How To Spot Crappy SEO Pitches You Can Ignore

How Much Does SEO Cost Just like anyone, I get crappy SEO pitches. My advice to anyone who gets these out of the blue is to ignore them. A good firm isn't clogging your inbox with supposedly awesome sounding offers. But as a guide to crap you can especially ignore, here's the latest from my inbox. The Pitch Gloria C. Williams got in touch with me on June 25th, to say: Hi, my name is Gloria C. Williams and I am an Online Strategist. I've been tracking the success of www.calafia.com while doing some research on your industry—I'm very impressed with your company, but there are some real opportunities for growth [...]


Local SEO Industry Survey Reveals Most Customers Want On-Site SEO & Google+ Optimization Services

local-search-map A local SEO industry survey, managed by SEO software company Brightlocal, revealed that the most in-demand SEO services are on-site SEO and Google+ optimization. Conducted between January 20 and February 20 of this year, the survey evaluated the health and nature of the local SEO industry by focusing on five key areas: agency size and turnover, clients and industries, marketing and sales, services and tasks, and future outlooks. The majority of survey respondents included freelancers, small digital agencies and web designers, with a total of 1,409 respondents. On-site SEO and Google+ opt [...]


Forrester Report: The Best PPC Bid Management Providers

Forrester, the large marketing technology analysis organization, has released the final of its quarterly Forrester Wave reports related to search marketing. The first, Forrester Rates The Top Large Search Marketing Agencies, offered an assessment of large, full service (meaning agencies that offer both organic SEO and PPC) and agencies who serve large clients of $1 billion or more in revenue. The second, The Top SEO Platforms, the relatively new set of tools that has emerged over the past few years to help SEOs automate and bring more efficiency to a broad range of search optimization tasks. [...]


The Top SEO Platforms: Forrester Wave Report

forrester logo Forrester, the large marketing technology analysis organization, has released two of three of its Forrester Wave reports related to search marketing. I wrote about the first one yesterday in Forrester Rates The Top Large Search Marketing Agencies, which offered an assessment of large, full service (meaning agencies that offer both organic SEO and PPC) and agencies who serve large clients of $1 billion or more in revenue. Today, a look at the second report, covering what Forrester describes as SEO "platforms" - the relatively new set of tools that has emerged over the past few years to hel [...]


Forrester Rates The Top Large Search Marketing Agencies

Forrester, the large marketing technology analysis organization, has released two of three of its Forrester Wave reports related to search marketing. The first, The Forrester Wave: Search Marketing Agencies, Q4 2012 rates seven of the largest full-service search marketing agencies. While the ranking results are interesting in themselves, some of the other insights offered in the report are also thought-provoking. The report limited its coverage to large, full service (meaning agencies that offer both organic SEO and PPC) and agencies who serve large clients of $1 billion or more in revenue [...]


Google Says SEO Is Not Spam

Matt Cutts, head of the Google's web spam fighting team, has gone on record by saying Google does not consider SEO to be spam. Matt said outright, "We don't consider SEO to be spam," and added that SEO is "a valid way to help people find what they're looking for via search engines." He did add that there are bad SEOs out there, typically known as black hat SEOs that can produce web spam. But in general, SEO is not spam and there are plenty of good SEOs out there. Matt has said several times at conferences that SEO is not spam, but this is the first time he devoted a video to it. He [...]


SEMPO: Google Dominates But Social Now Widely Used For PPC

Yesterday SEMPO and Econsultancy released the 2011 "State of Search Marketing Report" featuring attitudes and spending behaviors of 920 survey respondents (agencies, advertisers) from more than 60 countries. The full report is over 130 pages. The report came out on the same day that the IAB released its full-year 2010 online ad revenue figures. Interestingly, there's a $4 billion dollar discrepancy between the IAB paid-search figures ($12 billion) and the SEMPO estimate ($16.6 billion) for 2010. The SEMPO estimate is for "North America" while the IAB numbers are US only. The IAB estimated t [...]


Crowdsourced SEM “Marketplace” Trada Raises $5.75M From Google Ventures & Others

Trada announced a $5.75 million "C" round this morning. It was led by Google Ventures and early investor Foundry Group. Trada CEO Niel Robertson told me yesterday that the money will be used for to get into display (and eventually video and mobile), as well as to expand into non-US markets and develop new tools for agencies. What is Trada? you ask. Trada is a relatively new "crowdsourced search marketplace." It brings together freelance search marketers and advertiser campaigns and gets multiple people to work on those campaigns. In fact the company says that it has an average of 24 search [...]


How To Pitch A Performance Search Engine Marketing Agency

You have probably heard multiple pitches from advertising agencies and SEM firms looking to take over the search engine marketing campaign for your company. When was the last time one of these firms offered to pay for all of the ads up-front and be paid only for the sales and leads generated? Not too often, I suspect. Performance SEM agencies are out there building, managing and funding large scale search campaigns for companies that pay them a pre-negotiated rate for the sales and leads generated. Working with a performance SEM agency is a great way to take advantage of paid search whil [...]


PPC Agencies: Not One Size Fits All

Hiring the right PPC agency requires knowing what your firm wants out of paid search and finding a firm with the roots and tools to do that job well. One size does not fit all.


