SEO Companies in the Spotlight

26 March 2014

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Ben Grubb reported in February that SEO services are the subject of many complaints with NSW Fair Trading.

NSW Fair Trading is warning businesses not to sign up to firms that guarantee they can get you on to the first page results of search engines such as Google without doing appropriate checks first.

Whilst this seems obvious to most who have been in the web trade for a while, to the average punter who is bombarded on a daily basis with tele-marketing, email and endless ‘workshops’ from SEO ‘Professionals’ and the likes of Yellow Pages who have a ‘Special Relationship with Google’ ; ) that these kinds of claims are simply overstated nonsense is not so clear.

NSW Fair Trading issued this recent warning after receiving ‘hundreds of complaints and inquiries over the past two years from businesses that have signed expensive contracts with little or no result’. Most of the complaints related to non-performance. NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said persuasive sales pitches over the phone were “a trap”. Acting NSW Small Business Commissioner Candace Barron added that “Small business operators need to be sceptical about grand promises. Even money-back guarantees may not protect you, since unscrupulous operators often disappear.”

“Complaints indicate that packages can cost from several hundred dollars up to more than $4000,”

The reality is that there are very few legitimate and reliable SEO companies and those that are tend to charge accordingly – generally starting at a minimum of $1,000 / month. In the last couple of years we have reported repeatedly on steps taken by Google to stamp out most of the techniques employed by less reputable ‘SEO consultants’. Google’s rationale is obviously driven by the fact that search results and advertising are in-fact their bread and butter. Why an entire industry sprang up expecting to eat their lunch and them not do anything about it is beyond me but there you go.

NSW Fair Trading advised:

  • “Don’t agree to any offers over the phone,”
  • “Business listings on some search engines are free and take very little time to set up.”

Our advice?

Google’s SEO Guidelines are pretty clear on what is and isn’t required in order to improve your website’s position in search results.

If your website is poorly built or your content simply not that relevant, no amount of SEO spend is going to rectify this long-term. You may be able to achieve some temporary first-page flukes but this will assuredly dry up when you stop paying. In short, if you skimped on a realistic budget for your website, you tend to get what you pay for. Paying an SEO firm endlessly trying to rectify this error makes no sense at all. Do it right. Do it once…

Given that reputable SEO operators are going to charge in excess of $1,000 / month to improve your organic search position, why wouldn’t you simply devote this budget to AdWords? At least you know your money is being spent with Google in a way you can control and measure the ROI – no black magic involved.

Propeller have been developing high-performance websites for coming up on a decade and I can assure you good results are borne of good code and good content. No one can guarantee you #1 results on search engines no matter what claims they make. There are no shortcuts.

Oh and by the way, no one has a ‘Special Relationship’ with Google…

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