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Fly by Night SEOers, The Damage They Cause to Clients and Competent SEOer's Reputations

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Expertpeon, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    I think this post will hardly come as a surprise to the more seasoned among us, but recently I've moved into picking up two client relationships with rather large companies. It's a first for me, as I still don't need the business, but several close colleagues/friends had direct connections to their marketing departments. These firms are spending between mid-seven figures and low 8 figures per year on online marketing.

    Honestly, their SEO markets are not only non-competitive, I'm absolutely appalled at the state of their reputation management. They regularly pay individuals between 17-30k/month to do "SEO tasks" individually, and as far as I can tell these people do absolutely nothing at all. Their organic traffic is appallingly bad, their lead generation practically doesn't exist, and their reputation management is in shambles, with highly negative articles showing up under all terms with their name. It's shocking.
    Something like 80% of their backlinks come from free, autoapprove link directories. It's amazing to me their sites rank at all and haven't been punished.

    Marketing directors for these firms are under the mistaken belief that by paying millions a year into Adwords, they will continue to rank well in Google indefinitely (keep in mind their management is so abysmal, and in such uncompetitive markets, that they should be dominating both local and organic results and it would be quite easy to do so). Neither company has any local listings showing on the first page of any branch, town, city, or anywhere at all for that matter. These clients are overwhelmingly stupid as well, and obviously know nothing about marketing this sort of thing at all, but I'm doing this as a favor to others on the side so he can get his foot in the door.

    Anyone experienced these sorts of issues? This is a first for me, and the incompetence is so overwhelming I'm finding it difficult to not create powerpoints displaying how they've spent 10s of millions of dollars for nothing but a ticking timebomb.
     
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  2. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    No thoughts eh?
     
  3. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    I think the intent on the part of these 'shonky SEO guys' is good 99% of the time - I don't consider that they get out of bed each day looking to screw someone over. They just lack the knowledge. 'tis all.

    For your part though, I would suggest that what you said is a good idea - spell out clearly the current state of affairs, so you don't look like the d!ck when it all goes terribly bad.
     
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  4. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    Sadly, most businesses would be in the same boat if they just bought shitty SEO services from the marketplace here. The majority of companies are outsourcing and just throwing fiverr quality shit at their clients sites.

    They use fancy terms and 99% are all smoke and mirrors.

    I looked at a website last month (a high volume real estate agency) that was spending $8k a month on SEO and $2k a month for PPC management. Their link profile was a complete shit storm. Their blog was almost illegible and their AdWords account didn't even have conversion tracking - nor where they using call tracking - they had no idea what return if any the PPC was delivering.

    They were pissing $10k away for what was literally $50 worth of fiverr gigs (including the content) - it amazes me that a successful business would be that clueless. It was a good reminder that most are.

    They believe the hype. This SEO company had a link profile of their own that only consisted of blog comment links. When I explained that they were paying $10k for $50 worth of shit they found it hard to believe. When I tried to explain how their PPC spend was not measurable they didn't get it. As long as there are business owners like this the SEO basement dwellers will continue to multiply.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  5. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    It truly is unbelievable. I can find every last backlink and even demonstrate that they're outright against Google's TOS, and it hasn't been getting me anywhere. They're trying to pigeonhole me into a mid 5 figures/monthly contract to do what I'm offering (which involved using a thousand+ very high authority PBN I own to run campaigns across 7-10 lead gen sites, fix their reputation management, poor reviews, etc) and I'm thinking about walking away at this point. Clients should not be arguing with me at all, and when you demonstrate the power of your resources, they just think it's 'impossible'. One director had the audacity to claim you cannot game the system and control negative information online. One of them has an Adwords QS of 4... fucking 4.

    I may be approaching their competition instead, who are even worse off.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  6. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    It is disgusting that people at these companies who are making millions of dollars can't use common sense. I went through their AdWords account that had no conversion tracking and their Analytics that had no goals set up and tried to explain that this company is not doing them any favors - it was like I was speaking a different language.

    The SEO was even more comical. Blog comments and footer links on pure shit sites. $8k a freaking month for the SEO and another $2k to manage the PPC account - unreal. The best part is they are locked into a 12 month contract with a $10k termination fee. I told them to cancel and laugh at that fee.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  7. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    One of these sites has 2700 directory submissions, all on autoapprove sites. Less than 20% of their links carry any value, and of those less than 2% should have ever been made. I'd almost be impressed if I saw any blog comments at this point... yikes.

    One of them pays $13k/month for someone just to check their facebook and twitter pages and answer any questions (which are extremely rare, they have less than 4k likes).

    I always wonder if a contract, where you're clearly screwing someone is enforceable. I'm guessing *no*.
     
  8. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    The kind of legal firepower these companies SHOULD have would squash a contract from these clowns in 2 seconds.

    Out of curiosity what industry are they in?
     
