How Hiring an SEO Agency Changed my Life

As an experiment, I thought I’d share my story and the reason that I became an SEO instructor and consultant.  My first exposure to SEO was in early 2000 and it seems like it was just yesterday. I remember hours and hours of meetings to review every page on the site.  The endless conversations to brainstorm ways to insert keywords onto pages that were off topic to optimize the site for search engines made no sense to me then and now I understand why.

At that point in time most people who were “doing SEO” paid little to no attention to context and whether or not a keyword fit naturally within the content of a page.  The name of the game was to have the keyword appear as many times as possible.  I don’t believe that most people were approaching it this way to be malicious or deceitful, I think for the most part they just didn’t know any better. The history and evolution of SEO has certainly been interesting to be a part of.

Fast forward to 2008, I moved to a new company and early in 2009 I was tasked with search engine optimization and increasing traffic coming from natural search. I was excited to have the opportunity to do more than observe the efforts and get some hands-on experience.  After doing some research I got the green light to hire and manage an SEO agency.  I interviewed and received proposals from at least six agencies and was no closer to making a decision than before I had talked with any of them.

The SEO agency evaluations frustrated me because:

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  1. None of the agencies were willing to disclose the “Why” related to the “What they were proposing to do – this bothered me on two fronts. One, if someone isn’t willing to share information with me about why they are doing something it makes me question the legitimacy of the recommendation.  Two, if the agency goes out of business or we part ways for whatever reason, I’m left with no understanding of what was done and no ability to continue to move the efforts forward.
  2. Too much Geek Speak – I’m able to keep up pretty well when it comes to understanding complex subjects and techno babble, so when the agencies started throwing around words like canonical and couldn’t explain the term in a way that made sense to me  I had to wonder if they understood what it was themselves.
  3. They were willing to make guarantees – call me crazy, but even 5 years ago that didn’t seem like a wise thing to do.
  4. The recommendations included things that seemed spammy to me – I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to buy links or set up doorway pages that would degrade the customer experience.


Students in an SEO WorkshopI decided that the only way for me to become comfortable deciding who to hire to help us with SEO was to gain a working knowledge of it myself.  That way I would know what was right, what was wrong, and I’d be able to ask the right questions and make a good decision. I set out on a quest to find an SEO workshop and was fortunate to find the Search Engine Academy.

It took some convincing and I had to agree to give up 2 months of the agency budget to pay for the registration.  My instincts told me it was the right thing to do and I’ve never regretted it.

Less than an hour into the 2 day work essentials I had learned more about SEO than I had in all of the agency interviews combined.  I left the workshop armed with a giant to-do list of action items that I was able to start implementing the day I returned to the office.  My boss was so impressed with the results that he anted up for the advanced workshop just a few months later.

The rest is history, I was hooked.  When I was presented with the opportunity to become an instructor for the Search Engine Academy it was a no-brainer.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than help people understand SEO so they have the knowledge and confidence they need to implement a search engine optimization strategy.

Attend one of my upcoming SEO workshops and learn how quickly you can start making meaningful changes that will drive traffic and generate new leads for your business.

Student Testimonials

“Beth’s 2 day SEO was insightful,  informative, and fun.  It taught me the basic skills to feel comfortable with our websites page titles and meta descriptions, while understanding the important link between page content and search rankings in Google, Bing and other search engines.  I left the training feeling comfortable using terms like ‘natural search’, ‘bounce rates’, and ‘SEO’ because she not only explained what each of those terms meant, she showed me how they work together, and how to make them work for Thanx Media.  Her SEA training with the personalized,  hands-on workshop was instrumental in my being able to come back to work, and  make positive changes to our websites SEO immediately.  I’m looking forward to the advanced SEO training, where I know I can take our site to the next level.” –  Debbie Matker, Thanx Medi

“I truly enjoyed the class and we immediately came out of the training with a plan of action, which would have taken months of research to accomplish. ” Lance Carowick

“Taking Beth’s SEO course opened my eyes to ideas & processes I never would have considered. With the continuous and often unannounced algorithm changes by search engines, Beth’s course taught me how to establish a strategy that will provide positive results for my company, even after the next change – whatever it may be. Since completing the course, I have used her simple 6 Step System to improve past campaigns that were under-performing and have continued to use it when creating new ones.”  Harrison Hilleary, Marketing and Sales Operations at Thanx Media, Inc

“It was a pleasure taking the Essentials Course from the Search Engine Academy with Beth. Her knowledge of SEO is deep and wide. I learned a tremendous amount in a short period of time. She took her time explaining the different aspects of a complex process. I highly recommend Beth’s services.”  Linda Lovero-Waterhouse