SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial to one’s online livelihood on the Web today and the SEO industry shows no signs of stopping. As with any booming business in America, this eventually attracts people and/or businesses whom offer substandard services at ridiculous rates. I have been studying SEO pretty religiously for the past two and a half years and I clearly see three types of SEO companies: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good

These are the all-inclusive SEO specialists that know the industry and can get you results. These companies and/or individuals are able to look at the entire SEO picture (on-page/off-page SEO, social media, information architecture, backlinks, creating quality content, complete keyword analysis, sitemap.xml/robots.txt optimization, server-end errors or security issues, canonical format, micro data, and more) and are able to pinpoint your site’s exact strengths and weaknesses while providing proven results. Providing results means providing the best service possible.

Here at CWDG LLC, we strive to be this type of company and we will not be satisfied until your business has been positively improved by the changes made, and that you are seeing more online conversions.

The Bad

These companies are what I like to call “specialty SEO” companies. By that, I mean legitimate businesses that perhaps know enough SEO to provide some results, but do not the run the gamut to provide real results all the while charging normal SEO rates. For example, they might specialize in on-page SEO in terms of solid information architecture, but there’s no real page mark-up or they simply focused on meta data. They also might be keyword specialists that will only optimize your business name and locale while completely ignoring the services or products your business actually provides! They may only concentrate on social media platforms. While social media is crucial, it is not always the issue.

The Ugly

In the industry, these businesses are known as “SEO cowboys”. They are the worst of the worst in SEO. These are the typical scam artist: they offer you the moon with a too-good-to-be-true offer, fly you there momentarily using unscrupulous means, and then laugh all of the way to the bank as you burn up during your descent back into the atmosphere (as Google heavily penalizes your site’s ranking). Their methods will work at first (this is basically search engine-trickery), but eventually Google will catch wind (and they do NOT like to be tricked), recognize the foul play and penalize the website. Often times Google will find and set the penalty long after your hired SEO company has cashed in your payment and suddenly dropped off the map.

A couple methods these black hat SEO specialists use include poison backlinks – in which they attempt to link very malicious websites to your competitor’s site thus dropping their ranking while yours stays the same. No one really wins, this is a extremely low-ball tactic and spits in the face of normal competitive business in my opinion. Another is keyword stuffing, in which your keywords are repeated over and over or hidden within the content and meta keywords tag. Google will ranking your site highly for this at first as you match the keywords and how many times they are used. When further analyzed and indexed, Google will eventually see them both as duplicate content and keyword spamming, the combination of the two resulting in a very heavy penalty. Keyword spamming is very hard to recover from. You may have to undertake changing your domain and making a completely brand new website design with new unique content to be welcomed by Google again.

Watch Out For Outlandish Claims & Quick Fixes

Claim: We’ll get your business to #1…guaranteed!

These companies are the most prominent and are the usual Bad type of SEO business that only optimizes your business name and locale keywords for a high cost. The average online user isn’t going to be searching for your name unless they already know about you through a referral or other offline media like TV or newspapers, or they have done business with you before. New customers are going to find you while searching for your service or product you offer. These companies will never get you any real organic searches nor any business that makes you any real revenues.

We know that your business name is important as our name is important to us, but in terms of the nature of how people search online your name is the last thing new customers will be searching for.

Claim: We will list you in hundreds of local directory services!

Local directory submissions are a important piece to the online visibility of your business. However the overall public use of local directory services is not as prevalent as it used to be. Google, Bing, and other search engines are the new way to get your name out there. Companies that tout this as their main hook often times will overcharge for this service, which is a one-time action that maybe takes them a couple of hours. True, successful SEO will always take time and data analysis in order to be effective. In SEO, there are NO sure-fire quick fixes and is an on-going process.

Our Recommendation

We recommend that you find a company that will offer a free consultation and provide you with documents about their services along with the particular notes they have about your website. You deserve a company that will listen to you and provide positive, constructive feedback.

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