Do Not Hire an SEO Company!

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As the owner of an SEO company it is somewhat contradicting to write such an article. However, there are many times when a company or business simply does not need to hire an SEO company.

While I hate to turn away business, I rather turn the business away now then face future hassles down the line. There are certain websites and people that are simply better off without a search engine marketing firm. Here are those that I find to be the most common.

Expect Everything Immediately

People and companies that fall into this category know who they are. White-hat search engine optimization takes time, effort, and patience. Understanding this is essential and those who do not have no business hiring an SEO company. Make no mistake that there are plenty of sales people that will likely promise instantaneous results in order to gain a company’s business. However there is no magic to SEO and a professional company often rather not take customers with unrealistic expectations.

I Can Do It Myself

It is a fruitless effort to convince people they are not capable of achieving their desired results without alienating them to a certain extent. While it is possible, typically it is not worth the effort.

Those who have managed their own website for years will want to keep managing it for years. It might not have anything to do with search results for some. Many people enjoy trying to beat their competitors all by themselves. I also know few people who enjoy having their ego stomped on.

Cannot Make a Decision

Hiring any SEO company involves a certain degree of risk and trust with the people associated with the firm. Companies have to trust their website to people they may not ever meet in person. This is a huge leap of faith. When a company approaches an SEO firm and make a comment such as, “We have tried for years to find a company that can deliver”; take it as a warning sign.

Certainly there is a level of interest or the company never would have contacted yours, but be careful not to put your SEM firm on a pedestal. Chances are if a firm has not selected an SEO company after years of research, they are not suddenly going to hire your company.

This is by no means an all inclusive list. However, in the increasingly saturated field of search engine optimization companies can save themselves an enormous amount of time by not spending it with prospects that are unlikely to hire an SEO company. On the flipside of the coin, those individuals and companies who fall into the categories above can also save themselves time by simply realizing they do not want to hire an SEO company.

As the president of Agilis Marketing, Brent Yorzinski has assisted numerous firms achieve top rankings on Google, Yahoo, and the other major search engines.

Brent Yorzinski

Brent Yorzinski

Brent Yorzinski founded the SEO Company Agilis Marketing. He has successfully assisted countless companies achieve top search results on the other major search engines such... Read Full Bio
Brent Yorzinski
Brent Yorzinski

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  • Website Optimization – Terry Reeves

    I hate to turn down business as well. So far, I have not encountered any of the above yet. However, I have had my fair share of those who are ready to commit to a SEO program in “a few weeks”.

    Some of these guys have been saying that for months. I am here when they are ready.

  • Sante

    We all face the same kind of problems no matter where we are 🙂 I hear the same stories very often – the only solution is to segment the marketplace and do business with the right (potential) Clients


    I have had countless clients that said “all you did is put some content on my page, I’m not paying for that.” They don’t take into count the keyword,keyword density research, added source code optimization, and industry research it takes to write the content.

    Good post. there are some clients you just don’t want to work with 🙂

  • Moonbounces

    That depends if you can afford to turn down client. For sure many companies just can’t afford that luxury. 🙂

  • Courtney

    Good post. I think client education comes into play here also. If clients understand what an SEO campaign entails then they are probably more likely to appreciate the time and work that is required and more likely to take up and continue with the services provided.

  • john andrews

    Add one more… the inquiring potential client who “knows there is something wrong” and is looking for “the SEO person who knows how to fix it”. She usually also is pretty sure it is related to (a competitor pulling some dirty technology trick, a site architecture problem, a ban unfairly imposed by Google due to what some former employee did, etc).

  • Pablo Palatnik

    I just wrote a blog post on this titled, SEO Is Bringing Sexy Back. I think Courtney is right about client education.

    I also think as many clients as there are who are still clueless about SEO, more and more clients understand the competition and the difficulty of hiring the right person/company for the job.

    Some are willing to pay what it takes and some are willing to pay peanuts.

    Like any other industry, you’ll always have good clients and bad clients.

  • SEO

    Is human nature to expect things to happen when they want and fast especially if they pay for that service. Will never change and depends on each person capacity to understand how seo companies works and how seo works in general.
    Interesting article 🙂

  • Ramenos

    I thing main problem with SEO company is long tail work. Some seo companies work for you during 5 or 6 months… After, they start to forget you whereas you have to work everyday in SEO for a website…

    All is not done in just “6 months”. As far as I am concerned, that’s the main problem with seo company, even good seo company. However, great article 😉 !

