1. Why not have your say? To take part in forum conversations Sign In or Join. It’s fast, free and easy!
  2. Golden Rule: Be nice, respectful and avoid self-promotion.
    We pride ourselves on being the friendliest forums around. Check out our full guidelines and tips for new players.

How do I know if the SEO company is doing a 'Ethical' work?

Discussion in 'Marketing mastery' started by CharleSalgado, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. CharleSalgado

    CharleSalgado Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hello...

    I've been working with SEO companies from India for quite a good time now.

    Although I have a basic understanding about SEO and completely trust the effectiveness of the service itself, the companies I've been dealing with are not been as transparent as they preached (everything was roses and flowers before the payment was made). Also some techniques been used are very questionable.

    I'm having a hard time with my current provider regarding customer service and reporting. More importantly, they are doing some activities which look dodgy from my point of view, hence the reason I'm reaching out for the experts in the community.

    Example: they have created a facebook profile page and posted about 10-20 posts pointing back to the website. The posts have all sort of titles - some of them even interesting subject - but when you click it redirects you to the website (various pages - about us, partners, contact, etc).

    I questioned the manager about this method and he said this is absolutely normal considering they do a 'link cycle' and at the end of the day there's a link pointing back to the website and there's all it matters. As I mentioned before, I have a basic understanding about SEO and the little that I know says that relevant content to your target market is the core of your SEO strategy ( we even have a massive tread talking about this topic. Very valuable information in it)

    That said, could you give me some guidance on how to approach this company about their SEO techniques?

    Better still, what should I be looking at when interviewing a SEO company?


    Your time and attention is very much appreciated!!!

    Cheers
  2. Byron Trzeciak

    Byron Trzeciak Active Member

    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    182
    Trophy Points:
    43
    The sounds all too familiar. Hopefully you're not in a lock in contract because I would instantly stop the work that you've having completed before it becomes damaging to your domain name.

    Can you provide us with your website or facebook page to review? Some damage may have already been done?

    Firstly, links from social have no impact on your overall SEO. Social can be used to gain links by publishing share worthy content but it's not a given by any means and is unlikely to be the case for you.

    When it comes to SEO you should be asking for referrals and case studies. A good agency should be talking about conversions, onsite seo, site structure, speed, ongoing content and quality and relevant links (less is more).

    If they're talking about PR links, social bookmarking, large numbers of backlinks, guaranteed rankings, private blog networks, mass commenting, articles, press releases etc etc then that's bad news and you should stop communication right there.
  3. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Wow, this looks horrible.
  4. GuestMember

    GuestMember Active Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I wonder if there are any really good Independent SEO experts out there who solely do this Charle? A consultant who never does SEO themselves, and never recommends/refers, so they have no vested interest. They simply identify SEO needs, or look at work already carried out, as an independent review.

    There must be a big market for that. ...like an independent house survey, or a car service by a service centre that doesn't do repairs. Because it is a mostly unscientific field, but with so much at stake, people are understandably wary and trust can soon break down. Even an independent surveyor needs to know what they're talking about, though, and assessing skill remains awkward in this unregulated field. Even 'proven results' can be selective testimonials and are sometimes attributable to other non-SEO changes that were done concurrently. Good luck!
  5. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    They're called SEO audits Paul. I do them, as do many others.
  6. GuestMember

    GuestMember Active Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Your signature appears to suggest you provide SEO services John? If so, you're not in the space I'm talking about. You're not an independent surveyor/reviewer/auditor.
  7. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    My audits are completely unbiased. I give the client the option of -
    • working with me
    • fixing it themselves
    • hiring another agency
    I'm here to help people. But I understand what you're saying.
    Aidan and Jake Gardner like this.
  8. GuestMember

    GuestMember Active Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Yes, and I hope you appreciate I'm talking in the abstract rather than you in particular John... If a building surveyor also made money by replacing guttering it can prejudice their findings, depending on integrity. Likewise if they refer to people they are close to. I just think there is a huge market out there for nervous business owners to find someone who does no work or referrals whatsoever. Their sole task, day in, day out, is auditing.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  9. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    No one would pay for it.
  10. Byron Trzeciak

    Byron Trzeciak Active Member

    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    182
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I prefer to find someone that is passionate and experienced in their chosen industry. Someone that I trust who can mentor me so that I don't have to make the same mistakes they've likely already made.

    I struggle to see someone that isn't in the SEO industry, day in day out, provide any meaningful experience or advice if they never do SEO themselves and never speak / refer to anybody else that does it either.