Do SEOs Really Need Direct Industry Experience To Be Effective?

Have you ever heard this before? "We like everything you have said so far, and your proposal looks great, but the only concern we have is your lack of direct experience working in our industry." Perhaps a better question would be, "Is direct industry experience really necessary to be an effective SEO? Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, discusses this topic in his article, How to Hire a SEO Firm - According to Google: What’s your experience in my industry? - Experience in a particular industry may be important on one level, but a company that specializes in a particular ver [...]


Three Rules For Search Marketing With Franchise Organizations

I always think of an armada of ships when I look at a franchised company. You've got a large battleship, directing the path of the smaller craft—yet the smaller craft must navigate on their own, especially when the instructions from the battleship don't make sense. And oftentimes, because the franchisees are busy navigating their own murky waterways, they can fail to see the logic behind the battleship's directions and forge their own paths, sometimes to disastrous effect. Creating search engine marketing strategies for franchised companies is some of the most challenging work I've d [...]


Why You Need To Know SEO Basics, Even If You Outsource

When you outsource SEO, you don't outsource responsibility and accountability for getting the job done and driving more traffic. Even though you may outsource SEO completely, you really should invest the time understand SEO basics to best manage your SEO firm, your strategy and provide greater value to your SEO program. Relying entirely on an agency is not an adequate strategy, for a variety of reasons. When it comes to SEO, each site is different. Certain optimization techniques that might be ideal for one site might be entirely inappropriate for another site. As the in-house point of con [...]


Outsourcing To Increase SEO Throughput

Even with budgets getting tightened, your SEO program may be kicking, but the head count you requested to keep the program moving upward may not get approved. When this happens, it's time to look at a Plan B for increasing throughput without adding staff. Many people I talk to think a superstar in-house SEO team doesn't need an agency, and there is some truth to this. However, when you see that more could be done, but not with your limited team that is already at capacity, it's time to think about how you could spend a few thousand dollars a month to be more productive and move your numbers [...]


SEO Is Not Free Traffic

One of the first jobs I have to do as a consultant going into an SEO engagement is to debunk the myth that SEO is "free." SEO has never been, nor will it ever be, free traffic. It takes work, and that comes at a cost. You need to hire staff or allocate internal resources to manage your SEO efforts. You need to enlist an SEO firm or consultant to help identify the opportunities and prioritize them, navigate the minefields, and up-skill your internal team. You need to outfit your in-house team with on the tools of the trade (SEOmoz Pro, Internet Marketing Ninjas, etc.), send them to the co [...]


SEO Company, Fathom Online, Acquired By Geary Interactive

Geary Interactive has announced acquiring Fathom Online, an SEO company. Fathom was formed in 2002 and is based in San Francisco. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Geary is a full service digital marketing agency based in San Diego. Some of Fathom's employees are now working out of the San Diego office. Andreas Roell, president and CEO of Geary Interactive, said: Search engine tactics are the most popular element of a digital marketing campaign. In order to effectively generate search demand and convert customers’ search clicks, the campaign must also include a stron [...]


We Don’t Need SEO Standards!

Last month I attended the SMX West session in Santa Clara entitled Is it Time for Search Marketing Standards? It was an interesting session, but I wasn't really sure where I stood on the issue at the time. Now that I've had a few weeks to think about it, I've come to the conclusion that not only would it be impossible to come up with standards that most would be happy with, I strongly believe that we don't need them at all. I have long been a proponent of performing SEO in such a way that satisfies all stakeholders, i.e., the client, the search engines, and the internet as a whole. My fee [...]


How to Write a Killer RFP (Request for Proposal) For Hiring An SEO Firm

Over the years I've seen quite a few Requests for Proposal from companies seeking to buy SEO services. If your RFP is not written well, it hinders the SEO firm's ability to understand and define your needs and to scope and price your project. This in turn leads to a disconnect in expectations for both parties. A lousy RFP can discourage a busy SEO firm from even responding—a very unfortunate outcome, since it takes the best firms out of the running. Many companies intuitively "know" what they want but are challenged structurally to "ask" for it in a way that is clear, succinct, inform [...]


A Bad Month For SEO’s Reputation

We seem to be going through another wave of "SEOs are scumbags" incidents, and I find myself with little energy to push back against them with yet another defense of the industry. It's not that SEO doesn't deserve better treatment. It's just that I feel anything I could say, I've said before -- as have others as well. But below, a round-up of some of the latest developments, including a podcast defense of SEO that I did after Jeremy "Shoemoney" Schoemaker gave SEO some slams. On January 7, Tech 'Solutions' Your Small Biz Can't Use from Gene Marks in BusinessWeek is what [...]


Why You Should Reveal SEO Secrets To Clients

When you buy search services, some agencies merely provide a general overview of their SEO methodology without revealing any details. They claim this relieves the client from being bogged down in the minutiae of implementation. In reality though, these firms are simply trying to keep their intellectual property under wraps and create a dependence for their implementation services. With a little help though, well trained in-house teams are fully capable of implementing search strategies on their own. Why should a search marketing firm, which has spent considerable time and money developing pr [...]


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