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  1. #1
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Hi everyone,

    Can I ask what exactly you would do if a client asked for SEO help?

    I understand the basics and principles of SEO and I make sure my HTML is optimized for SEO purposes. However, I don't really know how I should offer or package SEO help. I just included my first "SEO campaign," where I have them fill out an Excel worksheet for the meta title and meta description and desired permalink/URL for specific, important pages.

    I'm asking because I recently joined a networking group where there are a lot of small business owners. They don't see the value of other secondary services I provide, but they almost all know about SEO and it's value. I just want to make more money while also delivering things of value to clients. I'd like to know what your thoughts are. Thank you.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    I actually don't do anything different than if a client wants a web site, a redesign, etc...

    I develop a site level strategy ... And just a part of that is SEO. Sometimes, just taking an existing site and fixing all the "mis-informed", stuff that was done previously as attempts at SEO... Is more difficult and time consuming that "re-building"... But most of the time... Site structure ... File names, etc... We're never addressed in the original site build or pseudo-SEO EFFORTS.

    That being said, I think I've had one client in 10 years, that the site was "almost there"... And really only needed to focus on a content strategy... To get the search engines to actually start indexing it properly.

    I think the worst thing about a client that ask for "SEO HELP" only... Is the fact that you will probably have many hurdles just re-educating them as to what SEO is. SEO is a discussion I have with every client at one time or another... Not that they are asking for it... But they always seem to bring some "mis-informed" suggestions to the table.... About how SEO should be done... Mainly in part to all the wrong information that is on the Internet about it, what it is, how to do this or that to ....

    Sometimes it was their previous design person that mis-lead them... By charging them "extra" for SEO.

    My suggestion to you... Don't look at a job as "SEO only"... If you do, you're following the same path that many of the "SEO wannabe gurus" have already followed... Its better to look at the "whole site"... And determine what needs to be done "as a whole"... Or an SEO STRATEGY...

    This includes.... Where the site is hosted, how that impacts the site, content ( is there enough relevant content ?), what might be running in the background ? ( some black hat or grey hat efforts ), what has been done in the past ( link building/buying schemes )... And about a hundred other things that can effect if..

    Sometimes a site has been so corrupted and marganilized by previous SEO tactics... It really takes more effort that recover, than to just start with a clean slate ( new domain name, site, the whole works )...when I get a request for "SEO ONLY"... Help, I do my research to find out ... As well as ask the client all the particulars about previous stuff... If the research warrants a possible recovery... I then work up a quote and timeline for recovery or clean slate scenarios...

    Lets just say... If a site has been up over a couple of months ( sandbox period ), and you cannot find the site on google except by searching for the domain name... There's a reason for that.

    And its a massive pain to recover a site like that.

    Just my opinion though ... Sure there are tons of people that look at this differently than me.

  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Not me, other than the fact that I won't just take on an "SEO only" job. If someone asks me for that, there are usually deeper issues with the site and I tell them flat-out that I'm approaching the job as a scratch rebuild.

    If you want to find out what you're dealing with, ask your client off the top if there are any known Google Webmaster Tools issues. If the answer is anything other than, "no"...and especially if the answer is along the lines of "what's that?" or "what are you talking about?"...you're going to have a lot of fun.

    I'm dealing with a client right now where I rebuilt their site completely from the ground up, other than the admin. It took me well over a year to get everything done correctly because they carry over 36,000 products with significant customizations. The scary thing is that this is only the first stage of what needs to be done. The client hired an offshore data entry team who copied/pasted manufacturer descriptions without thinking about the ramifications, and botched several thousand copy/pastes of other information (spec information, so there's really not much you can do about duplicate content in those situations) in the process. I've spent the past two months just finding automatic ways to clean the botched copy/pastes up.
    RDesignista likes this.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webzarus, post: 251308, member: 27723
    I actually don't do anything different than if a client wants a web site, a redesign, etc...

