A couple of months ago I was looking at getting a small businesses website working for them a bit better than it is at the moment. We looked at their competitors and it seemed that most of them used their sites as case studies for the work they’d done.
We did the obvious techie things, updated their CMS (WordPress for you guys who know these things), sorted out a custom skin, changed some of the templates accordingly for sensible URLs relating to their business. We hoped that this would lead to improvements to their ranking and make their site work better for them. But we could only do so much without specialist assistance.
So we waded into the muddy world of SEO… Now I’ll start by saying on my previous dealings with SEO companies I’ve found them to be the double glazing salesmen of the IT world unfortunately. Promising the world and results they can no way deliver. From a techie philosophical perspective as well I think the likes of Google give me accurate results from what I search for, and some SEO companies seem to bridge into what I would class as dubious business and technical behaviour.
What we wanted was:
- The technical expertise to advise us on getting the most from our site organically.
- A reasonable results based fee structure.
- The business and technical acumen to get us up the rankings on Google/Bing/etc.
Putting my business hat on I came up with the following questions to ask those we came across:
- Can you put me in touch with your existing customers or at the very least give me testimonials to the kind of work we’re after?
- How do you get my site higher up in the rankings on the various search engines?
- What kind of contractual basis will this be under?
- What analysis will you do for us for how we can improve?
I found that a lot of times that speaking to a techie as opposed to a sales person was paramount to getting some proper answers and some accurate ideas as to what we were going to get.
To cut a very long story (and a long project for that matter) we went through the first three pages of SEO for Manchester UK, and gave the ones a ring who seemed legit and professional. Quite funny how many companies promised us the number one slot on Google, to be fair I straight away say this as a non-starter. My Grandpa always used to say if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Eventually we came up with a company called SEO Next based in Manchester, who were able to give myself and my business satisfactory answers to the above questions! We were put in touch with a selection of very happy customers, they explained in technical and non-technical terms how they did what they do, a month by month contract for the work, and plus they gave us some excellent advice on the website overhaul we were performing at the same time.
All in all another project done well, I think the results speak for themselves. The site went from page 8, to the bottom of page 1 within 2 months. Financially it was more than reasonable, and didn’t dent the marketing budget too much. So again, a big thank you goes to SEO Next and our technical advisor Matthew Booth.
(PS, I usually try to maintain a certain degree of anonymity in my postings, however I spoke with SEO Next and they were happy to be mentioned in this way!)