Category Archives: Online Reputation Management

Could you say no to $10,000?

10kWell, I did…

This month alone I’ve turned down nearly $10k in client work… and I actually feel really good about it.

I’ll tell you why in a second, but first, I want you to understand something…

I’m not telling you this to brag about how I make so much money I can afford to be super picky, take month long vacations and just throw caution to the wind. It’s actually the total opposite! But there’s a good reason I had to say no to several new clients this month.

Actually 3 good reasons:

  1. I’m honest
  2. I’m loyal
  3. I want long term results

Let me explain each of these in a little more detail…

Honesty – I’ve been getting a lot of potential clients coming to me saying they’ve been burned by another SEO that used shady tactics to get short term results… and that they want a guarantee that I can get them their desired results (which is always to rank #1 for a bunch of keywords) within a certain amount of time and they’ll gladly pay my fees.

I’m very honest and up front with these people in that I (even at my level of SEO awesomeness) can NEVER make a guarantee like that. There are just too many variables (one of which is cleaning up someone else’s mess) that can change at any given time and I think any SEO that’s worth a damn would say the same thing.

Of course a lot of the time I DO see the desired results, but I just can’t make that guarantee. I’d rather tell someone this knowing they won’t do business with me than take a risk, and have to resort to some of the old school shady tactics I’ve used in the past to get the results they want (and yes, these shady tactics DO still work – but usually very short term).

Loyalty – One of the choices I made early on was that I wouldn’t take on clients competing in the same geographic area. This isn’t really something I advertise (though now you know) but more of something I do to avoid internal conflict and any potential issues that could arise from it. Truth is, you’d never actually know, as I’m pretty secretive with my clients (which presents a whole ‘nother problem in itself when people ask for client references) but that’s just a choice I make and I hope my clients appreciate that.

So this month I’ve had to turn down a local client because I’m already working with someone else in this area AND someone that thought the fact that I wouldn’t reveal my current list of clients was “borderline deceptive”. If being loyal and protective of my clients is “deceptive” in some way… then color me guilty I guess.

Oh, by the way… if you’re a client, feeling generous and don’t mind people knowing we’ve worked together, feel free to leave me a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile. It’s greatly appreciated. :)

Long term results – I’ve done some “grey hat” manipulative SEO in the past. Yep, I’ve spammed the shit out of websites to get to the #1 spot for some ultra competitive terms. It still works too. But it’s not a good long term strategy and I literally REFUSE to do it to client sites (regardless of some rumors apparently floating around).

Sure, I still test some of these methods on my own personal sites, because I like to always have a finger on the pulse of what works and what doesn’t. But going back to the honesty thing above… I’d rather turn someone down knowing that they have unreasonable expectations instead of taking their money, using a shady tactic to get the result in the desired time frame and then having their site crash and burn as soon as I stop spamming it to death (or Google slaps it into oblivion, which is WAY more likely).

I like to sleep at night know that the people I help are going to have long term success.

So here’s the deal…

There are a lot of SEO companies out there that are more than willing to give you unreasonable expectations and fill you up with promises they most likely can’t fulfill without “bending the rules” a little. But, if you want to work with someone that knows how to bend the rules, but refuses to do so because they know it’s not the best thing for YOU as a client… you know where to find me.

Oh, you don’t know where to find me? Well, here’s the page: Hire Jeff

Reputation Management: Honesty IS the Best Policy

I recently ran across a piece of marketing material from an online reputation management company promoting their services, and I must say I was not overly impressed with the the way they were pitching their “product”.

“We simply create enough new positive content about our clients that it buries the negative reviews!”

Now I know they probably meant well and I may be reading too deep into their message, but it got me thinking…  which normally means trouble is brewing, and I thought to myself “what exactly does the client expect of a reputation management campaign?”

So, I figured this might be a good time to lay out what a good reputation management campaign would entail, along with some of my personal policies on the subject.

Here are the three main components of a good online reputation management campaign:

Identify: As my client, I would find positive information written about you, which already exists online, that meets content and technical requirements needed to rise quickly in search results.

Create: If needed, I help create positive information that is 100% in your control. When I have finished you will own and control any of the websites, blogs, profiles, social networks and more that were created as part of the campaign.

Optimize: I would then use aggressive search engine optimization and back-linking techniques to “assist” the preferred content in rising quickly in the search results pages.

So, how is this any different than what the other company mentioned above was offering? For starters, I won’t simply create a bunch of new content and throw it against the wall hoping some of it sticks. You’ve heard the old saying “work smarter, not harder” right? Well, in these cases, it’s usually much easier to get older “aged” content to rank higher in the search engines than some new piece of information that I just created (which may or may not even be true) out of thin air.

Then, and only if I needed to, I would start creating some new content. This new content could be as simple as a detailed profile on a social network site, or possibly a Press Release on your most recent accomplishment.

Finally, once we have all our content lined up, we’ll optimize it and apply a little SEO love to get things to turn out the way we want, which is to pretty much dominate the first page (if not more) with our now “preferred” content.

Now here’s my personal policy on reputation management, and where I think I’m a little different than some of the other companies out there.

No Repeat Offenders – If I can snoop around and find that this isn’t the first time you’ve _____insert stupid thing you’ve done here____ then we won’t be working together. It’s obvious you need to clean up your act, and as easy as it would be to take your money and temporarily fix the problem, I like working with clients that DESERVE the results I provide.

I Won’t Make Shit Up to Help You – Like I mentioned above, I like working with clients that deserve the results. If you don’t have any positive reviews, or anything newsworthy that we can promote, we can get creative… but don’t expect me to lie for you. I also like sleeping at night, and knowing that my business and that of my client’s is on the up and up.

So, there you have it. The basics of what you can expect from a reputation management campaign and a little more insight into how I choose to run my business. If you’ve got the need, feel free to submit your case for review. I’ll look things over and get back to you with a proposal as soon as possible.