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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard bbolte's Avatar
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    Exclamation SEO Firm Sued By Washington State

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/35218

    In essence, the state attorney general contends that these entities have ripped off their mostly mom-and-pop clientele through a pattern of unfulfilled performance promises and financial shenanigans.
    I guess that's why one shouldn't make any guarantees when it comes to SEO. And if these guys were truly misleading their clients, then amends should be made.

    On the flipside though, for those of us that practice honest trade, I think it highlights how important it is to educate your clientele on the realities of services such as this. If your clients are assuming something that they can't get in reality, then there could be some backlash.
    Last edited by bbolte; Nov 14, 2008 at 15:27.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict
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    SEO is getting worse every day.

  3. #3
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    The problem is that a lot of people do not understand properly just what SEO is and what it can and can't do.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    A lot of SEO guys promise the world and people who don’t understand the internet believe them.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot Crey_Design's Avatar
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    I'm surprised it took this long to hear about an SEO company getting sued by a state. I would bet that a very large percentage, if not the majority, of SEO companies really don't know what they're doing.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    The problem is that a lot of people do not understand properly just what SEO is and what it can and can't do.
    And that has contributed to a general misunderstanding of what is possible. Probably 40% of my new clients ask me about getting their website to #1 on Google. They are very reasonable once you educate them about it but there are definitely huge misconceptions out there.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member nichegooroo's Avatar
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    Yes, I can see this happening.

    Like you guys said.. there is a lot of people out there that are clueless about SEO, what it is and how it works.

    All most people know is that they need it done to get to top search engine rankings.

    Because of this it is easy for such SEO companies to take advantage of Internet companies. which sucks!

    I don't agree with taking advantage of people. If someone is paying you or your company big bucks to deliver do so... Karma comes back around... and it certainly did for this company.

    "Don't bite the hand that feed's you"

  8. #8
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    I really think guarantees all over should be stopped. Seems like more and more people are getting sued. Right here though is something where you should get your moneyback otherwise you might as well sue.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot korr's Avatar
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    initial startup charges ranging from $3,750 to $9,750, plus a monthly fee of $40 to $100
    I got about three sentences in and I'm ready to convict. It sounds like they have every incentive to make a sale and very little interest in long-term results. What ever happened to hourly invoices and trackable metrics? I guess the buyers should have been wary before making such purchases, but if the company was also overbilling and refusing cancellation they should be shut down cold.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Hopefully this will deter the shady SEO Expertz out there. The company's partner pages seem a bit strange to me as well.

    However, that being said, they are innocent until proven guilty. It may just have been a case of gross mis-communication. Apparently the company seems to be acting professionally about the whole thing.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo_dk View Post
    The company's partner pages seem a bit strange to me as well.
    If you look at the details for the "partners" then you will see that they use that word in a very flexible and unconventional way. By their definition I'm also a partner with SitePoint because I use their forums and website. I'm also a partner with PHP, MySQL AB, The Apache Software Foundation, etc.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot livetech's Avatar
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    Gah.

    These give the rest of us a bad name.

    Like most people, I spend the first hour of so with the client educating them on SEO (namely why they can't be #1 in a week). Explaining exactly what they get for their money (my time), and how they want to proceed.

    I'd love to know what they got in their "Setup Costs"!

    I did write a blog post about it on my blog (plug, link in sig) about what to look for and what to avoid with SEO firms.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel0 View Post
    If you look at the details for the "partners" then you will see that they use that word in a very flexible and unconventional way. By their definition I'm also a partner with SitePoint because I use their forums and website. I'm also a partner with PHP, MySQL AB, The Apache Software Foundation, etc.
    I've seen plenty of SEO firm designed sites that include partner pages just like that. Always wondered if they think linking to those credible sites provides some seo value, or if they are mostly just trying to give the site some 'credibilty' by trying to make it look like they are associated with big names.


    To you guys selling SEO services, why aren't you spending your time working your own sites?

    If a client can make a profit on your service charge, why aren't you choosing to cut out the middle man and just earn those higher returns yourself?

    Serious question
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Member ebookey's Avatar
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    I agree with IndyCash, they should concentrate on their own SEO, btw their home page is only PR3.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Sad to know that most companies practiced this kind of unusual activity and SEO's image has been greatly affected with their wrongdoings.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyCash View Post
    I've seen plenty of SEO firm designed sites that include partner pages just like that. Always wondered if they think linking to those credible sites provides some seo value, or if they are mostly just trying to give the site some 'credibilty' by trying to make it look like they are associated with big names.
    It's a psychological thing. If you have large, reputable and highly successful companies as partners then you yourself ought to be credible, because why would said companies bother with a partnership with you if you weren't good?

  17. #17
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    LOL.. yeah I get that angle Daniel0

    And if that is the only reason so many do it, it's no wonder SEO companies have an image of being deceptive operators not to be trusted.

    If you recommend your clients try and portray a false image, why would you imagine they are not going to consider you a liar and your industry not to be trusted?

    They may be quite happy to use that tactic on their website, but that isn't going to change their view of your ethics.
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  18. #18
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    I think what most people think they are buying when they buy SEO is quality traffic that leads to fulfillment of goals such as increased sales. All too often, people in the industry sell SEO services that lack transparency, as well as use methods that no longer work.

    There is no "magic bullet" in SEO any more, and a consistent effort over time is needed. Even with that effort, other factors such as heavy competition, low consumer interest, or low conversion rate, can make things difficult. What is needed is a continuing assessment, as simple goals are met, and new goals are set.

    I do believe there are some companies that promise too much, and I find it refreshing to know there is some oversite staring to take place. I can't say whether or not the company named in the suit is at fault, but certainly there needs to be oversite, so that you can't sell pipe dreams, and ruin the perception of our industry.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvduval View Post
    I think what most people think they are buying when they buy SEO is quality traffic that leads to fulfillment of goals such as increased sales.
    That is the bottom line, and that is what the SEO firm should be selling. If all they did is to get the site to rank for an unheard of keyword, the client would have wasted their money.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by buldozerce View Post
    SEO is getting worse every day.
    Not worse but more complex. Every new company shoud waist more and more time and money to promote theirs online resources. But still there is still a lot of **** content which must be at the end of the Search Engine top.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot Christiano's Avatar
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    Holy crap, I'm a partner with Nike, Intel, IBM, and Sony.

    Who knew!?
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast tokyobabydoll's Avatar
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    True, most people out there are clueless about SEO even if its an industry in itself.
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Here's a true story from the Martha File: For several years, I had a site that was ranked #1 in Google. It was an e-commerce site, and, for awhile, that #1 ranking was leading to quite a few sales.

    However, consumer tastes changed. Even though I kept that #1 ranking, my sales started to decline. And I closed that site down.

    Moral of the story: Ranking #1 is all well and good, but you need to have enough people searching for what you sell in order to make things worthwhile.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Zealot livetech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christiano View Post
    Holy crap, I'm a partner with Nike, Intel, IBM, and Sony.

    Who knew!?
    Have Nike trainers, Intel chipset in an IBM Pc, and have a playstation? :P

  25. #25
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    There is too many "SEO experts". I remember seeing one ask why his site hasn't been indexed after a few hours, lol
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