Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
You can really tell how effective their work is. We’ve had various degrees of success with different projects and different clients, but to give you an example, I invested in a small boutique loudspeaker company that was founded 25 years ago by a close friend of mine. Because of the electronics industry consolidating in big box retail, a lot of the mom and pop electronics stores are drying up and going away. So I recapitalized the company and they asked me to be the CEO. We reinvented the company as a web-only business. We fired all of our distributors, canceled our rep contracts and built an extranet for our dealers to buy at dealer costs directly from the company. And then after about six months, we opened a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site. We didn’t have any money to spend on SEO, so I went to NextLeft and we put together a program. We almost quadrupled our web traffic in an 18-month period with nothing other than SEO and premium link-building.
And that’s not even the most successful program we had. My biggest client right now is a brick-and-mortar retailer that dominates their tiny market of audio, video, and electronics, but they also have a website that’s been around since 2001 or 2002. They have an excellent site. I’ve been working with them on premium link-building for 2.5 years. I basically run their entire SEO program. They’ve increased their page rankings and visibility massively. They’re a tiny company in terms of employees, but they’re ahead of Best Buy in some categories in terms of page rankings on critical electronics keywords. We’ve taken them from nothing, no keyword ranking on the front page, to about 40 keywords on the front page and a couple dozen in the top three rankings. The owner of the company is ecstatic with the results of both my services and NextLeft’s.
How did NextLeft perform from a project management standpoint?
I’ve dealt with a number of different companies as a client, and NextLeft is in the 90th percentile in terms of responsiveness. Their monthly reports are very helpful in terms of communicating progress to my clients.
What did you find most impressive about NextLeft?
There are two reasons why we’ve been so successful with them. The first is that they really try and understand the business goal rather than just doing keyword research mechanically. Second, they have really good systems in place. They have very sophisticated software that analyzes hundreds of thousands of sites for Google authority score, and then when they identify them they actually have a team of people that goes in and manually ranks pages for authority, and contacts the webmasters of those sites in person to select the pages and the premium outgoing links from their site. They also work on anchor text and stuff like that, and that level of detail and that hybrid approach with sophisticated proprietary software plus actual human interaction – it’s why they’re so successful.
Are there any areas NextLeft could improve?
This is totally understandable, but they rely a lot on the automated system that they use for reporting. I’m digging deep to find a negative, but if I had to pick something, I would say that more times than I’m happy with, there have been some technical errors in the reports that they missed before they presented them to me. But that’s really nitpicky.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with NextLeft?
I trust the people at NextLeft, so I always recommend that when my clients engage with NextLeft that they be completely open with their data, particularly in the electronics industry. There’s the parochialism that exists where people are very hesitant to share any data. In most industries, everybody’s partnering with everybody else and data is very open, but the electronics industry is very close-mouthed with it comes to sharing data. I’ve encouraged all of my clients that they way to be effective with a company like NextLeft is to give them access to your dashboards and Google Analytics and let them see the good with the bad. They’ll do a better job.