Just because you receive an email from a firm saying your website is poorly placed organically or has supposed SEO issues does not mean that you have to take action. First off, I have a high ranking on Google on many of my services, and nearly all of my business comes in via my organic placement efforts, and I still get these letters!
If you do decide to work with an SEO firm, that is fine, just make sure that you are getting what you pay for and are an educated consumer about what they say they can do. Here is just one case study that should help you to be aware that you need to be careful, aware, and vigilant when you are shelling out your hard earned cash for SEO services.
Fees: Six months expense for a local business for SEO services $400 a month or $2,400 already spent
Services: SEO work plus articles to garner inbound links.
Review: After six months of service Google shows the site as having 223 links. Many of the links are from link farms or off-topic locations. As comparison we did a report for one of our long time blogging clients the same day we looked at this other client’s results, our client had 70,000 links. A different client we also reviewed for links had 11,000 links just from on-domain blogging. 223 links for $2,400 is not a lot of links. When challenged by the client, the SEO firm said typically they get results in regards to links in the ninth month. My analysis of this is that I have seen it take 90 days for links to happen and start building with an article program, but my next question would be let me see some of these articles and where are they syndicated. You may get better overall performance with your on-domain blogging efforts as our own clicnts have than with poorly written articles that may actually give you a black eye with consumers if they are not up to snuff.
Services: Website work for SEO – installed Google Analytics, created sitemaps…
Review: Yes these are all good things and should be done, but as a consumer you need to know that in many cases, and certainly in this one, Google Analytics was installed via a WordPress plug-in that took less than 12 minutes to install and once installed Analytics code appeared on all pages. WordPress will build a sitemap without your involvement once you install a plug-in. Don’t let SEO firms bill you big money for these things. Yes, they are important, yes they should be done, but when the report comes to you stating that these things took hours to do and were labor intensive, know that this is simply not true in most cases and certainly not if a WordPress plug-in is used to do the work or code installed in a footer include.
Services: Add keyword dense image alt tags and link title tags to website.
Review: Yes these things may be extra ways to capitalize on SEO, but did you know that most browsers now do not show an alt tag on mouse over. The information is only shown if you use a title tag. If you are paying for these things, go to your own home page and right click “view source” do a control + F to find title or alt. Is there even anything there? In my case study situation, the SEO firm said that this was one of the things they had done. After six month of payment, at least the home page should reflect these items, and there was not a single keyword dense alt tag or link title tag on the page. With the home page being crucial for SEO placement, one needs to wonder why this is on the supplied services list and not visible on the home page of all places!
Services: Increase website traffic
Review: The case study client thought that the Google Analytics report showed good traffic. They were pleased with 250 visitors in a 30 day period. This is about 9 visitors a day! Good grief, that is awful traffic for having spent six months of $400 a month. This money would have been better spent on Google AdWords to drive qualified immediate sale generating traffic.
Our case study client has gotten in fairly deep with an expenditure of $2,400 that really has not given them much of anything. There are surely some SEO firms who will deliver what they say they will and are, but you as an educated consumer need to be aware of what you are paying for and confirm that you are getting it. In this most recent case the client did not get value for a $2,400 of expenditures with their SEO firm. Make sure you are not being charged for things you are not receiving.