Large SEO Firms Suck?

I’ve been meaning to write something about this topic for a while, but never really got around to it. Do large SEO firms suck?

Jim Boykin, CEO of WeBuildPages, has ranted before about large SEO firms:

I don’t get it…I just don’t get it…people pay huge money to huge SEO companies and the get very fancy meta tags and keyword analysis for their 12 month contract…I think I’ve ranted about this before…but how do these big companies get away with selling “meta tag and on page optimization” for 12 month contracts…and NO LINK BUILDING…I just don’t get it!…here’s another kicker…I know that some of these big companies (including the big SEO company name I removed above) have people who work for them who know better…they just gotta know that meta tags and on page optimization alone can’t do squat for rankings…I don’t get it.

Maybe I shouldn’t bitch…the more of the big companies that continue to do 1997 SEO, the better my company looks, and the more of their clients I’m going to take from them (because the biggest part of our work involves working on getting our clients links).

Rand’s post from last week addressed this too.

Both Dana and I commented that we had received many phone calls from customers of large SEO firms who had been unsatisfied with customer service, client relations and, most frequently, quality of work. I had hoped it was just me, but I think it’s a trend in the corporate world that large service providers suffer in many aspects of the services they offer. Dana and I talked specifically about some notable examples of big names in the SEO industry who had gone to work for large firms and, subsequently, left due to disagreement in how the company was managing their customers and their employees.

As most of you know, I work for Search Engine Optimization Inc (SEO Inc) – one of the larger west coast SEO firms. I’d like to think we are doing an awesome job for our clients. We pay a great deal of attention to every single client and take a consultative approach to everything we do. This allows us to tailor our campaigns and ensure high quality work.

But I’d like to hear what you think. Do you think large SEO firms suck? What can be done better? What are the typical unsatisfactory issues? Which large firms do you like? Which large firms don’t you? Why?

How can you tell if an SEO firm is good?

I think it’s pretty simple, would their competition recommend them to you? This is why Rand’s list of recommended SEO firms is so useful. Every firm listed is being vouched for by their competition. That’s much better than a client testimonial in my book.

What are your thoughts on large SEO firms?

9 thoughts on “Large SEO Firms Suck?

  1. A former client of mine held #1 rankings for a competitive keyword for years. Then, they slipped to #3. After a couple of months, without regaining the #1 spot, they decided to forgo my services in favor of using an extremely large seo firm. For the first two weeks, the firm did nothing. Finally, they changed the title and meta tags. Within a week, the rankings were completely gone, and have never come back (about 9 months so far). The client learned a valuable lesson. Big is not always better, and you don’t always get what you pay for.

  2. I have seen nothing but horrible things from big seo companies. I have done case studies on some clients of Digital Grit and ICrossing, and unimpressed is not a strong enough word.

  3. I took on someone last year who was disappointed with the results from another well-known SEO company (and one close to SEOinc’s heart ;) ).

    I don’t consider it in anyone’s interests to say who they were, but I did post on my corporate blog a simple graphic showing how the results for both companies matched up:

    It was live figures, so there’s no airburshing the fact that I didn’t get all 100+ keywords ranked top. But as a performance comparison, I think it makes for interesting viewing.

  4. I know that we get lots of calls from folks leaving big SEO companies, unsatisfied with the results. It may well be that this is just a disproportionate represenation of the “dissatsified with SEO in general” population, but it certainly creates an impression.

  5. We are a little biased, but I have worked in my own small business, and in a company with 6,000 employees,

    Our theory is that the genius and creativity that is necessary to be truely exceptional in SEO, Marketing and Design is not supported by the large office environment.

    Its that simple.

    Large companies need large amounts of cashflow to stay alive, and that can cause problems with SEO, where the revenues can be lumpy.

  6. I had the dis-pleasure of working for a decent sized SEO firm a couple years ago. That’s something that I never want to experience again. I felt so bad for some of the clients that went with the firm because I knew they wouldn’t be getting what they paid for. Needless to say I didn’t last long.

    Assembly line, or cookie-cutter SEO simply does not work.

    I just recently took on a client who was previously with SEOinc. I hate to bad mouth other SEO companies publicly but my client is not very happy, and it’s pretty obvious why.

  7. I’m the director of search marketing for an online diamond company. The decision to use icrossing prior to my hire was made, and although it wasn’t the choice I would have made, I began to try working with them.

    It didn’t take long for us to realize this was a firm more interested in collecting their monthly fee and provide us with nothing but double talk and excuses rather than drill down to the nitty gritty in trying to improve our website.

    After not hearing from them for months, we finally received a certified letter via fed ex this morning indicating they are dropping us as a client for non payment of two outstanding invoices.

    Considering they had been charging our card on file for the previous months, and if there was some issue with the card not working (which we were never notified about) it seems rather interesting the only time we ever hear from icrossing is when payment is due.

    They are NOT a proactive company at all, and frankly being “dropped” by icrossing is like being kicked off the Bad News Bears!

    I wouldn’t recommend icrossing as to ANYBODY after this experience, and as a former Did-It employee, I have a new perspective of how some of the clients we took on back then (who came from icrossing) felt after their experiences from them.

    Joe Tedd
    Operations Manager
    Manager Of Search Strategies
    Diamond Harmony LLC

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  9. We are a small seo firm based in the UK, i do agree that the bigger the seo company the worse level of service they offer, i have many clients who have come to us due to disappointing results from larger organisations. as a small seo firm we can offer that extra level of care for all our customers

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