5: Rating your SEO provider

5: Rating your SEO provider
Is your SEO any good? In today's episode, we talk about how to find out if you are getting what you pay for from your SEO provider. Is it practical cutting-edge advice or rehash old-school strategies that no longer work.

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Darryl King: Welcome to My Bloody Website. The podcast show where we talk all things online, for small or medium business owners or executives who still refer to their bloody website. I'm Darryl King your co-host.

Edmund Pelgen: And I'm Edmund Pelgen.

Darryl King: Welcome, Edmund. Episode 5, we're here!

Edmund Pelgen: Unbelievable, we're still here!

Darryl King: How's it all been going? How have things been traveling, since we got the first four out the door, how you feeling?

Edmund Pelgen: Good, not too bad at all. Some good positive feedback, which has been great.

Darryl King: Great to see people actually listening, people giving a toss. Lots of people on Facebook, and others signing up, which is great. We have had some feedback, you know, about intros and outros. People might notice today that I have a shiny new webcam, quality's better.

Edmund Pelgen: And a new microphone.

Darryl King: I have a new microphone, yeah, so I have a big device thing over here. But yes, we've had a few people say intro and outro, and we deliberately didn't add those to the podcast. We kinda didn't want it to feel that it was so much polished, you know all corporatized sort of ... It is supposed to be a conversation between two people to be informative. Although I think we might hold a friend of ours in the U.S. to task on that. He said he was gonna custom write an intro, and he will go unnamed, but we will see if he delivers.

Edmund Pelgen: We'll see how it looks.

Darryl King: We'll see how it goes. Right, should we get on with the show? Episode 5, rating your SEO provider, and I know this is gonna go straight into your area of expertise Ed, and we are going to be discussing lots of things. But I think maybe, [inaudible 00:01:35] by rating your SEO provider. This is about helping small or medium business owners that have websites, right? That's what the podcast is about, and we want to help inform them, that they know about topics, so that they can work with their providers in a productive way, and so it's better for everyone.

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely.

Darryl King: When we talk about rating them, we're talking about, how do you know if you're getting value, and it's working? Why don't you start perhaps, with describing ... Cause we don't want to make assumptions here, there's a whole range of people that understand things. What does SEO, the term stand for, but then when we talk about a person that's an SEO, which is really your SEO provider, you wanna give us some background. What does all that mean?

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely. I should preface my comments first, by saying, the first thing I often ask people is, do you ... I try to gage what do they understand about SEO, and that helps me to explain the topic in a more appropriate manner. I ask them, do you understand what we're doing here, what we're talking about? A lot of people do mix up SEO with PPC, right? They just think it's this online stuff. From our perspective, SEO is anything. Search engine optimization, is anything that you can do to improve the amount of relevant, targeted traffic to your website, with the goal of selling more, or generating more leads. It's that simple, fundamentally. It's all about-

Darryl King: Do you wanna go back and say that again? [inaudible 00:02:59]

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, so very simplistically, forget about the magic words and the voodoo. SEO, search engine optimization, is about optimizing your website so it can get found by relevant, targeted traffic, right? People looking for your products and services, in your area. Those are the relevant ones, online. And the reason it exists, is because a lot of websites get built, that run like three legged horses, they don't. Right?

Darryl King: [inaudible 00:03:27] right? It goes back, field of dreams. Build and they will come, that's the complete opposite online, isn't it?

Edmund Pelgen: I say this straight out, 80% of the work that I do, 80% of the sites that I start with, all have fundamentally the same issues. They're either slow loading, they've got technical issues blocking how they perform. Google can't figure out what the heck they're about because they're optimized for the right phrases or language. And it's the owner of the business doesn't realize that they're this poorly set up, and it's something that-

Darryl King: Well yeah, so before you ... And yeah, they'll be discussions about some of those points today, about what they mean. That's the preface. What type of people, that businesses have engaged, to do SEO. Who is an SEO. You obviously work in the areas of online marketing, and so you can be considered an SEO, but there are different types of people. Who are they, what do they ... And then maybe, once you've done that, tell people what types of services might you be getting. How do you know that you're actually dealing with an SEO provider? What would you be getting from them?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, absolutely. Most small business will go out to Google, and search for an SEO in their location, right? And they will look at page one, and they will think, these guys are the people I need to talk to. And inevitably, the phrase SEO when you're talking about, oh who do I talk to, encompasses a couple of different things. A lot of times there are those small businesses in the region providing these digital marketing services, and they might have one principal with a small team behind him, or an [inaudible 00:05:06] team.