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  9. VinceC

    VinceC Elite Member

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    This is the reason that as a seo service provider, one must not short charge for quality service just to secure the deal from this competitive market. Show them what the real quality is. If a $50 fiverr service can seal a deal for 10k contract, we should not charge less than those seo clowns
     
  10. conrulez

    conrulez Power Member

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    While it will no doubt be excruciating, I think you are obviously going to have to take a different approach to this. I have been in the position before of trying to convince others of how "ignorant" they are, for lack of a better word. Of course you can't say it like that, but we all know that it is what it is. They simply can not see it and likely never will. People are masters of denial, and if you hold the mirror up to their face, they usually either avoid it or go off the map.

    IF you truly want to do the job, you're just going to have to stfu and let the results speak for themselves. Is it worth it? Probably not but only you know for sure. Sounds like you're doing it mainly for the sake of the relationships with your friends and colleagues. Nothing really wrong with that. You can't choose your family. That's why we have friends!

    Of course I would make sure the contract has a quick out so you are not pigeonholed for a long time frame. But I would also take a long term approach to this as well. They obviously are too fucking dumb to know any better. Solve their problems for them, BUT, SLOW IT DOWN and feed them one little solution at a time. It's like trying to take someone to a buffet when they've never even been to a restaurant: INFORMATION OVERLOAD!!! I understand that's not how "you" operate but it is how "they" operate. Do the job but milk them for the money. And plan to do something REALLY FUN with that money so you can focus on THAT when the idiots make you want swallow a cyanide pill!

    Best of luck man. CYA no matter what, of course, and do keep us updated on this one.
     
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  11. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    Right now we're working on a results based approach, where tiers of delivered terms will result in payment, along with a flat fee for leads generated. They seem open to the idea, at least one of them is, the other is dragging their feet.

    Pitching it at as "no cost up front" approach is something they likely haven't heard before, and they seem to be confused by it (Why would someone ever demand payment only after they deliver actual results?)
     
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  12. Argent

    Argent Registered Member

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    I have seen similar things a few times in my town.
    What I really don't understand is how these guys get such amazing contracts... I guess contacts? or amazing sales team?
    Recently I offered online marketing services to a local company for $4k per month (they told me they spent over $10k per month on print advertizing without any much results). I offered them what I've done so far, showed off some clients and showed the ROI... they called me back in a week and offered $300 per month. Needless to say I walked away.
     
  13. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    In your case I suspect you were talking to the wrong type of client.

    In the case of total pillocks winning contracts - welcome to the 'real' world. The ONLY thing you need to be able to do is inspire confidence. Absolutely nothing else matters.
     
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  14. mudbutt

    mudbutt Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    What is obviously shoddy SEO work to most of us is not so obvious to these companies. All they know is what they've been pitched, so in the end, its the companies with the best sales team that will land these big fish clients, not the company that can provide the best results.
     
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  15. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    Unless of course someone comes along and provides results on a large scale... word tends to get out - and then you don't even need a sales team :)
     
  16. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    People/companies doing crappy jobs are where I get 99% of my clients. So personally I'm happy that there are bad players to burn clients and teach them the lesson that true talent is worth a higher price. It's no different than cars. If people could buy a Ford Fiesta and get BMW performance than nobody would buy your $70,000 BMW. Luckily, the web is just like the car business. So keep up the good work fly by nighters... you're paying my bills.
     
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  17. Argent

    Argent Registered Member

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    Yeah I know what you mean... unfortunately where I live most business owners still think Internet = Scam. Many still don't have websites. Yes, that's Eastern Canada in 2014.
     
  18. SpreadOption

    SpreadOption Newbie

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    I had a really similar experience a few months back with a small business owner. It was beyond frustrating to articulate the issue in a way that was really clear (well, at least I thought so), and to pretty much get the verbal equivalent of a blank stare.

    I tend to think that SEO will always be an area where "fly by nighters" (as the OP calls them) can prey on less-than-intelligent clients. That problem has existed for various client-service industries for centuries, and it will always exist because there are always going to be businesses and clients who just don't "get" it.
     
  19. mudbutt

    mudbutt Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Referrals are a bonus when we get them (in fact upgrades and referrals are parts of our customer service team's duties), but theres no way we could achieve the same growth purely by word of mouth.

    You need a sales team if you want to put up stupid numbers....and a solid merchant processor ;)
     
  20. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    Knock their socks off with results, then tell them to start paying you if they want their phone to keep ringing. That's a language EVERYONE understands, whether they're a francophone or an anglophone.

    When I was silly enough to do work for clients en masse, our best conversions always came from arbitrarily ranking a clients site, then calling to introduce ourselves and hit them for an ongoing monthly fee. A few were pissed, a few were angry, but by far, most were delighted and hit that PayPal 'subscribe' button faster than you could hang up the phone. And they kept paying. And kept paying. And never spoke to us. And never called and asked about their rankings. That's how you train a client ;)
     
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