This week I learned two weird things about other companies that do SEO.
I shouldn’t be surprised; after all, too many businesses have had bad experiences with blackhat SEO firms and swindlers taking advantage of people who aren’t tech savvy or hip to the interwebs.
So here’s what I learned this week. It’s creepy and I don’t like it, but it’s something to keep in mind when looking into an SEO firm and its tactics.
This week an SEO firm contacted one of our clients and made some pretty outrageous claims. Laughably outrageous. Maybe some of the claims were true; I can’t really verify all of them. Here’s what he claimed:
1. His company was the very first design firm on the Internet. BS-o-Meter Level 9
2. A domain name that he owns (and wants to sell to our client) is worth more than $3,000. Please note, the domain has zero authority. BS-o-Meter Level 8
3. The keywords featured in the domain are searched for 1,000 times each week. Some very simple Google keyword research indicated that this keyphrase is searched for approximately 16 times a month. BS-o-Meter 11. Through the roof!
4. If you own the domain name with the exact keyphrase in it, and it ends in .com, then Google will ALWAYS rank your site number 1 for that search term. This one is fun. Here are his exact words, as they appeared in the email:
I did a little experiment. Here’s what a Google search uncovers for the phrase “what is kennel cough”:
Hey! Where’s whatiskennelcough.com? It’s certainly not number one. Or two. Or on the first page. In fact, more than one-million websites outrank whatiskennelcough.com when it comes to the search “what is kennel cough.”
While having a domain name with the keywords in it may hold a tenuous sway, it is by no means a universal indicator of a high ranking. BS-o-Meter 9.
The moral of this story: If an SEO firm approaches you, do your research. Ask us to double-check first. Commerce Kitchen is willing to verify or disprove another SEO firm’s claims for free. We want people to trust our industry.
Okay, so negative SEO isn’t necessarily evil. If I see a site that’s obviously using illegal tactics to rank higher, I will report it to Google.
But every time someone maliciously performs negative SEO against white-hat SEO firms, a baby tadpole cries.
This week one of our SEO gurus, Rand Fishkin, discussed negative SEO: it’s a strategy where unethical SEO firms will try and get your site punished by Google by either reporting you for spam or actually doing bad SEO to your site.
So instead of doing good, creative work for their own clients, these firms target their clients’ competitors and purposefully do black-hat SEO for them, to get Google to punish them. CRAZY! We think this should be illegal if it isn’t already.
When an SEO firm approaches you, find out exactly what kind of work they plan to do. If they won’t tell you, or if they explicitly state that they do negative SEO of any type, then you should run in the other direction.
We’re really proud of the work we do. Our transparent SEO strategies take time, but in the end the results that we achieve for our clients are incredibly positive, Google-friendly, and completely ethical. Be careful when selecting an SEO firm so you don’t end up with a lying a**hole or a company that spreads evil through negative SEO.
What weird SEO crap have you encountered? What’s your biggest concern about SEO companies? Respond in the comments below!