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SEO is NOT bunk, but your SEO Strategy sucks for sure :)

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by indianbill007, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. indianbill007

    indianbill007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    So I spent/wasted past 3-4 days working on a SEO proposal which I thought my client will like. The only mistake I did was being truthful and honest about my strategy and accepting that it can be called as GreyHat and Today I got an email from their Business Head which reads -

    "Sumit, we are NOT very keen on trying your strategy"

    Well normally we do spend a lot of time doing audits, competition analysis for every MarketMongoose client who comes on board with us and give him basic tips to first improve the onpage SEO first before we start working on the offpage strategies. For most big ticket clients I create custom strategies personally like I did for this one.

    I will discuss the strategy in detail and may be I can get some feedback from the SEO practitioners in the community about what you guys feel about it.

    The client is a Venture Capital funded company from India, in gaming niche, their main web property is a flash games aggregate site like miniclip.com and y8.com,to protect his privacy am not disclosing his name or domain.

    So I took special time and care to work on his proposal, the first step being digging what the competitors are doing. To which I found that one of the main competitors miniclip has created a number of feeder sites (similar flash game sites with good onpage and games powered by miniclip). And they were SEOing these feeder sites via automated link building methods. Just seeing the backlink profile of the feeder sites you would make out what they are doing.

    http://www.semrush.com/info/miniclip.com?db=us

    [​IMG]

    As you can see they are doing pretty good with this strategy and going great.

    So I asked them to do something similar create 50-100 feeder sites and SEO them like miniclip has done. Doing this miniclip is pulling 3.8 million visitors which is 10M$ worth of organic SEO trafffic just from USA alone.

    However in my proposal I used the WORD - Grey Hat, which I feel this is, as you are creating satellite sites which is against Google's policies. You can read the exact proposal here - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8sl92x04rpjqju5/E7mOQ-tLmt/Site Audit and Proposal.docx

    And If you are interested you can download the related research documents from here - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8sl92x04rpjqju5/sr-tsHBr_4

    However, as expected the first response which I got from their business head read this -

    [​IMG]

    I am damn sure he didn't even read the whole proposal and tried to analyse what I proposed and just replied seeing the word Grey hat, cause he mailed me within 5 mins after me sending my proposal and there is no way you can analyse the whole research I did in 5 mins.

    Now, these business heads have no fucking clue about SEO and they somehow are hired due to their fancy professional degrees from some reputed Indian College. And they advice their CEO's and Top management based on their bullshit knowledge.They have no first hand experience like us who have ranked over 1000 sites. Although the CEO of this company is quite intelligent, at-least he sounds intelligent in his posts but I didn't expect him to be so dumb about decision making on his companies' digital marketing strategy and top of that he has the balls to say that SEO is bunk, based on what his so called lazy heads of various departments feed him hehe.

    Anyways, I had to reply him to make him understand why he should choose my strategy and why it will work for him and his company in long term and I tried to explain him with clear cut analogy, this was my reply.

    [​IMG]

    To which finally they finally replied - "Sumit, we are NOT very keen on trying your strategy"

    What I feel is I basically blew up the whole thing since I was being HONEST and admitted that I am suggesting Grey Hat and used the word Grey hat in the proposal. I am confident that had I NOT used this word and just asked to copy what miniclip is doing, they wouldn't have even cared.

    What do you guys think, how would you guys have approached a similar situation. I am not upset or mad at what I did, but quite disappointed that I lost a deal by trying to educate a customer and speak the truth.

    Your thoughts?
     
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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  2. Conor

    Conor Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Forget them. You don't want a client that thinks they know better than you. They will be questioning your decisions every step of the way otherwise.
     
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  3. Riders On The Storm

    Riders On The Storm Senior Member

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    And the guy is from IIM or IIT
     
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  4. indianbill007

    indianbill007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I don't care if he is from IIM or IIT or Standford mate. By his replies I can make out how much experience he has in SEO industry and what work he has done.

