So if you've read any of my SEO blog posts you'll know I can be a bit harsh on SEO / Marketing agencies. This genuinely isn't because I just want to pointlessly hate on SEO's and marketers it's because I have seen way too many times companies taking their monthly standing order or payment and doing little or no work.
One of the simplest and most basic things we do in SEO is increasing website speed. This is because we believe Google and other search engines are keen to provide a really quality user experience which means delivering fast results.
It should be obvious, you wouldn't want to wait 30 minutes for your fast food in just the same way you don't want to wait 30 seconds for a web page to load. It's all part of delivering a quality user experience so in our view a fast website deserves a ranking boost.
Here's the speed of our own blog using gtmetrix.com:
Google PageSpeed Score A (99%) | Load Time 2.3 Seconds
What you should understand is that increasing page speed on almost any website is very easy, it takes roughly 2 or 3 hours work to take a website from scoring an F to a high B or A grade.
So this got me thinking that this would be a pretty good test of local SEO and marketing agencies in Surrey. Honestly if they can't even increase the speed of their own websites what's the chance they are going to do quality SEO work on your own...
To do this I have Googled "surrey SEO" and gone through the first page results. This includes the 4 top ads (paid placements), top 3 Google maps results and 10 organic results. Let's go...
1. topclick.com -- Paid Placement #1
This is 100% the first website I tried this test on (if you know me you know I don't talk sh**). This website offers anything you could possibly want in SEO and marketing, organic, paid, branding, social media ETC. They also boast of having received multiple awards for 5 years in a row, all sounds pretty good hey!
So the first (honestly the first) website has a PageSpeed Score of F (47%) | Load Time 15.5 Seconds Agh is this seriously the best the SEO industry has to offer...
2. biggroup-insight.co.uk -- Paid Placement #2
Once again this "award winning" agency is loaded with just about everything you could imagine Google partner, salesforce partner, Bing partner ETC. As with the first result there is no obvious pricing and oh ye just so you know both are tracking user activity!
Google PageSpeed Score C (73%) | Load Time 4.5 Seconds
3. hotboxstudios.co.uk -- Paid Placement #3
This website actually looks a little more realistic offering a set of 5 top services and also seem to be pretty open with who their clients are which is always a good sign.
There is yet again no pricing which is always a bit annoying (why should it be such a secret) also user activity is tracked which I hate.
Google PageSpeed Score D (69%) | Load Time 4.7 Seconds
4. getmoretraffic.co.uk -- Paid Placement #4
Having run the speed test first on this site I actually thought we might have our first positive result! Google PageSpeed Score B (87%) | Load Time 2.0 Seconds pretty nice.
However if you visit this site and take a closer look this is what you would call a professional landing page. It's not actually a genuine website of any particular business just a simple page designed only to generate new business leads.
There's nothing really wrong with this, we also make landing pages for our customers but we do this within their actual websites with normal menu and links to the rest of the website for visitors who want to seek further info. What you have to ask yourself if you ever land on a page like this is do you really want to trust a service that doesn't allow you to view the rest of their work..? Oh ye by the way this company is also "award winning" ;-)
SEO Surrey -- Paid Results...
Ok so these results so far were all pretty depressing, let's move onto the organic results surely the SEO experts of surrey ranking on the first page of Google for "Surrey SEO" won't have failed to optimise their websites speed...
5. surreyseo.com -- Organic Ranking #1
Wowzers! The only good thing about this website is they don't actually claim to have won any awards. Surreyseo.com is still running on http not https (secure) the page names haven't been configured for example their about page URL is http://surreyseo.com/?page_id=51 not http://surreyseo.com/about or /about-us and to top it off they haven't even bothered to change the copyright at the bottom of the page. (Avoid!!)
6. adjuice.co.uk -- Organic Ranking #2
Google PageSpeed Score B (84%) | Load Time 3.4 Seconds
Slightly out of date blog, website shows off reviews, clients & case studies overall a pretty genuine looking business with a slightly outdated but well optimised website.
7. b2bmetric.com -- Organic Ranking #3
Google PageSpeed Score B (84%) | Load Time 3.7 Seconds
Really nice modern looking website with no brags of awards which is nice to see, up to date blog, clean and concise I just have no idea why you would want to download their 58! Page SEO guide...
8. improvemysearchranking.com -- Organic Ranking #4
Google PageSpeed Score C (78%) | Load Time 3.5 Seconds
Another good looking site with clear SEO services, case studies and an up to date blog. The only thing thatís disappointing is that none of the sites I have covered so far offer any even just basic pricing online.
9. supergoodseo.com -- Organic Ranking #5
Google PageSpeed Score A (91%) | Load Time 2.8 Seconds
Although this is the best speed result we have found so far this is not a business you would want to contact for SEO services.
This website is built using GoDaddy's website builder a tool for people with little or no knowledge of building website to use. Their blog has nothing on it and the website looks like it was built by a child.
10. bulldogdigitalmedia.co.uk -- Organic Ranking #6
Google PageSpeed Score F (44%) | Load Time 18 Seconds
Sorry another absolute shocker! Nobody in their right mind should use an SEO company with such shocking results but oh ye guess what 2017 search awards, the drum search awards, European 2017 search awards (roll your eyes with me).
11. jj-solutions.com -- Organic Ranking #7
Google PageSpeed Score A (94%) | Load Time 4.9 Seconds
We got an A finally! And guess what this site actually offers some pricing starter from £399 standard from £999. Ok so it's not much given the wide variety of SEO services but at least it's something. If I was getting quotes for SEO or website work I would probably add these guys to the sort list of people to contact.
Surrey SEO -- Organic Results...
Let's leave the organic results on this high and quickly checkout the maps (Google places for business) results to see what's on offer. The top maps result is adjuice.co.uk that we have already covered so ill move onto the next two results...
12. total-seo.co.uk -- Maps Result #2
Google PageSpeed Score E (58%) | Load Time 8.0 Seconds
13. wearethunderbolt.com -- Maps Result #3
Google PageSpeed Score C (75%) | Load Time 14.4 Seconds
So what can we conclude from these results...
I appreciate that it's not possible for all websites (even SEO pro's own websites) to score an A in Google's page speed grader however if you're looking for someone to help you with online marketing or SEO they should surely have their own sites scoring a B or above with a reasonable page load time.
The best result we can across (jj-solutions.com) was also the only website that offered some clear online price guide as to how much their services might actually cost. As well as pricing they also offered clear reviews and a portfolio of current or previous work.
The worst results we found almost unanimously bragged of being nominated or award winners with no pricing and cheap tricks to encourage you to submit your website:
Submitting your website to something like the above image is no way to engage a potential marketing or SEO customer in my opinion. SEO and online marketing should be about results, what does the customer want to achieve and once that's been discussed a real plan of action can be put together between the SEO pro and the customer.
It's always a huge benefit if the customer themselves can contribute to the marketing efforts whatever they may be. After all, they are the experts in their field of business!
I didn't write this simply to hate on other local businesses far from it! I had also never scanned any of these websites before I started to write this post so I genuinely had no idea what the results would be.
Everyone wants to have a great website that works as more than just a business card. No matter the size of your business or how long you've been working if you get your website, marketing and SEO right any site can work as a powerful tool for generating consistent new business leads and sales.
The next time you're thinking about spending some money on your website and marketing don't just choose the marketer that claims to have won multiple awards.
Run a quick website speed test using gtmetrix.com and decide for yourself very quickly does this marketing or SEO agency really know their stuff..?
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