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July 1, 2009

Should You Fire Your SEO Company?

Search engines algorithms are shrouded in total secrecy. So what works in SEO and what does not is merely the result of an analysis of sites that make it to page #1. Some times the keywords show up sooner than expected, at times they do not. It’s very difficult to measure the effectiveness of an SEO campaign because the time frame for results is prolonged. With the mushrooming of SEO companies and the vagueness of operations finding the right company can be an issue.

True, SEO is no science, but it can have a scientific approach. The results are not instantaneous like PPC but results should be visible after 3 months onto a program. Okay… give and take a few months for the vagaries of Search Engines who like to alter their algorithms just when your site is all set to take off!

The problem with SEO is that it is too vague a field. We can only guess what works and what does not. Broadly there are five factors that are said to do 70% of the work.

  1. A well optimized code
  2. Well Optimized Metatags
  3. Header Tags, Alt tags
  4. Keywords in the URL
  5. Backlinks to the site

If your SEO company is smart enough to integrate all these together chances are that by the fourth month your SERPs should be somewhere around rank 10-12 for moderately competitive keywords. Competitive keywords take much longer and the effort for increasing the positions in page 1 increases proportionally with every position.

There are two ways in which you can check if your company is really working on your website.

  1. Set up Google Alert on your company’s name. Once an alert is set up, every time a directory picks up your link or a blog picks up your article or the company does a press release Google will pick it up and deliver it into your mailbox. The larger the number of alerts the more your SEO company is working.
  2. Use a tracking account. Google Analytics is free and is improving with feedback. Ask you SEO company to set up a tracking in analytics and get your account id and password so that you can check occasionally.

SEO is unfortunately a long drawn process. How long should one wait before deciding that the SEO company is taking you for a ride? When you are six months into an SEO program and you face any of the following scenarios it’s time to fire your SEO company.

Scenario #1: Six months into the campaign there is no increase in search traffic

Scenario #2: Your traffic has increased but you are not getting any conversions.

Scenario #3: You have not even made it to page 2 for your targeted keyword.

Scenario #4: The company’s report shows a lot of increased links but there is hardly any increase in ranks.

Scenario #5: Your keywords are stagnated where they were.

Scenario #1: Six months into the campaign there is no increase in search traffic Why is it so? Maybe they are not working at all OR Maybe they are targeting all the wrong keywords. Very competitive keywords may bring in more traffic volume but they take longer (read upto 12-24 months) to optimize. To maximize your ROI professional SEO companies choose a mix and match of low competition, moderate competition and high competition keywords. If your SEO company did not take this approach it’s time to fire them.

How to Check: Insist upon adding Google Analytics (a free tool) to your site and visit it regularly.

Scenario #2: Your traffic has increased but you are not getting conversions Maybe it’s a genuine mistake which can be rectified OR Maybe you are getting a lot of spam traffic because the company has posted the site at improper places just to show stats of increase in traffic. Believe me this happens quite a lot with unprofessional companies who want to gain SEO credibility. The unknowledgeable client gets taken in.

How to Check: Visit analytics. Click on traffic sources. Check all the traffic types- Referral, search engine and direct. Check the type of sites the referral traffic is sending, check the type of keywords. If all of these are okay, then you need some serious website marketing not just SEO

Scenario #3: You have not even made it to page 2 for your targeted keyword Maybe the targeted keywords are too competitive ORMaybe all the aspects of SEO are not being covered by your company. This is a tricky issue. If you are satisfied with your keyword movement over the months maybe just a push is needed. Otherwise you need to check what the company is doing.

How to Check: Simply type your keyword in the search bar. Check page #1 for your URL. If it’s not on page #1 it should be on page #2 after 6 months of campaign for at least some of the keywords. It should show up. If it isn’t there call up the SEO company and demand an explanation.

Scenario #4: The company’s report shows a lot of increased links but there is hardly any increase in ranks. Maybe the ranking will improve gradually OR Maybe the company is trying to impress upon you that it has increased your links. This is false reporting and not genuine SEO. In the long run these links will harm your site. Keep away from the company.

How to Check: Occasionally, in the Google toolbar type the following to see the number of links to your website- Analyze the relevancy of the site linking back to your website. If the links are from spam sites fire the company.

Scenario #5: Your keywords are stagnated where they were. Suppose you were already on page #3 or page #2 for the keywords and approached a company to take you to page #1. But you haven’t moved. Maybe the company’s taking you for a ride

OR There is no other reason. Just fire the company. They are showing no results

There may be other scenarios which have not been covered in this article. It’s very difficult to know if the company is working hard enough to get you on page #1. Keeping constant contact with the company is a good idea. Ask for a monthly comparative report and track the increase in links, traffic and keyword positions. Get an action plan of the month by the company. Track the action plan. You will see results soon enough!