  • Denver Home Refinance

    My wife is doing my SEO. We are doing it ourselves to make sure that it gets done right. Link building, for example, needs to be done everyday. I don’t see how an SEO company is going to comment on forums on my behalf everyday when they know nothing about mortgages. How are they going to write articles about mortgages and post them to ezine? How are they going to guest blog on a top mortgage blog? There are a lot of things an SEO company cannot do, at least not do as well as you can do it yourself. There is also the problem with black hat techniques. If you hire a firm, you have no idea if they are or are not using black hat tactics.

    As far as value goes, SEO people have to build it for clients. Rather than keep your knowledge under your hat, I would share it with the clients in a lengthy presentation. I know that you don’t want to share what you know for fear that the client will do it themselves, but it’s really the only way to build value. If the client can “see” what you plan to do, they can “see” the value. Most companies aren’t going to want to do it themselves anyway, although you could lose a few. Most of us don’t like paying for something that we cannot see nor understand. If you can resolve that conundrum, you will gain more clients.

  • Adam Maywald

    One of the biggest problems I see in business is the undervaluing of SEO. They know, as of right now, it’s the “end-all be-all” of marketing. They hear tales of ‘excellent ROI!’ and ‘I made 80% more money this year then last’. They want all that too, but, as some have said already, they are uneducated – so they get suckered into the countless “SEO for $350” jobs, which provide no type of GOOD ROI.

    @ Denver Home Refinance –
    What you’re talking about is more internet marketing, rather then SEO. SEO is about ranking in the search engines. Posting on industry sites and getting press about your site/business isn’t SEO. Also, hiring a talented writer is very doable to post to blogs/ezines/directories/etc… I also tell my clients that they should also play an active role in building their brand online. Contact friends and family to provide links on their site. Have a huge list of vendors? Give them a shout to give a link.

    As for finding if the company is ethically NOTIFYING you about black-hat tactics, you should be responsible for asking for references and getting more knowledge about the company. Any good SEO company will have 5-10 references for you to call all and get the real scoop.

    Finally, as for sharing knowledge. I don’t mind, but I find that most client’s don’t care. They have a business to run. What they want to know at the end of the day, is that they’re $5k investment is going to bring them $100k worth of new business. And really, that’s all that they should care about. What’s in it for them. Not so much the how (at least in-depth). But, as I said, I’m always happy to spend a couple hours on the phone and discuss our tactics (granted they’ve signed and we have a check) 🙂

  • Denver Home Refinance


    Posting to industry sites is indeed SEO. It is link building, is it not? Changing page titles, validating code, sprinkling keywords, keyword research and whatnot is the easy stuff. The really hard part is the link building. Can you optimize properly without link building?

  • Website Optimization – Terry Reeves

    – Denver

    You can optimize without link building but you will not rank and that is what all of the work is for. I encounter many websites with proper on page optimization and very few links. They don’t rank though.

  • Adam Maywald

    Of course, link building is an important part. But getting articles on industry related sites doesn’t always mean you’re going to get a link. Sometimes, to get ahold of someone at those industry sites is such a time burden, that same time could be focused into an effective social media campaign, which would warrant a lot more then just one link, as would a blog post.

  • Denver Home Refinance

    I too have not seen a site rank that didn’t have sufficient links. Links are crucial and my point being that it looks difficult to me for a professional SEO to obtain links on behalf of a client. It’s not that I do not value SEO professionals. In fact, I plan to have a professional review my site and progress periodically and make suggestions. The sites that I see ranking well are those who have in-house web staff and those who have their own Internet presence through commenting, blogging and article writing on sites that already have page on optimization. I think that things are getting competitive enough that you can no longer plunk down $5k for SEO, spend more money on links and leave it at that. I think that the client is going to need to spend time daily on their own continuing their SEO efforts to continue ranking well. SEOs are going to turn into consultants rather than turnkey solutions.

  • James – Dolphin SEO

    The “I Can Do It Myself” problem is definitely and issue. Once issue I had recently is a company director wanting SEO from us but then the IT guy basically slating all the techniques that we used. The site in question had 1 page in total and the IT guy said they did not need extra pages as they decided it was not worthwhile. I am perfectly happy with people questioning my techniques but he completely denied the need for the most basic SEO techniques.

  • David Temple

    You definitely need to turn away clients that don’t want to partner with you in your seo efforts and look at it as a long term investment and not a one off. It’s a simple and as difficult as setting expectations.

    Sometimes clients are impatient and may change to another seo and all the work and the original seo did comes to fruition but it looked like the new seo worked miracles.

  • MendyO

    After being duped by an SEO firm for a great deal of money on our first website, I decided to go at it alone on our next website. I educated myself and after working at it, I achieved excellent success (top 5 ranking for nearly all my keywords like “glass jewelry, glass pendant, glass earrings” in Google). Unfortunately, I am stalling out and can’t provide the attention that this important activity requires in order to drive and increase qualified traffic to our site.

