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Client Getting Bad Seo Advice


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#1 Spider Silk Design

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 08:21 PM

I'm a web designer who's just been presented with a somewhat sticky situation: one of my clients has someone doing what is apparently intended to be SEO for their site, and from what I have seen thus far, this person doesn't seem to know what they're doing.

A couple of examples:
  • They suggested that all the URLs on the site should include a massive list of all nearby cities, whether or not the content of each specific page had anything to do with any of those cities or was indeed localized in any way, and said you could put up to 250 keywords into the filename of every page! (Which I suppose you theoretically can, but that certainly doesn't mean you should.
  • They said they were trying to optimize a particular (newly added and probably not yet indexed) page, but couldn't because "the link doesn't go to the page". It took me a while to parse this statement, but seems it was the fact that the new page wasn't showing up in Google yet, and an older page on the site was ranking higher for the phrase they were searching for. They seemed to interpret this as the link in the Google results being "broken", and wanted me to fix it, even though looking at the URL and title it was clear the link was to the older page, and was going exactly where it was supposed to.
  • I still couldn't figure out at first why they thought this prevented them from optimizing the new page, but then recalled hearing the client mention trying to get people they knew to search for the site in Google and click on their link in the results, apparently under the impression that this would improve their rankings (which I'm fairly certain it doesn't, or at least not to any significant extent, but please correct me if I'm wrong). So I think that may be what this person was trying to do.
  • They did not seem to realize that the fact that the new page has no text content, just a video, might be a considerably larger factor in search engines having trouble indexing it. (I should add, I don't control the site's content - the client does.)

I sent back an e-mail reply trying to (gently and diplomatically) address these issues, and now we are going to have a meeting tomorrow - me, the client, and this person. I'm just wondering if anyone's ever dealt with a situation like this before - where you have to try and correct bad SEO advice being given by someone else, with the client present, and no way of knowing how attached the client may be to the other person's approach or whether they're going to believe you if you have to point out that the person they've apparently hired to do SEO doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the topic. Any tips on how to handle this diplomatically?

I should add that it's quite possible this person genuinely believes that what they're doing has some merit and is just misinformed - I don't necessarily think they're trying to rip my client off or anything like that (though I suppose I don't really have any way of knowing). So I don't want to be overly confrontational or accusatory. But even bad advice given with good intentions can be harmful, so I do need to nip it in the bud, however gently. I'm hoping to try for a collaborative approach, of all of us working together on optimizing the site, but obviously I need to try and discourage any useless or counter-productive strategies the other person may have in mind.

One thing that would particularly help would be any solid reference I could give them showing that clicking repeatedly on the search results really isn't very useful. I've done some searching, here and elsewhere, but haven't turned up anything solid one way or another, though I suspect the very absence of references to it means it's not a sound SEO practice.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 09:35 PM

QUOTE(Spider Silk Design @ Dec 1 2010, 05:21 PM) View Post
I sent back an e-mail reply trying to (gently and diplomatically) address these issues, and now we are going to have a meeting tomorrow - me, the client, and this person. I'm just wondering if anyone's ever dealt with a situation like this before - where you have to try and correct bad SEO advice being given by someone else, with the client present, and no way of knowing how attached the client may be to the other person's approach or whether they're going to believe you if you have to point out that the person they've apparently hired to do SEO doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the topic. Any tips on how to handle this diplomatically?


The first thing you should do is prepare your exit strategy in case the other guy torpedoes you in the client's eyes. Even if you have been working with the client for 10 years, HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY. The last thing you want is to be blamed for the disastrous results this kind of nonsense SEO plan could lead to.

QUOTE
One thing that would particularly help would be any solid reference I could give them showing that clicking repeatedly on the search results really isn't very useful. I've done some searching, here and elsewhere, but haven't turned up anything solid one way or another, though I suspect the very absence of references to it means it's not a sound SEO practice.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


Most likely, the SEO advisor has misunderstood what Google does with click data from personalized search history. It will only affect what individual users see in their own search history. Logging out of Google or disabling search history will restore their search results to what other people see.

Something else you may want to be prepared to discuss with your client is the possible impact that Google's location-detection has on the user search experience. See this Google article for details. If there are local business listings that Google deems more relevant for other communities, your client's site won't rank well in those location-based search results.

Users CANNOT disable this feature. At best all they can do is set their location to be as broad as their country (the United States) but most Google users don't know they can do this and of those who do know about it most probably are not doing it anyway.

Google is looking at 200+ signals (some of which may be the combined results of dozens of other signals) to determine search rankings. It sounds like the SEO person doesn't understand that.



#3 Spider Silk Design

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 12:58 PM

Thanks for the reply! We just had the meeting and it actually turns out the situation is not nearly as bad as I thought - it was partly just miscommunication (and possibly a bit of stress-induced paranoia on my part).

The person is relatively new to SEO and not very technical (coming from a marketing rather than a web background), but not as misinformed as I'd initially thought. And they were very open to learning more, and working collaboratively, so it doesn't look we have any sort of a problem after all. We actually clicked pretty well. smile.gif

I'd delete this thread if I could figure out how to, since it seems to have been just an overreaction on my part, but I can't seem to find a way to do that (not sure if deleting threads is actually disabled or if it's just me being acutely sleep-deprived right now).

Anyway, thanks again for the response, and sorry for sounding the alarm when it appears things are OK after all.

#4 MaryKrysia

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE
Thanks for the reply! We just had the meeting and it actually turns out the situation is not nearly as bad as I thought - it was partly just miscommunication (and possibly a bit of stress-induced paranoia on my part).


I hope you are right. The points you made in your Opening Post seemed like real concerns. Stay on your toes, just in case.




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