Under average service

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Guest's review of First Found - www.firstfound.co.uk

★★☆☆☆

“Under average service”

Written on: 15/10/2013

I found First Found reasonably good for on-page work, however, this is where their SEO 'expertise' appears to end. There was no pro-active off-page work done, just a few dubious free directories.

Their sparse 'reports' came back telling me where one specific key phrase was listed on various search engines (including AOL and Bing), rather than tell me where all, or even a few, of my keywords were listed on the main search engine I was interested in - Google. I ended up doing my own keyword position report.

To be fair to them our key phrases moved from about 45th to 29th, on average, over the 6 months we used them. However, this was a completely 'non-optimised' site and the progress stopped in the last 2 months, I suspect due to the lack of any more SEO being done after the initial on-page work and directory listings.

If you know nothing about SEO and you need the initial on-page optimisation done, it may be worth using them for a small amount of time. If you want a dynamic and proactive SEO company to take you to the top of search engines then I don't think these will be the right people for you.

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Firstfound's Comment

Written on: 23/10/2013

I’m Andrew, the Communications Manager for FirstFound. I’m sorry that our service hasn't met your expectations, despite the increase in rankings that you have seen over the relatively short time that we worked on your behalf.

I’m sorry that you didn’t find our monthly ranking reports to be satisfactory. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our reporting system, and are constantly refining the search engines we use as benchmarks for our service’s performance.

I understand that some customers are only interested in their results on Google but we do have many customers who monitor their results across a number of search engines, AOL and Bing included, and for that reason we do include them on our reports.

However, I’m not sure why any online business owner wouldn’t like to keep track of their results on search engines such as Bing – which is the country’s second most used search provider and has seen considerable growth over the past eighteen months.

I'd also like to confirm that our reports do include details of customers’ current rankings on Google.co.uk and Google.com for their most important keywords.

I would also like to reassure you that any directories we submit a website to are thoroughly vetted to avoid any “dubious” links which can negatively affect your site’s backlink profile.

Finally I would say that whilst our service hasn’t quite met your expectations we do have thousands of customers who are more than happy with the service and for whom we have achieved page one listings.

I hope this has addressed some of the concerns raised in your review, but without any particulars of your account, I am unable to go into further detail. We would, however, be more than happy to discuss matters with you if you have any other issues to raise.

You can contact FirstFound, and ask to be put in touch with your former SEO consultant or their manager, who’ll be happy to discuss the performance of your optimisation service with you.

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Digital_Jon's Comment

Written on: 04/12/2013

Thank you for your reply and I appreciate your efforts to address my concerns.

My main concern, that you haven’t addressed, was that no search engine optimisation was being done in the last couple of months and no apparent plans to so despite our positions levelling off.

Regarding the report, I think it is a good idea to look at other ways to improve the reporting system, as a report that consists of several search engines showing where only one of my keywords was ranking wasn't good enough for me personally and I think this would be the case for others reading reviews too.

As much as it is of interest to know where one keyword is in other search engines, including Bing as you mention, I believe Google still accounts for nearly 90% of UK searches, so any online business owner will still primarily be interested in Google positions and not quite so much on search engines with single figure market share percentages.

In my opinion if you are looking to improve reports, then I would advise that you simply include the other keywords you are optimising and show where they are positioned on Google and perhaps the next 2-3 larger search engines.

You state that, “I'd also like to confirm that our reports do include details of customers’ current rankings on Google.co.uk and Google.com for their most important keywords.” Yes the report included Google.co.uk and Google.com, but the report categorically did not contain my most important keywords. It contained one keyword selected by the account handler and it did not contain my most important keywords as I would have expected.

To clarify, I was emailed one report per month, showing the position of one keyword across the following search engines to be exact: Ask UK, Bing, Bing UK, Google, Google UK, Google UK ( UK sites), Yahoo, Yahoo UK, Yahoo UK ( UK Only).

In relation to directories, when I said ‘dubious’ it is because some of the directories seem to be registered by the same entity, have Page Rank of 0 and our website’s name is not coming up within their results either.

As you can imagine, I have already spoken about this FirstFound about this and have still chosen to leave as I can see no evident advantage to stay.

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