Darryl King: They could be an agency, right? We consider them an agency.

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, but there are a lot of smaller, local agencies then as well, I guess. The next one up might be a bigger agency where, instead of dealing with one principal, you'll be dealing with a larger agency that provides SEO services, and inevitably, the person you will talk to will be either an account manager, or a sales person, right? Who may not be the technician, and that's something that I think is really important that you need to understand, because sometimes an account manager will talk to you, and explain things, but they won't really understand themselves. They're just a little bit ahead of you on the track, right?

The next type of person that's out there, is someone who would call themselves an SEO consultant. They may not have a huge team, but they are typically an experienced person, who have been working in the space of SEO for a few years. They know what they're on about, they keep up to date with the industry, and they like to provide advice and guidance. And they can do lots of these things that we're talking about, right? That should help you improve you're-

Darryl King:  [inaudible 00:06:07] but it's more of a one on one relationship. You know that they're elbows deep into your marketing.

Edmund Pelgen: Correct.

Darryl King: Would they be ... It may be true though, that larger agency you talked about, sometimes they might be a division, or a subset, of a advertising or marketing agency as well. Rather than just being a large online agency, they might be ... Hey, we're a whole ad agency bracket, and we have a SEO branch, or division. Is that correct?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, absolutely. The challenge there, and I don't want to be ... It's not absolute, but a lot of times, you'll get these traditional marketing agencies, or print agencies, who move into the digital marketing space, cause they wanna grow-

Darryl King: [inaudible 00:06:51]

Edmund Pelgen: Sorry?

Darryl King: Don't you be negative now! Sorry.

Edmund Pelgen:  No, I'm not! And here's the thing, I think people need to understand this, right? They'll start from there, and then they'll provide these extra services. Now, typically, if they don't have the technician on staff, then they'll outsource that. They'll either form a relationship with another consultant, or what label a service, or another SEO agency that does just the SEO for them. You gotta be aware of that. In this industry, there's a lot of outsourcing, or white labeling. Not that that's a bad thing, if you're outsourcing, or white labeling to the right person, but just be aware that sometimes who you're talking to, may not be the person who actually does the work.

Darryl King: Really, what we're saying there is, the distance ... What's the distance between the person doing the work, and you, and maybe the person you deal with? This will probably hold true for development as well, right? Building sites, building any sort of graphic design work. You might be talking to an account manager, but that person isn't hands on, they don't necessarily have the background. They're part of the project management team, so they might not be able to tell you the right things ... They're getting fed information. I guess there's a gap there, right? If you're too far removed, you know, that might lead into, probably ... Maybe later we'll talk about, how do you know the value ... What types of services would these people be doing, lets' stick with that. We now know, these are the different types that will provide services, so when you're looking as a business owner, or I need some SEO done, there's a whole scale, and they'll be different costs. We'll talk about value [inaudible 00:08:29].

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely, absolutely.

Darryl King: What sorts of services should you be getting from an SEO provider?

Edmund Pelgen: Yep. Well before you even talk about the services, the conversation they should be having with you, as the customer, an SEO should come in, and they should tell you that they're gonna assess your business. They're gonna figure out where you are now, right? And then figure out where you wanna be, and then their job is the middle bit, to figure out how to get you from A to B, right? They should be talking about the process.

What they do is, as part of assessing your website they're gonna figure out, okay, what are you ranking for now? What are people finding your website for now, right? The keyword phrase is the traffic, where's it coming from? They need to make an assessment of that, right? Then they need to identify, okay, what is stopping your site from getting found, generating traffic, generating sales? What is stopping you? Is it a technical issue, is it a content issue, is it a website issue? All those sorts of things, and once they've identified those technical issues, they can help implement fixes, right? Whether that's with the web developer, or themselves. That's the first thing. Identifying issues, and fixing them.

