Home Forums Marketing mastery How do I know if the SEO company is doing a ‘Ethical’ work?

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  • #992975
    CharleSalgado
    Member
    • Total posts: 6

    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

    #1189074
    Byron Trzeciak
    Member
    • Total posts: 422

    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.

    #1189075
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104

    Wow, this looks horrible.

    #1189076
    GuestMember
    Member
    • Total posts: 318

    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!

    #1189077
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104
    Paul Peace, post: 221887, member: 54653 wrote:
    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.

    They’re called SEO audits Paul. I do them, as do many others.

    #1189078
    GuestMember
    Member
    • Total posts: 318

    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.

    #1189079
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104

    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.

    #1189080
    GuestMember
    Member
    • Total posts: 318

    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.

    #1189081
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104

    No one would pay for it.

    #1189082
    Byron Trzeciak
    Member
    • Total posts: 422

    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.

    #1189083
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    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

    #1189084
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104

    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.

    #1189085
    John Debrincat
    Member
    • Total posts: 963

    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

    #1189086
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104
    John Debrincat, post: 221943, member: 2969 wrote:
    Many SEO companies work on the fear factor, don’t believe them.

    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.

    #1189087
    GuestMember
    Member
    • Total posts: 318

    No one would pay for it.

    – 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.

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