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Jul 2nd, 2009, 08:01 AM
Frauds with In-house SEOs
For a long time, i have been writing on this topic. Finally got the time to complete it. Whatever I am going to write is all based on my own ill experiences as an In-house SEO. So what u r going 2 read will be generally first hand information:
Fake Interviews conducted by Companies
R u looking out for free a free SEO consultation for your client? Organize fake interviews. Companies when short of ideas and strategies or simply lack expertise, may come up with such fake interviews. They short list 8-10 guys from job portals on the basis of their experience and skill sets. Then they ask them to come down for interview. Often these interviews are several hours long or may run for couple of days and consist of a written test in which a website is assigned to you and you are asked how u will do its SEO.
This generally includes keyword research, competitors’ analysis and determining organic strategies to promote the website. Once you complete this test you are told that you will be notified in few days and those few days never come. If you inquire later, u r told that the position is filled. This thing happened with me several times and I didn’t have any idea of such tactics at that time.
During one such interview I asked one employee of the company and he was totally unaware of any such vacancy in his department. Same thing happened with me day before yesterday. I went to this company for interview and the Director Operations asked me that my selection will be on the sole basis of the marketing plan I come up with for their website. I can bet he told the same thing to all other applicants. Still haven’t got any response from him. So my advice to you is, when you go to a company for an interview, try to get in touch with the employees there and inquire them about the job opening and what the company is really. A disgruntled employee will always be happy to spill the beans. Another good way is to read reviews about the company on review sites like mouthshut.com
Bonded Labor in SEO
Off late I went to this company for interview. They took several rounds of interviews. I must admit they asked very good questions (may be copied from SEOchat). Anyways, when I was finally selected they asked me to sign a 2 years bond with detriments of Rs 100,000 (which I refused). According to that bond I am legally bound to work with the company for 2 years and if I seek employment elsewhere during the bond period I will have to pay Rs 100,000 as compensation. They asked me to produce two checks at the day of joining; one is of Rs 100 and another of Rs 100,000. The company justifies its actions by saying that they want strong commitments from their employees. Often they ask you to sign the bond immediately as they are in a hurry to close the position. Never sign such type of bonds. These bonds are crafted in such a way, that they are always in favor of the company. A company can create ‘N’ number of situations that force you to leave the company on your own will. One good excuse is, your performance is not satisfactory.
They will give you the choice to resign or take your termination letter. If you resign on your own will you pay the compensation and if u get the termination letter, u will face problem in getting further employment. Other thing they can do is exploitation. They may ask you to work 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week in the name of meeting project deadlines. Remember most of them charge their clients on hourly basis but will completely ignore your working hours. In the end you will get a fixed salary whether you work for 40 hrs a week or 60 hrs a week. In any case you are stucked and have become their slave once you sign the bond.
Contract of Employment from Hell
Read it carefully several times before you sign it esp. fine print. You may read something like ‘Company reserves the right to terminate your service at any time without any prior notice’. In this case you can be fired any day. Make sure contract of employment is duly signed by a competent authority (generally HR Head) on the company’s letter head and with the company’s seal. Each page of the contract must be duly signed. If contract of employment doesn’t mention the HR policies, you must ask for them in black and white and again duly signed.
Also make sure that you are applying for the right job. Often candidates think they are applying for a permanent position. While majority of time, companies do tell explicitly what they are looking for (permanent or contract position) but sometimes they deliberately hide. You may be getting hired only for a particular client or a project. A multi million dollar New York based company (cant name it or they will sue me lol) with clients like Barclay and offices in several countries did such type of thing with my friend. He was never told during the entire interview process that he will be hired for a 6 month contract job. When he was selected and finally got the offer letter, he came to know about all this. He left his permanent job for this 6 month contract job in this time of recession. Hadn’t he read the contract carefully he could have missed the very important line. When he asked them for the explanation they replied back in a rude and very unprofessional way.
Here I would like to add one more thing. Get aware of labor laws in your country. I worked for a wolverhampton based company last year. I once asked for two days paid leave and my UK boss refused it on the grounds that they is no provision of paid leaves in UK and since I work for a UK company I won’t get any paid leave. I was shocked. Don’t people need leaves in UK. Then I did some research on UK labor laws and came to know that there is provision. Moreover you can’t apply UK labor laws in another country. Anyways, I took the leave as I had too.
I am big, Join me
Wow I am going to work for a very big company. Don’t be a fool. Half of them are not even 1/3 rd of what they claim to be. I used to get excited when I see my prospective employer’s offices in several countries on his website. Wow. They have offices in Sydney, new York, London, Singapore, Dubai, Quebec……dadada. Never judge a company by its website and office locations esp. when the office where you are standing, sucks in every possible way. “We have just opened our branch here. Our head office is in New York and operations center is in Indonesia. We have 200 employees in our head office and 120 employees in Indonesia. Majority of our clients are from US and UK”. Obviously you won’t be going to New York and Indonesia just to check out the offices and employee base. Most probably the company is a start up and is just trying hard (off course in a deceptive way) to get good employees. If a company is truly multinational, the infrastructure there will itself speak the truth. Often a simple web search is enough to figure out how big a company really is. And I can bet, they use the same tactics to get foreign clients.