The second thing that you should be getting out of your SEO provider is, they should be making sure that you have the proper tracking and measurement systems in place. Now at a very basic level, that just means having Google analytics installed, having Google search console, so you can track and measure that the heck's happening on your site, because if you don't know how many visitors came, if you don't know where they came to the site, then how are you gonna judge the performance of your provider, right? How are you gonna judge-

Darryl King: That's probably the most important bit, isn't it?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, absolutely.

Darryl King: We talk about this. People don't have analytics installed and search console, how could you measure anything? How can you-

Edmund Pelgen: You can't.

Darryl King:  You don't know.

Edmund Pelgen: You can't. There's not costs associated with analytics, it's a free service provided by Google, so that should be-

Darryl King: There's a cost in not having it.

Edmund Pelgen: Correct.

Darryl King: Because you now make bad decisions, yeah.

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, so once they have done that, once they fixed technically issues, once they've made sure you've got tracking and measurement systems in place, then they can go and start figuring out, with your help, understanding your market, right? Understanding who your customers are-

Darryl King: Hang on. You gotta stop there. That's a pretty important phrase you just said. With your help.

Edmund Pelgen: Yes.

Darryl King: Right.

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely.

Darryl King: Well what does that mean, with your help? Because I think this is a problem, people [inaudible 00:10:48] responsible [inaudible 00:10:50] here, and then sometime later, it's not working for me. This agency, or this provider's bad.

Edmund Pelgen: That's right-

Darryl King: What does with your help, actually mean?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, so an SEO provider is gonna come to you and say, "Tell me about your business, tell me about your customers, tell me about your market." You need to invest the time to help educate the provider, the SEO person, about your business. You need to help them understand who your customers are, where they reside, the areas that you service geographically. All those sorts of things, right? You need to help them out. When an SEO asks you for information about your product, or your service, or the questions that customers ask, you need to be there to provide that information to them, because if you don't, and they make assumptions, and they go away and do things without specific guidance from you, then you can't really blame them when they optimize for the wrong keyword phrase, or they try to rank you in an area that you don't serve. Things like that. You need to be actively involved in the process, that's what I mean by that.

Darryl King: Yeah, okay. Other services ... Yeah, sorry I interrupted you.

Edmund Pelgen: That's fine. Once they have a good understanding of the customers, where they are, all those sorts of things, the way that it translates to your website, is they'll go and do keyword research, content research, topical research, right? They wanna understand how these potential customers look for stuff online. When they're looking for a product or service that they wanna buy, what do they type in? When they've got a problem, or a pain point, or their experiencing issues, where do they go to search for solutions, right? Solutions, problems, all those sorts of things. They're understanding how a person goes on the journey before they buy your product. We'll help them do keyword research to identify the phrases. And once they ... We know the missed keywords, and everyone's chasing the rankings for these keyword phrases, but it's not just one keyword phrase, it's important to understand all of the keyword phrases that people would search for, that mirror the journey that they have along the path to buying your product. That's keyword research fundamentally. Once they understand that, then they can take those keywords to your site, and they'll optimize the pages, and the content on your site, so that Google knows, hey this person's looking for a plumber in Sydney, here's a page that is optimized for a plumber in Sydney.

Darryl King: There's sorts of things you can do. There's giving ordinates, we're gonna have market discussions, and marketing understanding. We're gonna have keyword research. You're talking about, hey now we're gonna start doing ... On page adjustment is what you're talking about.

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, they'll write a page, what's called a page title and a meta description, and those are the two little bit of texts that appear up in the organic search results. When you do a Google search, all those little listings, some good practitioner or SEO, has written a keyword rich, compelling page title, and a meta description, and that's what shows up. That helps Google figure out, okay, what is this page about. It's probably the number one on page, or on sight thing that an SEO practitioner can do, is improving that.

Darryl King: Without getting too much into technical, cause we'll have other episodes where-

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, absolutely.

Darryl King: Focused on ... You know. Hey this is the [inaudible 00:13:58] I've got an SEO provider to help me do the stuff, and we've kinda got the basics done. But moving forward, just in summary, cause there's some other stuff I wanna cover as well, but what other services now ... Because it's not just about doing a meta tag and-

Edmund Pelgen: Oh no absolutely.

