Archive for the ‘Choosing SEO Company’ Category

Why Most SEO’s Waste Their Time

Friday, January 20th, 2012 |

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. – Wayne Gretzky

Blog commenting, article spinning, article directory submission, profile links: such methods are still in the search engine optimization tool box for many internet marketers because they still work here and there. What these site owners don’t want to come to terms with is the fact that their success has a very short life span. Sooner or later, Google engineers will update their algorithm and their rankings will evaporate in seconds.

Rather than spending months trying to trick Google into ranking your content based on hundreds or thousands of subpar quality links, spend months on generating links that will last for decades. Realize that although those subpar quality links will get you a quick payoff in the short term, you are wasting a massive amount of your time because, sooner or later, Google will devalue those links.

Even short term success isn’t guaranteed. If you’re getting traffic from high ranking keywords, inevitably you’ll have people looking at what other type of content you have on the web. If people find thousands of spun articles that link directly to your site, written in language only Jabba the Hut would understand, you can be sure that they aren’t going to buy anything associated with your site’s brand. It’s pretty obvious when a site is looking to provide useful information and when it is looking to cash in by gaming Google. Eventually, your site won’t be a visited by harmless Googler, but a Google engineer who will manually inspect your site and determine its fate in seconds.

Yes, it takes a lot of time to write quality guest posts that are posted on established blogs. Yes, it takes a lot of time to seek out blog owners who are open to guest posts in the first place. Yes, it takes a lot of time to create content which people would naturally want to link to. However, all of those time consuming methods will give you more value in the long run because Google will value those methods for many years! Aside from guest posting and creating quality content, there are many other white hat methods that you can invest in…

  • Infographics, which can be used as link bait.
  • Youtube videos, which can give your site traffic and links, if you have interesting enough content.
  • Message boards, which are hard to set up, but can be a source of sustained traffic and links that grows indefinitely.
  • Press releases that may find their way on big news sites and provide you with traffic and links.

Too many SEO’s fail to think of their work as a long term investment, which is what it really is. Rather than trying to emulate the quick results of PPC with questionable linking practices, focus on creating value.

 Nickolay Lamm is an internet marketing specialist who manages InventHelp and InventHelp Scam.


What Makes a Good SEO Client

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 |


What Makes a Good SEO Client?

This is the flip side of the question many clients have to answer, “What makes a good SEO company to do business with?”, however; successful implementation of any SEO strategy is based on a partnership between SEO Company and client.  Not only do you need a good SEO consultant but also a good SEO client, so what qualities should you see in such a good SEO client?

Trust in the SEO Company and their SEO Advice

Clients who have embarked on an ecommerce strategy have already recognized the potential of the web for their business.  There is much that is different from the real world, however some basic precepts are the same no matter who you are or what you are doing.  Trust is one of them, and after selecting an SEO partner the client must be able to trust what the SEO practitioner is advising and helping the client to implement for their web strategy.

Availability and Responsiveness

A good SEO client is responsive to requests and performs their part in maintaining good lines of open communication, not only between the principal or senior management, but also the webmaster or whoever is responsible for implementing content and coding changes on the website.

Being available by email or telephone is symptomatic of a good partnership, which is essential when changes need to be made quickly to react to the web developments and search engine algorithm changes.

Questioning and Understanding

A good SEO client values the experience and expertise a good SEO practitioner brings to the business mix, however it is important the client is able to understand what is happening.  This means asking questions and seeking clarification of the SEO strategies being propounded and implemented.  The adage that the only stupid question is the one that doesn’t get asked certainly applies here!

The SEO Partnership

Developing and implementing a successful SEO strategy requires that a good partnership develops between client and practitioner.  The client understands their business and the business environment they operate in far better than the SEO practitioner will do, and the SEO strategy needs to be closely tailored to suit the client’s business.  Strong interaction between client and practitioner is needed, especially when it comes to developing and adding content, ensuring relevant updates and information is provided and who to seek links from.


The advice people tend to follow most is the advice that they pay for!  The same is true for SEO, and SEO consultants rely on a steady stream of happy clients paying their bills.  This may seem like an obvious statement, but a good SEO client is one who understands what they are buying and is happy to write the check for the SEO Company’s invoice each month.