    You can't audit what you don't know. This goes for any industry.

    In saying that I can appreciate the need for the industry to be vetted in some way but at the same time realise that trying to control and vet an industry where there are so many unknowns would be a challenge.
  11. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,071
    Trophy Points:
    143
    That's it Byron, SEO isn't like some professions that do have audit's from independent auditors, such as accounting, where the practices are relatively (I said relative before the accountants jump up and down) stable, and only change based on government legislation, or trends over a long period. The various practices for SEO can change at the whim of some independent company, with no regard or no real warning to the wider community. And as per a lot of discussions on these threads, that detail is often not fully disclosed to the industry to act on. Otherwise you could easily list all the various things and there would not be any debate in the multitude of threads on here, it would be just do this, and that's how it will work (yes simplistic I know)

    Plus I think John R eluded to it somewhere else, the cost, we (SMALL business), have to pay mega dollars (my words) for SEO, as we all know you pay auditors even bigger mega dollars to audit what you have already paid for, where does your average small business come up with the dollars for this.

    I think often people forget that we are SMALL business or MICRO business.

    Instead of asking for auditors, wouldn't it be better to have some professional body that SEO's belong to, and they need to meet certain standards before they get accredited (ie. like accountants)., this wont stop the fly by nighters who rip of business, , but it will hopefully give SMALL business the opportunity to say ok this one is accredited, at least they haven't just hung up a website yesterday, and pretending to deliver professional SEO services. There should be a push for accreditation from within the profession, the real professionals will only benefit.

    Otherwise to answer the original question posed by the CO ""How do I know if the SEO company is doing a 'Ethical' work?"", You don't, and as the average small business person, with little or no knowledge of SEO, even being presented with pages of graphs and figures, you still don't know, but a lot of the information given in this forum, will be a pointer to finding someone who will, ie referals, etc. Look at using some of the people in this forum, who give regular advise. Get a feel for the person you employ, talk to them, ask the multitude of questions which have being put in various threads on here, even if you don't fully understand, you can quickly get a feel for if the SEO has any idea or if they are just pulling your leg.

    My 1/2 cent worth
  12. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    The problem we're faced with is complete and utter mistrust within the SEO industry amongst most business owners, and that's for good reason.

    Because the SEO industry is full of dirty sleazy scam artists out to rip people off - and business owners can't tell the difference between someone that is genuine and someone who isn't.

    For me, it's incredibly tiring.
    • I log onto the forum and I see thread after thread posted about people being ripped off or let down, OR
    • I see thread after thread from members bashing the SEO industry as a whole, OR
    • I get calls from prospects who I can tell are extremely cautious and treat me with absolute suspicion like I'm out to scam them
    Then when I give my pricing I'm told, "Sorry you're too expensive", and they choose a service provider that costs $99 a month - then they wonder why after 8 months they never got any results - and the whole process starts all over again.
    • "I got ripped off"
    • "SEO is a scam"
    • "Don't waste your money"
    As I said above, I would be happy to perform an audit and help this person, but immediately, there's suspicions raised of my motives.

    As I've said time and time again both here in this forum, and on my podcast - I'm here to HELP people. I want to go to bed at night knowing that I've made a positive difference. I want my customers to be happy. I want them to come back. I want them to give glowing testimonials. I want to be around for the long haul.

    That doesn't happen if you're shafting people.

    Some of us are good guys, who do genuinely good work, who can provide real value for money.
  13. John Debrincat

    John Debrincat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    768
    Likes Received:
    344
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Oh my god I hate the term "SEO" I think that the "O" should stand for opinion because mostly that is all they are and generally pretty poor.

    The most important and most basic thing that a website owner needs to understand is that good content leads to good organic search results.

    I laugh ever time I see an email that promises me first place on Google. Now if you promise every company in the same market segment first place then........!

    If you are going to use a service then find a local business who will speak to you about what you need to do. Most of the dodgy overseas ones will want a credit card upfront and will run some automated software that can do more harm than good.

    If you receive an automated report with the 400 odd things wrong with your website then treat it with the contempt that it should get. Many SEO companies work on the fear factor, don't believe them.

    If you work with a professional content marketing organisation then they will engage with you and not just make promises.

    Apologies to some of you that pitch themselves as SEO experts and I know that some of you really are and do a great job.

    John
    John Romaine likes this.
  14. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    This is true.

