SEO RFP Questions and Template

Often larger firms want to float an RFP out to select vendors for the SEO of their firm. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Mostly because each SEO firm has their own strengths and weaknesses.

We felt that it would be helpful to put out a template, along with some of the proper questions to ask for the RFP ( request for proposal ) so that it makes sense to both the SEO firm and the company that is requesting it.

Template Questions or variations of questions:

Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Typically 10 years would be a good starting point, anything less than that and you are looking at a risk.

Q: What clients do you have or had in XXXX industry?
A: Look for clients that have some experience with competitors or related firms.

Q: Do you have experience with companies of XXXX size?
A: Look for firms that have experience working with a firm your size.

Q: Have you worked with fortune 500 firms?
A: Fortune 500 firms typically outsource whatever costs too much to build internally, Considering they have massive resources if the SEO firm had/has fortune 500 firms as clients, it typically means that they have a skillset that a large firm cannot match internally despite their large resources. This is generally viewed as a good thing.

Q: Do you guarantee results? (if the answer is yes, don’t go forward, these people lie).
A: Unless they own Google, a firm cannot promise that a third party can deliver results.

Q: What is the typical time from start of work to start seeing results.
A: From a person that has 20+ years of experience, 6 months is a good starting number.

Q: Do your SEO firm offer month to month contracts?
A: Any SEO firm worth its salt can offer month to month contracts. Tying a client into a long term agreement only means that the SEO firm is unsure of their capabilities. Insist on a month to month contract. Make that SEO firm earn it’s pay each month. We at Yooter InterActive only offer month to month contracts, and we have had clients since 2004 on a month to month contract.

Q: What are your rates?
A: Companies only charge what they believe they are worth. If a company is charging less than $100/hour it means that the labor is unskilled. This should raise red flags galore if they are offering to optimize your website for pennies. There is no such thing as a “discount rate” when you are paying for skilled labor.

A Kickstarter to avoid Misbehaved Children in Restaurants



A Kickstarter has been launched (official kickstarter page) to avoid misbehaved children in restaurants.

The idea was to find ideal restaurants for business meetings and dates that do not have misbehaved children. The vision is that you use the webapp to make sure that the place you select does not have misbehaved children.

It’s not blaming the children however, it is blaming the parents.

Project Website

Former SEO Company destroyed client site – How do I clean it up?

Well it happens, many times we get calls from potential clients saying that their former SEO company destroyed their website.

This is a quick checklist in order to take control of the situation.

1 – first thing is first, make sure that your client fully understands the situation they are in. That you will try your best to fix the problem but at first sign up you are not 100% sure what type of damage they did. Make sure expectations are reasonable to both parties. Make sure you give yourself a timeframe measured in months. If your client thinks you’ll fix the problem in a week they will be highly upset. Many times if the problem was a manual action, Google won’t even reply to the re-include request in a week. Much less give you time to fix the problem to even be reconsidered to be back in the index.

2 – get admin access to a verified webmaster tools account in Google. Typically there are messages and reports there that help you figure out exactly what happened. It’s better than hearsay because you are getting these reports directly from Google. Check to see if the site was penalized, see if there were any manual actions, check to see if they pointed a billion garbage links to your client. Read though the reports and see if it was something more understandable, like a slowdown of the sites response time. You have to fully read and comprehend all parts of webmaster tools. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t bother going to step 3 until you completed step 2.

3 – Now that you completed step two, take a look at the backlink profile, the content of the site, if it’s mobile friendly or not, and all the normal suspects. Use the disavow tool if needed, make the site responsive if needed. Do whatever you feel is necessary to complete the task. Make sure the sitemaps are up to par. Submit an RSS feed as a sitemap as well. Typically this works wonders for content heavy sites.

4 – Put in a re-include request via webmaster tools if a manual action was taken.

5 – Continue to clean up the site, keep an eye on webmaster tools over the next few weeks.

6 – Keep in contact with your client, don’t let them believe your doing nothing, but in reality you might be waiting for Google. This can take time.

7 – enjoy the fruits of your labor when the client site starts to rank again or at least start showing up in the search engine for some terms. Remember when coming back from a penalty it takes time. You just don’t rank automatically for every term you did prior to the ban. You are out of jail, but you lost your job. It takes time to re-establish your clients site.