SEO is a Reiterative Process: Look at the Results

SEO is a process rather than a project: it requires a continuous review of the results to see what the impact of SEO strategies is, but also a thorough analysis of how the results are achieved.  It is not simply the rankings which need to be reviewed and monitored, but where the traffic is coming from, user behavior when on the site, monitoring site navigation and engaging in relevant site testing in order to understand what is working well in persuading a visitor to convert to a paying customer.

What makes a good SEO client is a client who appreciates the holistic nature of SEO work and the skills and experience of the practitioner.  A good SEO client will contribute enormously to the success of the web strategies advised by the SEO practitioner, in fact, it is unlikely there will be much success without a good SEO client.

The Alexa Ranking Myth

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 |

alexa-logo.gifUpdate: 4/20/08, Of course as soon as I post on my blog about Alexa’s inaccurate ranking system they decide to update their system. Time will tell if it is an better.

SEO companies are at the front lines when it comes to educating customers and potential customers about what is important when looking at web statistics. I guess I’ve hit my breaking point, which is usually when I start blogging, about Alexa rankings. We have clients that ask why there Alexa ranking is so high (which is bad) and even though they are ranking in the top 5 for their most treasured keyword phrases. They have high traffic that is converting above their industry standards, but still they Alexa ranking rears its ugly head too often.

So I want to put this issue to pasture and definitively state that we do not care about Alexa ranking and do not monitor Alexa rankings, other to see estimated trends for pure entertainment value. They are of little importance an not worth the time to view them. Not only are the extremely inaccurate, but they can also give a false sense of security when they inflate your importance. You must remember that unless you have the Alexa toolbar on your site, your web visits won’t be counted in the Alexa stats. What does this mean for the numbers that Alexa shows you? Well, think about who would have the Alexa toolbar installed: mostly people involved with Internet marketing such as SEO people, webmasters, consultants and other people whose job it is to track statistics. These aren’t your normal site surfers and they skew the traffic numbers higher for Internet-related sites. If you have been reading this blog long enough you know I’m a big believer in actual case studies and real data to prove a point. To that end I have done some research to show the Alexa Ranking Myth and break its spell.

The first chart shows stats from Alexa for this site (, a Internet marketing site) and a smoothie recipe site (, a non-Internet related site) and you can see that Alexa shows the Big Oak site with more than double the traffic of Smoothie Web. If you were to view or stats on Alexa it reports our site as being in the top 100,000 sites on the web, specifically we are ranked at 94,204. My, aren’t we so important! Now,don’t get me wrong, we have a nice number of visitors, but to think we are in the top 100,000 sites is a bit much. While, a highly trafficked site is only ranked at 310,192.

Alexa Graph

Now that we know what Alexa is reporting, let us look at actual site statistics as reported by Google Analytics. If you look at the graphs below you can see the dramatic difference from Alexa’s reported rankings in traffic over the same 3-month period. has 20,311 visitors which is a very respectable number for a B2B site. But when compared to’s 210,190 visitors you can easily see that Alexa rankings are highly skewed towards technical and Internet-related websites. had 10x the visitor traffic according to Google Analytics but less than half according to Alexa’s estimates.



The site obviously pulls traffic from our competitors, webmasters in charge of finding a honest SEO company and research types for our informative SEO blog. And these users are more likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed, if only to inflate their own Alexa ranking by visiting their own sites daily. And before you ask, no, I do not have the Alexa toolbar installed and neither does any of the staff at Big Oak.

To sum up, do not look at Alexa rankings with any more than an passing curiosity, for that is all it is. Instead look at your site’s analytics and try to see where you are getting traffic and what traffic is converting. Look at the keywords your site is ranking for and how the visitors from those terms are using your site. In short, look at all the data you can around your actual visitors and leave the estimated numbers based on a toolbar installation to those who need the ego stroking of a high Alexa ranking. And if anyone asks you about your Alexa ranking, please refer them to this post.

