SEO Quote



WARNING: Read this before you shop around for an SEO quote. I decided to write this article to help give my readers a better understanding of how to engage an SEO company and receive an accurate and honest quote. When most people call or write me, one of the first things they say is, how much are your services? A broad question like this lets me know this person may not understand SEO in the first place and therefore could fall pray to unscrupulous practices. To get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. This is why you must at least have a basic understanding of SEO before you order SEO services. That being said, the first question should be something like, what type of SEO services do you provide? or How does your program work?.

On-Page or Off?

Next, you should know that SEO can be separated into two categories, on-page SEO, and off-page. On-page encompasses coding and design as well as content and server management. Most SEO firms only offer on-page analysis or on-page SEO consulting, meaning that they will tell you what to do but it’s up to you and your developers to implement the changes. If the company does do the on-page services then the quote can range widely as some sites may require a full rebuild while others just need simple tweaking.

Off-page SEO boils down to link building and social media. Starting with the types of link building, you want to be sure they are not just using black-hat software to build the links instead they should be built manually. Secondly, they should use high-quality content to build these links and definitely, no spinning (spinning is using synonyms to automatically rewrite articles). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t explore black-hat techniques but 10,000+ black hat links are usually equal to just a few good quality links. Lastly, black hat SEO done wrong can actually get your site completely removed from Google’s search results so you should probably run the other way if someone offers these types of services exclusively. The same applies to social media, there are tons of black hat social media programs out there that will create social media accounts, add friends and more. The problem is that Facebook, Twitter, and many others are catching on to this and when they catch you, they will erase your accounts causing you to lose several man-hours of work. Not to mention, social media is all about engaging the community so why would you entrust a black hat program to represent your company?

SEO Manpower

Knowing this, your next question should be how many people will be working on my account and how many man-hours will be spent working on my website? As I said, the best links come from high-quality content and this content takes time and skill to produce. Just one high-quality link could take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours to produce and if your site requires thousands of links to compete with your competitors, then you could require a whole team of SEO agents working full-time on your account. Knowing this will also help you gauge the SEO quote, as the amount of man-hours is directly related to the costs.

Do a Little Research About Them

Lastly, ask for the name their head SEO and check out their case studies.  Google the person’s name and find information about them so you can investigate their SEO credentials. In the world of SEO, the proof is in the pudding. And don’t let them pull one of those cobbler’s kids excuses, meaning they dont have time for self-promotion or some other lame excuse for not being ranked. Their own website should be 100% optimized and should rank in Google for the type of searches they are competing for and they should have years of case studies. Once you find out the name of their top SEO, type it in Google and if he or she is worth a damn then you should be able to find a wealth of information about them. Simply put, if they can’t get themselves ranked high in Google then the chances are they won’t be able to help you either. If you have any more questions just leave a comment below or contact me directly. I’m usually eager and happy to answer SEO questions and always give free phone consultations.

Above the Fold Page Layout Algorithm Update

Above the Fold Page Layout Algorithm Update


Matt Cutts has been in a telling mood! He made a post on Google Webmaster Central Blog titled Page Layout Algorithm Improvement where he said, sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. This is why the SEO community is calling this the Above the Fold Page Layout Algorithm Update. Shortly after publishing his blog post, Cutts posted this tweet

Minor weather report: Update of launching today. ~0.7% of English queries noticeably affected.

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 9, 2012

What is the Page Layout Algo All About?

Basically, this means that websites that have too many ads, affiliate links, and even outbound links above the fold will be negativity by this update. The area above the fold of your website should be reserved for content and preferably the content that the user who landed on that page was looking for.

How to Recover if you Were Affected

Simple, just move your ads below the fold. It’s okay if you have 1 or 2 small ads up there but really you should put your content first and then place your ads toward the bottom of the page. You will probably have to sacrifice conversions because your ads will be less visible. That being said, Google also tracks page scrolling and will reward you if the user scrolls through the whole page so the object should be to give the user what they want above the fold and then entice them to scroll down to finish checking out the rest of the content and to check out your ads. This is a bit trickier for porn sites but I feel like this update will have a heavy impact on porn SEO.

Again, you should not have to remove all ads or outbound links that are above the fold just minimize them. Here’s what Matt Cutts said about this: This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree.

Google Algo Change Reduces Low Quality Exact Match Domains

Google Algo Change Reduces Low Quality Exact Match Domains


Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team announced a new algorithm update that targets Exact Match Domains (EMDs). According to Cutts, this change will affect .06% of US based English search results.

Here are the two Tweets he sent out warning about it:

Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality exact-match domains in search results. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012


New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012


In his tweet, Cutts used the words low-quality exact-match domains so this means if your EMD has good quality Panda-friendly content and Penguin-friendly links then don’t worry but if your EMD relies on the keywords being in the domain as a substitute for quality content, then you will more than likely be affected.

It’s not like Google is punishing EMDs instead, they are just enhancing the algorithms to remove the special privileges that EMDs have enjoyed. You used to be able to register an EMD and rank for that keyword even if the site is low quality but these days are now over.

Does This Mean EMDs Suck Now?

Not at all, it just means that having an EMD doesn’t guarantee rankings. You will now need to optimize your EMDs more and provide high-quality content just like any other domain.

Will This Affect The Value of EMDs?

Yes, they are now worth less money because they will require the same amount of optimization and effort as any other domain. The easy days of buying an EMD and ranking based on that alone are over.

Are EMDs Still Better?

Maybe even Matt Cutts himself couldn’t answer that question in absolutes but here’s my take on it. I say that they are still slightly better than a non-exact-match domain in this sense. Let’s say you have two exactly identical websites except that one is an EMD and the other is not. If all other factors were equal, then the EMD would surely outrank the non-EMD because they have just one more small factor. So EMDs are still good, they are not being punished, instead, they just aren’t being treated with the special privileges that they used to be treated with.

EMD Algorithm Update Recovery and Survival

All of my EMDs survived this update because I always posted Panda-friendly, only got Penguin-Friendly links and in addition, I think the social media integration helped to legitimize the sites as well. Things like a Youtube channel, Twitter account, and FB page helped to prevent the sites from being affected. One example is still ranks where it did last month.

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the new algo updates and please let me know if I left anything out or if you have any questions or comments.