wouldn't still by buying Lotto tickets.. heh
Edited by gerardism, 13 October 2005 - 10:19 PM.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 01:02 AM
Many companies now seem more interested in making the sale than actually providing the work that needs to go into sites to help make them more successful. There are also those who know what they are doing and intentionally use tactics that might benefit a client temporarily, but then cost them much more than that short term benefit was worth.
This is very popular now and is moving into fake blog creation and new ways of tricking search engines as well as the old tricks that are slowly but surely being weeded out at least some of the time.
Companies need to understand that it takes money to make money. There is no easy fix and no matter what they tell you, no company has a special deal with the search engines to make your site come up on top in the unpaid results...search engines don't do this.
They should make sure the company they hire has a firm grasp of the language their site will be written in, that seems like common sense but with the boom of outsourcing, companies think they are getting a "great deal" when in most cases, at least where SEO and content are concerned, they might as well throw their money out the window and start over from scratch if they haven't saved their sites.
Not that there aren't good companies out there but the language barrier can be a real problem when your page titles or site content suddenly doesn't make sense.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 01:41 AM
A lot of this is the result of people working at companies that don't have a clue either, companies that should know better. They take a flash developer or IT tech, whoever's available and suddenly they end up handling SEO for the company because the company is unwilling to pay what a good SEO requires. Perhaps they had a good SEO who needed to be better compensated and moved on, so instead, they spread their duties among several other unqualified employees.
In the long run, they end up costing themselves much more than they have saved, site quality goes down and sales potential is not nearly what it could have been, had they stayed with the quality SEO who knew what they were doing.
Next thing you know, these employees leave the company and promote themselves as SEO's when in reality, they have only scraped the surface and most likely employed tricks and shoddy techniques in the first place, which they then do for their new clients.
Many companies have paid the price of losing a quality SEO, only to find themselves working with a series of others who do things that end up getting their listings dropped from search engines where they had ranked well for years.
Going from Top 10 to nowhere to be found can be quite painful, leaving paid listings your only option until you figure out what the problems are, correct them and finally get your pages listed again.
They cost themselves hundreds of thousands, possibly millions in potential sales each year, trying to save a few bucks by not paying those they work with who really know their stuff enough to keep them around.
The great online reputation they had in the past is gone and they are left struggling as to how to regain what they once had. It's much easier to stay on top than to have to claw your way back up again.
It's sad to see our industry in this state, but it happens every day...SEO has been given a bad name YET there are still quality SEO's out there.
As long as there are those of us out there who have a love of SEO, keep adding to our knowledgebase, know our stuff and keep up the good work, the occasional company or individual who is lucky enough to find us will certainly benefit in the long run.
HighRankings forum is certainly a great place to figure out who really knows their stuff, compared to other forums, it ranks #1.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:02 AM
But that doesn't really have anything specifically to do with SEO.
We will always have with us people who are gullible, lazy, poorly educated or naive. And we will always have the incompetent and the dishonest who will be more than willing to take advantage of the first group. Not just in SEO, but in every aspect of life and of business.
Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, "Because that's where the money is."
Do I think SEO has more than it's share of incompetents, con artists and fakers? Probably, at least at the moment. There are hordes of relatively unsophisticated people who have been attracted to the Internet by relatively low entry thresholds for starting a business coupled with breathless promises of overnight wealth, so there's plenty of gullibility to go around. Right now, for the Willie Sutton wannabees, this is where the money is.
Do I think that "reputable SEO" is an oxymoron? Not with the general public, not yet. At this point, they're still too naive and dazzled by the whole thing that many of them will swallow any line, no matter how rediculous or far-fetched. They simply don't have the context to sort out the wheat from the chaff. There are people who are trying to educate them -- like many of the folks on this forum -- but it's an uphill battle at the moment.
Do I think that's going to go on forever? No. People will eventually figure out that the rules of good business, marketing, sales and customer service haven't been suspended just because their business is online, or they'll decide that it's all just a big con (not just SEO, the whole "Internet thing"). They'll either get with the program and try to create a viable long term business online or move on to the "next big thing" offering instant riches for zero effort.
And the sharks will move on as well, following those who seek the ever-elusive "effortless overnight fortune."
At that point, the real reputable SEOs -- particularly those who have taken it a step further and learned about things like marketing strategy, conversions, user interface design, etc. instead of just concentrating on "SE positioning" -- will be there, ready to help the site owners who "get it". Just as they've been here all along for the business owners who "get it" now.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 11:17 AM
These characters (in SEO and web design) only survive as long as the industry is too new for buyers to know what's snake oil and what's the real thing.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 01:38 PM
Eventually, there will be an organization (hopefully not governmental) that will be the Final Arbiter.
Meaning that in order to be a part of the organization the SEO will have to agree to arbitration by the org to settle disputes. Sort of like the BBB in the US, only with more inherent power.
If a client raises a legitimate complaint, the the org steps in to decide whether the SEO has done something wrong. If the org decides that the SEO was nuts, the ruling would be that the client gets their money back. Give the SEO firm 3 strikes on this sort of thing, as long as they refund the monies paid for each negative decison.
If the SEO firm balks at paying recompense to anyone, they're immediately booted out of the org and the client is given a little help (basically the decision of the arbitration board) to go after the SEO in court to obtain a refund.
End of story.
Good SEO's will be a part of the org and have good standing.
Those that don't or can't be a member in good standing of the org won't be.
From the client side of things, if someone who doesn't want to pay for a good SEO chooses to go with someone who isn't a member or can't obtain membership and ends up getting burned, it's Buyer Beware. Hopefully they'll make a better business decision the next time.
Simple and easy. Except for the front end arbitration that the org would have to fund for all intents and purposes.
This sort of structure --with appropriate guidelines and warnings up from-- would allow the org to accept pretty much everybody without having to check every site they've ever constructed. But the penalties would also weed out the hacks in a very short time.
Personally, my money is on Ian and the SMA group to get it done. But I'm biased.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 02:09 PM
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