5 Lies You Might Hear From An Un-Ethical SEO Company.
How To Spot a Rip Off SEO Company.
As you get deeper into marketing your business digitally on the Internet, you will start to attract some attention from certain companies who either cold call or email to pitch you their Search Engine Optimization services with a promise to get your website ranked higher in search results.
SEO is a legitimate industry, with many reputable and ethical providers doing great things for their clients. But it is important for you to make an informed choice when you invest in this kind of service, because unfortunately there are some unethical providers out there who are just after a quick buck from unsuspecting business owners seeking shortcuts.
After reading this article you will be armed the knowledge to recognise an un-ethical or just plain useless SEO company when they call you, so that you can hire a good one when your business is ready.
Some Common Lies You May Hear From A Shady SEO Company.
1. We are a company endorsed by Google / are a part of Google / have special affiliations with Google.
While it is possible that someone from Google could call your business, they certainly wont be offering you any SEO services. They may however call you to verify your Google Places or AdWords account, but they will not be cold calling to sell you anything out of the blue.
It is also possible that the company calling may have some Google accredited training (qualifications endorsed by Google) but
unfortunately no company has a backhander deal with the Big G that will rank their sites above others in the search results.
2. We can guarantee a 1st place listing for your business.
Maybe with a paid search campaign (Google AdWords aka Pay Per Click) you could get a number 1 position in the sponsored listing area of the search results… IF you bid more than all of your competitors and have a highly relevant site to the search terms bid on, but its impossible to guarantee a 1st place position in the organic listings because Google no longer ranks sites in that way.
If I type in a search for say ‘plumber’, Google knows that if I haven’t specified a location in my query I most probably want to find a local plumber, so plumbers in Essex would be presented higher up the search results. If you are a plumber in Scotland then no matter what you do, you have almost zero chance of being at the top of the results for my search.
That’s not all, search engines are now also looking a social signals to provide the most relevant results, again if I search for ‘plumbers’ I may see a site suggested above all others because someone I’m connected to on a social network ‘Liked’ (Facebook) or +1’d (Google+) the website.
Ask if they mean organic (natural listings) or paid search? and what keywords they are guaranteeing a first place listing for. You will soon get to the bottom of their claims.
3. If you spend more money on your pay per click campaign (AdWords) you will get better organic listings.
The official word from Google is that there is NO correlation between your ad spend and your organic rank, you can only buy your way to the top of the paid search listings.
I just did a search on Google for ‘Books’, the top result of the paid (sponsored) listing is… you probably guessed right – Amazon.com. But in the organic (natural) results, Amazon is in 8th position under WHSmith, Waterstones, BookDepository.co.uk even Facebook!
Don’t you think that amazon must have an AdWords spend up there in the crazy hundreds of thousands of dollars? Yep, and even they cant buy their way to the top of Googles organic listings.
To get a site ranked higher in the organic search results will require time, effort, back-links and great content posted regularly to your site. There just aren’t any shortcuts.
4. We optimize the keyword density on your site.
Keyword density does play a role in search engine algorithms, but the algorithms used now are highly sophisticated and can recognise over use of keywords on your pages.
If it comes across that your content has been stuffed with keywords it will in fact hurt your ranking, and may get you de-indexed altogether. Not to mention the fact that your stuffed copy wont read well to any visitors you do get.
If you have your keyword in the URL (domain name), the page title, in the description and they appear naturally in the content, there is not much more keyword optimizing you can do without labeling your site as a low quality (spam) site.
5. You need to use more Meta Tags/Meta Keywords.
In the past the Meta Tags aka Meta Keywords played a role in telling the search engines what the page was about. There was a time when search algorithms were not as sophisticated as they are today, and it was possible for webmasters to abuse the Meta Tag section by stuffing it full of irrelevant keywords to rank for terms unrelated to the site.
This has resulted in Meta Keywords being completely ignored by Google now, they have officially said they do not even look at them. Bing have said that they do look at meta tags…. but ONLY as an indicator of a spam site that may need further investigation. So if the caller starts banging on about Meta Tags, they really aren’t worth talking to.
NOTE: Meta Description and Title Tags are still used and are very important. But if you are using WordPress for your site (as we recommend) and install an SEO plug-in, you will be able to write good, relevant, keyword rich titles and descriptions yourself. For free!
So What Makes A Good SEO Company?
A good SEO company understands the best practises of the search engines and knows the right way to go about formatting titles, content and pages with the correct keyword optimisation to help the search engines provide the best results for their visitors.
A good SEO company will explain to you that achieving better listings in the organic results will take time and resources, and that your keyword hopes maybe unrealistic. After thorough research they may suggest you go after longer tail keywords. E.G – From ‘AC Repair’ to ‘AC Repair specialist your area‘.
And finally, a good SEO company shouldn’t need to resort to cold calling to get clients. My advice would be to never hire a company that cold calls or sends unsolicited emails, you should always decide in your own time which services you want to invest in and then seek out the right company for you and your business.
Have you been called or emailed by an un-ethical SEO company? Share your experience in the comment section below to help others spot dodgy claims.