Ranked Hard Returns: SEO Comedy in Full Color

Monday, February 11th, 2008 |

You may have read our first attempt at an SEO comic called Ranked Hard which was posted here and used some SIMS magic to create the characters. It must have at least drawn interest because it has been the most popular (most read) post since it went on the blog. It was an honest, but not awe-inspiring attempt for a group of non-artists trying to run a SEO company.

This is just one panel of the comic, visit the Ranked Hard site to see more!

But, with the encouragement of few positive comments and so many visits from our blog readers, we decided to take the Ranked Hard comic to a higher level. That required hiring an real artist who could bring the characters to life in a way beyond our skill level. We were very luck to find Kelly Ishikawa and he has done a wonderful job helping us define the characters and establish their appearance. And because of this, I can now introduce you to the whole SEO staff of Ranked Hard!

We decided that the format of the comic would not fit this blog so we created a new site/blog for ‘Ranked Hard, and SEO Comic‘ and will be posting all comics, comments and thoughts related to Ranked Hard at It was simpler to do it this way and we are hopeful that the larger format will make the comic more enjoyable for everyone. Of course we want feedback and comments from our readers so please post those on the Ranked Hard site.

We will be publishing at least once a month, and there are two comics on the site now. We have ideas for future comics already in the works, but we are looking for any funny suggestions from other SEO enthusiasts, so send them in to for us to look at. If we do use your idea we will give you full credit and you can even write the story behind it if you wish.

Please visit: Ranked Hard

- Shell Harris

SEO as an Acronym

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 |

Every now and then someone will ask what I do for a living and I’ll say I am the President of an SEO company. After a moment of confusion the inevitable question is, “What does SEO stand for?” Of course we know it is Search Engine Optimization, but that got me thinking, (much like my SEO Haiku) what else could it stand for, relating to search optimization?

So I have some other options for those of us in the SEO industry who may want something more interesting when asked what does SEO stand for? In no particular order here are some ideas for the SEO acronym. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  • SEO = Stress Equals Opportunity
  • SEO = Searching Everything Online
  • SEO = Sweet Exposure Online
  • SEO = Seizing Every Opportunity
  • SEO = Some Extra (marketing) Offense
  • SEO= Supplied Energy Online
  • SEO = Successful at Everything Obviously

and since we are looking for an SEO Copywriter

  • SEO = Stellar Employment Opportunity

Nice for a momentary diversion, not much help for our clients, so back to work…

Accountability for SEO Companies

Friday, January 11th, 2008 |

Here at Big Oak we finished a long process that culminated in a very refined and sophisticated estimator for search engine optimization projects. It is split into two parts, exactly the same as our SEO process, with part one being the optimization phase and part two a monthly marketing phase.

I thought to myself this is something very good for the industry: A tangible guide for our plan and a perfect explanation of why we charge what we charge in one document.

We have always based our pricing on the level of effort we suspected would be needed to achieve high rankings for our clients. So our pricing has always been fairly accurate. We have never raised prices after the fact and  our clients are happy with their results. We didn’t make this a more formal process because we thought we weren’t being fairly compensated and we didn’t do it because our results weren’t stellar. We did it so we can show the clients that we aren’t making up pricing numbers, we aren’t pricing it at “what we think they will pay” and we aren’t charging a flat fee for everything.

We put much thought into what we need to do such as articles, link building, press releases, blogging and so on. We also put thought into how many of these items we need to do. From our years of successful experience we know very well what to do and how many times to do it over the course of a contract so it has been an easy migration to documenting this and pricing it accurately. The beauty of this is the fact that we can show the client how the final price was determined. There can be no argument or debate as to the price. We show them exactly what needs to be done to get them ranked and how much each part in the process will cost.

After that is simply a matter of “affordability” and return on investment.

It is my hope the SEO industry can become a more honest and reputable industry. Far too often I have seen articles referring to SEO consulants as snake oil salesmen or even worse…lawyers. That should be enough to scare anyone in our industry.