Other deceptive way to attract clients and employees is the ‘ISO 9001:2000’ label. While there is no guarantee that whether a company is truly ISO certified. But even if is, such certification doesn’t guarantee any quality of end products and services. It simply means that formalized business processes are being followed.
Now comes the references part. Some companies operate under different company names like XYZ software, abc Technologies, WXT group (I wish I could give you the real company names) etc and come up with several websites. Generally only one company is registered, the rest are fake. They make these fake companies their own clients to acquire some real clients. No matter you call any client; you are eventually calling the same company. Same can be the case with offices in foreign countries. Most of the time, you won’t find any physical address of the foreign offices. Just phone numbers and addresses are given which can be easily bought and routed. Even if physical address is present, who is going to check it out anyways? A truly multinational company has global presence even on the web. You can easily find out through press releases and news sharing sites about their international presence.
Buying references is also another deceptive way to trick clients. Some companies tie up with several other companies and make them their virtual clients. You call any client and u will get a positive response. I learned this the hard way, when I assigned a web development project to one such company. I was amazed by their web designing projects and didn’t think twice before hiring them. What they did is, they ruined the whole project. They weren’t able to live up to my expectations. Later I had to cancel the project with them.
Interview your Interviewer
Often in-house SEOs complain of unrealistic expectations of his manager. This usually happens when your manager is just a manager and not an experienced SEO. So during the interview, judge your manager’s knowledge level while he is judging yours. Don’t be happy if u figure out, he is ignorant in SEO and ur job will be easy (as he will not be able to track ur work). This ignorant SEO monster will later dance on ur head when u will not be able to meet his unrealistic expectations. Often in big companies, you may be several levels down in organizational hierarchy and you don’t have the authority to bypass your immediate boss let alone the marketing head. So your only hope is your manager, who if good in SEO can convey your problems easily to his seniors. No doubt, if u get the chance to work with someone with excellent knowledge of SEO, ur job is only going to be less difficult and more productive +chance of learning new skills all the time.
IMO the best way to trust someone is either through a personal reference or through a good interview. It’s better to ask a company how exactly they do SEO and then testmarket their SEO strategies, instead of cross checking all there references and trusting them blindly after that. This filter is independent of company’s size and market value. I think it’s a very good way to separate wheat from the chaff and it will also give opportunities to those SEOs who really know their work but dont have a big name.
Jul 2nd, 2009, 08:23 AM
Excellent article himanshu,
I believe your each and every word, I have same experience I went a company for SEO interview this is big SEO company India and his CEO claiming that on his website about us page he is internet marketing consultant and good seo also, actually I send him my resume directly after that I got a call from him he asked me some question on my mobile I answered him properly he is happy and want to hire me, but when he asked me about meta descriptions how you add keywords withing meta descriptions, I answer him it doesn't effect our raking and but he told me it effects then I gave him many of the example no doubt I told him about SEO Chat but he refused my claim but very polite manner but I decided that I will never join his company........I don't know that decision was wrong or right but I never work for this kind of company those claiming we are best company but they still believe on crap things.......
Last edited by Prof.stan; Jul 2nd, 2009 at 09:48 AM.
Jul 2nd, 2009, 09:36 AM
wow! great post here, h! especially the part about the "bond" thingy...good gosh, why would anyone ever do that????
read. learn. hypothesize. test. analyze...then rank!
Jul 2nd, 2009, 11:43 AM
One more thing. Companies which are heavily into PPC can easily allocate good amount of budget for purchasing links. In fact they find this tactic relatively cheaper and effective. No need to hire lot of link builders and content developers and wasting time and money in developing link building strategies. No need to develop expensive link baits. One smart SEO who knows how to purchase links is good enough. Often these companies are run by those who claim that keywords in meta description tag and PR has impact on rankings.
So next time when u hire or outsource your work to a big SEO company, dont be surprised if ur PR shoots from 0 to 4 or 5 by next PR update and your site starts ranking well for competitive keywords even without any major tweaking on ur site. This is not the result of their hard work but more about the capital power. A company which can spend hundreds and thousands of dollars per day on PPC, wont mind paying few hundred dollars to a webmaster every month in lieu of a backlink from the home page.It seems like a win win situation to you but it is not. The day u will stop spending ur SEO company, the day they will stop paying to their webmasters and in no time ur rankings and PR both will drop like nine pins. I cant say all big SEO companies are like this. But i think you should definitely ask them, how they are acquiring the backlinks. This will help you in the long run, when u r no longer their client.
Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:24 PM
excellent post.. really appreciable... each and every word is right abt seo companies.. it is quite helpful for all those who are thinking to switch job..
Jul 2nd, 2009, 03:39 PM
This was a nice read for 1 of the first threads I have opened.
