This is not an article bashing SEO providers! There are definitely providers out there who do an above-board job in helping your website rank on the Internet.
We went through a process recently that shed light on the darker side of the business and were almost immediately bombarded by these SEO companies. We know better because, well it’s our business. We’re also aware that many small to mid-size businesses out there (the SEO targets) do not know what questions they should be asking these SEO companies who pitch their services.
Have you tried listing your business website in search directories on the Internet or tried the “all-in-one” sites that will list your website on all those important local search engines? Or perhaps your inbox is bombarded on a daily basis by those SEO companies who make claims that sound too good to be true or claims you simply don’t understand? How about those companies that contact you telling you your site ranking is slipping or not appearing on the Internet all together?
Typically, these companies are overseas groups who are still practicing the cheap, “old-style” SEO practices that simply don’t work and they really don’t care, they already have your money and worse yet, could potentially damage your websites index ranking by using Black Hat SEO techniques (techniques that are cheap, easy and have a high potential for getting Google and Bing to de-list your site altogether).
Basically, these companies taut they will get your site listed on page one (if not the first position) on Google and Bing in a real short period of time. The steps they take to achieve this are to continuously submit your website to 150-200 internet search directories every month (how many Internet search directories are there anyhow?), write a minimum number of blog articles (because they know your business better than you do), create new landing pages for your domain (the more pages you have on your website, the better for SEO indexing) among other techniques.
Before signing on the dotted line, as them these important questions:
1. Request a couple samples of the blog articles they have submitted and the companies they submitted them for.
2. What quality process do they use to determine the search directories or other websites they are seeking back links from? (If it involves a dart board, run). Are they focusing on authoritative domains (the best sites you can get back links from are .org, .gov or .edu – websites with these domain extensions are considered to have a high degree of authority by the Internet search engines).
3. Request a list of which directories they submit your site to and the frequency they submit. This is one of the often times confusing part of their “pitch” by stating they will submit your site monthly when experts say can actually hinder your ability to get listed.
4. Ask for examples of the landing pages they build.
Generally speaking, most businesses aren’t well versed in wading through what these companies send them as samples (if they could, they would generally be doing their own SEO anyhow), but that’s not the point. The point is these companies will either turn tail and run or try to talk over you by “responding to your objections”. Don’t give in. If you are going to be paying a monthly fee for something you don’t necessarily understand, at least let them believe you are on top of the game!
Remember, most of these companies are not even based out of the US (first red flag). They try to impress upon you their ability to provide massive amounts of work at a relatively low price (you can’t even hire a part time, part time employee to do what they do for the money). If you simply dig a little deeper, you’ll quickly discover the reason why – either a lack of substance, lack of professionalism, or both; often times their content is very poorly written, lack spell checking or correct grammar and submit your site to the exact same irrelevant search engine directories over and over each month.
Bottom line is you get what you pay for – generally worse ranking than where you started and a bunch of bad content on the Internet that is often times difficult, if not impossible to erase plus a no-refund policy to boot.
What’s your experience with SEO companies?