Darryl King: It's not, and obviously there's a long play. SEO doesn't happen overnight. We'll talk about why, why not, later, but there's stuff that you need them to do. I wanna be relevant for this topic, and what sorts of services, other sorts of things ... Just in summary, what types of things will providers likely suggest, or suggest you, that you need to consider doing to improve how you-

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely. I mean, they should be talking to you about the types of content that you need to be creating for you business. At the end of the day, people do searches online, they wanna find something. They won't find anything if you haven't written anything about it, if you don't have the content that's there to be found. You need to write good, relevant content, not just fluff pieces, but stuff that you know your potential customers want to read about. They should be helping you, or writing that stuff.

Darryl King: Okay, that's what I was gonna ask. Some companies might have a resource to write, others won't. A provider could potentially offer you the ability that will produce content for you.

Edmund Pelgen: Yes, and in addition to that-

Darryl King: It's a service that they could do ... But they should be working with your [inaudible 00:15:32].

Edmund Pelgen: Yes. Now-

Darryl King:  Content strategy, yeah. There's a plan, hey what's the plan, the content plan. We need content. You're gonna write it, we're gonna write it, whatever, someone's gotta write the content, yeah?

Edmund Pelgen: That's right. And look, at the end of the day too, a lot of this content and all this sort of stuff, the big bear in the room is, this idea of link building, correct? I mean that ultimately ... An SEO is gonna be link building for you, right? What that means, is if no one understands what a link is, cause I ask this question and sometimes people don't know what links are and why they're important. THey're probably the most important off page thing that influences your rankings. Simply put, a link is, if you're on a website and you see an opportunity to click here to visit someone else's website, or to navigate somewhere else, that's a link. And they're effectively like votes, and the guys at Google figured out, hey this ... They mirrored the real world where people would point to other people, and you know, if you asked for a good lawyer and Darryl said, well he's a great guy, he's trustworthy, right? You're effectively linking other people to that person, and they figured out that online, if we look at the links from one website to another, well a website with more relevant, quality links, should rank higher, right? It's more trusted, it's this ranking scale. That's how they identified that links, good quality links, are a way of ranking-

Darryl King: So a service that someone could be offering one of these providers, is link building, which is a dangerous term.

Edmund Pelgen: Correct.

Darryl King: That's another type of [inaudible 00:16:59]. Okay, so I'm gonna ask you a little bit more about some of the questions you might ask around those topics you're evaluating. Outside of the ... We covered kind of the ... I mean I know that there's more granularity to it, but we've talked about your site, understanding your market, your keyword research. Obviously there was an audit at the beginning just to see where you are, and everything you know. We talked about content production and all that. We talked about link building, anything else that wraps that up for the audience we're talking to here. The small business owners and marketing executives. That's the core of the SEO, is there any other services they should be expecting from a provider?

Edmund Pelgen: Well they should be expecting regular communications and conversations about, A., what's been done, and discussions about the results, and then guidance on what they can do, right? Having good communication is integral to all of this, right? Reporting and discussions about how it's going, what we're doing, right? And also, they should be helping you manager your expectations. But I think we're gonna talk about expectation management further down the track as well.

Darryl King: Well I think so, cause I think that ... When you talk about both sides of the equations. We talk about the agency view and the customer view. I think on any project anywhere, I think would be the same if you're an accountant, you're a lawyer, whoever. If you don't discuss expectations, it's gonna go wrong. I've got someone, I'm a business owner, and they're working with me on what they're doing. How do I know if they're doing a good job or not?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, all right, so a couple things-

Darryl King: [inaudible 00:18:25] because that's what we're ... How do I know? How do I effectively-

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, okay. A couple things. In the absence of you knowing what the heck SEO's all about, the first thing they should be doing, is they should be educating you all the time right? Every time you have a conversation with them, they should be educating you about how it all works, and what they're doing as part of that, right? That's the first thing, helping you understand that, right?

Darryl King: Of course.

Edmund Pelgen: You know if they're doing a good job also, if they're completely transparent about what they do, right? If an SEO says to you, "It's a proprietary system and a method, and I can't tell you," or "We've got buddies at Google." That's complete BS right? That's bullshit.