    "First things first. We are never going to do any Grey Hat work on any of our properties. It is simply out of the question. What you are suggesting is not only unethical but also against Google's policies. There might be perks to this strategy but it is too big a risk.

    If you have a white hat strategy in place do let us know and we would love to evaluate the same."

    These are his words, what a man full of loads of BS lol, he didn't even care of understand what I suggested, only when I clarified in my second mail with Amazon affiliate example, he seemed to not question it anymore.

    But anyways, treeofl1 is correct, better not to deal with such clients who think they know more than you but actually know nothing.
     
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  5. hardcorebiker

    hardcorebiker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    These people don't know shit about SEO. When they are hired for their jobs their degree is given higher importance than what then know in SEO field and its not worth your time to educate them because they are fed with so much bulshit and are still stuck with 10 years old SEO tactics.
     
  6. Emp1!

    Emp1! Junior Member

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    Very good and clear argument when you exposed Amazon example. Nothing can be done.

    I am not as expert as you, but I would not have used "grey hat" expression in the first place. Better to use expression like "affiliate websites" as in Amazon example.

    Using anything like "would not respect G policy" "grey hat" or "black hat" can raise the flag and create fear in their eyes. They should not fear your services. They should be terrorized by not using it right now.
     
  7. cocococo

    cocococo Senior Member

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    Honesty is the best way to go with clients. Just take it on the chin, their loss, you don't want client who will be on your case 247. trust me you will sleep better at night.
     
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  8. PrinceVisi

    PrinceVisi Elite Member

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    What I have learned through the years is that if you want to succeed in BUSINESS, you should do one simple classic thing and never change it:

    "Give people exactly what they want and how they want it, not necessarily the BEST and not necessarily the highest QUALITY"

     
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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  9. kasher9

    kasher9 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Forget that client pal. By definition, if you read googles tos, most linkbuilding strategies that are so called whitehat arent accepted by google. You shouldnt have even mentioned it he wouldnt have known, the linkbuilding theyre doing now is by definition link manipulation as its automated and hence not natural.
    When I deal with so called knowitalls I usually dont mention words like whitehat greyhat or blackhat, they like to see large numbers. I remember I had this one client, he was actually trying to rank for make money for google.co.uk, and he claimed he had been in seo for years. Hed done some crappy blog comments and some shitty articles, and said he just needs a "boost" I then said to him we can build a buffer blog for him and rank it using some blackhat methods. The moment I said that he was like no no no I do all whitehat etc. I then responded with googles tos and highlighted that spammy blog comments are not accepted, never heard back from him again and a month later I saw him ranking #45 for the keyword using the same technique I said so I guessed he went to a competitor. Some people are very influenced by words and one word can throw them over. We live in a world full of people who think they have the dogs bollocks strategy for making money but in reality its a pile of shit haha
     
  10. Peter Ngo

    Peter Ngo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    to be honest, i personally haven't seen much local clients in my country understand what White - Grey - Black hat is, all they question is, IS IT SAFE? in which impossible to tell.

    From what i have experience (not in IM projects), it is better to deal with clients who knows nothing or clients who no A LOT, rather than a client knowing a lil bit of this and that, the most dangerous thing is that they really believe they are expert! hoooray, and yea i was fucked up that time.
     
  11. Emp1!

    Emp1! Junior Member

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    deleted...............
     
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  12. indianbill007

    indianbill007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yes I wanted to be honest and upfront about everything. And it bit me :/
     
  13. nighthaze

    nighthaze Newbie

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    I was going to write a lengthy response but then I saw this

    Yet, in the proposal you reveal the domain.

    Not sure if troll or just stupid.

    And seriously, you get rejected by a client and you post his work / info on a forum? I wouldn't want to be your client.
     
  14. apoorv

    apoorv Regular Member

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    Well, I've had my share of experiences with these people, and there's nothing you can really do about them.

    They will fall for the person who guarantees rankings, etc. and promises to do it white hat within a few days. We worked with a similar startup, VC funded, for about 9 months and although they were better than an average Indian company, I can imagine they would react to something like this in a similar fashion.

