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    Seochat, pls help me debunk this SEO company


    Dear SEO chat,

    I am a simple UX consultant and given the task to review a 50 page SEO Report of a SEO Company.

    I have a feeling the company doesn't really have any expertise.

    My reasoning:

    1. I am given the task to make sense off their document.

    2. Large portions of their document contains trivia like "minify js and css, use sprites" and long tables of keyword analysis.

    3. Red flags you guys have taught me to recognize a mile away like "You need keywords in META Description tag, you currently have 0" and "Keyword density" - analysis.

    I am aware that keywords in description might increase click through, so Ill give them the benefit of doubt on this one...

    Allow me to quote a piece of advice from this document, which costed more then my services for the whole year:

    "
    5.2. Number of visitors to the site 1 of 1 element passed
    Search engines might look at web site usage data, such as the number of visitors to your site, to determine if
    your site is reputable and contains popular contents. The Alexa.com traffic rank is based on three months of
    aggregated traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users and is a combined measure of page views and
    number of site visitors. Traffic Rank #1 is assigned to the most-visited site on the Internet.
    "
    Im no SEO but Alexa???? FFFUUUUUUUUUU

    Here another gem:
    "
    6.2. Google +1 1 thing to do
    Google confirmed that its +1 button will help them to re-order search results.
    "

    I was probably drunk at that time, but last time I watched all of Matt Cutts Videos for fun he said +1 doesn't do jack ****.


    Obviously I am overly negative towards SEO companies, so I come to you for advice.

    Basically I need a few tricky questions to ask, only a true professional would answer correctly.


    What questions should I ask as a test?


    Also I might be hiring soon, do spam me via PM.
  2. #2
  3. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    I don't believe SEO Chat should be in the business of offering assistance to one SEO to defame another. If they offer poor service as compared to yours.... customers will soon enough show their preference. Good luck in your endeavor.
    ...Never mistake activity for achievement...

    ...Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it....
    Benjamin Franklin
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    Well Im not naming them, I just want advice how to evaluate them. Like how tell if they know their stuff.

    Also Im not trying to be SEO instead of them, but I want to give a solid recommendation.
    Last edited by atentat; Feb 14th, 2013 at 06:17 PM.
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  7. Agency SEO
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    It sounds like you have already evaluated them. Maybe call their references?

    Comments on this post

    • fathom agrees : YUP! When in doubt go with your gut! Asking for free consultation will only get you deeper into the **** pile.
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    This would be an option, but, the way I see it, successfull client doesn't mean automatically professional SEO.

    What would you say about my observations, namly

    alexa
    google+
    meta descr.

    Are those really useless as I assume or am I the one who is naive?
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  11. SEO Consultant
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    They certainly don't sound really bad to me, from the snippets you provided.

    alexa - a little tenuous to use it as a serious parameter but as an observational number its OK.
    google+ - Google+ sharing and interactions between sites and users is huge - its all over the SEO industry and even main stream media
    meta descr. Again, they don't say that putting keywords in there will give you a magic boost, but it is good practice to have a well written meta description which uses the keyword (read as topic) or the page.

    I don't see huge red flags here, but I haven't read the whole report.

    Maybe get another report to satisfy your suspicions.

    Also, call references, ask to see results and ask them to expand and explain the things you are not sure about. Ask them to cite their references or sources of knowledge.

    If they can explain something and it stacks up they are probably good - if they can't then they are probably not.
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    So what is the position on google+ now? Last time I heard matt cutts say its not a very good indicator of quality.

    Ofc it can be valueable attracting actual natural traffic and back links, but that makes it more SEM then SEO...

    Or are you saying g+ likes are somehow better then any other social signal?
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  15. SEO Consultant
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    They matter as a social signal, even more so when authorship of a page is verified verified to a Google+ account. If a G+ Profile page is popular and a web page associated with it is on topic it ranks better. Furthermore, any SERPs that show the verified user account details (image and some other details) will have a higher CTR and will typically get clicked a lot more.

    Google+ is a big deal!
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  17. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by atentat
    Also I might be hiring soon, do spam me via PM.
    Never ask for a public second opinion based only on your choice selections and especially not a free consultation. It isn't worth anything... you do want truth & accuracy right? Pay someone with inside industry ability if you don't want to get scammed. If that's too expensive... learn everything yourself.

    Any serious SEO isn't going to use the free "tool" review to attract business - snake oil practitioners charm you with things that look real good because you can't make sense of them but then again they also could just be an affiliate... they don't do any SEOing they simply pass the customer on to the real SEO and take their cut.

    I would ask this question... how much?

    And this... do you want whitehat?

    Start looking at service providers around $5K/month or more because most everything below that is webspam - either thin content or inorganic links.
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    The company has its own tool, but you are correct, most of the report is generated by this tool I suppose.

