Mitesh Patel from Lenstore on how SEO agencies can do better

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  • October 9, 2008
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Yesterday e-consultancy featured an interview with Mitesh Patel from Lenstore Contact Lenses discussing how they are marketing their business.

Mitesh mentioned a lot about affiliate marketing but seems to have not allocated a budget for 3rd party digital agencies to run organic SEO. We decided to ask Mitesh a few questions to see what the SEO industry needed to do in order to convince clients that search marketing is a better proposition than affiliate marketing.

We managed to speak to Mitesh by phone yesterday although he was very busy fielding 60-70 phone calls from other UK agencies trying to sell him SEO services!

Whenever I hear of a company that has investigated SEO, had pitches from agencies and not chosen a supplier I always want to know why. What did those agencies say to put the client off?

Below are the questions I asked:

You have focussed extensively on building a brand and carrying out affiliate marketing despite having listened to proposals from a number of SEO companies. What were the factors that steered your company away from SEO as a marketing tool?

We do think that natural search is very important to any ecommerce business and are working on our natural search effort in house. The challenge is that an industry full of mediocre people with no access to more in depth knowledge than anyone with an internet connection has sprung up. Digital agencies charge a fortune for basic services such as link building. They manage to charge hefty fees by maintaining the myth that natural search optimisation is a dark art.

Actually, we believe there is a lot of common sense to natural search.
It takes a long time definitely. Often ecommerce businesses are resource constrained (which is a good reason to use an agency). There are some brilliant agencies with truly innovative employees. However, these are few and far between.

How do you think the SEO industry should improve the way they approach potential clients?

It’s about the clients they approach. Pure play ecommerce companies need to have natural search capabilities in house (it’s a core competency). SEO agencies should be approaching brick and mortar retailers for whom ecommerce is a small part of a multi channel play.

Pitch as experts to brick and mortar players. Pitch as the solution to a resourcing problem to ecommerce players. Digital agency fees should differ to reflect the different value adds.

At present the site is well optimised but doesn’t have enough quality links to rank on Google. Is this something you are addressing? Have you worked with any SEO companies on link acquisition in the past?

As you say, the structure of our site is optimised for SEO. I agree that does require many more high quality inbound links. The trouble is allocating resource to such a low level task on our side. It would be great if an digital agency were able to pitch to us at a reasonable price point as a solution to our resource constraints.

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