How do we combat this? We hold to a code of ethics and we be honest and hide nothing. Tell your clients exactly what you are going to do and how much it will cost. Don’t hide behind a flat price and reveal none of your “secrets”. Anyone can do their own SEO; all you need is time and the desire to learn it. So for us to be afraid of giving away secrets that others will use is absurd. People will pay you for SEO because they don’t have the time and want it done correctly and quickly. Meeting with the client in a monthly call or in person is mandatory at Big Oak. We won’t take a client who can’t agree to this. It holds both parties accountable and keeps the communication, both good and bad, open.

Show your work and be accountable.

For Big Oak that means starting off with a clear plan that the client can understand and refer to at anytime, and more importantly, they never have to wonder where the money goes.

Junior SEO Associate (Search Engine Optimization Assistant)

Monday, October 8th, 2007 |

October 23, 2007: This position has been filled.

Junior SEO Associate (Search Engine Optimization Assistant) needed by Big Oak, a leading Search Engine Optimization Company located in Richmond, Virginia. Visit our website to learn more about us:

This Junior SEO role will be responsible for deploying key internet marketing & SEO strategies on behalf of our clients working from a project plan prepared by the Senior SEO staff. You will be trained in strategic Internet marketing techniques. Some client interaction may be required so excellent verbal and writing skills are prerequisites. This position is a wonderful opportunity for a junior-level web or marketing enthusiast looking to move into SEO. To be considered for this Junior SEO role you must be meticulous in your attention to detail and take pride in your work.

See more about this Junior SEO Position in our SEO jobs section.

SEO Blog Nominated for Blogging Award

Thursday, July 12th, 2007 |

Big Oak's SEO Blog was nominated for Best Marketing Blog!

If you feel this blog has given you good advice about SEO, helpful examples for search engine marketing and/or been an interesting read, please think about giving us a vote for Best Marketing Blog. In a world where we say thank you so little, this is an opportunity to say thanks to Big Oak and it’s blog authors. Sorry to interrupt with a shameless solicitation. ;-)

But, if you would like to do us a favor and massage our egos, you can vote for us here:

You will have to sign up for an account to vote (bummer), but you can also nominate and vote for other favorite blogs or even your own blog.

Ten Signs That Your SEO Is a Quack

Thursday, November 30th, 2006 |

Have you wondered how so many SEO companies could possibly exist on the web? Well, most of them are fly by night, opportunistic companies with little to no experience. Below is a helpful “top ten list” which can help you discern the honest SEO companies and those looking to take your money.

There are so many SEO/SEM firms cropping up that talk a good game but don’t deliver results. This is in part because there’s so much information that is freely available about search engine optimization. On the surface, SEO sounds easy — and it really is — once you’ve had a number of sites to experiment with. What’s even easier than SEO, however, is discussing SEO as if you know what you’re actually doing (when you don’t)!

Here are 10 signs to watch out for that may very well indicate that your potential SEO is a quack. Please note that one of these individually may not be bad, but if you notice more than 2 or 3 of these when speaking with any SEO company, you may just want to head for the hills!

1. Your SEO company talks about Meta tags and Google PageRank (PR) as if they are the magic bullet to high rankings.

For the most part, there’s no reason to even bring up the keyword Meta tag nor toolbar PR in a discussion about what needs to be done to get better search engine exposure for your site. Both of them are issues that quack SEO companies will talk about because they actually believe they are the key to SEO success. They are not. I’ve discussed in previous articles the Meta
keyword tag’s lack of importance, so I won’t go into that again here. In regards to PageRank, increasing the little green bar graph’s number should never be the ultimate goal of a professional SEO campaign. A good campaign will automatically increase your real and true PageRank (as measured by
Google) without your specifically setting out to increasing it on your own.
Since PR doesn’t bring you traffic and sales (nor rankings), increasing it should not ever be the main goal of your campaign. This fact is of course lost on SEO quacks.

2. Your SEO company’s site (or those of their clients) has the same Title tags on every page. Sounds crazy I know, but I’ve seen this more than once!

I once got a client who had previously used a very major SEO company that most people have heard of. They had been with this firm for a whole year, and yet the Title tags on every page of their site were all the same (the name of the company). Since Title tags are probably the most important (and
easiest) thing to change on a site, any SEO company that can’t do this one basic thing for their own site or their clients’ is most definitely a quack! (more…)

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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