Choosing the Correct People To Help You Online
The Good & The Bad
There are people who can and people who say they can, the task you have is filtering out the rubbish. Unfortunately anyone can build a website and claim to be a freelance copywriter or SEO consultant. But only those who actually know what they are doing end up with a large client base, a great reputation and a high client retention rate.
Have a look at our infographic on how to hire a freelancer.
I know all this as I am a freelance SEO consultant (click to contact me) and have been for some time. Through this time I have learnt that the industry is full of all sorts of people and businesses, and it stretches wider than just Edinburgh. Let me sum them up for you:
- Guarantees – some companies offer guarantees but with SEO this isn’t ethical or possible. Only Google decides who goes where, all an SEO company or freelancer can do is there best efforts. Also some companies will say they will give you organic listings, and if they don’t you don’t pay. They then give you Pay Per Click advertising and assume you wont notice. I would stay well clear of any marketing company offering guaranteed results for organic listings.
- Pay on results – This bunch can be trust worthy and honest but it generally costs you a lot more. They are taking the risk so they want compensated for it. Like I mentioned before your cant be 100% where the website will list until you get working on it. You can find some really good people out their offering this, but don’t get hooked into some rip off contract. Some companies even tie you into a pay per click contract for organic traffic and you don’t get much more unethical than that.
- Exceptionally cheap – there are two camps in this one, the foreign ones offering it for next to nothing and the local guy/girls offering it for very cheap but not as cheap. As a very general rule of thumb (and this is not the case all of the time) the reason these people can offer it so cheap is they use link networks, buy links and/or use unethical tactics. Results you will get but they will not last long. Google hunts down these tactics everyday and wipes out networks all the time. Again I would avoid these but if you do get tempted then test them on a micro website first to ensure they know what they are doing.
- One man bands / freelancers – you can find some great people who are just trying to help and make a living. Some of them just want to be really busy and other want to slowly grow into an ethical business with some employees (that’s my aim!) These kinds of people are generally great people to have as part of the team. Just watch out for the ones that claim to do everything, for example a designer cant also be a developer, a search marketing consultant, a copy writer and a PPC expert all at the same time. If they are they will be OK at each task as they wont have time to specialise in them all. With digital marketing these days you want specialists not jack of all trades. Prices vary depending on experience etc. and they generally work on hourly rates and time sheets. They will fit in nicely with your team but chose someone that you can work well with.
- SEO or Digital Agencies – this is where you put your money when you have a huge project and a lot of money. They generally have teams of experts and have done the process more times than you care to think about. The biggest problem is price and the second biggest problem is you wont get that feeling of appreciation as you do from a freelancer. You will be speaking with account managers who don’t actually do the work and for local/small campaigns I don’t think this is the best rout. That said they will do a cracking job I am sure. Also if you do have a big project it often makes more sense to bring the big tasks in house and have an expert over see it, you don’t need the big agency prices. Like everything though watch out for the unethical companies, they may be big in size but that doesn’t mean they are not out to trick the search engines. Many of the big agencies have seen clients go down the tube over recent years due to bad practice.
Some of this decision depends on your in house skill set. Chances are if you are pushing your company digitally you need; content, social media, design/development, SEO, analytics and maybe some PPC. What I would say is get some of it done in house and get expects to help and guide. Things like content and social media are good things to have in house where as web analytics consultation is better with external resource.