    I know of an agency that has said to customers wanting to cancel "Oh you can't cancel, it will look suspicious to Google if we just STOP doing SEO, and you'll be penalised".

    Needless to say that is absolutely untrue, however many customers (if not all) are scared into staying onboard.

    It's terrible.
  15. GuestMember

    GuestMember Active Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    28
    - unless someone has tried it and executed properly (and how would that be measured), this can't be known. I wouldn't anticipate it being ultra expensive.

    Keeping up with SEO is like any other industry. Some will say you have to be on the job. Others will be happy with routine CPD, following all the major influencers and research, etc. But I do understand the point. "Those who can't teach" is a similar argument.

    Yes Bert, professional registration would be good. The problem is that this has to be matched with massive public awareness campaigns. Government regulation is highly unlikely, so that means voluntary self-regulation. I'd like to see it become a true 'profession', insurance, CPD requirements, evidencing, etc. Trust is always a problem when people don't have sufficient knowledge to even ask the intelligent questions.

    John, I have a similar problem in hypnotherapy. Many think it's a 'quack' therapy. Like you, I have to contend with people who make massive claims (one session this and that) and when I quiz them about outcomes, how they are measured, and when it was followed up, metrics are, shall we say, rather unscientific. I too have a passion for helping people and want to sleep well. The public are nervous, and other than shouting about our integrity (which can cause a reverse effect), what can I do? As well, people who know little about my work are often quick to criticise. That's partly why these days I do more training than therapy itself. It feels very similar to your situation in terms of a few idiots who spoil it, public trust, etc. So I completely empathise with that.

    Some people are knocking SEO on here and it can be draining. Others, me included, are concerned about the tone of some folk – talking as if everything is evidence-based when so much isn't. I asked my doctor yesterday about whether capsaicin (chillies) had an evidence base for arthritis. He said, "I'm sorry, I don't know". Humble, considered, respectful. And that's a medical professional. Ask many SEO (and hypnotherapists) and they always know everything about everything. They typically retreat into complex terms as well. That's what psychologists do when they want status and to exclude. Someone who really understands anything can put it in straightforward language.
  16. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,071
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Paul that's only if you want to take the back seat, it doesn't need government regulation. There are many industries which have set standards and accreditation which is not government regulated. Project management is one that I can think of where there are high standards set and you have to have a certain number of years experience, plus Demonstrated work output to be fully accredited.

    This is something the industry could start from within, its funny that when there is a ground swell from within these things can happen. And the shonky operators will slowly disappear.

    I know many organisations would only employ accredited project managers, because they were aware that they had at least met a certain baseline to get there.

    Just my 1/2 cent worth
  17. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,071
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Just a PS to that last post, there are a number of good SEO people on the FS forum, maybe they could start the FSSAS (FS SEO Accreditation Society). I just want acknowledgement for the acronym please.
  18. John Romaine

    John Romaine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Bert, I mentioned this to a colleague a few months ago.

    It's something I'd love to see happen, because quite frankly, the SEO industry needs it.

    Desperately.
  19. Johny

    Johny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    570
    Likes Received:
    325
    Trophy Points:
    63
    "It's something I'd love to see happen, because quite frankly, the SEO industry needs it.
    Desperately."

    Then why don't you put the wheels in motion. Someone has to put their hand up if they want change.

    I don't know anything about SEO, but I do know quite a bit about working in an industry where there is considerable lack of trust and a good part of that is justified.

    And one of the things I learned long ago was there is no point in trying to defend the industry as a whole and on an individual basis. All you can do is defend your own record and what you do.
  20. GuestMember

    GuestMember Active Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Just so you know, I didn't say government reg was required Bert. I mentioned how it was unlikely. And 'professional' but not legally 'protected title' like doctor or psychologist. Also mentioned voluntary self-regulation as a way forward.

    I have some sympathy with that view John – if you want change, get on with it. But to be fair it would be a very big undertaking, requiring huge financial resources. You have to change culture (very hard) and motivate thousands of SEO experts to see the point in joining, devise a code of ethics that they would be held accountable to (and ideally, if you don't want friction, get a core that the vast majority agree on because conflict has wrecked many prof associations), have the staff, ability and clout to bring people to book who break that code, and then, raise awareness in the public to even know the association exists.

    Even in plumbing and building people are often unaware of prof associations. It requires a team of highly motivated people to get together and to be able to afford the time away from their business to do the right thing by the public. Like you say, many would rather focus on their reputation, business and results.

Share This Page