After going undercover to learn more about how some of the “big guys” are running their search marketing campaigns, I’ll be honest : it wasn’t impressive. 

Many small business owners have the wrong idea when it comes to hiring an SEO firm for results. Oftentimes, owners believe that the bigger, well-known agencies are more trustworthy for delivering results, but the opposite is true. The smaller, lesser-known SEOs are the ones that usually produce results for clients.

Large Agency, Small Compensation Package 

Bigger agencies don’t offer enough incentives to hire the effective SEOs.  Aiming for the same result (improved rankings for the client), large agencies prefer exchanging the market rate for pay in exchange for fringe benefits.  Essentially, they’re openly suggesting to clients they’ve traded productivity for ping pong. The effective SEO is faced with accepting lower pay with the benefit of personal financial stability.

Larger Agencies Actually Don’t Care About Results 

It’s interesting, asking the three interviewers what results they bring to their clients, and they didn’t provide solid answers. “We.. uh.. optimize their websites for search traffic”… type of answers. These are the actual guys that are doing the work once the salesmen for the agency closes the deal.

The interviewers seem to care more about “cultural fit” than can questioning: can you improve our clients’ condition, bring results and help us improve our systems?  The focus for the bigger agencies is definitely not on the client. 

Status Quo and Job Security is Priority #1

After answering their question about getting quality backlinks for clients, and asked them the same. The gentleman responded that they try to get one backlink a month for their client  (they’re in the cannabis business social network niche).

One backlink a month per client, and that’s considered delivering your specialized SEO service? Wow. That’s job security — not what’s best for the client.

Oh yeah, the “re-ops” are also included by recent college grads with 1-2 years of marketing experience which is likely super useful, and totally trustworthy, right?