SEO is just one of those topics that people either have a good or bad taste in their mouth about.
This polar feeling about SEO almost always has to do with the past experience people have with this marketing strategy.
What’s Been Your SEO Experience?
A common “SEO Horror Story” you will hear is the “I paid an agency thousands of dollars a month and didn’t get any results”. Another one is the “I lost all my rankings when Google changed it’s algorithm” story.
Today I want to discuss a horror story that isn’t discussed too often because a lot of the time, business owners just don’t see it coming and are left blinded during the aftermath.
About two years ago, I was hired to help consult with a marketing agency on SEO for their Client. This was a rather large contract they had and they just needed some help with getting them ranked higher on Google. One of the first issues that was discussed with me was the fact that their Client’s SEO took a big hit when transitioning away from the prior marketing agency they were working with. They told me that the Client was ranking well and the second they fired their old marketing agency, the rankings dropped significantly.
Imagine spending close to $7,000 a month on SEO services and then waking up to realize that everything you have been spending money on is gone overnight.
That is exactly what happened to this Client. The even more alarming part was the fact the company they were previously working with was one of the most well known marketing agencies in their niche. They have all the agency awards, testimonials and accolades you can think of.
Rent vs Buy SEO Backlinks
It didn’t take me long to figure out what the problem was. It was clear that the marketing agency had a PBN (Private Blog Network) that they managed or a relationship with an outside company who managed them. What they did was move the backlinks away from the Client when they were fired. Not only did the agency perform black hat seo without the consent of the Client, which put the Client’s website at risk, but by also pulling away the backlinks, gave the Client no long term value. The Client was essentially renting backlinks while cutting $7,000 checks every month thinking they were getting some tailored, long term, SEO strategy.
The argument could be made that the SEO company did their job. They got them ranked so why should they care how it was done. What the SEO company doesn’t realize is that by not disclosing these nuances, it doesn’t relinquish them from fault or misleading behavior. This is why I believe SEO companies should promote transparency and Client education about the subject. SEO is not some mystical thing or like Will Smith puts it…
It is time we have an open dialogue about the topic instead of treating Clients like the subject is way over their head. Next time you are sold SEO, just make sure to find out what exactly you’re getting and don’t let them ever tell you it’s too complicated. There’s a reason you can afford to pay thousands of dollars for SEO and it’s not because you’re stupid.