2nd, 3rd, 4th Opinions For Valued Client
Posted 09 September 2007 - 04:19 PM
I would so appreciate community input on an issue that has come up with a valued client. This client runs a successful website in the kitchenware field. First, allow me to explain that we have never done SEO work for this client. Several years ago we set up a shopping cart and created some graphics she wanted for her site design. On a long term basis, we have stayed on board to help her update her inventory. She's an extremely nice woman and we care about her and her business.
Several days ago, it came up in an email that she had been paying someone to do SEO work for her site for the past 2 years. I asked some questions about the nature of the SEO work, and it came about that she was paying a monthly fee to a company called Internet Advancement (internetadvancement.com). I went to look at this company's site and found information like the following there:
* Ongoing monthly submission programs to the major search sites (AOL, Google, MSN, Yahoo, Ask and others) plus Internet Advancement's partner network totaling over 5,000 different search engines, directories and Internet sites to give our clients the most exposure possible
* Verifiable, targeted traffic provided within 15 business days of program start
* Up-to-date optimization strategies based on constant research of changes in submission requirements and indexing schedules
* Comprehensive analysis of client products, market, and competition
* In-depth research and development of keywords and page content to determine relevance to the client's products and services as well as popularity in the online community.
* Integrated META tag optimization, including keyword content, to facilitate our process and to ensure that META code of our client's submitted page conforms to current standards
* Comprehensive keyword ranking reports broken down by individual search engine showing our client's continued progress
* Premium listing on our internet directory 4GreatBuys.com
I have briefly explained to the client how SEO companies offering search engine submissions and suggesting that meta tags improve search engine rankings are not held in favor by the legitimate SEO community. I also expressed my concerns regarding an SEO company submitting its clients to an internal directory.
For the record, the client was promised high rankings in major search engines, which to most of us means Google, Yahoo and MSN. They have never ranked in the top 10 for the majority of their keywords in these search engines, despite the promises of Internet Advancement.
Internet research has yielded the following article from our respected colleague, Rand Fishkin about this SEO company:
I also found these 2 pages:
Additionally, it seems that Internet Advancement was sued and forced to refund money to clients in Washington a couple of years ago. Research has yielded reports of customers' having their credit cards held hostage by Internet Advancement, being charged every month, despite demands that accounts be closed.
In sum, this strikes me as an extremely bad company with a history of scamming the public.
The client was extremely alarmed to receive my email about this, and is, understandably, nervous because she never heard about the warning signs of a bad SEO company. Despite lack of legitimate SEO work such as content development, linkbuilding, or even strong on-page optimization, her business does quite well and she makes a good monthly profit from her website. She is worried that if she stops paying Internet Advancement their monthly fee, her traffic and sales will be adversely affected. Rather than asking this client to go on my say-so about this, because she does not employ us as SEOs, I suggested I start this thread in a public forum so that others could offer her their opinions.
1)Give your opinion of the above company?
2)Share your thoughts as to potential risks involved in canceling her account with this company?
I will be directing the client to this thread so that she can read multiple opinions on this subject, and hopefully, feel better able to make a decision.
I, personally, am concerned having read several stories this year of bad SEO companies sabotaging customers' websites when an account is closed, but this isn't something I have had first hand experience of and would really appreciate hearing from anyone who has. It looks as though Internet Advancement may have submitted the site to a number of directories from which the client may actually be receiving traffic and I have some concerns about retaliatory actions a company with this kind of poor business history might take.
I would be very, very appreciative of the input of the community here and thank you for taking the time to read this.
Posted 09 September 2007 - 04:31 PM
And it hasn't changed, to the best of my knowledge. I would highly encourage your client to drop her relationship with the company as soon as possible.
Personally, I don't think your client stands to risk anything by severing their business relationship with this company as soon as possible. It's certainly possible they could lose money from an early contract termination clause, or something to that effect --- but that's nothing compared to the loss and risk likely to result from STAYING in the contract.
Edited by joedolson, 09 September 2007 - 04:32 PM.
Posted 09 September 2007 - 07:39 PM
I'd terminate the account this instant. If they try to keep the client (by holding the CC hostage), I'd contact the bank and stop paying them anyway.
Stopping working with this company will not hurt the site, because:
- the website is already in the search engines, so it doesn't need submission to them
- the site already has links from other sites and the link from the directory won't help much (or nor removing it would hurt)
- nothing and no one can hurt the website, even if he tried to (in respect to this particular case)
The money is better spent on something more productive, such as hiring a copywriter, maybe for on-page and conversion optimization.
Posted 10 September 2007 - 10:28 AM
Posted 11 September 2007 - 12:55 AM
I have directed the client to this thread and she has requested a termination of her account with Internet Advancement. Joe, your post was really a good one, and further backed up the SEOmoz one. Egol, I have told the client to do just what you've said.
I really appreciate everyone speaking up here. It helped!
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