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SEO Consultant Fakery: Part II

A month ago, I exposed a SEO consultant that fleeced ignorant clients. The other day, another internet marketing company, called us to promote their services. Somehow, I was a lead in their system, and they mentioned a site I hadn’t touched in several years. So I posed as a client– asking them about what their services are, how it works, and so forth.
The conversation went something like this (names redacted to protect the guilty):
Tim (consultant): We have a direct relationship with Google and will get you traffic on Google via SEO and PPC. Me: How do you do that? And what is SEO? Tim: Well, we have a direct relationship with Google. We create articles and get them certified by Google. Me: Certified articles? Do you pay for that and how does work? Tim: When Google comes to your site, they see that we are optimizing it and that we are certified. We have to pay Google for that. Me: So forgive my ignorance, since I’m not that technical– is that like AdWords? I didn’t know you could pay for natural results. Tim: Let’s do a search on “web design”– those spots on the right are PPC, while the natural search results are on the left. Google sees what pages are ours and gives us priority. Me: Really– so that wikipedia result in the first natural spot– how much are they paying to get certified? Tim: Wikipedia doesn’t have to pay. Me: Really? How do I know what is certified or not– can you show me examples? Can I pay Google more to have our articles certified faster? Tim: Well we have a lot of clients, so what we’d do for you may be different. We’re not able to pay for expedited certification. Me: Isn’t your practice of buying links considered “black hat”? I don’t want to get banned or anything. Tim: We are completely ethical. Only experts in SEO are allowed to work at {SEO_company} and all are certified. Me: Whew– because I’ve heard some horror stories from SEO companies that flat out lie to clients. And who am I to know what’s true or not? Tim: Happy to educate you on these issues– I know they’re complicated, but you’re learning quickly.
Me: Great– please send me a proposal covering what you guys can do for us.
After the call, the “SEO expert” sent me a couple canned proposals– both reflecting ZERO thought or customization, except for a find/replace on prospect name. This guy spend ZERO effort on tailoring the documents to the site I mentioned. There are a lot of good search engine optimization companies out there, and it’s charlatans like these that give the rest of us a bad name. How can we help clients see the real, earnest folks from the total fakers? The company that called me (name withheld) is a major agency, by the way.

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