Sometimes it’s not the SEO

Sometimes it’s not the SEO. Sometimes it’s the business model. Several times over the past 20 years I had to turn down a client. They wanted to sign, I just didn’t want them to.

A few years ago a potential client approached me with a new venture his company was going to launch. The parent company is a large firm with over 10,000 employees, but this startup division was what we were to optimize and advertise.

The problem is the business model was poor to say the least. They wanted to charge a substantial fee for something that was already opensource and widely adopted in the market. It was a new blogging platform designed to compete against WordPress. The blogging platform however wasn’t substantially better than WordPress, it was closed source and to make matters worse there was no “self hosted option” meaning that they wanted large firms to point to their url for their blog. Similar to Blogger.Com but without many of the features.

Their logic was “We are part of XXX, one of the biggest tech companies out there, others will sign up just for brand recognition”. After many attempts at convincing them that the product wasn’t ready, no amount of SEO will help them with a broken or incomplete product. I decided to decline their account (though they worked hard to get me to reconsider).

The problem is many startups or even established firms don’t fully understand that brand recognition doesn’t really cut it in today’s world in many online industries.

The point I am trying to make is make sure the business model works, though I can point out instances where advertising saved a shoddy product, that is the exception rather than the rule.

SEO can promote your product, but SEO can’t really improve your product. Same goes for advertising.

How weather affects your SEO strategy

Many people don’t think about this,  but all seasons are not the same.   Historically over the past 20 years,  overall internet traffic tends to dip during the warm summer months,  and then tends to increase over the colder months.  Though this trend has seen a decrease over the past few years (blame your kids Xbox and Youtube Videos)  the fact is that this still happens today.

Though we are at the very tail end of the summer,  much of this still applies for the next month or two.

Some industries see an increase during the summer,  such as landscaping firms,  firms that sell pool equipment and firms that sell sporting equipment.

The physical reason is simple,  people still tend to go outside (your kids Xbox and youtube videos aside) during the summer.   This typically means slightly more mobile traffic ,  less desktop traffic,  and overall more sporadic peaks and lows for internet  traffic.    Then the dreaded vacation where decision makers are relaxing on the beach and not searching for the products you sell.

Winter tends to be more structured,  kids are in school meaning that they are not online during the middle of the school day (for the most part).   Vacations are taken with far less frequency and individuals are again searching for the products you offer.

This makes it awkward for searching traffic, planning and overall business decisions during the summer.

What many experienced SEO’s do during the summer is spend more time doing things that they typically would not do during the peak season.    Such as moving sections of a website, requiring a 301 redirect,  items like that tend to force the website to take a hit for short period of time.     One would never attempt this during peak season, but on a slower time it makes sense.

The overall SEO strategy that many adopt during this time (Late September) is to finalize any summer modifications that they were working on and go live with them.  This allows for enough time to get everything working and ranking before the peak holiday season.

When Winter sets in,  one typically spends more time monitoring and tweeking rather than making large changes to an existing website.

Interesting times.

Paypal and the custom URL

  Since we at Yooter Interactive utilize PayPal,  we secured the custom URL http://paypal.me/adagency

So our PayPal address is now a custom url

You can secure one for your business at http://www.paypal.me

It’s a great service from PayPal and I suggest that all businesses that use PayPal use this feature.

Allentown PA SEO

Allentown PA is our best SEO market.   Mostly because we know the terrain,  the landscape of the competition and overall the business environment of the area.

The Lehigh Valley as a whole,  Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton have been growing at a fantastic rate over the past few years.    Everything from professional hockey,  basement teams and now the discussion of train service to Philadelphia has made the area the place to be.

With easy access to New York and other major metro markets the area has become a destination rather than a bedroom community for New York.

The Lehigh Valley is the fastest growing and third most populous region in the state of Pennsylvania on trajectory to overtake Pittsburgh in population and political weight.   With some estimates that it has already overtaken it.

The Lehigh Valley currently has a population of just under a 1,000,000 whereas Pittsburgh has only 305,000 though the argument is that the Lehigh Valley is composed of 3 cities in close proximity when the surrounding regions around Pittsburgh are factored in,  Pittsburgh’s regional population is 2,355,968.