Ajay Prasad is founder of Global Marketing Resources LLC that runs a number of ecommerce websites under it’s umbrella. Ajay’s functional expertise includes website strategy, marketing management, business development, consumer research, market analysis and strategic planning. GMRWebTeam is an Orange County Website Design company that aims to develop an overall website strategy for your site.

21 Responses to “Should You Fire Your SEO Company?

    avatar Zub-Online Directory says:

    again a good read. Thank you.

    avatar SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources » Blog Archive » Should … | ASulumitsRetsambew.Com RSS Blog says:

    […] post: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources » Blog Archive » Should … Comments […]

    avatar CARLA CASO says:

    Thank you, thank you for your precious advice, now I really understand what’s happening on my site.

    avatar IBL Builder says:

    Well optimized meta tags – I thought they were almost worthless nowadays?

    As for scenario 2 – I would suggest that is a sales conversion issue and nothing to do with SEO?

    avatar Dhaarvi says:

    I like to comment on ur article regarding scenario’s

    I am targetting a regional based site, with high,medium,low keywords, but client wants only for high competition keyword ranking, what to do?

    I have increased PR2 to PR3 in 2-3 months, is it bad?

    I am building links based on high ranking, qualified sites like regional theme based dir,social networking,forums,blog comments, is this my process is bad as u mention to fire a seo concern.

    I am analytics, i have tried to increase visits,but i can’t, is this my fault, in analytics i have increased direct traffic than paid traffic.

    in adwords i have increased CTR, but very few conversions, is this bad?

    pls comment, i am seo for a site, do client need to fire me.

    avatar SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources » Blog Archive » Should … says:

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    avatar Ricardo says:

    “Occasionally, in the Google toolbar type the following to see the number of links to your website – Analyze the relevancy of the site linking back to your website. If the links are from spam sites, fire the company.”

    Is that so? Well what do you do if the domain name already had a bunch of spam sites listing it?

    As is the case with a percentage of domain names because they are purchased by spammers, run through the mill, and then eventually released. So if the client doesn’t realize this… reads your article 30 days into my SEO campaign… I’m fired, for doing nothing wrong.

    This was a good read for SEO people, for people looking to avoid SEO scammers, not so much. I have 2 customers sites that were given to me for SEO where they had many spam directories listing it already. If my clients read this, I would be out of work for something I didn’t do.

    avatar Erick says:

    Hello Ajay,
    It is very good article about the SEO. I am an SEO who work for a car rental company. This is what happened to their website and why I think the site is not getting top positions:
    They got the domain name since 1998 but in 2005, an employee suggested to redirect that domain name to new one. The new one had different files and content. The old domain rapidly lost positions. In 2006 the company approached to me in order to work for them as SEO. What I did is to uploaded again the old domain files and create a new sitemap and other techniques. Today, the old site is placed in position 12 and with other keywords is placed 1.
    I am doing my best to placed at least in the top 10 but is very hard because the keywords to use are very hard.
    Your advice will be greatly appreciated it.

    Erick Hit

    Very good article. Hear this question from new clients all the time. Thank you for answering it here. I usually add if you’re not seeing ‘more green’ (vs. red) as an overall trend in google analytics and haven’t for awhile, then you should be doing some cost/value soul searching.

    avatar kittu says:

    phew..i dont fall into the category of getting fired. SEO is easy. Just need time to figure it out, give it min 6 months to gather ur resources. an den u go vrooommm…..

    avatar free SEO tips says:

    It’s very nice article. Scenario #2 is clearly depicting how huge traffic can mislead our trust. For the grab of SEO credibility many companies are following many black hat techniques which frequently resulting in back fire from search engines.

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    avatar Online Seo Company says:

    Nice tips!
    I like scenario#5 because the keyword shows all nature of your company

    avatar Online Seo Company says:

    Nice blogs!
    i learned more of the beneficial things. and also much value added services.

    avatar van leasing says:

    Great post, I work in online advertising, so this website is really helpful to me. Thank you

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    avatar 5 Motivos para despedir a un SEO | BLOG CONECTARNOS says:

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    A mere online presence won’t serve the purpose of reaching out and impressing your target audience, to beat the competition you need a well designed website with a good search rank and for that you need help of companies which provide complete solutions in website designing and development and search engine optimization.

    avatar safdar says:

    rom the obvious to the “Hey-I-never-thought-of-that-great-idea-before”, here are 10 of the top 52 tips on how to optimize your website for its turbo-charge rocket ride up the search engine rankings.

    ya agree that seo is a not a one night game that will draw results in few days , i always give Minimum 3 months quote for any Clients.

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