    I develop a site level strategy ... And just a part of that is SEO. Sometimes, just taking an existing site and fixing all the "mis-informed", stuff that was done previously as attempts at SEO... Is more difficult and time consuming that "re-building"... But most of the time... Site structure ... File names, etc... We're never addressed in the original site build or pseudo-SEO EFFORTS.

    That being said, I think I've had one client in 10 years, that the site was "almost there"... And really only needed to focus on a content strategy... To get the search engines to actually start indexing it properly.

    I think the worst thing about a client that ask for "SEO HELP" only... Is the fact that you will probably have many hurdles just re-educating them as to what SEO is. SEO is a discussion I have with every client at one time or another... Not that they are asking for it... But they always seem to bring some "mis-informed" suggestions to the table.... About how SEO should be done... Mainly in part to all the wrong information that is on the Internet about it, what it is, how to do this or that to ....

    Sometimes it was their previous design person that mis-lead them... By charging them "extra" for SEO.

    My suggestion to you... Don't look at a job as "SEO only"... If you do, you're following the same path that many of the "SEO wannabe gurus" have already followed... Its better to look at the "whole site"... And determine what needs to be done "as a whole"... Or an SEO STRATEGY...

    This includes.... Where the site is hosted, how that impacts the site, content ( is there enough relevant content ?), what might be running in the background ? ( some black hat or grey hat efforts ), what has been done in the past ( link building/buying schemes )... And about a hundred other things that can effect if..

    Sometimes a site has been so corrupted and marganilized by previous SEO tactics... It really takes more effort that recover, than to just start with a clean slate ( new domain name, site, the whole works )...when I get a request for "SEO ONLY"... Help, I do my research to find out ... As well as ask the client all the particulars about previous stuff... If the research warrants a possible recovery... I then work up a quote and timeline for recovery or clean slate scenarios...

    Lets just say... If a site has been up over a couple of months ( sandbox period ), and you cannot find the site on google except by searching for the domain name... There's a reason for that.

    And its a massive pain to recover a site like that.

    Just my opinion though ... Sure there are tons of people that look at this differently than me.

    Thanks. I'm asking this question more as a way to start including SEO services when writing contracts. I tell people that I do SEO-optimized HTML and all pictures I use are properly named and I'm on top of meta. I'd like to just offer a more complete SEO package and capitalize on it. Just asking because I wasn't sure what else there was in SEO.

  6. #5
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 251309, member: 428
    Not me, other than the fact that I won't just take on an "SEO only" job. If someone asks me for that, there are usually deeper issues with the site and I tell them flat-out that I'm approaching the job as a scratch rebuild.

    If you want to find out what you're dealing with, ask your client off the top if there are any known Google Webmaster Tools issues. If the answer is anything other than, "no"...and especially if the answer is along the lines of "what's that?" or "what are you talking about?"...you're going to have a lot of fun.

    I'm dealing with a client right now where I rebuilt their site completely from the ground up, other than the admin. It took me well over a year to get everything done correctly because they carry over 36,000 products with significant customizations. The scary thing is that this is only the first stage of what needs to be done. The client hired an offshore data entry team who copied/pasted manufacturer descriptions without thinking about the ramifications, and botched several thousand copy/pastes of other information (spec information, so there's really not much you can do about duplicate content in those situations) in the process. I've spent the past two months just finding automatic ways to clean the botched copy/pastes up.
    Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are great examples of things I can consider making a part of an SEO package. Also, what was it about the copy paste that ruins SEO? Were the descriptions not using the right, relevant keywords? Or did they have mis-leading keywords? Bad use of headings?

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Duplicate / unoriginal content for one thing. On top of that, they also copy/pasted information to the wrong spots (e.g. product dimension information as size options)...and while that in itself isn't an SEO issue, it was affecting sales because people had no idea what the different sizes were for things.

    In some cases, duplicate content is going to occur no matter what you do. For example, if you have a large product site and you get feeds from several manufacturers, you're not going to have time to go through and change all the writeups all by yourself. But you want to make it your own/your client's own as much as possible.