Darryl King: Or, "Hey no, we don't give you access to Google analytics, it's a company account. You can't have it." Or stuff like that.

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, and try to lock you in. Any time you feel like there's someone trying to lock you in, or try to stop you from moving, that's not a good job, right? That's bad, right? They should be completely transparent about the process, what they're doing, and how they're doing it. That's the second thing you need to know, that they're doing a job. Third thing is, regular communication about the process, answering your questions, prompt replies, all that sort of stuff. Giving you information that's tracking your performance. The one thing you wanna see is, you need to be able to see access to your analytics, your rank tracking, your Google search console. You should be able to-

Darryl King: I guess ... Yeah, go one.

Edmund Pelgen: They should be communicating how things are performing. How work is translating into rankings-

Darryl King: Well and I guess it comes down to some point, and you kinda touched on it earlier on, there's gonna be some objectives or goals, right? When they've had that first conversation you talked about. What are we trying to achieve here? I think no matter what you're doing in building a website, it should be ... What are we looking for, or we want five more inquiries a week, or we need to sell more product, whatever it might be. Or we want more people to easily use this content resource. In doing that then, they've gotta be reporting on meeting the objectives, right? Cause a lot of people don't want another report. They don't want, well you can log in here, and you can log in there. What they want is the summary. Hey, have we ... Has our ranked changed? Is that then leading to more results, and we're not gonna talk about results, because that's not necessarily an SEO's gig, right? [inaudible 00:20:46] are we getting more of the traffic, are they coming ... Are we ranking better for what we said we're gonna try to rank for, those sorts of things, right? So someone should be able to report clearly on that, and say hey, here's a report that shows those last three months. How your traffic's gone up in this locality, or the [inaudible 00:21:06].

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely. You and I know, at the end of the day, they wanna make more sales, they wanna get more leads, right? But as you know, SEO doesn't always work over night. It takes time, right? It's as simple as that. As long as you understand it takes time, but in the [inaudible 00:21:20], what they should be communicating to you, is to say, "Hey, these keywords your customers use. Before you weren't ranking for them, now we are. Each month we're improving those rankings, and you're getting found for more of those relevant keywords. Your website's traffic improving, and your conversions." You know the things that you wanna track on your website, whether that's a lead or inquiry, are steadily improving. They should be showing you that progress, and then you'll know, hey things are moving in the right direction.

Darryl King: You talked about it takes time, and that's correct. Now, I've seen cases where it's used to defend things not being done properly. Oh it takes time. I think the clarity of it taking time, is that what you do today may ... It's a little bit like losing weight, or training for a new sport where you wanna lift your level. You don't go out today and start ... Yesterday I dead lifted 30 kgs, tomorrow I'm gonna do 200 kgs, it doesn't work like that. You do things that allow you to grow what you can do, and if you do them right, you don't tear things of the bone, and the rest of it, right? You can keep getting better.

Doing it long term, say, our objective is, let's just say we want to be in the top three organic ranks for these bunch of phrases on page one. But today we're on page three. You make the changes, you implement things, and you start a program. You might make a rapid jump to page two, or even the bottom of page one, but what you're saying takes time. The end goal takes time, but it doesn't mean that there is not traction. That there's not result. What you were saying earlier is, we're starting to see improvement in traffic, we're seeing inquiries, or we're seeing more of the right type of behaviors. Cause sometimes, it's not the SEO's fault if there's not sale or inquiries is it? I mean let's be fair to the ... Let's talk to the SEO providers. A crappy product, a crappy site-

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely-

Darryl King:  Or a bad [inaudible 00:23:16] has got nothing to do with the funding of SEO. A good SEO can say you [inaudible 00:23:23] my experience says, you've probably got friction on this site, that's gonna get rid of some of the results. But if your goal was to get traffic, is that improving?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, I mean the reality is, a lot of SEO's will try to help you in that. They'll see a crappy landing page and say, this page won't convert. I'm gonna do all this work to get traffic there, but this [inaudible 00:23:41] so they'll try to guide you-

Darryl King: [inaudible 00:23:42].

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, absolutely.

