How to research SEO candidate



  • This may be too nebulous a question, but i was wondering, where is a good place to start looking if you want to research a SEO person/company? Our company has a bad track record finding people that do this that are not con artists. Not "all" are, that is not what i am saying. What I am saying is that the people in our office that are finding them, have to be looking in the wrong places. Web design and marketing are not something i have really sought to increase my knowledge about. I end up having to do damage control and cleanup after the storm.

    2 Simple questions,

    1. Does a contractor ever need admin access to Word Press for editing?
    2. Can a contractor do their job without having full access via FTP to the site?

    My IT Generalist hairs are standing up on the back of my neck when I get a request for this level of access. Should I listen to my gut?

    As always thank you everyone for your responses.



  • From my reading most SEO "experts" are indeed con artists.



  • @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    Does a contractor ever need admin access to Word Press for editing?
    Can a contractor do their job without having full access via FTP to the site?

    How would they be able to do any optimization if they don't have access to your website? You could setup a dev site for them to test changes in and then push the changes to prod but really if your company is hiring them there needs to be a bit of trust.



  • @coliver This is where my ignorance shows. I really don't know what level access an SEO wizard "needs". I am trying to rectify that situation by researching and asking questions. In my 20 years at the same company and having been on both sides of the request standard user answer to the question " How much access do you need " is " All of it ". When I got to the IT side of the desk I saw the potential for disaster and decided as well as read in more than one "Best Practices" article that is NOT an option.

    I think the dev site is a great idea; unfortunately that will have to be a future endeavor.
    I absolutely trust that they will not do nefarious things, its the dumb things that keep me up a night.

    IT Generalist is so apropos.



  • I just got word back from our hosting site. They are for more cautious than I am when it comes to security. They said, not much you can do but give them Deity level access and change the password when they are done. Oh well. At least I tried.

    Thanks.

    Am i supposed to mark solved if I found the answer?



  • @coliver said in How to research SEO candidate:

    From my reading most SEO "experts" are indeed con artists.

    Yep. SEO really just means, make a proper web site. It's a lot simpler than most people think. A lot of the SEO "experts" actually hurt your ranking in Google searches.



  • Yoast free is great and will do more than any of those "SEO experts". I've never paid for yoast, but I can imagine it's worth it. I'm able to get on the first page of Google with my blog for certain keywords without much hassle.

    Yoast tells you exactly what to do to increase SEO. Dumb stuff like having an image named the same as your target keyword makes a big difference. Yoast grades each page and post and gives your site an overall grade. Red means bad SEO, yellow could use improvement, and green is excellent. Not all my pages or posts are green, but the ones that are rank very highly.


  • Service Provider

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    This may be too nebulous a question, but i was wondering, where is a good place to start looking if you want to research a SEO person/company? Our company has a bad track record finding people that do this that are not con artists.

    That's because it's a con artist service category. SEO isn't something you hire someone for, it's just something that your marketing and web people do as part of normal operations. Not something you do separately or hire someone for.


  • Service Provider

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    @coliver This is where my ignorance shows. I really don't know what level access an SEO wizard "needs".

    Total access.


  • Service Provider

    A contractor can't really do SEO, SEO is a continuous activity from your content people.



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  • Service Provider

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    1. Can a contractor do their job without having full access via FTP to the site?

    We don't even have FTP to any of our sites, so that's definitely not needed.



  • That's the free version. I'd imagine the paid version must be better and can possibly do some of those tasks automatically.

    I also have some yellow and red pages/posts. With any minimal effort, you can generally get yellow. I've gotten red in a few places because they are posts or pages that don't function like general pages/posts. I think in the paid version you can pick more templates for optimization. A good example would be a portfolio page. Yoast free tries to grade it like a regular post/page which makes it red.



  • @scottalanmiller said in How to research SEO candidate:

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    1. Can a contractor do their job without having full access via FTP to the site?

    We don't even have FTP to any of our sites, so that's definitely not needed.

    That's a red flag to me. They shouldn't need to download or upload anything other than images or small files which can be done directly through the website.



  • I use Yoast as well for WP.

    But there is a lot to SEO. I've been doing it for my sites and others over many years.

    As Scott said, total access is needed, but should best be done internally.

    You can pay someone to do it, but most likely they'll need to edit content depending on it's current condition.



  • Yeah, FTP isn't needed, but in some cases may be the only way to edit web content. With WP, no. It jsut depends on how your setup is.



  • I have been researching and working on the same thing for a long time.

    I know in the past there were a lot of ways to "game" your results, like link networks, but these are now penalized by Google.

    If you think about it, Google wants every result to be relevant. So if your content, services and geography is relevant you will appear in the results. You used to have to "build" SEO, but those things seem to have very little impact on SEO anymore. Things you can not control (like people searching for something and picking a particular link) have more impact that back links and other SEO strategies. Page content means a lot more than metadata.

    There are good plugins out there as mentioned above that are the best place to start, plus setting up a Google Business Page has a huge impact on returned results in your area.


  • Service Provider

    The bottom line is generally.... just make good content. If your content is good, your SEO will be good.



  • Wow... Thank you soooooo much for all the input. I really appreciate all of your time and effort. I am really glad I stumbled across this group.



  • Not to beat a dead horse but: This is the response I got when I informed them that I could not provide access Via FTP.

    Hi Jon,

    Our lead developer said: "With respect, the GUI of Wordpress is not the ideal place to do all of a websites maintenance. And not all tools are compatible with the GUI, like our particular DB find and replace toolsets. In the event of some form of failure, FTP is also the first source accessed to rectify problems. Additionally, all developers tools such as Coda/Sublime/Dreamweaver/etc are void without such types of access.

    For highly technical tasks like speed improvements on a website, for a site we do not host, I am not comfortable performing such maintenance without my full toolset available."

    Please let us know if you will be able to provide the requested access.


  • Service Provider

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    Not to beat a dead horse but: This is the response I got when I informed them that I could not provide access Via FTP.

    Hi Jon,

    Our lead developer said: "With respect, the GUI of Wordpress is not the ideal place to do all of a websites maintenance. And not all tools are compatible with the GUI, like our particular DB find and replace toolsets. In the event of some form of failure, FTP is also the first source accessed to rectify problems. Additionally, all developers tools such as Coda/Sublime/Dreamweaver/etc are void without such types of access.

    For highly technical tasks like speed improvements on a website, for a site we do not host, I am not comfortable performing such maintenance without my full toolset available."

    Please let us know if you will be able to provide the requested access.

    Why are you still talking to these people? Drop them, they serve no purpose for you.


  • Service Provider

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    Additionally, all developers tools such as Coda/Sublime/Dreamweaver/etc are void without such types of access.

    None of those are developer tools, this is a scam. And no developer needs that kind of access. I run a development company, this would never be requested, let alone provided.



  • @popester
    I can see that not having ftp will impact their workflow, but that is different from "it is not possible". I interpret their answer as "I will not work with you unless you respect my workflow"


  • Service Provider

    @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    .... like our particular DB find and replace toolsets.

    That's not something anyone should ever ask to run on your production system. Ever.


  • Service Provider

    @dave_c said in How to research SEO candidate:

    @popester
    I can see that not having ftp will impact their workflow, but that is different from "it is not possible". I interpret their answer as "I will not work with you unless you respect my workflow"

    Yup, which is exactly what you want - them to not work with you. You want nothing to do with these people.



  • @popester said in How to research SEO candidate:

    Please let us know if you will be able to provide the requested access.

    Nobody has that type of access. Don't you have policies covering this sort of thing? If not, you probably should!