    By the way, whatever happened to delstu? Seems like WZ and I are the only sheriffs in this place these days.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  8. #7
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDesignista, post: 251340, member: 30952
    Thanks. I'm asking this question more as a way to start including SEO services when writing contracts. I tell people that I do SEO-optimized HTML and all pictures I use are properly named and I'm on top of meta. I'd like to just offer a more complete SEO package and capitalize on it. Just asking because I wasn't sure what else there was in SEO.
    I understand your dilemma, but again, the devil is in the details ( which I do no share with clients ), because the "SEO INDUSTRY", in general is a sham. Sure there ARE instances where a designer did just create a site... And copy pasted content from the old site... Or.... Then, someone coming in and tweaking or re-writing content, renaming files and or creating a logical structure of things.. Blah.. Blah.. Blah... But outside if that, I'm not going to detail or explain what I do to my clients.

    Probably the more important thing that should be done, can be explained ( I actually try to educated my clients on this ), and falls into the SEO genre ... "How to write for search engines"... Because content is the "key" to site indexing properly... No matter how pretty the site is... If there's little or non-relevant content and its not presented properly to the search engine, then nothing else really matters.

    Some people just "get it", some never do.

    I really and honestly try to "play down", the whole "SEO" thing with clients, partly because the bulk of what I do "SEO wise", is done regardless of if they ask or not... Partly because the whole "SEO narrative" has become so frustrating to explain the "bad information" .

    I emphasize the "content strategy" discussions ... And they make the association between content and SEO. None of my contracts have a single mention of SEO, if the client mentions it, I explain that because SEO is just "built into" and is a consideration in the design and development... SEO ( as they understand it ), is and should be a natural part of the content strategy ... But again, its done without thinking of it as a "separate action ", so there is really no need to call it something that its not.

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    And therein lies the crux of the whole matter.

    If you assume that SEO is a standalone aspect, then you'll end up being one of these clueless idiots that talk about backlinking and link wheels and dofollow and all the other nonsense that does no good, which in turn will make you one of the idiots ranting and raving about how Penguin 2.0 is a horrible update and all the results suck and Google did a bad job and I'm going to tell everyone to use Bing and how dare they launch this abortion on the universe and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    If, on the other hand, you treat SEO as a part of web design rather than as a replacement for it...as people such as WZ have known to do for several years now...then a lot of the SEO work will already be taken care of in the process of building the website, as opposed to the much more difficult task of trying to "bake it in" after.
    RDesignista likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  10. #9
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Huh.

    I was familiar with SEO's key principles before. Wasn't a lot of work, but more of just knowing that I should do certain things when building a website. I just thought there was more to be done for SEO brownie points, but overestimated how much more there is, outside of having proper code html, meta data, and a keyworded content.

    I'm just going to try to re-word what I do so that clients know that I'm still offering SEO value in my work.

    Thank you Webzarus and THE GAME for your input. I think the only people that ever answer my questions are you two. Seems like there aren't too many with answers for the type of questions I have.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    That's because we are in the minority when it comes to our views on SEO.

    I'll be th first to say, I may be knowledgeable, but there's a lot I don't know, and I'm sure there are many aspects of it, that I've not heard of...

    If you know the basics... And follow those, over time you'll start picking up on other things.

    My "ah ha" moment was when I realized that search engines don't see the site the same way people do, spend some time looking at, reading, researching and testing the ways search engines interact with a site.

    I spent over a year, building a script that would interact with a site the way "I thought and understood" search engines were doing. Log files on a web site are like help files on a program, they are probably the most ignored but most helpful thing to help you get a better understanding.

    Most people think a search engine just call a page like a person does, dumps the code into a big honkin DB, and is then indexed.... Google uses at least 4 different kinds of crawlers 5-6 if you see their mobile crawlers in your log files ... And they all do different things ( from what I can tell )... Some make only HEAD request, looking at CRC values and last modified dates... Others actually call pages to discover outgoing links, and or internal site link structure ... While others look at nothing but content...

    Then the data mining and analysis starts to come in... But all that's done in their data centers...

    Writing for search engines is not as easy as some try to make it out, writing content that search engines and people can use,... Whole different ball of wax.


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