This is definitely not to disparage those that are trying to earn an honest living doing good SEO and content work for businesses. Anyone can make honest mistakes. Who gives us all a bad name are those that call themselves "experts" and do such a deplorable job - even under contract. Then, others have to come in just to fix those mistakes. Sometimes, it's at a fraction of the original cost, since the marketing budget was blown on low-quality work.
Beware of Marketing Firms Who Promise Too Much!
Before I was self-employed, one of my employer’s affiliate companies brought in a marketing firm to overhaul their website. The website, as it was, actually was not ranking too badly in the search engines. The SEO was good enough that it was bringing a fair amount of local organic traffic. But the director of the affiliate wanted more leads from online traffic.
So, a company came in and overhauled the website design to the point that it looked nice, at first. But then, most of the important text was stuck in images or in weird I-frames that the search engines had difficulty reading. The search engines were puzzled and started looking away. There was nothing to keep the creepy-crawly search spiders interested. Then, the site's existing SEO was ruined and content that might have been OK if properly optimized simply wasn't doing its job.
Previously, I had done considerable SEO work on this website. The original design 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. Changing page name extensions in this way without proper redirects is a major no-no in SEO. As you might expect, traffic plummeted. The website dropped off the front page of search results across the board. My boss was furious.
The Website Had to Be Fixed In-House!
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. 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 already. But, my suggestion went unheard.
I had been absolutely correct. We had no intention of giving them direct access to the site, and it’s a good thing they didn’t get it. They sent me “fixed” HTML 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 my duty to go and ask for links. Wasn’t that supposed to be part of their job? They didn’t make any good suggestions, either, except for spammy directories which would have actually hurt the rankings rather than helped them. 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. They were subsequently fired. Unfortunately, it was only after they were already paid too much to begin with.
The Poor Quality SEO Marketing Firm Still Got Paid Upfront!
In the end, they were paid rather well for such lousy “work.” I ended up undoing everything they did, anyway, besides a couple of useful keyword phrases I was able to use. 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.
Just some friendly advice from someone who's been there and done that.
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