Looking for quality SEO & PPC help.
May 2, 2015 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Do you recommend any particular freelance site or marketing firm?

We are a brick and mortar, mom and pop retailer specializing in outdoor gear. An REI came to town recently and we would like to better compete by selling products online, too. We have the basic infrastructure for selling online (woocommerce, amazon payment system, etc.) but would like to put more products online and utilize stronger methods of advertising.

I'm looking to hire a marketing firm, freelancer, or small business consultant to work with us on ramping up revenues for our online retail store.

We've been contacted by Captain Marketing many times but have read so many bad reviews that we are leery of working with them.

We currently work with two freelancers through oDesk (for programming needs) and are happy with the oDesk/freelancer way of doing things, but wonder if there is a better way?

Who have you worked with that got you results?

Thank You.
posted by MansRiot to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of thoughts:

- SEO, ecommerce, and PPC are all different disciplines.
- It's really difficult to recommend an agency to a small, local business.

I would try to find a local agency with people that you can actually meet. I would say that engaging people with proven experience with ecommerce would be the priority.

With products, SEO is super difficult, since many product descriptions are duplicated, and sites like Amazon and REI will generally nab the top spot.

There are ways to implement an SEO strategy for products (and there are some SEO best practices that must be implemented immediately in any case, such as site architecture, title tags, metatext and so on) but it is a challenging area that requires sustained effort.

PPC is another area where you really have to find someone who knows what they are doing, since PPC is so very competitive.

So finding someone who can recommend and implement a good ecommerce solution (Shopify?) would be a good first step.

But as a small business with a limited budget, finding someone local would be a really good idea. Someone you can talk to over coffee.
posted by Nevin at 11:25 AM on May 2, 2015

I would look for someone local rather than someone online. You're probably too small for most agencies. Try asking other local business (with decent marketing) who they use.
posted by dripdripdrop at 11:33 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree that e-commerce and marketing are two totally different things. I recommend startin with making sure your store is solid (and attractive), you have a good product naming strategy and inventory management plan, and that you have the back-end infrastructure set up (shipping, order management, etc). Worry about marketing next. And yes, SEO and PPC are two different animals although some agencies/contractors do both.
posted by radioamy at 12:23 PM on May 2, 2015

"Quality SEO" is a contradiction in terms. SEO is a castle built on a foundation of sand, because it amounts to trying to cheat. The Google engineers who create the rating algorithm do their best to make it honest, and SEO attackers are looking for loopholes in their algorithm that allows the SEO to sneak past other people and get an undeservedly high rating.

The problem is that the Google engineers know this is going on, and keep changing their rating algorithm, sometimes radically, precisely to close the loopholes the SEO guys were taking advantage of.

Most SEO attackers are using approaches which ceased to work years ago. They'll do what they say (i.e. spam blog comments with your link etc.) but it won't actually affect your rating. Indeed, Google penalizes some sites which do this kind of thing and it can LOWER your result, not raise it.

No one knows when Google will change their algorithm again, nor what it will be, but what is certain is that Google hates SEO and is doing their best to make it fail.

SEO is a refuge for losers and charlatans. They are long on promises and very, very short on delivery. Don't waste your money.

(In case you hadn't noticed, I hate SEO with a bitter passion. As the owner of a server, about half my traffic is SEO.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:38 PM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Mr Pickle is quite right, no short cuts. Your site needs to be a reference. A repository of useful information that brings folks back just to read and check up on a new idea. Current info about the local scene. A site that other quality sites and bloggers refer (link). Now once you have a lot of great pages there are some "seo" technical tuning elements to improve referenceability such as how pages are named and legitimate meta tags. Burt great accurate info is #1. (actually #1 though #98 with seo rather lower).
posted by sammyo at 7:16 PM on May 2, 2015

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