2

We have hired a company to do our SEO. They've done their onpage work and starting to do link building. They are now asking for access to Search Console and Analytics.

Background

The SEO company actually also handles SEO work for a few of our competition (we don't know the exact number, but supposedly not enough to create a conflict of interest). One of the ways they got us to sign up with them is by them telling us that a competition of ours signed up with them the previous month and have already made it to first page.

After signing up with them, we found out that they used that fact as a selling point when they approached another one of our competitions. We have a good working relation with this particular competing company and they informed us about what the SEO company told them.

We've went back to the SEO company and asked them not to tell anyone that we're using them; we don't want our competition finding out what we're doing to "outdo" them. The SEO company said they were happy to oblige.

Problem

We really don't want any of our metrics to be divulged to our competition. Or even to give the SEO additional insights on how they could improve the competition's ranking (e.g. they might find out that we are ranking high for certain keywords that's not even registering for the competition; that information could be used to suggest new keywords for the competition to optimize for). We've become paranoid.

Question

Can the SEO company do their jobs effectively if we do not give them access to Search Console and Analytics?

  • How can you pay for high Google rank which is a measurement of sharing information with entire world and at, the same time, been paranoid for sharing it with a business partner and competitors? – Manly Electronics Aug 17 '15 at 0:52
6
+25

They can do SEO without these tools but for doing it perfectly they need the access to Google Search Console and Google Analytics. For example,

Using Google Search Console

  1. They can get notified about your site’s issues/penalties
  2. The ‘Search Analytics’ (search queries) report details a list of keywords a website ranks for and the number of impressions and clicks they received along with click through rate (CTR) and average ranking position.
  3. They can identify & monitor broken pages on your site (Crawl Errors)
  4. They can monitor your site’s Link Profile

  5. They can check Mobile Usability which is more important.

  6. Disavow Tool

  7. Structured Data, Google Index, Crawl Stats, Sitemaps, Security Issues etc

These are all very important. With out access to Google Search Console they can't check all these points.

So better give those access to your SEO company. If you don't trust them change to another one.

2

If you want the SEO company to do their work properly, you should give them full access to the metrics. I'm understanding your concerns about shering the data, but everything is about trust, right? Also don't think your keywords are so hidden. In a professional SEO tools, you can check in which keywords some domain is ranking. I'll tell you why the SEO company should have access to the metrics. If they see only the ranking data, they have only the half (or maybe less) of the useful information. SEO's should see the flow in the website, bounce rate, avg. time and all other things.

So my advice is to give them an access, if you are concern about leaking information, go with another SEO company.

2

The SEO company can still effectively do their job without access to Google Search Console, but you are tying both hands behind their back.

That said, if you don't trust them enough to give them access to your data, perhaps you're better off with a different firm.

2

Yes you need to give an SEO company access to your stats in order for them to track/validate historicals and fresh changes. However, it sounds like you should be working with a different SEO company. Just because they ranked your competition does not mean that 100+ other companies couldn't do the same or better, for the same or cheaper. This would be the safest means to ensure that there is no "cross polination of interest" going on both for competition, and for the SEO company, as well as no data leakage going on for you.

2

All responsible SEO and digital marketing companies sign and send across a non-disclosure agreement to their clients.

Ask them for one, if they don't use them then question why they don't.

2

They can find almost everything without your permission, every seo can do it for you and your competitors at the same time anytime. A seo professional can look at all those things without even you knowing about it.

So they can find out everything about your site. And they don't have to ask you for permission because checking out the code your site sends to the visitors have so much information. How do you think google finds out? Its just google, not a spy agency. They are not the only ones using crawl bots.

The fact that you don't know they can do it doesn't mean they can't.

BUT to implement their work more easily and more effectively they must have access to your Search Console and your Analytics Tools.

So in case you are wondering if you can block any information about your site YOU CAN'T.

A professional can see everything till you finish your coffee break. They can even check your server performance whenever they want by using tools that check every detail from the request to open your page as a visitor.

Blocking their access only delays and demotes their work on your site.

Especially about the keywords you are worried about they might have already done it. I am doing it when a customer calls for a job while they are telling me their goals. You just need to know where to look and what tools to use.

So in my opinion give them access to those tools, its not that they are asking for some special permission its normal for them to ask you for access on those tools.

If you wanna be a step ahead ask them to give you digital competition analysis for your main competitors then you can compare their stats, their seo practices, their keywords, with yours. (lets say-cause keywords no longer apply like they did, kinda different now). They will probably charge you some more though, not because it is hard but because they are professionals.

It is their job to find out:

1) what keywords you are using. 2) check your insights 3) check your site 4) check your server performance 5) check your content 6) check the crawl bots insights 7) check the flow of your traffic 8) check for untrusted or bad backlinks 9) check for speed insights 10)check for broken links 11) i keep going to like 30

You can make a non-disclosure agreement if you want. The SEO company next door can search for all this information and have it in no time.

1

I would say yes. An effective SEO firm can do a perfectly fine job without these tools. However, there is a goldmine of information that can also help using the Google products. Many of the best SEO tools tie into the Google products for a reason.

I would be more concerned that they even said anything to you about your competitor at all even if it was only to get your business and did not divulge any competitor intelligence. It just seems sleazy to me. Not professional at all. As well, I would be concerned that your information would be used to advantage another company even if not directly.

SEO is an industry where confidence and trust are paramount.

I would consider shopping around before making a final decision.

  • We've already signed a 6 month contract with them. – WebMasterNewbie Aug 13 '15 at 2:19
  • Then I would make them sign a letter of understanding not to divulge internal information as a result of their work to anyone or use to advantage another, divulge the fact that you are even a customer, do all work on-site (this is a normal request for hourly work), and not to take any information out of the office. THEN(!) I would consider creating an account that gives them read-only access to your Google data. Do what you can at least. Nail their feet to the floor as much as you can. – closetnoc Aug 13 '15 at 2:27
1

I would argue it is essential for a company tasked with SEO work to be able to access Google Webmaster Tools and similar tools at least in a read-only capacity in order to review the website's performance and address issues raised, therefore I would suggest you carefully choose an SEO company that does not also work for your direct competitors to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

Whilst you can go down the route of Non Disclosure Agreements or other restrictive contracts ultimately the reality is the same people will be working on both your SEO and your competitor's SEO and they will have to work in the interests of both their customers. You really need an SEO company that will help you to be positioned above your direct competitors. What else is the point of investing in SEO work?

There are certainly many good SEO companies/experts out there. Some companies even find it more beneficial to employ an apprentice or fresh graduate to focus on SEO improvements for a 3 or 6 month term, since the time focused on your SEO by a company with many projects and customers on the go can be limited. Hope this helps.

  • When signing contracts for work that by nature is supposed to give your company a competitive edge, it strikes me that the contract should include a declaration on the part of the supplier that they currently have no direct competitors to yourselves, that any potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed when discovered and that for them to enter into a contract with a direct competitor of yours for a type of work that would pose a conflict of interest would constitute a breach of contract. It would be worth exploring if your existing contract can be terminated on these grounds. – richhallstoke Aug 25 '15 at 12:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.