Search for SEO Experts

Search for SEO under Hire professional in eLance returns about 12,000 results, search under Projects returns about 600. So it’s roughly 20 providers per SEO project. Similar stats are on Guru, oDesk, GAF, etc. One would assume that I should have zero problems finding a professional for my SEO project, especially in this market and being a buyer with good standing… The project started a couple weeks ago and in theory, I should have found the provider by now, in reality I have not. In theory there is no difference between theory and reality, in reality there is… Well, here is a brief of my recent project:

I decided to see what a couple standard SEO operations would to my blog traffic put a project on eLance, Guru, and oDesk. These sites have very different community of suppliers and I expected responses different in multiple aspects. Considering cumulative value of decently designed SEO campaign I was prepared to pick several suppliers. My project was very simple, here is its slightly abbreviated version:

Hi, I am looking for articles (wring and syndication) to promote my blog and ebook. (

The articles should be focused on the following offshore IT outsourcing topics:

  • IT Outsourcing for Small to Medium Sized Business
  • IT Outsourcing Pros and Cons
  • IT Outsourcing Vendor Selection

In addition I would be also interested in the following services:

  • Press releases & distribution
  • Using existing Top X posts on my blog create linkbait campaigns (distribution of links to webmasters, etc.)
  • Converting some of the posts to Slideshare slideshows

Please submit a proposal that allows me to pick and chose services. It should not be a T&M proposal but a “Chinese menu” style Fixed Bid, for example –

  • Articles (describe, size, distribution, etc.) – Price per article
  • PR (describe, size, distribution, etc.) – Price per press release
  • Linkbait campaign (describe scope, distribution, etc.) – price per campaign

I set the budget for the project to $1,000 which is a very decent amount for this type of project and it gives a plenty of flexibility in how to address the scope.

Two weeks later I received about 31 proposals, out of which only two correlated to my project. Unfortunately, even these two were far from what I was expecting / looking for. Here is a rough break down:

12 T&M proposals from individuals that offer… well, services. Here is a typical response for that group:

Dear Sir/Ma’am,
I am possess 3.6 years of experience in Internet based SEO applications and technologies.
My strengths and flexibilities are in MS word applications,SEO,advanced object oriented programming(C++ platform) data-entry application and MS SQL server 2008.
I am currently available 60 hours per week and can be reached online Yahoo Messenger or Skype, Monday through Friday from <10:00> to <24:00> GMT, or <05:00> – <18:00> EST.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.
Kind regards

2 out of these 12 were from graphic artists, 5 from data entry people.

3 proposals were from individuals that did not bother specify any details of the bid just a rate or cost.

14 proposals were long, full of self-promotion and offered standard pricing for group of SEO activities such as one-way link building, directory submission, etc. Out of these 6 proposals had stats for my blog produced by some kind of web analytics s/w; reports included different data, Alexa rating, Google PR, etc. None of the data in these reports was of any use or interest to me. One of the proposals was 35 pages long. Interestingly enough while the vendors took the time to run analytics and invested in format of the proposal most of them still did not read my project.

2 proposals were somewhat relevant but did not quote the price in the way I was expecting and did not provide me information that would allow me to understand the bid, for example did not specify how many articles they would write or how many places they would submit the articles to. It took some email correspondence to get one of the providers to answer the questions already stated in my project / request for proposal, the second still did not get back to me.

One out of 31, and this one still far from perfect, in no way qualifies for a diamond in a rough.

7 thoughts on “Search for SEO Experts

  1. Wow! I didn’t know that you’re outsourcing these kinds of activities, because I’m following your blog and the articles are quite interesting. I suppose that’s a sign for you to continue doing this all by yourself. Anyway I’m surprised that you got such results on elance

  2. Anna, all posts on the blog are my own. The articles i was referring to are one of the well known SEO techniques. Here how it works: A SEO vendor would create an article and place it in multiple article directories / press release directories. The article would have 2-3 links to your site/blog. The article directories have a fairly high traffic and will generate some traffic to your site through these links. But more important you get a lot of “one way links” to your site/blog which will increase its rating on google. So when someone is looking for info relevant to your blog it will appear in first pages of search. Try to search for “outsourcing pros and cons”. Chances are you will see one of these “articles” or “press releases”. Try to follow the links within these articles – chances are you will find that they lead to some offshore vendor home page. Getting noticed on google is tough, never-ending uphill battle. Outsourcing these activities makes sense… IF… if you can find a decent provider, and that’s not easy at all. Best regards, nick

  3. one more thought. your comment on my post might have been a common SEO activity as well, but it was a good thought, absolutely worth sharing; thanks, nick

  4. Nick, I’m aware of this technique, but I feel like investing the same time/cost into creating more valuable content and creating personal relationships with people who like it and spread this further would work better. But I cannot prove this with any data unfortunately))

  5. agree… to some degree; i guess while it’s out of scope of this blog the discussion is worth at least a post; I’ll put something together in a couple days; thanks Anna

  6. Nick, interesting case. Just a quick thought though…having been in offline outsourcing through the past few decades, while the convenience of the internet has increased efficiency, it has also increased the amount of “noise”. Personally, I think the whole online/offline thing ends up being a wash – it has always been and always will be a challenge to find the productive needle in the freelance haystack in the middle of a an opportunity goldrush (such as in the unregulated case of SEO). ~ Daryl

  7. hi, great point re needle in the freelance haystack; finding someone with combination of communication skills, technical skills, decent iq and work ethics seems at times totally impossible task… especially when i sort the list in the rate order ;) nick

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