Online SEO Services – Are They Worth It?

SEO companies online

SEO Companies Online

I am constantly hearing people’s sorrows about hiring an “on-line company” for SEO work and the results of this expensive work? – Nothing.

Why is this happening?

On-line only businesses are not familiar enough with your area of residence and since they focus their marketing to on-line customers and not local customers to their towns or cities. That means they are working to get volume of work and volume work makes you a number.

In addition these on-line services generally use software to do their work because if a volume customer base is what they seek, they are not going to spend 8-10 hours on one customer for SEO work.

Why are these SEO on-line companies not going to spend 8-10 hours of work on each volume customer?

One answer, its a lot of work and here is why.

Google search engine works on mathematical algorithms. Google changed their algorithms with the implementation of their systems called “Panda” (2011) and “Penguin” (2012) to fight against search engine abuse and improve their search engine for better search results.

Google does not reveal the complete inner workings of their systems to ensure abuse and misuse is thwarted.

Google provides guidelines and the rest of the information about these 2011 and 2012 changes will come from actual experts who have worked it.

Are there more changes expected from Google?

Oh yes, Google is always working to change, so SEO is always in a state of flux and a web designer offering SEO services has to stay up to date and know how each change affects SEO outcomes. Saying this, Google had made changes in 2013 (Hummingbird), 2015 (Rank Brain, Mobile Update & Quality Update), then as recently as Jan 2016 (Core Ranking Update).

Does Google always warn us Web designers of these upcoming changes?

That is a big NO, they do not and it takes time (weeks to a few months) before any solid information comes out about the impact of these changes.

Keeping track of Google is a job in itself. This impacts SEO work because any change by Google can neutralize any SEO work that was thought to have worked in the past and since it takes time for results to show in Google search, that means the SEO service is now weeks behind, if they have not kept themselves up to date.

Suffice to say, it is harder today to work SEO with Google. They are more strict and demanding of what they want that qualifies as a valued website for it to rank in their search results.

Tricks, shortcuts, etc that used to exist (prior to 2011) are gone and there are no real tricks or shortcuts. Changes made by Google are not always revealing as to the impact of SEO, so where does it place these SEO on-line companies?

Hard work is the key word.

It requires a fair amount of work for one SEO client and results are never instant. Results can take weeks to 3 months on the average. How can SEO companies on-line promise you a first page rank placement?

They can’t. There is no 100% guarantee to first line placement (irrespective of Google Ads).

The best is first page, so long as the website is properly aligned with Google SEO requirements, then it is a competition thing if your business competes with many other businesses in your local area for the same page.

Google does not care if you have an SEO expert work your website, all Google cares about is whether the website fits their standards for a valued website.

What if there are 20 businesses in your local area, all have websites that fit the Google standard for valued websites? How are they ranked?

The answer can be debated, but generally what I have found is the more dynamic your website (compared to others) the more likely your listing will be on the first page over all the others. Dynamic means changing “valued” content and if your site content is changed 1x per month, it will likely be listed below the one that is changed 4x per month.

This gives a general idea because there are so many other factors that determine your ranking such as back-links (other websites listing your website link) and that is another story in itself.

Hard? – you bet it is and if the website owner has no interest in maintaining a dynamic website, then they cannot expect to be first page unless there is no one else in their local area for the same content/business.

How does this work for those online SEO companies that make elaborate claims about first page listings?

In reality and certainly if they work a volume client base, they will definitely not be spending a lot of hours on your website and they have no real care about what you do with your website, after all, your just a number paying them money.

This means your hundreds of dollars are likely going to waste, which is why I keep hearing people complain about zero results after paying as much as 300-$1000 for SEO work by some on-line service that is stationed somewhere that is not here in your local town or city, the place where you are.

What can you do if you seek someone to do SEO Work for your local business website?

Local SEO Services

Look for a local SEO service in your town or city or area. One simple reason, they know the area, culture, trends etc than someone who lives in New Delhi, India.

A local SEO/Web Designer can actually visit your business, get a feel for it and then work SEO for you, speak to you in person.

Don’t you think that works much better than someone who is completely detached and has no relation to you as a local customer?

Of course, if your business is solely Internet based and does not depend on local promotions, then the SEO takes a different focus, but still requires a lot of work because now the competition is no longer local, but international and that can be hugely difficult, depending on who you are competing against.

Not only that, Google first targets localized areas of the viewer who conducts a search. This means if you live in Vernon BC searching for a service or product, the results should first provide localized results of businesses in your area. Then it should move outward from there. This makes “local business SEO” a very important factor for any SEO work.

Is the local SEO business or service is suited for your website? You need to consider the following things:

  • Is the SEO service locally based, meaning the business address is local?
  • Are they willing to discuss your business goals, ideas, services, etc to get an understanding and feel for it before doing any SEO work?
  • Are they transparent as to the probable success to search engine ranking (using Google as their baseline)? Remember, ranking results after SEO work can take up to 3 months to show.

Why is it important to stay with a local SEO service?

Here in Canada, 70-80% of mobile users access the web to search for “local businesses”. Mobile use is still increasing. The potential customer base can be staggering, since “local” is fast becoming a larger area than just your town or city.

A successful SEO service needs access to local information and have a good feel for the area. It does make a difference in the work because a local SEO service can target the right customer base. Someone in New Delhi will have no clue of your SEO needs and cannot tailor SEO work to your website and local business.

Is SEO work ongoing?

Yes it is, since your ranking can be first page this month, then 2 months later it is not. To expect to remain on the first search result page in Google indefinitely is unreasonable.

So what can you expect as your bottom line in this?

The initial work takes time, but maintenance of the initial work (as updating or making changes) takes less time. This says the brunt of the cost is the initial work, the maintenance is less cost, but be aware the moment Google makes any changes that strongly impact SEO, all that initial work can become obsolete, which means it has to be redone.

Be Careful

Avoid locked in contracts. If the SEO service is ongoing, its best to do a month by month plan & payment method. This allows you to check the SEO results on-line and if the SEO work sucks, cancel their service.

Most of all, do not allow auto-debits to your bank account or credit card. There is no control if that SEO service withdraws money and does nothing, it can be a nightmare getting the money back.