If you’ve had a website with a contact form for any length of time, you have probably gotten an email from one of them claiming that they can get you great results in the search engines by doing XYZ marketing tactics. I recently had a prospective client who was trying to sell his book, ask me to compare and contrast a competing company’s SEO services with my services. I figured that this information would be helpful to others of you as well who are considering purchasing SEO services to get you more exposure and more traffic.

I have no idea what company he got this from since the overview he sent me had no names or contact information but here is one of the options that they suggested:

Number of Keywords / Phrases targeted: 1-5
META Tags Creation and web page review for up to 3 pages
Manual Submission to TOP search engines
Manual submissions to 500 individually reviewed web directories
Manual submissions to 75 social book marking websites
Manual submissions up to 6 articles in 60 directories
Website Review
SEO Navigation Optimization
Google XML Sitemap
SEO Keyword Density
Search Engine Ranking Reports

Beyond SEO, I had instead given my client a list of things that I thought would help his whole online business including email marketing, SEO, pay per click, and especially a website redesign. He responded asking me to compare the above services with my own (our home page says it all!) And then you can read my response to my prospective client and hopefully it will help you as much as it helped him. And in case you were wondering, I just talked to him today and he’s not going with the other company. He’s going to use some of the strategies that I suggested instead 🙂

Dear Mr. Client,

While many of the tactics that this other company says that they will do for you are similar to the ones I would be doing, there is some information you may want to inquire about before you buy. Here are a few questions that were not answered on the overview you sent me.

  1. Who is responsible for doing keyword research? You or them? SEO & Link Building only really work if you have a proper keyword strategy.
  2. Some of your keywords are going to be pretty difficult to rank for because you have to out SEO several big sites including Wikipedia, Yahoo, and Mayo Clinic. However, there are several other keywords that are related to your website that would be easier to rank for. This is the importance of keyword research – determining what words you should start to target that can get you traffic sooner rather than later. If they are doing keyword research, you will want to make sure that they give you the easier words to get ranked for rather than the harder and then optimize your site appropriately. This is extremely important if you want to get results.
  3. What is involved in a “website review”? While they have some website optimization on the overview, it doesn’t include all of the necessary changes… unless these changes are assumed to be made under “website review”
  4. Manual submission to search engines is more or less pointless since if you properly optimize your site and build links to it, the search engines will find it. It is the search engines’ job to find information and display the best of it to their users. If your website can’t be found through just building links and optimizing your site, it won’t help to submit your website to the engines independently.
  5. “SEO Keyword Density” a form of measuring how many times a particular keyword or group of keywords appear on a page. Best practice is usually to match your competitors and not “keyword stuff the content on your site” (that is, just repeat your keywords over and over again) and in my opinion, it’s not really worth worrying about at this point in the process.
  6. The rest of the items on the list are all good services, IF the sites that are being submitted to are good sites and not just a network of sites that they set up themselves to offer cheap SEO services. If they are doing the latter, it will just be a big waste of money because essentially what will happen is that Google won’t count the links when it is trying to figure out where to rank your website. You should make sure that they aren’t buying any links either. If possible, obtain a list of the sites they will be submitting your website to so that you can check some of them out yourself to see what type of sites they are. When it comes to link building, the higher authority the sites are the link to yours the better. For example, a link from the front page of Yahoo, a link from within a university research website, or a link from the home page of a website like Mayo Clinic likely boost your website higher in the search engine rankings than a thousand links from Joe Blow’s personal blog, social media/bookmarking sites, etc. This is more or less because the former sites mentioned have high authority in the eyes of Google and other search engines whereas the other ones do not. Here are a few things to check to see if the websites on their list are worth getting links from
  • You’ve heard of the site before (not necessarily the most important)
  • The website has itself been found by Google (if the site they submit a link to hasn’t been found by Google, it means Google won’t find the link to your site on it) Take the site URL (ex wwww.siteinquestion.com) and search for it in Google. If the site doesn’t even come up in the top three for its own name, it’s not worth submitting your site to.
  • The site doesn’t advertise that it sells links (a HUGE “no no” in the eyes of Google)
  • The site doesn’t look too “spammy” with millions of ads all over it

In the end, what this other company gave you is very different than what I gave you. Their overview focuses exclusively on SEO and mostly on Link Building. If the sites that they are submitting your website to are legitimate, they will likely be much cheaper than my SEO services and may get you some great results. My approach, however, was much wider in scope, starting with making sure you have a more solid foundation in your website and finishing with widening the profit potential of your online enterprise. In terms of comparing my SEO / LB services to my SEO / LB services, they will almost definitely build you more links than I would for a cheaper price. The links I would build would almost definitely be higher quality links. If number of links was the winning factor, there is no reason why you shouldn’t go with the other company. However, it’s not 🙂

If you want to market your site as it is right now, the best option is to go with the other company. They might be able to get you some good results if they are indeed optimizing your website appropriately, doing proper keyword research, and submitting your site to websites that are worth submitting to. If you do have the resources (time and money) to do the things that I suggested on my overview, I think it will yield better results in the end.

I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

– Matt Hall
Scepter Marketing

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