    My challenge to any SEO firm today is not to get me top ranking for some obscure keyword, but to add value in a meaningful way. I believe that SEO and SEO firms have great value, but to me that value is measured not in keyword ranking but in the quality and quantity of traffic that is directed to my site. Ultimately, it all about the conversion rate and generating sales.

    Sooo … If an SEO firm came to me and charged me based on meaningful AND measurable results (increased qualified traffic and increased sales) I would gladly pay to work with such a company. If I ran a multi-billion dollar website, that is how I would compensate my employees providing SEO services.

    Anyone up to the challenge? 🙂

  • SEO Videos

    @ Mendy – Exactly at the end of the days it is conversions that bring you money & not the high rankings. Also I would suggest just play with PPC and get a feel of which keywords convert for your site & then trying to get higher organic rankings for thart keyword.

  • Seo Design Solutions

    I have to agree with you as well. Sometimes all people really need is an excellent content development strategy as opposed to SEO.

    If SEO companies do take on work from any of the types you described above, it is usually more of a hassle and you would have been much better off not taking them on as a client.

  • CBR

    I have just 1 external client and he does exactly as I tell him and as a result he has top rankings in Google. I’ve had to explain we are in bed together for the long term and when I say send me a check then he sends it no questions asked. I’ve learned a great deal from taking on a client in a market I would not otherwise be in.

  • SEO Web Design

    It is difficult to perform SEO for a large organization which will involves several levels before coming to a decision. I will always encourage clients to read on our article on SEO is not a magic wand before they decide to outsource their SEO campaign to us. Sometimes it is our responsibility to educate clients on the basic knowledge of SEO.

  • Goran Giertz – Website Marketing

    I would agree that its best to say “no” to business as certain companies expectations are outrageous.

    We have a simple rule. How much more business would you like to receive. Once we have determined this we set a budget and if SEO does not cover it to start we pay for the results.

    Business big or small are all looking for the same thing and that is ROI.

    For those that choose to do it themselves, well we all are doing it ourselves, so let them do their thing.

    We can all only do what we can do.

    Wishing everyone a exSeollent 2008

  • Greg Website Design South Africa

    As long as a client is informed upfront of what they can expect then… they cannot be upset.

  • Mark

    Nice post. SEO company should educated client more about seo. Clients should understand seo cannot be done overnight, unless they turning into black hat ones.

  • Jacques Snyman for SEO Results

    SEO is a bit of an arcane science to most customers…they do however understand search engine placement, and if you can show them front page rankings for other customers, and explain the process thoroughly, buy in shouldn’t be a problem.

    But then you will come across the creatures that no matter what, nothing will be good enough. We’ve all had these clients, and as you grow older and wiser in business you start developing a sixth sense when it comes to difficult, demanding customers.

  • Liz Jamieson

    Denver Home Refinance
    You are so right. I am a web developer and SEO consultant and I have now changed my strategy to help small businesses do their own SEO rather than have me do it for them.

    Nowadays so much of the off page stuff is content driven and the only people that can really do that are the clients. In order for the articles, blog posts and other content rich link baits that exist to work they have to be good.

    I tried outsourcing some articles in a weak moment and you should see the drivel I was handed.

  • Local Search Marketing

    Very nice marketing tactic. Most is tru

  • Automotive Social Network

    It is best that you hire your own SEO consultant. Engaging a company will also stand to lose more.

  • Chaitanya Patel

    This is what just the fear in competitive market.
    Nothing else more than this.

  • Mr.SEO

    well SEO u get the fruit after 6-8 months if u know ur strategy.By simply going through google guideling u can not do the traffic gainging or bouncing seo of any also needs lots of experiment and experience with it. i doubt some one will experiment with his site. if he does he is simply wasting his time to grow his business which a good seo firm like us can bring in 6 months.

  • davidjames

    You cannot just expect it to be done over night. No matter whatever SEO organization you have taken help of,
    it is almost sure that it would take at least a couple of months to get your website on the top ranking
    of the search engine results.It can take around 3 to 6 months before any backlinks will affect the PR rating of your website.
    Now a days you can not survive among search engine rankings by just building links with other websites,
    but you have to updating items that will give stable rankings to your website.
    Suggest Hire professional SEO Better than PPC
    Source w–.seventhfoundation.c–

  • BMCD

    Interesting. I am just getting into the whole SEO bit and i know that creating links and getting things indexed does take some time. It’s certainly frustrating to hear everyone’s opinion and try to pan out what is good advice and what is bad. Building a solid website is only the beginning. I’ve looked into SEO software and wonder if those products works as well. How do SEO companies get results and why can’t anyone get the same results? That’s what I want to know. What do they have or what do they do to that makes them worth paying for??