Many of your customers have posted positive reviews on your Google+ page; your email is full of correspondence (after your new video hit YouTube) regarding how much your customers love your business ethics and your service. The number one goal to you is providing top-notch customer service coupled with an extremely sellable service you can be proud of.
You have also started to get emails and reviews from online shoppers conveying the message that your website is old and overdue for redesign. The branding is a bit outdated and the logo doesn’t render correctly when increasing display resolution. In all seriousness, the company website looks hideous, but you have loyal customers that have been with you from the first dollar.
You have come up with a great idea regarding increasing traffic to your website. Your online reputation needs rebranding and the website needs a new look as well as updated HTML5 code. Business has been good, the budget is available to spend and you are most importantly, motivated to begin the project.
Without any online marketing in the first 9 years of the business, you managed to defy all the odds and make it in the business world. The domain name has aged 12 years and has accumulated 79,349 backlinks; the link profile looks good as the average trust flow of the backlinks is 41. The PageRank is a 5 and your inbox is inundated with requests for links to relevant websites in your industry.
The Internet Marketing Agency – What to Look For
The word is out to all SEO consultants, agencies, and smaller online marketing companies in the local area; you are searching for SEO and web development services for rebranding as well as a 2013 cutting-edge website. So cutting edge, your mind bleeds just thinking about the futuristic design.
The impromptu mockup you’ve put together with Photoshop (I know, you have learned it along the way and become quite dandy at basic functions of the cool Adobe software) looks great and now visions of new traffic streams converting at double the rate seep into your thoughts.
The service you provide is big-ticket and the ROI may only be five new clients as you have learned this from a reliable confidant at the local Chamber of Commerce. The cost for the new and dazzling shiny toy in your mind is realistically $50,000 and that is an acceptable number for you considering the cost of reputable web design and development & SEO. Your go-to-guy at the Chamber of Commerce has brought you up to speed with the pitfalls for the project; the readiness and motivation displayed on your behalf is admirable.
The Black Hat – Search Engine Oblivious
A company has emailed you ranting about the 10,000 backlinks they will get for you in 1 week and the new WordPress they will build for your current 4,381 page website in three days. Delete the email immediately. Delete it and do not look back. Why do I say this?
Red Flag #1
If you found the cure for Cystic Fibrosis and a press release was submitted, you will definitely benefit from the 10,000 links in the first 24 hours because the search engines understand the ridiculous spike in traffic and links is justified. However, you have not found the cure for Cystic Fibrosis and there is a high probability that you never will. So your 10,000 links will get you future invoices from reputable SEO companies for a link detox.
Red Flag #2
The business you have built over the course of 12 years is much more deserving than of a website thrown together in three days. I know that delete button has been clicked in the email application as you are hip to the game.
The Lumbergh – Search Engine Ohh, Um, Yeah
This isn't the first negotiation undertaken on your behalf as the term “seasoned veteran” has been bestowed upon you by your colleagues. The right questions to ask are in the black book resting in the front pocket of your attaché case.
After being told everything slick as rain and the wool is firmly pulled over your willing-to-believe head, the platinum question of the day reverberates from your vocal cords.
“May I speak to three references…recent clients?”
Red Flag #1
“Ooh, um, yeah…I can get those for you. I will email you the links.”
“Email me the links? Your laptop is right in front of you; can you just show me so I can call the contact number to speak with your client?”
Red Flag #2
“Oh, we had to take a few down due to non-payment so I will have to dig up some old invoices and email you. Don’t worry, how’s about I call your admin assistant with the information?”
By now the thought of $50,000 just turned into $100,000 with the cost involved in fixing a broken website and Sloppy Engine Optimization. Better move on to the next one.
The Don Draper – Shakedown Engine Optimization
When you walked in to their office, a $10,000 a month digs by the way, you notice a young woman sitting at the front desk, but where is everyone else?
After an hour of having all of the pressing questions answered regarding the business end of things, the Internet marketing agency CEO you're speaking with asks if he can bring in the lead developer and lead SEO into the meeting.
“I would feel 100 percent comfortable if you directed any further questions regarding the technical process to my developer and SEO guy. May I call them in?”
“That would be great. I have several questions regarding the deliverables and timeframe as well as the steps you will take to ensure the website is done correctly. This is my livelihood as I am sure you understand.”
“Mr. Ethical-Stand-Up-Businessman, this is my lead developer.”
“Hello, thank you for taking the time to speak with me about my website.”
“Sure, I always have time for some website tech-talk.”
“Mr. Ethical-Stand-Up-Businessman, this is my SEO guy.”
“Thank you both for taking the time out of your day to speak with me about this project. I have spent the last 12 years of my life building my business and have become quite successful. It is time to move to the next level.”
After the daze has worn off from the thick stench of high dollar cologne and a quick gaze at their shoes, you notice the custom tailoring of the suits donned by the two new men at the table.
“That is a very nice suit. Where did you get it?”
Red Flag #1
“Oh, this ole’ thing? Got it at Macy’s in New York, year-end closeout got a great deal on it. I am jocund you are fond of it.”
That is not a suit bought at Macy’s as you know. The name just will not come to you…until you remember speaking with your daughter endlessly about her passion while at Central Saint Martins. How could you forget, she always mentioned it by name?
That suit is a not from Macy’s. That is William Fioravanti Bespoke. When you’ve seen the pictures 1,000 times in the emails from your daughter, you know. There is no way this guy is wearing that suit in this meeting. Unless…
You have listened to these two slicksters for an hour now and they have assured you and reassured your every concern about the development and optimization process. For some reason they cannot answer your question regarding the word canonical. You remember, one of the questions the Chamber of Commerce colleague suggested you mention when you felt as if your leg was being pulled.
“Can you tell me how you could use a canonical thing to make sure Google does not penalize my website?”
The William Fioravanti Bespoke was crisp as he leaned towards the table, barely any movement on his shoulders and around his wrists.
Red Flag #2
“Absolutely, Mr. Ethical-Stand-Up-Businessman; the term you are referring to is in regard to The Roman Canon Laws. Are you a religious man? I did not know we were planning a blog about the bible. We are more than delighted to accommodate your every wish and provide such a paramount Internet Web Page site for your future business endeavors.”
Watch your step on the way out the door as there is a high probability of losing your footing and succumbing to a terrible fall from the oil slick pouring out of their mouths.
*Note – Keep an eye out for the dev and SEO wearing expensive suits; proceed with negotiation if wearing jeans and sneakers. OK, OK…wearing a suit is not a bad thing for geeky-folk; wearing one that costs as much as the development and SEO project is a much different story.
As a business owner you need to be informed about the process to be undertaken and the hard earned investment to be so freely handed over.
- Be sure to have a basic understanding of the answers to the questions you will ask.
- Consult a friend or colleague whom has been through the process of rebranding and redesign in the past.
- Get a feel for the things that can go wrong; because they will.
- Ask around for reputable developers, SEO professionals, and Internet marketing agencies.
- Always request references of past clients and ask to review their work.
- Set goals and benchmarks for the project and ask for deliverables on a scheduled timeline.
- Determine the overview of the work they will be doing instead of accepting the “we are going to make your site #1 in Google!” canned response.
- If it feels too good to be true or you are told about the special guarantee the company offers for rankings, be concerned about doing business with that company.
If you can add any more website pitfalls to avoid or helpful hints to business owners searching for a dev and SEO, please help our readers and submit a comment below.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!