    I commend you though for being honest: a lot of people wouldn't mention the word grey hat or anything similar to get the account, although I would change the language and tone. What I generally do is not go the SEO way... it's easier to control their entire marketing, especially if they don't have a branch that deals with marketing (which most startups don't, obviously). It also gives you more control over their SEO, content, etc. It's easier to sell that, too. I generally ask clients like these to let me take care of their entire marketing, and help them out with their UI/UX, basic dev, etc.

    The risk with that sort of a thing is that if they come to the conclusion that you are doing grey hat work on their own, they will panic. That will happen even when you are doing only what's above board. The good thing is that they don't waste time and money by going for that person who is almost sure to get them nowhere. I'm pretty clear about what I do and that it takes time... it takes a couple of months, but once the value is clear, it gets easier.

    In your case though, the client is clueless and thinks that Google is obviously more equipped than you to provide him with better information. He's not going to learn, so it's futile to waste your time there. If the client showed any interest in understanding, I'd take some time to tell him how it works; if the client isn't interested, move on. :)
     
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  15. indianbill007

    indianbill007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yes removed it now. Thanks for pointing it out. Although this is public information, collected via third party tools, nothing being provided by him.
     
  16. Emp1!

    Emp1! Junior Member

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    +1

    You should remove it from your Dropbox.
     
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  17. bambu

    bambu Newbie

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    So, you screwed your business pitch and then came on hear to complain about it? Hopefully, your would be client doesn't come across their private communications to you on this forum.

    This sort of behavior is highly unprofessional and won't help you land future clients...

    If that is your company's name you mentioned, I would try and delete it, or better yet, the whole thread.

    Also, having worked both in house and as a consultant in various executive roles, IMO the client almost always believe they know more than you. Your job is not to get all uppity and offended, but to listen to them and try and fill their needs/solve their problem(s). It is their business after all.

    Next time, you need to gauge your client's appetite for risk and plan accordingly (white/grey/black/etc).

    Best of luck.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  18. Brentt

    Brentt Newbie

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    This is quite a norm with clients when they're not educated about the entire structure. And the bigger problem is that they reject reading the finer details and understanding it. There are even clients who accept proposals but later on will keep on insisting what they want despite trying to make them understand that's not going to help, nor will it work at all. One thing I've learned when making proposals though is to avoid terms that might scare the hell out of them, since they won't understand all the technicalities. If I need to use those terms, I take time to define them and, if needed, how search engines (and people) normally see and respond to those strategies.

    But I think it's good that he didn't accept your proposal, because with their attitude, they're most likely the kind whose first response is to pick on you or the strategies you used whenever something seems unfavourable to their business (even if your work actually has nothing to do with it).
     
  19. indianbill007

    indianbill007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Dude, I know I screwed it up royally and this is why am discussing it here, so I don't screw up future deals like this one.
     
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  20. nighthaze

    nighthaze Newbie

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    Ok, now that that's cleared...


    OP you need to start taking copywriting lessons STAT.


    The reason why your proposal got rejected isn't because you used the word "greyhat" (although that played a part in getting rejected) but in your overall style and tone of the letter.


    You positioned yourself poorly. That's why a "business head" like you call them will reject your proposal. They don't see you as an authority enough so they make the shots. Instead of YOU telling them what to do, THEY are telling you what to do.

    There's a couple of ways to make clients listen to you. The "easiest" way is, as I said above, to learn how to write copy. There are other factors, but if you get really good referrals, nothing will save your ass if you don't know how to talk to clients.

    There's a fine point between too much information, educating your client and trying to sell something.



    Lastly, your SEO chops are of the least importance here. I've no idea if the strategy will work without testing (a hunch tells me though that it's not a bad idea).

    If you want some book recommendations, etc.. shoot me a message. This is stuff that everybody should know, especially if you're working with clients. Your bottom line will only go up if you learn how to write copy / persuade people.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013