We hired Baytech to design and build a web 2.0 site for environmental companies to buy and sell products, for education (blogs, forums) and promotion (Press releases, etc.).
We also wanted a site that would do well with SEO, and that would be easy to use for those with limited technical experience.
What we got was a site that despite 6 months of SEO optimization, and over a year of development that averaged no more than a handful unique visitors a day.
1. We performed all troubleshooting/debugging, for the entire project. We also were the only ones that brought up several problems with their design (despite not being experts at anything web related, we pointed out the lack of meta data inclusion, extremely long URLs, etc.)
2. The project was projected to take only a few months, and ended up taking over a year.
3. Our ""SEO package"" consisted of us performing all keyword research, selecting all the keywords, writing all the SEO descriptions, and inputing them into the site. We also did all of the content writing, published a blog with 50+ articles, press releases, and the majority of all link building. All they did was submit us to a few directories, and ""optimize"" a few of our pages. In the end, of the 100+ pages we had, we had dozens of pages with the identical descriptions, duplicate pages, multiple URLs for the same articles, and no meta data on many key pages.
4. We seemed to be the experts when it came to designing the site to be SEO friendly. We made them redesign the site to include a blog, we took issue with using an opensource forum that cannot be crawled/indexed by google, and forced them to include the ability to edit meta data (in the end this only partially worked on a few pages).
5. Instead of using several opensource components (such as wordpress) to build our site, they insisted on creating a completely custom site architecture that according to other professional programmers/web design firms, is ""terribly subpar"", and lacks more than half of the functions that opensource components have, in addition to being nearly unindexable by major search engines.
In the end, we ended up doing a vast amount of the work ourselves, the project took substantially longer than they projected, tasks that required expert knowledge (SEO) fell on our shoulders, and when problems were pointed out, they failed to accept responsibility and correct them.
In fact after terminating our relationship with Baytech, our in-house people were able to create another website for our company, that ended up having 85% of the total functionality as the one they built for us in one week using wordpress. Our current site is ranked #1 for several of our target keywords, averages 3000 unique visitors a month, while they never were able to get us off the 5th page despite over a year of development, and 6 months of SEO work. This is in spite of their claim that our focus on the site was to narrow, even though our current site is dedicated to only one of the smaller categories (industrial dust pollution) of the more than 50 we had on the site.