Darryl King: [inaudible 00:23:46] modalities, but I wanted to be clear that, you know, an SEO doesn't necessarily build websites, that they will have experience in all of those things. A lot of website developers do not really know about SEO. They might know about a plugin coming in. It's a bigger equation.

Edmund Pelgen: I should also say that ... I did say that we talk about SEO taking time and what not, but sometimes there are some really quick wins to be had right? Sometimes you are an established business, you've got history, you've got a ton of links, and authority, and people look for you, right? But you've got a crappy website, which might have a blockage. The analogy I use is like, the little kid with his finger in the hole in the dam. Sometimes a good SEO will come in and identify an issue that's stopping the site from performing, fix it up, pull the finger out and all of a sudden, your site will shoot up to number one for a specific phrase, or whatever. There are quick wins to be had, that an SEO can identify. You just gotta be aware. There are opportunities everywhere.

Darryl King: Okay, and I knew this one would probably be a lengthy episode cause there's a lot of detail, but let's touch briefly on ... If you've already got an SEO provider, or you're looking to get one, what are a couple questions, well one that you should be asking, and be getting answers to. And you probably touched on a couple, you know there's some transparency, do I have access to these things? What should you be asking, because that's really what it's about? People when they don't have knowledge, feel frightened, and that's when people get taken advantage of. Whenever you're on the basic level, they couldn't ... These people out there do the wrong thing, because you just wouldn't engage. So what can I ask a provider, what could I find out?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, so the first thing I would ask if I'm talking to an SEO person, you say, ask if that person is actually doing the work. Ask to talk to the technician. If you've got questions, ask to talk to the technician. Make sure that the person that you're talking to, is the person who's actually gonna do the work, or manage the work. I say this because, sometimes a project manager or an account manager will get in the way, and they won't actually know, and then it's their job to go and brief them right? Big agencies may not want to let you talk to that person, but you know, you're the customer, you should ask. I want to talk to the technician, right? Just make sure that ... This will resolve the issue of them white labelling or passing it out, outsourcing it to someone else. It will give you a real insight. If they don't want to let you talk to that person, then there's a real issue, so that's the first thing.

Secondly, you should do is, ask to talk to the previous customers. Ask them to give you a couple of referrals that you can ring and ask what the process was like, what the situation was like, right? Yes, they're gonna give you a friendly, but-

Darryl King: Yeah, of course, but-

Edmund Pelgen: In the conversation you'll get some clarity, and good people tend not to want to lie to you. If you call someone up and say, how was your experience? They'll give you the good and the bad, right? You'll get a better feeling for how that provider is. Thirdly, I'd ask about their previous experience. Have they been working on customers in your space, do they take everyone? And I say this because some spaces, some niches, or business markets are very unique, right? For example, in the travel space, you and I know that Google treats travel websites a little bit differently, you know, it rates things higher, or it ranks different content, so asking-

Darryl King: And there's a different scale, isn't here? A really large, big brand eCommerce site is a lot different to a small eCommerce brand with 10 products. There's big challenges, so some people specialize in that, and other people specialize in the small areas. It's saying, where do you specialize, where do you have experience?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, and I ask that, because some organizations are set up in a way to serve different types of customers. And you wanna know that if the provider's gonna be taking care of you, that everyone else is like you, and you're of equal importance to them, you're not just, hey that's the small client we picked up cause we've run out of really big corporate clients who are paying us 10 grand a month, you know what I mean? You wanna be a priority, right? Like everyone else, and that's why I ask.

Darryl King: We're gonna have to probably wrap this baby up soon, we're getting-

Edmund Pelgen: I'll be real quick. I think one key question you should ask, is how are they gonna do link building? And that's really important. I mention this because there's still a lot of-

Darryl King: [inaudible 00:27:57]

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah, there's a lot of spamming methods-

Darryl King: No, go on, cause that is a really important question, and I'll put here that today's takeaway, is that it's gonna prepare a checklist of questions, or it will be up on the notes, that you can ask your SEO provider. They'll be a little bit of stuff there, you know just so you understand what you're asking as well, but let's quickly touch that. That one you write is really important.

