Before I was self-employed, one of my employer’s affiliate companies brought in a marketing firm to overhaul the website. The website, as it was, actually was not ranking too badly in the search engines. But the director of the affiliate wanted more leads from online traffic. So this company came in and overhauled the design to the point that it looked nice at first. But then you realized most of the important text was stuck in images or in weird I-frames that the search engines had difficulty reading. Google, Bing and the other search engines were puzzled and started looking away. There was nothing to keep the creepy-crawly search spiders interested.
Previously, I had done considerable SEO work on this website. The original design, from our very talented graphic and web designer, had been clean and simple. The logo was crisp and well-designed – also made in-house. This company threw everything out, and even changed all the page names from .htm to .html. That is a major no-no in search engine optimization. As you might expect, traffic plummeted, and they dropped off from just about everywhere ranking wise. My boss was furious.
So guess what? We tore down the site in-house and rebuilt it from the old version we had. Within a few months, the rankings were back to where they had been before. But of course, the traffic still wasn’t enough for our affiliate. So they brought in a pair of online marketing “experts.” I was there for the interview with them, and found that I knew more than they did. I made the suggestion to not hire them. I could do everything they could on my regular wages. But my suggestion wasn’t heard.
Of course, it turned out I had been absolutely correct. We had no intention of giving them direct access to our sites, and it’s a good thing they didn’t get it. They sent me the “fixed” pages in emails. Sadly, they were a mess. I would continuously fix the stupid mistakes they had made in both the HTML and the title tags. It seemed as if we were paying them just to annoy me.
The final straw came when they asked me to go out and research inbound links. As the “webmaster,” it was apparently one hundred percent my duty to go and ask for links. Um, wasn’t that supposed to be part of their job? They didn’t make any suggestions except for spammy directories. They just told me to go and do it as if I were working for them. I told my boss about this, and fortunately, I was heard this time. We subsequently fired the idiots. But only after already paying them a bit too much to begin with.
In the end, they were paid rather well for such lousy “work.” I ended up undoing everything they did, anyway. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses get duped all the time by people acting like they know what they’re doing. Then they simply turn to in-house staff, who are often making a fraction of what they had just paid out, to fix the mistakes.
Businesses need to stop doing this and actually make those doing outside work for them prove their mettle before paying them the big bucks. Otherwise, pay your in-house staff better. You’ll attract much better content writers and web designers into your fold. Then you'll better motivate those that you already have. This is just some friendly advice from an ex-marketing assistant/clerical worker.