I’ve certainly had my share of head-smacking moments working for clients who are hosting with domain registrar giant GoDaddy, whether that be trying to get technical support or simply working on a shared server that is slower than molasses. But I have never had to compete with them in a RFP scenario for SEO-related serves. That is until recently!
That’s right, GoDaddy offers SEO services and for pretty cheap from what I understand. They call the product “SEO Services – Hire An Expert.” This lead me on a discovery to see exactly what they are offering and how “expert” they actually are. Caution… some ranting ahead. So brace yourself – you’ve been warned.
Now as you can probably already tell, I am no fan of GoDaddy. Our company has worked with too many clients that have had bad experiences with them including a time that we had to move a WordPress driven web site because GoDaddy was limiting the amount of visitors who could be on the site at any given time. There were also multiple times of waiting forever to get technical support because they are extremely slow at responding to issues.
I had heard that GoDaddy was offering SEO services at some point but generally dismissed the notion because I have seen other domain registrars package off-the-shelf SEO programs. In my opinion, this is done simply to to inflate what customers are paying monthly or yearly. They are called add-ons. In fact, I have written about Network Solutions some time ago and that the amount of add-ons they tried to get you to purchase when registering a domain was ridiculous.
I’ve responded to may RFPs where we are competing with other qualified SEO and digital marketing companies. However, I’ve never had to compete with GoDaddy for SEO-related RFPs. This lead me to take a look at what they are offering which is all laid out in this section of their site. Let’s take a look at a few of their service offerings.
Your Own Account Manager
GoDaddy claims that you will “have one dedicated SEO expert focused on your business.” Okay, that is a nice feature but isn’t that the case with any company offering SEO services? I mean who is developing and implementing SEO strategy – the receptionist? So while it all sounds good, it is really not a perk but more of a standard. It’s like promising a medical patient that if they come to a certain healthcare center that they will have their own doctor.
Ongoing SEO Management
“Your account manager will review your rankings on a regular basis and contact you either monthly or quarterly to review the results.“
They seem to focus only on rankings. What about traffic, social media activity, online reputation and conversions? Rankings will change from one person to the next thanks to personalized search. There is so much more to analyze when gauging the success of an SEO strategy.
Regarding onsite recommendations, GoDaddy says
“This optional but highly recommended process allows your account manager to add the recommended keywords to your site’s meta title, meta description and at least one image alt tag.“
Notice that I added emphasis to the phrase “optional but highly recommended process.” That is because onsite optimization or what I call “on-page SEO” or implementing “SEO best practices” is not an option – it is an absolute necessity. It is the very essence of what SEO is – search engine optimization or better yet, optimization web sites and pages for search engines.
Offsite SEO Optimization
There are a few areas in this section that caused me some head-smacking moments.
Google, Yahoo & Bing Submissions
“Once your site has been optimized around your targeted keyword(s), your account manager will submit your site to Google, Yahoo! and Bing.“
Newsflash: you no longer have to submit your site to a search engine. In fact, you have not had to do this for quite some time. Search engines would rather “discover” new sites during their crawling process. A simple mention on a social media site should do. And Yahoo has not been a search engine for years now, They either use Bing or Google search results.
Submission to Directories
“Adding your website to directories creates links that point back to your site, which gives search engines an additional reason to trust your site.“
Unless you get listed some kind of directory that is topically or geographically related to your business, being listed in multiple directories is no longer a viable marketing tactic.
Keyword Link Building
“One of the best ways to show search engines that you’re a knowledgeable, trustworthy source is to connect with other sites that are relevant to your keyword. Our system finds applicable websites, which are verified by individual members of our team. We then compose a short, unique comment with the relevant content and keyword and include a link back to your site.“
This sounds very similar to “blog comment spam.” That is likely because it is! Not only has this never worked, it can actually get your site penalized. Building quality links is not easy and can be very expensive. Really, the best way to build quality inbound links to your site is to “earn them.” How do you do that? By being the very best at what you do for starters, but also having an effective content marketing strategy in place.
“The final step in off-site SEO optimization is for our SEO team to bookmark the links they’ve created for your business on sites like Pinterest, Reddit, Digg and others, essentially compiling a list of their “favorite” sites in one handy location. These serve as incoming links to your site, which is one of the primary ways search engines determine ranking.“
First off, Digg has not been a social bookmarking site for some time now. Secondly, just having links on social media sites is not really going to help a SEO effort. With most social media sites, any direct links are nofollowed. And just posting links for the sake of posting links will only appear spammy to users of these social media sites.
Social media is beneficial in many other ways besides getting some free links. Having an effective social media strategy allows you to engage with the user base of each site, place your content, products and services in front of people who may have never heard of you, help manage your online reputation, perform customer service functions and ultimately establish your brand.
The final area of services they offer deals with creating content which is a very important element to any SEO effort. However, it is what they are offering that is the problem.
“Your account manager will create short articles, usually around two paragraphs, that use your keywords multiple times and link back to your website… Each post is written to be unique and relevant, and is reviewed for grammatical errors, quality and originality.” [emphasis mine]
I’m sorry but two paragraph articles are one of the reasons why Google issued what we call the “Panda algorithm update(s).” What they are offering is “thin content” which in essence is content designed solely for SEO rankings. It is no longer a viable tactic and can actually hurt your organic search visibility. Do I also see the tactic of “keyword stuffing” in there? I sure do!
“Articles differ from blog content in many ways. On a superficial level, they are much longer and your keywords are used more often, with more links back to you… Articles go through a similar review process as blogs, but instead of being published on our own network of sites, articles are submitted to popular and authoritative websites. Some of these include Hubpages and Squidoo. “
Do I see keyword stuffing again? Yes I do! Hubpages and Squidoo? C’mon guys. Sure articles posted on other sites can help you but not poor quality articles written for the sole purpose of trying to boost SEO efforts and certainly not on poor quality sites. This is another tactic that did work once upon a time but no longer does.
There you have it. Keep in mind that I have not actually used GoDaddy’s SEO Services nor do I know anyone who has. I am only providing my opinions based on what they offer on their own web site. There is also the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”
The bottom line is that SEO is not easy. It has become a multi-faceted marketing organism that involves many process, both from a marketing standpoint as well as a technical one. My recommendation would be to hire a professional digital marketing company that not only offers SEO services but multiple digital marketing services. We are such a company but there are many out there, quite a few that I know their owners and employees personally. If you do not have the budget to hire a professional or employ a SEO with expertise, then take advantage of online learning, educate yourself in SEO best practices and do it yourself. You may have to “learn as you go” but that, my friend, is a whole lot better than throwing money away of things that will not work and may even earn you a Google penalty.