8 Sure Signs Your SEO Company Sucks

Last year I wrote an article titled “10 Signs You’re Buying SEO Snake Oil“.  Since I’m into SEO, I thought I’d do a follow up article piggy backing on that article on 8 Sure Signs Your Current SEO Company Sucks.

I get told all the time about how small business owners have been taken advantage of by unethical SEO companies, and frankly it makes me sad that there’s people out there that would risk the livelihood of a hardworking business owner just to make a buck.  These same SEO Snake Oil salesmen also make ethical, hardworking SEO companies job that much harder, as they have eroded any trust these business owners may have had in the prospect of real and quality SEO

1) Your SEO Company Talks About How Many Hundreds or Thousands of Links They’re Building For Youseo humor meme funny seo jokes

The question of whether “link building” is dead in SEO is a hotly debated topic. Many SEO companies still actively pursue link building as a must obtain goal for great rankings. I myself do not believe that link building in the old sense of the term is a viable SEO tactic with changes in Google’s updates and algorithm changes. Instead I like to use the term “link earning”.

A quality SEO company can help a business earn links by putting good quality content out on the web, promoting it, and being creative.

2) They Talk About Directory Submissions, Forum Comments, and Article Submissions

If anyone starts talking about directory submissions, forum comments, or article submissions end the conversation. These types of SEO tactics will surely land you in hot water with the search engines. There was once a point in time, many many years ago that these tactics worked to some degree, but even back then, they were considered borderline unethical.

Anyone that talks about these types of tactics is just going to slap your url into an automated software program to spam the internet.

3) They Promise to Submit Your Website to Hundreds of Websites & Search Engines

Hundreds of websites? Hundreds of search engines? What does this have to do with your business being ranked on the major search engines? What good is it to have your website submitted to websites or search engines no one uses? Quality SEO companies will focus on the major players, for them quality over quantity is the key factor.

4) They Won’t or Can’t Tell You What They’re Doing For Your Businessalbert einstein SEO if you dont understand it you cant explain it

SEO companies or consultants that can’t (or won’t) tell you what exactly they’re doing to get you search engine rankings are hiding one of two things, either they don’t understand SEO well, or they’re doing it unethically. Don’t be an easy target for an SEO snake oil sales person. Ask questions, and make them answer the questions.

SEO is not a hard concept to explain, and neither are the exercises and tactics that good SEO companies use.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Albert Einstein

5) They Tell You They Have Contacts or a Special Relationship With the Search Engines

It still baffles me that some SEO and web advertising people use this line. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing would never risk their reputation by offering preferential treatment to a select few. The organic section at these search engines is nothing more than a learning algorithmic equation.

Good SEO companies help their clients by helping the search engines understand what’s important about their business.

6) They Guarantee First Page Rankings

This is another one that’s hard to believe still exists, and for that matter business owners get suckered into buying. First page rankings, especially those for competitive keywords come by hard work, many times over months – even years, and still that can’t be guaranteed.

Don’t fall for the Guaranteed First Page Rank scheme. More often then not, it’s a scam where an unethical SEO will point a bunch on links to your site, where you’ll see a temporary increase in rankings, until the search engines see the links and you get a manually or algorithmic penalty, or even worse, blacklisted.

7) They Solicit You via Email or Automated DialerSEO Company Salesman

If you have a website, or a phone, you’ve probably been hit up already many times by companies like this. They promise everything from inexpensive SEO, to Google Maps listings, to inclusion in thousands of directories. The emails will often point out that they were doing some type of research for one of their clients, and came across your website, and out of the goodness of their heart they did an extensive SEO analysis for you. Don’t believe it, it’s just an automated software program that’s sending out hundreds or thousands of emails like this everyday.

Most good SEO companies do not solicit their prospects, if they’re good, they get business by word-of-mouth, and guess what, good SEO on their own website.