In other words,  the Lehigh Valley is becoming more prominent as time goes on.  Making it attractive for high growth industries and a way to establish a business with growth potential just with sheer job and population growth surrounding it.

The point of this article is to show how the area has grown,  and as SEO typically has the highest ROI of all forms of marketing. Businesses should explore SEO and Social media as a valid form of marketing their business in the Valley.

Asking Facebook vs Asking Google

Recently over the past few years the requests to facebook have steadily increased for suggestions or recommendations on where to buy products.

If you are a business owner,  this means that Search Engine Optimization , though still the kingpin of digital marketing is not the only outlet for you to gain a foothold on potential clients online.

The problem that advertisers have is when someone posts to facebook “do you know any contractors in Pottsville, PA that fix damp basements?”  their friends are the ones that reply.   It’s the online equivalent to shouting to a room of your friends and getting answers from them on who to contract to fix that $25,000 dollar basement project.

How does an advertiser get into that room and give an answer?

Well there are a few ways.  The easiest is just to purchase facebook ads.   Though this isn’t exactly rocket science, there is some science to it to make sure that you generate a positive ROI.

The other way is to search and if the post is public,  you might have a chance on responding.   Though the customer might not like the intrusion (I know I wouldn’t if I was asking my friends, and a vendor answered).

Another way would be to friend and tag them in a post.  Though that would require you to friend them, and them accepting your request.

All these have some serious downsides.

Another way would be to create your company page,  and address whatever you find in your searches with a logical and positive answer.

“Where can I find a a contracter in Pottsville PA to fix damp basements”

A post on your wall would be the right answer to their question.   “XYZ contracting specializes in damp basements in the Pottsville, PA area.   We have been in business for 30 years and our work is guaranteed to keep your basement dry” .    This would allow you to come up for some terms if they decide to search on facebook.   I would also suggest posting something like this on your company blog,  of course not the same thing,  a far more robust version of the same however would be in order.

Typically what happens is their friends turn to Google when a question like that arises.    Considering wordpress, if configured properly can be indexed within minutes.    There’s a good chance that by the time they post on facebook,  you could respond and be in Google before their friends Google the question.

However this takes some effort to stay on top of whatever pops up on Facebook.   In other words,  this is mostly impossible to keep up with.

So the last bit of advice.   The best way to get suggested on Facebook is to do what every business should always do.    Provide the best service possible at a reasonable price.

If you have played by that rule,  the chances are someone on that facebook page would have suggested you.

The point of this article is that no matter what type of advertising you do,  nothing beats word of mouth and word of mouth is not purchased or bought,  it’s earned.

 

Scranton SEO

Yooter InterActive is located in Pottsville, PA and we do service the region,  including Scranton.     As a leader in online digital marketing who primarily services Fortune 500 firms,  we however don’t harbor that requirement for local firms located in NEPA.

We offer reduced rates for firms in our local market.   It’s our belief that helping the local market helps our local economy.

Since Search Engine Optimization tends to yield the highest ROI of all forms of marketing and it global in nature,  the concept is that it allows companies in this region to “export” products and services to outside the region.   Hence increasing the balance of trade in favor of the area.

If you are located in Scranton, PA and are in need of SEO services with a world class Search Marketing firm,  contact Yooter InterActive Marketing.

 

 

 

Marketing in Allentown PA

Perfect Six has a great article regarding Marketing and Advertising in Allentown PA.     There is some common sense points that typically are not even thought of when advertising.

if you sell baseball, your first course of action could be as simple as sponsoring a local Little League team.  Selling running shoes? Sponsor a 5k walk or offer coupons. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time.

Simple ideas like this do not cost much money,  but they do ingrain your brand with the target market.

Little League players eventually become coaches and buyers.   Having your store as the sponsor of a 5k puts your store in front of all the runners,  runners buy shoes.

The point of the article is to use common sense,  and in many cases common sense isn’t exactly the business owner.   The problem that plagues many CEO’s and Marketing Officers is that they are in their business,  rather than in the minds of their customers.

Perfect Six is the blog to read for marketing in Allentown  and Lehigh Valley.

 

 

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