    The report start out like

    "Wow your employer with this cool and shiny report, they will drool over the fancy graphs! Go ahead and remove our logos, we don't care!" lol

    Maybe 5k/month would be better spent on writers creating good content? For the rest have someone learn a bit SEO, buy a monitoring tol, work from there.

    What would a serious SEO tell you? Will he tell you what content to write, like cover this topic or that topic, or will he keep it strictly technical?
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  21. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by atentat
    The company has its own tool, but you are correct, most of the report is generated by this tool I suppose.

    The report start out like

    "Wow your employer with this cool and shiny report, they will drool over the fancy graphs! Go ahead and remove our logos, we don't care!" lol

    Maybe 5k/month would be better spent on writers creating good content? For the rest have someone learn a bit SEO, buy a monitoring tol, work from there.

    What would a serious SEO tell you? Will he tell you what content to write, like cover this topic or that topic, or will he keep it strictly technical?
    It isn't rocket science to learn to rank a page for a specific phrase.

    The problem isn't "the how to" it's the "how not to"... and knowing the difference between these extremes.

    No one really cares about quality control until you lost everything... then they all whine about how their business is going bankrupt and if isn't fair. April 24, 2012 impacted 3 million website owners that "knew how to rank a page"... since then another 3-4 million are in the same boat and maybe 10,000 have recovered.

    Likened to... No one starts out being a drug addict or alcoholic... they equally learned "how to" take drugs or drink instead "how not to"... they ignored the responsible side of the argument.

    So save yourself $5K/month (or more or less) and DIY. That is... provide pages that others find so enormously valuable that they will provide organic links without you doing anything at all (besides posting it). It's 100% free.

    Comments on this post

    • tstolber agrees : "the how to" it's the "how not to" - very good point
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    atentat -

    What you have in your hands is an automated report that shows no evidence of human input. The wording you quoted is very familiar to several automated SEO reports you can get for free. My advice - run some of these reports yourself. Research each recommendation to see if it's really going to help (sounds like you're already doing that). Fix the easy stuff yourself. Then hire a human (not robot) SEO to address specific goals. I would insist on a custom report that addresses your site and your goals, not a tool that includes trivial issues in order to look complete (40 of the 50 pages is just fluff to make it look like you got your money's worth)

    Ed
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  25. SEO Since 97
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    Wow your employer with this cool and shiny report, they will drool over the fancy graphs!
    99 percent are just that...shiny fancy graphs, they all have some information but most don't have a clue what to look at. Not sure what kind of report it was...assuming an audit, which can usually be seen by just looking at the site and take a peek here and there at the source code.
    What would a serious SEO tell you? Will he tell you what content to write, like cover this topic or that topic, or will he keep it strictly technical?
    I would think a suggestion on what, along with the ability to know good content when looking at it or even a suggestion to hire a good writer...it all depends on the client, if they can write, if they even want to write and how well they know their niche. So it's really kinda hard to answer any of your questions with any commanding sensibility.
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    you should check their strategy and plan and ask them to show their past projects which are most recent.
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  29. the mango demon
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    The guy who compiled the report did his best to impress you. So he included Google+, Alexa, Meta Description and Trivia like CSS sprites, JS minification etc.

    Obviously the SEO company knows their stuff very well. They compiled a 30 page report. Some of it is bound to be trivia. You are only pissed up because you expected some earth shattering fact that you could learn and then claim proclaim yourself the Master of SEO and ditch the SEO company that did the audit.

    Google + is the SEO signal google can measure the best. Facebook and Twitter shut doors on google long time ago for the deal on API access.
    So yes Google + is important. Google has put a lot of effort into it, its a make or break situation for them in their attempt at being a social signals power house. I won't mind it at all if Google gave extra weight to +1 over tweets and likes.

    You should actually re-evaluate your UX skills before evaluating SEO skills of the SEO in question. Ranks are to a very good extent determined by user experience. If you currently rank #1 and I am #2. I add a more convincing description than you or just offer a better deal to the visitor, people will click me more than you. Over a period of time I will beat you to #1 ranking. You will spend a fortune on links but I will beat you with my description tag just because you don't believe meta description is a conversion / SEO factor at all.

    Js minification, Css Sprites etc are excellent ways of reducing page load time. If you had paid a little more attention to Matt Cutts videos rather than watching them for fun, you would have know that he confirms faster loading sites do better on SERPs.

    The SEO in question sounds to have done a fine job with an Audit, because the 3-4 points you complain about out of the 30 page report are points of genuine concern.
    What actually matters is how he justifies his ROI. If he can return a Positive ROI he is worth his penny.
    SEO Professionals in NewDelhi It is different. Don't believe me? Go check yourself.
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