8) They Promise to do a lot of Work for a Upfront Flat Fee

This often has one of two unfortunate endings. First ending is that you’ll never see or hear from these people again, as they just pocket the money and run. Second ending is they outsource your SEO efforts to their “Corporate” office, many times which you can’t speak to (because it’s overseas). In the second case, the SEO is most defiantly not going to be quality, and most likely will hurt your website over the long term.

How to Choose a Quality SEO Company

  • References, references, references.  A SEO companies past performance is a darn good indicator of their future potential. If an SEO company can’t provide you with a few verifiable customers they do business with (and you can see on the web) should you give them your money?
  • Ask for referrals from business owners you know. Good SEO companies get most of their business because the companies that do business with them want them to succeed, and stay around. Maybe you own a plumbing company, ever think to ask the auto repair shop that works on your fleet vehicles who they use for their internet advertising? Check your local Chamber of Commerce, do they have anyone they can recommend? What about your vendors? They certainly need to advertise as well.
  • Check the SEO company out on the web. Search the company name on Google with terms like “reviews” or “complaints” and read what others have to say about them. Check out their blog, what do they write about? Do their values match yours as a small business owner?



Poor Man’s Guide: Website and internet advertising on a budget (Part 2 of 3)

Website SEO on a Budget

Self guide to getting your business website on the search engines

Awhile back I wrote the first part of this series,  Building a website and doing your own SEO on a budget, sorry it’s been so long for the second article in this series.  In this article I’m going to assume that you’ve already launched your website and are now ready to get it out on the net and make it start working for your business.  If you’re having trouble with setting up the structure of your website, I encourage you to read my three part series, Website Ranking Factors for Small Business.  It was written 2 years ago, but the practices are still essentially the same.Continue reading

Is Your SEO Company a Copycat?

Why you shouldn’t work with an SEO company that copies your competitions’ strategies.

As a business owner nothing can more frustrating than seeing one of your competitors copying the same website and SEO strategies that you’ve been using.  It happens all the time, even within the SEO agency world, right here in Vancouver Washington.  Here at City Ranked Media we’ve been testing different SEO strategies for years, only to have some of our strategies copied, which was the inspiration behind this article.

So if you think your SEO company is copying from your competition, below are the reasons you may want to rethink your strategy (or your SEO’s strategy) for long term business success.Continue reading

What Your SEO Company Might Be Doing To Hurt Your Rankings

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Is your SEO company hurting your websites rankings?

I get it, as a business owner it’s really easy to let things like SEO and your website slide. Your phone is ringing, people are mentioning that they found you on the web, so life is good right? But if you have an SEO company, web advertising company, or anyone else that does any kind of promotion of your website with the goal of attaining better rankings online for you, it might be time to start paying attention.Continue reading

Cheap website SEO, does it really exist? Learn the facts here


Just about any business small or large will at some point be faced with the decision on how to properly SEO their website.  It’s this need from small business owners, combined with the real complexities of how to get properly ranked on the web that has sprung up a whole industry of poor quality SEO agencies across the U.S. and the world.  After doing some quick searches on the web, I came across an interesting story of a Pest Control business in Arizona that took the time to share his experiences with some these low cost SEO companies, and the results they provided.Continue reading

Google Pigeon, what happened to your Google listing and rankings?

Did you loose rankings with the Google Pigeon update?

Late Thursday, Google quietly released its newest update to its local ranking algorithm, quickly dubbed Google Pigeon by the folks at Search Engine Land.  Google’s newest update aims to achieve more useful and accurate search results according to a recent article posted by there.  When asked by Search Engine Land’s contributing author Barry Schwartz, Google said the update targetsContinue reading

How much should SEO cost?

How much should SEO cost your business?seo cost portland oregon vancouver washington

The answers to this question are as plentiful as websites returned on any given search on Google. As a business owner , you should be looking at SEO as a long term  investment into your business. So my answer is: “It costs you nothing.”

SEO – done correctly – should yield measurable return on  investment, therefore, the costs of quality SEO are far less than the return you should see  in positive sales and growth for your business. However, I understand that most business owners still want to know the bottom line when it comes to the cost of SEO and what they should be budgeting for this service.Continue reading