How to Avoid a Rogue SEO Company

The BIG G search engine has some advice for people who want to hire an SEO company. They won’t recommend specific companies, but tell you what to watch out for.
There are a few warning signs of a disreputable SEO company:

  • owns shadow domains
  • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
  • offers to sell keywords in the address bar
  • doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
  • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
  • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
  • gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware
  • has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google
  • requests your FTP account information or root access to your server

And here is the best tip: NO ONE can GUARANTEE a #1 ranking on Google.

“Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”

It may be that a sales person has no idea what they are selling and they don’t tell you how SEO is done because they don’t know. However, the people actually doing the work may be stellar. Ask questions.

Here are my tips for finding an SEO company:

  • Do your homework. Ask around to see who other companies who rank well online are using. If you’re a small business, look for small businesses who rank well.
  • Understand the SEO company strategies or specialties. If you’re looking for social media expertise, make sure they have it. A company that can get you to the top of Digg but who won’t necessarily help you build a Facebook page. And they might not do online video. Decide what you need, your price range, and find who does it best.


Tom Pick

I concur 100% except for “requests your FTP account information” being a sign of disrepute – isn’t that kind of required in order to make changes to the site? Or are you saying disreputable SEOs will ask for this before they actually have the business?

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