Avoiding SEO Cowboys – what to look out for when choosing an expert

Unfortunately SEO as an industry is often viewed in a negative light by many. This can be down to a bad experience with a search engine optimisation company or through promises that were never met. The reason for this being so common is that SEO is not an instant thing, adding to this is also the technical complexity of a campaign that a client might not understand or be able to keep up with.

Whilst we hope you will choose Specialist SEO as your preferred company, whatever your choice we hope you find this guide useful. We hope to make you aware of the signs of an SEO firm who might not be all they seem.

Fake SEO Review Sites


There are many fake review sites that have not yet been picked up on by Google, these sites are difficult to detect as at first they seem genuine. The purpose of these sites is to direct your attention to one particular SEO company who will also be the owner of the review site even when the site is branded completely different.

The reviews will favour the particular company they are trying to promote. You will probably also be prompted by the site to have them find you an SEO company, and funnily enough it will always be the same one (themselves) they suggest!

There are many forms of fake sites which direct you their own website, these can come in the form of fake reviews, fake awards and sites that offer free ‘insider’ information on your SEO company that point to you needing a new SEO company (their own SEO brand).

So how can you spot a fake review site? First of all cross check the reviewer with real websites to ensure that they are real. Secondly see if you can submit a review on the site itself.

Chances are if you cannot simply send a review with ease then they are self created or audited to ensure they only publish reviews that favour their own company.

Quoted a lot lower than average


SEO is generally quoted on competition, if you have received a proposal or quote from an SEO company that seems a lot lower than others then you should be wary. It just isn’t possible to achieve consistent results under a certain price range. Ensure you also get a good idea of what your getting for your money and you’re not paying for something based purely on chance.

You should also discuss the key phrases you are being offered to ensure that they are well searched for, it’s pointless being top of Google for something no one searches for!

Unrealistic time frames and some “Pay on Results SEO” plans


Search engine optimisation is not an instant thing and can take a good few months to build up its effectiveness. If someone says they can get you quickly onto page one of Google for a competitive search term then its not likely to happen in a short time frame without taking short cuts which may later cause your site problems.

This is where we come to what a lot of companies are offering which are ‘Pay on results SEO packages’. These seem a great and risk free way of entering the world of SEO. The problem with paying on results is that results are ongoing in this industry. There are plenty of SEO consultants out there that will get you onto page one quickly but cannot keep you there, if the terms of your agreement is that “results” constitutes a page one position then you could end up paying for something that’s not sustainable.

We are sure that there are many ethical SEO companies out there that do offer worthwhile pay on results packages, You should however avoid lengthy contracts or long term commitment.

At Specialist SEO we offer our packages on a monthly rolling basis and if at any time you should be unhappy with your campaign you can cease business with us without further charge. We believe this is the best approach to providing customers with a sustainable source of business leads

Agencies showing results that don’t exist any more

Some SEO firms are happy to divulge client information and statistics to showcase their work whilst others will avoid doing this to protect intellectual property and rival companies scouting their work. In cases where results are show they can sometimes not always be what they seem.

We have found a few SEO companies who have often bragged on their own website about achieving #1 positions with certain keywords for clients sites, only to then look into further and find out that they aren’t even on the 1st page any more!

The other thing to consider is do people search for the phrases? If you’re in a competitive industry you should also be wary of companies that promote long term search terms as their best results since your search phrases might be a lot more difficult to achieve.

If you’ve hired an SEO company in the past, don’t make the same mistake


Some clients approach SEO companies with unrealistic goals and can be in some cases quite demanding about what they would like to achieve in a certain time frame. This often leads to false promises from inexperienced SEO companies who do not have an understanding of the work involved and set unachievable goals for themselves. Interestingly some clients continue to make the same mistakes again, often wanting a cheaper or quicker option which ends up leaving them with exactly the same results from the first time round.

Analyse what went wrong the first time and ensure you rule it out happening again!

… and finally, what SHOULD you look for in an SEO company

It’s very simple and summed up in one word Honesty.

If you believe an SEO consultant is just telling you what you want to hear then you should be very wary.

An honest SEO consultant will tell you when something is unachievable, but advise you on what is. They will set your expectation to a realistic level from day one so that both parties know where they stand.

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