In my last entry I promised I would give an overview on the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) on my website and whether or not I thought it worth the price. First off I found it difficult to find a company that I could trust, there is black hat and white hat tactics used amongst those in the biz. Black hat apparently gets you lots of hits but if the powers that be find out i.e. Google, they penalise you. White hat is ethical and creates good links to your site, so they say, who knows? I know very little. I tried to research this but found it difficult to wrap my head around it to be honest. I'm not a techie. I try to stay somewhat in the loop but I find the whole thing quite convoluted.
I contacted three different companies to compare prices. I was hoping to use a Swindon company if at all possible just because I thought it would be nice to have somebody I could approach locally if all went wrong. Sadly the Swindon company I found did not return my email. I had a lovely conversation with somebody who was an ex cop now working in the field, I can't recall where in the country he was based but the price was out of this world and way beyond what a small business like mine could contemplate forking over. I finally went with a company in Wiltshire, the original emails and telephone contacts were really personable, I liked the guy who did the selling and let's face it, we tend to buy from people we like. The price wasn't too bad, it was in the region of £250 for a one off service that lasted a month.
I specifically stated I only wanted white hat and that I wanted my website to be looked at for any broken links, errors etcetera as I built it myself and quite frankly really had no idea what I was doing. I asked for some specific keywords to generate my site in search results and explained that my site didn't seem to appear at all when I searched transcription services (or so low down the ranks I could never find it). The freaky part is handing over the site to these people with all of your passwords etcetera. Of course I changed all of the passwords to temporary passwords and then changed them again when the SEO work was complete. It still makes me uncomfortable, silly I know. I could see where they were working from on my metrics and noticed that a lot of the work was being done in India. I have no problem in theory with this but I certainly was not happy to have a company purporting to be in Wiltshire to be outsourcing to India without my consent (I mean I could have sought out SEO in India myself for a lot cheaper price I believe).
Long and short the work was done, my site certainly rose in the ranks and suddenly I was getting requests from several local companies who were looking to have their interviews transcribed. I had never been on their radar before so obviously the SEO people did their job. I got a couple of largish clients within weeks of the SEO being done so it certainly paid for itself and much more. The only problem and to be fair they do tell you this, if you don't have the SEO consistently maintained, you will start to slip down the ranks again. Unfortunately this is too large an expense for me to take on. The final issue I had was I signed the contract with the company for a one off service only and the following month they debited me for another £250. To say I was unhappy is an understatement. I immediately contacted them and they reversed the charge. If I were a larger company with lots of different expenses coming out of my account, I could see how that could easily be missed. Next time I would certainly try to get referrals from people I know who have used SEO companies as I found the experience on the whole not quite as stress- free as I would have hoped.
Until next time (if you haven't fallen asleep reading such a dry topic, dear reader)