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Why So Many People Can’t Recommend an SEO Company

John Lincoln

SEO is a critical component of any online marketing program. In fact, generally between 30% and 60% of website traffic comes from a search engine. Think about that! That is a big percentage of the online marketing portfolio. In addition, SEO spills over into so many other areas; general IT planning, SEM, CRO, you name it. But when it comes down to it, some people have a hard time recommending an SEO company. In this post, I cover why and I think you will be interested in the reasons.

They Don’t Want to Give Away the Good Stuff

In some cases, they have a company that has done an amazing job, but they want to keep that company to themselves. They are worried that the firm will get overloaded, they will lose access to key personnel or the company will just generally take their eye off of their account.

They Don’t Feel 100%

In some cases, the jury is still out as far as feelings towards an SEO company. There are a lot of people who get into SEO with good intentions and the right aspirations, but really don’t know what they don’t know. I a lot of cases they do an OK job but never blow it out of the park. While someone might feel comfortable with their SEO company, they might not like them enough to recommend them.

They Had a Bad Experience

More often than not, someone had a bad experience with a firm somewhere down the road. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen in SEO, and that can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth. However, there is a major difference between working with a good and bad SEO company. But how can you make a recommendation if you were burned in the past? Many people feel apprehensive based on past experiences. Because of this, more people are turning to verified lists like Clutch.co.

They Don’t Want to be Liable

Even if someone would recommend an SEO company, in a lot of cases, they just want to be extra careful in case something goes wrong. If they recommend a company to a friend and it doesn’t go well, they don’t want to be yelled at the next time they hangout.

They Try to Get You into Another Service

There are a lot of different ways to spend your money when it comes to business. In a lot of cases when you ask for a recommendation on an SEO agency people will instead try to pivot you into another service. In many cases, you could be asking about SEO and they say, “But wait, have you heard about display advertising?” There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the company has your best intentions in mind.

They Haven’t Seen Case Studies

Case studies and testimonials tell the real story. If you can prove what you have done as an agency, people will be much more likely to recommend you.

They Don’t Know the Industry Well Enough

Search engine optimization is a tricky industry. It can be pretty hard for people to digest when they step into it for the first time. For this reason alone, you really can’t make a recommendation on a company unless you have had at least some industry experience.

Summing it Up

When you are looking for a search agency, look at their reviews, any top lists they have made, check references and ask for case studies. As long as you do this, you should be in good shape with your selection. But if you ever wonder why people don’t go screaming recommendations for search engine firms, this post sums it up pretty well. While that is the case, don’t let it deter you from finding a great company. SEO is critical to every online business, at some level, so make sure you maximize the online marketing channel.

Let us know your thoughts on this issue in the comments!

John Lincoln

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

John Lincoln is Co-Owner and President of SEO and Social Media at Ignite Visibility, a premier Internet marketing company based in San Diego, CA. You can follow John on Twitter.
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John E Lincoln

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Hey everyone, this is the author. Just wanted to jump in and say nice comments. I agree with all of the. @barryhurd:disqus i agree, a lot of SEO s are just hackers and its almost impossible for them to speak with C-level execs. @studiumcirclus:disqus Agree with your points too.

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Here's another big one:

"They Don't Trust in the Professionalism of the Company / Friend who is ASKING for the Referral"

Someone may think about recommending a great SEO agency, realise their friend's business isn't 'grown-up' enough to deal with and manage an SEO relationship properly - and decide against making that recommendation.

The client may know you do great work, but if their 'friend' is the type of business owner who runs a bit of a mad-house and will be likely to blame aforementioned client if things go wrong - they won't bother. It might be nothing to do with the SEO or SEO agency at all! :')

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Finding SEO Company isn't an easy job beside so many companies offering SEO service so my advice would to be to find local SEO company in your area and see if they can help you with your SEO.
Barry Hurd

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

As a professional 'in the biz' I'm often asked this question and even more shocked by the 'industry referrals' of people or organizations who are publicly adored "SEO wizards."

Within the corporate level (and partially VC startup eco-system) one of the core problems with SEO is that the people who know it well are often driving equal or more revenue on personal or independently profitable projects.

Clients are often a chance to explore other market trends and industry categories, but the highest level of efficiency is in market categories that the professional is 100% fluent in and know how the data works on multiple levels.

Another core conflict is that VERY few SEO professionals can have a coherent conversation and model analysis with the CFO, CSO and CEO of the company while being able to relate risk/benefit statements to the board of directors. This means that they are having revenue impacting conversations several layers down with the business and can only take advantage of a small fraction of the potential benefit areas.

My end conclusion: Optimization isn't about keywords. Optimization is about revenue.

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Barry Hurd
Well, I agree with you. Clients only see performance in terms of results. So, a Digital Marketing firm has to analyze about strategies that would help to drive more traffic and Ultimately results..

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