How did the relationship with SEO Inc. evolve?
They apologized for early missteps in the first month, but the problems only compounded in the second month. The senior SEO analyst’s first deliverables only included a handful of optimized – supposedly – webpages. SEO Inc. never requested social media access in the first two months, which we offered for them to execute the scope’s management requirements. In addition, they didn’t produce the requested blog posts or articles.
Despite these omissions, we continued to pay SEO Inc. We received another batch of pages, but still no content and no backlinking. I then called the owner’s cell, who was reluctant to address my immediate concerns. When we spoke later that day, the owner assured me he would oversee blog posts and get the project back on track. He was very persuasive and we wanted to believe they would follow best practices going forward. Despite our misgivings, we wrote a check for month three.
What problem arose and how did they attempt to resolve them?
We received about four blog posts to approve during the first month. However, they were unreadable and lacked coherent sentences; I suspected a non-native English speaker authored them. I contacted the owner and he agreed the quality was unacceptable. We then received one blog post that was marginally acceptable. I was hesitant, but approved it because we urgently needed content.
During this time, the senior SEO analyst didn’t achieve links, added pages, or reoptimized pages. As a result, the owner delegated our project to another team member. That team member apologized and promised to redo everything. However, she didn’t follow through on those promises. At that point, I requested a refund from the owner. He used the poorly constructed blog posts to refuse the refund, claiming they had delivered all work prompts. SEO Inc. did do social media management near the end, but missed nearly four months’ worth of work. In all, they didn’t generate any new links or added pages.
Describe the impact this engagement has had on your business.
We were at fault for not scrutinizing the written contract’s fine print. We overlooked the numerous “outs” SEO Inc. put in place because we only focused on the outlined scope. Consequently, we were out $30,000 and fell behind the competition.
I revisited the quotes and projected ROIs the other five companies provided during our search. Based on their estimates for traffic and overall performance, we fell considerably short. I then hired a freelancer to supplement the work SEO Inc. wasn’t completing. He wrote six blog posts that we published and linked. He also did social media management and Google AdWords. Near the end of the project, the SEO Inc. owner pulled a Google Analytics report and tried to claim credit for all results, including the freelancer’s achievements. However, were able to tie the freelancer’s efforts to the improved traffic results. Due to their poor performance, we entered our business’s biggest season in a worse position than we should have been.
How was project management handled?
We used email and GoToMeeting.
What advice do you have for clients with similar needs to yours?
I wouldn’t recommend them for anything.