Have you ever wondered what your SEO company is up to?
This is probably the biggest question that runs through a business owner, or managers mind after hiring a search engine optimization vendor. You know that they’re supposed to be helping your business ‘rank’ better to attract more qualified traffic but, what are they really doing?
Hiring a search engine optimization company and attempting to manage them without the basic understanding of what SEO is, and how it’s performed is incredibly risky.
Here are a few real-life scenarios that happened recently
Scenario 1 – A Federal Lawsuit Caused by an SEO Company
Several years ago I was asked to testify in a federal court case where a small business was getting sued by a competitor for false advertising. The small business had hired an SEO company. The SEO company was creating content and distributing it across various websites. The content they created talked about the business and included a ‘backlink’ back to the small businesses website, a typical SEO practice. Where things went south was the SEO company was misrepresenting the small business and their competitor found it. The competitor then filed a federal lawsuit against the small business for false advertising. This resulted in a substantial amount of legal fees for the small business. I was called in and was able to prove that the small business was not aware, nor did they approve what the SEO provider was doing and was able to recoup their legal fees.
During my testimony I was able to prove that the small business was not aware, nor did they approve what the SEO provider was doing and was able to recoup their legal fees. The SEO company did not disclose their strategy and claimed it was ‘proprietary.’ While it was not technically proprietary, it was obvious they did not want to share it with the client because it was poor in quality and violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Scenario 2 – A Significant Google Penalty
A small business in Colorado was just starting to get ahead. Business was good, and their own efforts resulted in pretty good search engine rankings. The added growth resulted in them hiring new staff and interviewing potential SEO partners to take their already good growth, even further.
The small business finally decided on an SEO provider. They had a promising pitch and told the business about their ‘proprietary website portfolio’ that allowed them to quickly build relevant, high-quality links to the customer.
Several months into the SEO campaign, rankings skyrocketed. In order to keep up with online sales, the leadership hired, even more, salespeople to accommodate the influx of leads. Everyone was going great until one day the phones, and the lead forms literally stopped delivering leads. It was like a firehose was shut off. When asked about the sudden stop in leads & traffic, the SEO company passed blame on Google saying they ‘changed things up’ and would have to look at a new strategy. Months later, nothing changed and the business had to let go a significant number of their staff.
As you can see, in mid-2013 rankings started to take off! Life was good for the small business. In mid-2014, Google applied a manual action, also known as a penalty. The SEO firm talked the small business into staying with them a few more months to pocket several thousand extra bucks before small business finally fired them. In a few short months, the project ended up costing about $17,000 and left the business in by far a worse position then they had ever been in.
Fast forward 2 years. This is where I came into the picture. After performing an in-depth audit, I quickly realized that Google had in fact given this business a manual action (penalty) for practicing in unethical/blackhat SEO techniques. The business who employed the SEO had no idea.
To fix the problem we had to invest a significant time into reversing the penalty. To do that, we had to remove links (tens of thousands of them), put together a report that identified the issues, elaborate to Google what we did to fix the issues, and report on what we’d do to ensure that it wouldn’t’ happen again. The result was an increase from about 5,000 people per month on their website to a peak of 188,000+ people per month on their website, a huge win bust a costly mistake for the business owner.
Unfortunately, I see this all the time. Most SEO companies invest a substantial amount of time and money into their sales team and not their actual service. As an SEO Advisor, I can help ensure you don’t have an experience like the examples above. I will carefully watch the tactics used by your SEO company and insure they are deploying only best practices and ultimately investing into your short, and long-term success.
Are your rankings stuck in a funk? Call us at 303-731-6588 to take a look before it’s too late.
Do you have a shady SEO story? Share your experience with us in the comments below.