Make sure your website designer or SEO guy has a face

by | Oct 31, 2016

Post by Roger Firestien of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at the State University of New York- Buffalo State.

Earlier this year I decided to update my website. It had gotten pretty stale. Because my old website was dated and because I wasn’t keeping up with my web presence, I decided to find a company that could optimize my web presence for my new website. I didn’t know anyone locally at the time so I did some research online and came across a company in Orange County California that looked like the people who could enhance my presence on the web.

I sent the company an email on a Friday afternoon and to my surprise the president of the company called me two days later on a Sunday afternoon. We had a lovely talk and he assured me that his company could help. Later that week, I had my “on-boarding call” with one of the account representatives who got all of the requirements for what I wanted them to accomplish, along with my credit card information so that they could charge me monthly for their services.

At first, I started to see some results in how my site began to rank. I also received monthly reports from the company detailing all of the technical data that told me how many links they were creating. Several months into the campaign I emailed the president asking to schedule a conversation with him. Four days passed and I didn’t get a response back from him. When I called the company asking to speak to him I was told that he was on vacation and that he would be on vacation for two months. I did however speak to my account representative who assured me that things were going just as planned.

Early last month, I sent an email to my account representative and didn’t hear anything back from him. When I called the company, I was told that he had left the firm. When I asked to speak to the president I was told that he was on a leave of absence… INDEFINITELY. I was assigned to another account representative.

Two weeks later, nothing had changed with my rankings and I noticed on my September report from the company that they were sending me results of work they had done in July. Not good!

During the time I was working with the California folks, I began to teach some creativity workshops at DIG at the Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Sam Insalaco attended a number of my workshops and I got to know him. I later found out that he did website design and search engine optimization (SEO).

Several weeks ago I decided to do some further research on the California SEO company. I typed in the president’s name, the name of the company and the word “scam” in Google. Sure enough, there were several scam reports on him and his company. When I looked up his company on the Better Business Bureau web site, I found that the BBB had assigned his company an “F” grade. Really not good!

Last week I got in touch with Sam and explained the problems I was having with the SEO company. I met with Sam the following Monday, hired him to do my SEO work and fired the folks in California.

When I started writing this blog my intention was to write about creativity and how you can apply creativity methods to make your website more appealing. I decided instead to pass along some things that I learned about the SEO process and how important it is to have a good relationship with the person who is helping to represent you on the web.

Here is my advice.

First, there are lots of companies out there that claim to be able to boost your web presence or get rid of items on the web that might be damaging to your reputation. I am not an expert, but in doing some research on these companies it looks to me that most of them don’t do what they promise.

Second, get recommendations from folks in your area that have worked with SEO firms. Unfortunately when I started working with the company in California I didn’t know anyone that could direct me toward a reputable company, so I was stuck with someone who I had never met face to face, that was eager to take my money, show me bogus linking reports and assure me that they were doing a good job.

Finally, and this is the most important part, make sure that your SEO person is someone you can meet with in person. That person should be willing to sit down with you face-to-face and talk to you about your goals for your web presence, which is exactly what Sam and I do.