The truth about SEO is that it certainly does work. Unfortunately though, like all industries there are always people/companies looking to make a quick dollar without giving a care in the world about their clients. In this article, we are going to discuss the truth about SEO and some things to watch out for if you have engaged a company for SEO.
We know that there are some sharks out there just from our very own personal experience. Many, many years ago before this business was born; we had a slight understanding about SEO but thought we were ‘missing something’. Something special, that little silver bullet that would solve all of our traffic woes.
It was for an automotive based website where people could buy and sell cars online in Australia. We were getting some traffic but not enough to get the website and business to where we wanted it to be. We built the website, did some SEO of our own and then decided we would contact an SEO company in Melbourne to take our traffic to the next level. As I previously mentioned, we already had a pretty good idea about SEO but thought a company would be able to do more for us and also free up more of our time to run the website and conduct other marketing.
I am not going to mention the company name in this article. It was many years ago and they may have changed their ways since then but let’s just say, our experience was horrible.
We got started with the SEO company and they were asking for $600 per month which we thought was pretty fair. The salesman on the phone was going on and on about how many leads we would be getting, we’d be making “serious coin” once they established some good SEO on the site. That “serious coin” is a direct quote from the salesman mind you. The only “serious coin” we experienced was what we spent with this company.
The beginning of the end.
Anyway, we got started with the company and signed a 1 year contract (we don’t lock our clients in to contracts like other SEO companies do). They gave me a plan and timeline of what they would be doing on our website for our campaign. What this company didn’t know, was that I already had a decent understanding of search engine optimisation and how it works.
Around 2 weeks in to the campaign, we checked in on things on our website and literally nothing had been touched. There had been no logins, nothing changed, nothing at all. By this stage, the SEO company was supposed to have created a nice sitemap, updated some content and other little tasks such as connecting to their Google Analytics account, etc. This was all based on their timeline of things that should have been completed in week 1.
During this time I was receiving emails from my account manager notifying me that those things had been done but of course, they had not. So, I confronted them about it. I told them the website had not been touched, there was no sitemap and website management system had not even been accessed at all by them. They continued to lie to me saying that those things had been done, this is when I let them know that I actually had a decent understanding of what they should have been doing and knew that they had not done a single thing.
I spoke to the company manager and expressed my concerns, he apologised and we continued on with our campaign.
After that, they did eventually get around to doing those things but here came the biggest headache of all….the content.
Wow, is all I can say. They logged in to our website and started modifying our content and adding their own and it was absolutely horrendous. Nothing made sense, it was all just stuffed with keywords and was as if it was written by my 6 year old nephew. Honestly, it was 100% clear it was outsourced overseas to someone who didn’t quite have a grasp of the English language. This was the kind of content Google would penalise websites for. For those who don’t know, ‘keyword stuffing’ is when you have the keyword written way too many times in your content and Google frowns upon this technique.
The truth about SEO is that content is king. You need content and it needs to be good. Something that a human would actually enjoy reading and not just a place to stuff keywords all day long. Quite literally, the content they gave us was something along the lines of: “Do you want to sell car in Melbourne? Sell car in Melbourne with us and we will sell car in Melbourne for you”. That is just something off the top of my head that was quite similar, not a direct quote. Nonetheless, the content was terrible. The worst part is that they didn’t back up our site or any of our content before they made those changes so we had to go back to our backups and reinstate the old content.
At this point, i’d truly given up on them. I gave their manager a call once again and expressed my disappointment about the way things had gone so far. He explained that we had a contract and if we wanted to stop, we would need to pay out the remainder of the contract for the year ($7200). I told them that they had already broken the contract by not following their timeline (which was part of the contract) and also by lying to me about the service they were providing. They luckily let me out of the contract and that was the end of that story.
It was at this stage that we focused on our own SEO and actually managed to gain some #1 keyword positions on Google for a lot of our keywords. We owned the business for around 3 years and were then bought out by a larger company.
This is just our horror story and I have heard many other stories similar to this from friends, family and clients who have come to use after having a similar experience. So many of these companies will take your money and then sit back and relax thinking you have no idea whether they are doing the work or not. It’s just plain wrong and is against everything we believe in.
Another thing I absolutely despise about some SEO agencies is that they will guarantee you #1 position on Google for whatever keyword you choose. This is definitely not possible. SEO is really hard work, if another company is working harder than you or has a larger budget; they can outrank you. So again, making those promises is just plain wrong. Some other companies will get you to the #1 position on Google but it will be for an absolutely useless keyword such as your business name. You should be ranking #1 for your business name anyway.
Certain companies also use a lot of blackhat/dodgy techniques (similar to the keyword stuffing we mentioned previously). You might rank high on Google and get there quickly, but it won’t last long. Before you know it, Google will penalise your site and can even ban you from ever being listed on their search engine again. That is definite business suicide right there.
Of course, not all companies are like this at all. There are plenty of genuine SEO companies out there willing to work their hardest at getting you to your goals. Being honest and upfront is paramount when it comes to an SEO agency. That is why here at Ronin Media, we don’t make any crazy promises, we don’t lock our clients in to onerous contracts and we are always 100% honest and upfront with what we can do for you.
This is the truth about SEO. It’s really hard to tell a genuine agency from a dodgy one but do as much homework as you can. You might not be as lucky as we were and might not be able to get out of your contract before spending thousands of dollars for absolutely nothing. When you are having SEO done on your website, double check the content and make sure it’s readable and not just stuffed full of keywords or plainly obvious it’s a post just for SEO. Like we said previously, content for SEO should still be readable and genuinely interesting to anyone reading it.
Hopefully you never have to experience what we did in the past. We hope that you find a good agency that treats your website and content as if it’s their own. An agency just like ours 🙂
This is just our story regarding the truth about SEO, It’s something we never want our clients to ever go through.