Spotting Bad SEO

by Harry Lennard on March 30, 2011

Want to get to the top of Google results?  I mean do you really want to get to the top of Google?  If you are desperate, then you might fall prey to bad SEO companies that promise the world but deliver very little.  We offer managed search engine marketing services, because they work for our clients.  But here are some tactics to watch out for because they don’t work:

1. “We are a Google Certified Partner”. These companies claim (or at least imply) that they have a special relationship with Google that provides them preferential treatment for search engine rankings.  In reality the Google Certified Partner programs have to do with becoming trained and certified on Google apps like AdWords and Google Analytics.

2. “We guarantee a #1 position in Google.” This won’t happen for a competitive keyword.  There are only two ways someone can  guarantee achieving a #1 position.  One, you can buy the first position in Google’s AdWords program, probably for a keyword that will not deliver traffic.  Two, they can optimize for a noncompetitive keyword that no one searches on.  In either case, you will receive very few additional visitors, if any.

3. They have stated prices for SEO packages.  This is kind of like your mechanic telling you how much it will cost to fix your car before you’ve told him the problem.  Every SEO situation is different.  If you buy an SEO package before they have analyzed your site and competitors sites for your keyword themes, it’s like a shot in the dark.  It might work, but it’s highly unlikely.

4. “We also do SEO“.  Small web development companies sometimes also offer SEO services.  Unless they have people dedicated to SEO, their knowledge level is probably shallow.  It’s very difficult for anyone to keep us with everything that is changing in the SEO world, even when you do it full-time.  If SEO is a secondary expertise, their skill levels are suspect.

I’ll add additional SEO disqualifications as I run across them.  If you know of any good additional examples, please send them to me.

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