Edmund Pelgen: It's really important. The last thing I wanna ask is, how are they building links for your website, right? Google has gotten so smart, they can identify manufactured and spammy links, right? But people, there's this concept called a private blog network, which is people who control a bunch of fake websites for one of a better word, and they'll publish content on them with links in them pointing back to you. Now if all of your links to your website comprise of just private blog network links, eventually those links will disappear, because A., Google will figure it out, and penalize, and just remove them from the index, or the people who own those sites, will just shut them down when they move out of the SEO business, and all the money you've invested in promoting your business and getting real links, will be wasted, because those links aren't real. Make sure [inaudible 00:29:05] have a conversation.

Darryl King: And two fronts, because I know stories where people used a provider, and once they cancelled their contracts a year down the road, the links were all taken away. That's another part, we were gonna cover a bit of stuff about what things should be in your contract, and should be out, like hey these links are independent, that they won't go away, they're not tied to our contract, things like that. There are horror stories like that, where people invest good money over a period of time, you know tens of thousands of dollars over a year or two, and then all the links go away because they've cancelled the contract later on because they [inaudible 00:29:46]. Those links, a really good question. Okay, so the last thing I think we do need to cover, and we touched on it earlier, is the whole concept of being realistic about your expectations.

This is really ... We talk about clients from hell the website where they list all those weird scenarios and all the creative industries you get. But there's an obligation on both sides, to try to be as clear as possible about expectations. But you [inaudible 00:30:20] give you your expectations, and if you don't know what your expectations are, to help set them up front, because there's not point, coming to Darryl or Ed later saying, "Well they don't seem to be doing anything." Cause the first question I'll say is, well what did you ask them to do? Well, I wanted them to do our SEO, I wanted to rank better. For what? Get specific, and understand, and you know like the value equation of, if I'm spending 100 dollars a month with an SEO provider, versus two grand a month, is a big difference in what they're gonna provide me, right? My expectations have to be different, right?

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely. I mean, if you've got a budget of ... Someone said to me the other day, "Well I'm paying my provider 400 bucks a month." That's a huge ... Well, the reality is, if someone's paying that little amount of money, you're getting one, two, three hours of someone's time. If they use that expertise to identify problems and fix them, then that's good value, but if you're expecting to rank number one, number two, with a couple hundred dollars investment, it's probably not gonna happen, because how are they gonna promote your business, how are they gonna build quality links. If they've got a budge of 250, 300 dollars, and your ranking with that, then they're spending that budget on automated link building, and fake tools, and spam to rank you, and that stuff will disappear. You need to understand that, the investment also relates to what they're doing for you-

Darryl King: Yeah, it doesn't mean you have to spend that amount, but you have to have a realistic understanding. I mean there are things that business owners can do themselves, and I know you have training courses on how to do certain parts yourself. It's about understanding, what's my expectation, how much am I paying for that ... Like I could I learn to do keyword research myself? Yeah, you probably could, and you could save a chunk of money that you could get someone to produce content. You might have a great content team in house, so you wouldn't pay a provider for content, so you're gonna choose things to [inaudible 00:32:07] but I think that people don't always set their expectations upfront, so that leads to the reporting we talked about earlier, and [inaudible 00:32:15] if I do, I'm at month one, two, three, four, five, six, what the result should be, yeah?

Edmund Pelgen: Yeah.

Darryl King: Okay, cool. Well, I think that's probably a wrap for today Ed. Thank you very much, I think we've answered all of the things we can at a surface level about what an SEO provider should be giving to a small [inaudible 00:32:32] business, to help them boost their website from a conceptual level, types of things to consider. We'll go into other things a lot later, but do think that's probably a wrap for today. What do you think?

Edmund Pelgen: Absolutely. I think it is too, and we'll leave some good resources in the show notes for other people to follow up with. All right, and that's it for another fantastic episode of My Bloody Website. If you loved it, hope you did, please subscribe on our website, or sign up on iTunes, and we would love it if you left us another review because reviews just really ring my bell, don't they ring your bell, Darryl?

Darryl King: Bring the reviews, and you can subscribe through Android devices and things off the website, so there's lots of different feeds you can hook into there.

Edmund Pelgen: Awesome, so that's it for My Bloody Website, we'll see you next week when we continue this discussion about My Bloody Website.

It's goodbye from me.

Darryl King: It's goodbye from him.