Jul 2nd, 2009, 06:27 PM
Moral of the story? Work for yourself so you answer to nobody. In fact, try not to even work for clients of your own company, but rather use you skills to rule supreme in target industries without the middle man!
Jul 3rd, 2009, 05:32 AM
If they are purchasing the backlinks then the links should stay there even after you stop spending the capital. Why would your rankings drop because you stop paying (unless these are not purchased links but rather "rented links"
Originally Posted by himanshu160
Jul 3rd, 2009, 07:39 AM
I have stuck it for the time being... we have no good threads here in Seo Professionals which have been stuck and I found this to be of a good quality and believe it has good merit. My only problem with doing this is that sometimes it seems stuck threads get ignored
BTW Himanshu, do you think you could write up a similar thread, only dealing with remotely hiring SEO? Maybe some of your observations on common crooked practices, how to avoid being scammed, what to look for to identify true and false practices etc
I had planned to and probably still will (someday) but if you can find the time I know our community would love ya for it
Jul 3rd, 2009, 09:10 AM
Originally Posted by Visio
When companies can dupe banks to get corporate loans, then what are we. There is nothing which a company can't produce on request. u ask for references, you will get references, you ask for bank statements, u will get bank statements, u ask for income tax returns of the last three years, u will get that also. IMO the best way to identify is to testmarket the company's SEO strategies/knowledge.
Hire a very experienced and renowned SEO just for that. If that is expensive, then this forum is one of the best and cheapest way of test marketing SEO strategies. If a company knows its job, then it doesnt matter whether its a one man company in Sahara Desert or multi million dollar enterprise listed in New York Stock exchange.
Moreover the quality of end product depends upon the employees working in the company and it has nothing to do with company's size, market value and client base. When you want to hire a company, just tell them you want to interview the person(s) who will be directly responsible for your work. I hired the aforesaid web designing company (a multi national company, although i doubt now) on the basis of their past work but they disappointed me completely. When later i sat with their designer in a desperate attempt to get what i was looking for, i came to know about his skills. He wasn't able to pick up the right images. The guy had no creativity and then i realized i was duped. There is no way a designer of his skill sets can develop those wonderful designs which were shown to me earlier. I hope u got the point now.
Jul 3rd, 2009, 09:30 AM
Hi djstreet! I completely agree with u. But i strongly suggest that every SEO should work at least once in his life in a big company. The kind of Corporate experience u will get there is unparallel.
Originally Posted by djstreet
Last edited by himanshu160; Jul 4th, 2009 at 04:02 AM.
Jul 4th, 2009, 08:18 AM
For understanding mental blockage senior management working approach right
Originally Posted by himanshu160
Jul 4th, 2009, 08:42 AM
once time I remember I went a for interview with big firm in Delhi(India)NCR actually the honor of the company is very famous Internet marketing consultant so, I am very exited to meet him I clear three round interview finally I meet that person he just ask me about keywords density, meta description, keywords, and content optimization I was very shocked what he asked to me I clearly told him it doesn't effect our ranking but he claimed it effects then I discussed him just like forum because I knew I am not going to joint this company now I feel he just want to clear his misconception nothing else.
But this company has still very good reputation in DELHI NCR...............
now I also believe sell is different thing than your skill for selling any thing you need another skill it depends you company reputation you client testimonials your references,
Actually this kind of big company works for big brand just for example I found one SEO company works for popular bank in India, due to his popularity the got automatically one ways links, one SEO big company they just sort out some of small issues like dynamic page to static page add some information related their services page do interlinking, deep linking add page title, also believe meta descriptions only I can half of on page they got ranking because they know that they have advantage of one ways links..
And they don't have time to understanding this kind of worthy things, Anyway this is their marketing policy................
Jul 10th, 2009, 06:22 PM
Now we know that when you attend one of these fake interviews, you need to be like a politician, talking around the questions, and not giving away too much. They won't like it if you do this, and it's likely to bring back a rude response; one which needs to be prepared for. Some of these places are very clicky and they are out for themselves.
It's happened to me a few times. I mean I've attended an intervew, been interrogated about seo, then not called or anything. Slightly suspicious.
The good thing is though, that when you talk about seo to these people it sounds so easy, but there's a lot of stuff we're holding back (information and knowlegde) which they don't realise, and putting it in to practise is a whole new ball game. And half the stuff you throw at them, it's so quick, there's no way they can remember all of it. It's like throwing stacks of mud at a wall, and we know that the majority of it drops off!
Last edited by seogoat; Jul 10th, 2009 at 06:31 PM.
Jul 12th, 2009, 04:01 AM
himansu has arose right issue. I too faced such a problem in a reputed seo company in delhi ncr while doing interview. later I came to know from one his company's staff its happening for last one month. he didn't want to select in fact.
I would like to say many thanks himansu prof.stan who arose such a major issue that misguided new comer by some seo company.
Last edited by shahidhasan; Jul 12th, 2009 at 04:10 AM.
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