SEO agencies rarely publish their own rankings!
When considering working with a new SEO agency, it is obvious that potential customers need to ask for references - just like with any other business, the profile of the clientele reflects on the agency’s credibility and know-how... just like with any other business, you may expect the agency to send you their best work, websites ranking high & a list of satisfied customers (!). It is almost like going to the fish store and ask “Is your fish fresh today?”. Just how often will the person in front of you say “It is not all fresh... here is the fresh one, but we also mix it with was fished last week...” I am sure that like myself, you will agree that clientele’s references are just not enough regardless of how prestigious the portfolio may be:
The success of a website is only partially linked to the SEO agency’s expertise. High rankings are not just based on good SEO – in fact, the ranking outcome also depends on the content of the website, its technical infrastructure, its seniority, etc. In other terms, there are many criteria beyond just SEO which influence the performance of a website. However, when a website features a healthy profile, on-site and off-site SEO is the key to a successful presence on targeted online markets (whether domestic or international, whether in English or multilingual).
I am not herewith trying to belittle the essential role which a qualified SEO agency plays in terms of rankings and traffic. In fact, it represents a crucial aspect in a website’s satisfactory online presence. A good website without good SEO ends up just being a brochure lost in cyberspace. As the sales & marketing director for http://www.mseo.com, I look at websites as transaction platforms rather than just online presence, and being that I am in the mood for analogies, let me compare the function of your SEO agency as the oil and the gas (“petrol” for my British friends!) for your car: you need to re-optimize your site from time to time the very same way as you occasionally need to change the oil of your vehicle – but you need to put fuel in your car on a regular basis the very same way you need ongoing link-building for your site (referring to one-way links enhancement – a job always “under construction & development”). However, for your car to work well you need a good engine, a good body, good engineering as well, etc... same for your site, it must also feature a healthy content & technical profile.
The point I am trying to make is that when receiving references from an SEO agency, although they are showing you “the full car” they are only responsible for the “fuel & oil”...
I recently heard that there are 30,000+ businesses worldwide claiming to be SEO experts and last I checked, over 80% of all internet users never consult search results past the 20th listing...so, instead of just client’s references, ask the new vendor you are considering to hire how good they are doing for themselves in terms of rankings. This is the true test. This is why most SEO agencies never speak about their own performances, never publish their own rankings.
Speaking about rankings, I advise you to check http://www.mseo.com on Google, MSN and Yahoo: http://www.mseo.com/search_engine_rankings.html
In conclusion, since Search Engine Optimization and Link-Building only play a partial role when considering a website’s successful online presence, I invite you to request customers’ references, and also to see the SEO agency’s rankings for their own website: it usually speaks for itself.
Mathias Levarek, Ph.D.
1250 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036 USA
Tel: +1 (202) 558-2504 • Fax +1 (202) 318-2453 • E-mail