spam Ok so I know they are not going to stop spamming but I am still going to moan about it.

Approximately 2 days every month we get an email from this, either through our main email or our contact form. Every single email has been regarding buying links on one of their sites or link exchanges. One email even apologised for disturbing me and they will not do it again!

One of the amusing things I noticed many of the links they were trying to sell is on their own site, apparently it used to be a PR6 but it now appears to be PR0. Guess no one told them selling links is not allowed in Google’s eyes.

If an SEO can not keep up to date with correct practices for their own site what hope do their clients have? I suppose the fact that their SEO packages cost $99 and $199 a month goes to show you get what you pay for. At least they do not guarantee 1000s of top ten listings within X days and they seem quite honest about the service you pay for.

SEO Edge are not the only culprit and they are probably not the worst it is just that I noticed they were repeat offenders.

While this is some what of a pointless rant it is partly due to the fact that companies like this make winning clients more difficult. Certainly in the UK, SEO is still quite an un-developed industry, there is a very mixed bag or good SEOs and awful SEOs with very little in between.

Unfortunately I find that many small firms / SMEs are quite uneducated about the industry and will go to the cheapest SEO possible. I am happy to to lose a potential client to a better SEO or at least a good SEO that undercut me/presented themselves better than me. If you are paying £50 a month and targeting a competitive industry my personal opinion is that the money would be better spent on buying SEOBook and maybe a member ship to SEOMoz and do the SEO yourself. Both them resources will probably make your more skilled at SEO than the SEO company that charges £50 a month for SEO that is way out of date.

If you are considering paying for SEO then no matter how much the company charges I think you should always read up about some of the techniques to avoid, look at the clients the company has had and the results they have achieved. If any of the techniques used on the site look suspicious then it is probably best to stay away from them. Techniques to look out for and avoid include:

  1. Micro Sites / Shadow Domains that redirect to the client site. Google mentions using deceptive redirects but I would also avoid a company that uses Micro sites with a keyword rich domain name, keyword rich content and dozens of links back to the client site. It looks rubbish, and it is a bad practice.
  2. Does not distinguish between paid for and organic results. You want to be the top ten in Google for No Win No Fee? Yes I can get your site to the top by the end of today. It will cost you £10 a click though and it is called AdWords.
  3. Guaranteed rankings, we have all heard it before. You can not guarantee rankings for competitive terms. Yes anyone can guarantee you 100s of top ten rankings but they will be obscure terms no one searches for.
  4. Hidden Text through various techniques include NoScript, White on White, CSS visibility:hidden etc. It may get good results for a while, you may see competitors having a great success from it. Sooner or later the site will be penalised and you will lose all rankings. This maybe ok for sites generating short term income from adsense etc but if your business is dependant on your company name, website, etc then I would stay well away from this technique.
  5. Excessive duplicate content. Some SEOs may add numerous pages per month to the site. This is quite frequently duplicate content, it probably will not get your site penalised but it is unlikely the pages will get indexed for anything. If the content is scraped from a limit number of sites then the sites the content is scraped off could file a DMCA request and have the content removed from the index.
  6. Paid Links. Again the site should not be penalised in the Search Engine Results Pages for using paid links but Google does not like it and most likely will devalue the links and possibly strip away the Page Rank of the site.
  7. Reciprocal Linking, it has not been much use for a while, do not even bother with it especially it is obvious too. If the file name is has links or resources in it and there are a 1000 links on the page, it is kind of obvious that the site is using reciprocal links.
  8. No FTP/Site access needed. Not really a technique, more a lack of one, but the site needs to be optimised as well as gaining links. If the SEO makes no changes to the site then the results will be limited.

There are many other things to avoid I just listed a few that came to me. There are also loads of good SEOs in the UK but unfortunately a few seem to give the rest of the industry a bad name. I hope as the demand for SEO increases the overall awareness about the techniques that should and should not be used will increase too.