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SEOs: Part 2 - SEO Companies

Here Be Monsters. . .
The old nautical charts, with their dragons and sirens, are an apropos analog to the search for an agency to help your web site become found in the hostile seas of the Internet.

Oh sure, I know what you're saying to yourself; 'I'm a professional, I know what I'm doing, I KNOW how the Internet works...." Do you really? Think again. Let me illustrate my point to you with my own, personal, experience.

I am a software and internet developer. As such I have more than a rudimentary understanding of the systems and the processes that most people (rightfully) don't give a fig about when they fire up their browser. A while back I put out a web site (who hasn't at one time or another). I worked for months on it and published and waited gleefully for my first visitor and customer to hit my site. . . and waited. . . and waited.

I reviewed my code (admittedly I knew precious little about the value and form of proper meta tagging at the time) and saw nothing wrong. I performed search after search to try and discern what the "other guy" offered that was so much better than my own site (frankly, nothing).

I decided to obtain professional help. I did a search for "site+broadcast OR site+advertise." My search returned thousands of pages. I spurned the first two sites found reasoning that any found in the top three would be competent but that the third might be cheaper and work harder (the AVIS theory, if you will).

I'll spare you the gory details and hit you with the bottom line: $23,000.00 wasted and I ended up with my site getting blacklisted from all search engines due to the illicit practices of the company that I paid to promote my site. Recourse? I had none (but had to pay the agent according to the contract I signed!).

What I had in a plenty was ignorance and a business ethic that I foolishly thought was followed by all businesses. I will eschew P. T. Barnum's apt assessment of my capacities and instead caution you with the old maxim: Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware.

Do Honest SEO Companies Exist?
Yes, Virginia, Honest SEO companies DO exist - but just like Santa Claus, they are a bit difficult to see without guidance. Where to look is not as important as what to look for but let us start with a good place to look:

The link above will take you to one of the toughest, most no-nonsense directory listings by State, Country and other requirements that we have EVER seen. Straight up, they are the REAL deal. You have a better chance of getting center line seats at the Super Bowl than you do of getting listed with this directory as a reputable SEO. Bear in mind that they do not take responsibility for the actions of those listed but we do recommend their services nonetheless. For the record, we, ourselves, are not yet listed with them (but we have applied and await their 2004 re-opening of submissions date).

What you should see on the SEO company Web Site:
SEO Code of Ethics Seal of Compliance At the very least you had best see this image prominently displayed on the index page. If you see this, then you're probably in good company - but do not take their word for it, check. Go to the above listed directory and verify their site in the directory. Anyone can copy the image (we did) but that does not mean that they have actually passed the rigorous requirements to become bona fide members of the directory. If they are listed, then you can reasonably expect that the company will provide a legitimate means to get your web site into the forefront of the Internet community you seek to be seen by.

Another thing you had better see on the site you are considering service from is a statement of adherence to the SEO Code of Ethics. What does it look like? Well, although we are not yet among the anointed, we have read and pledged to abide by these very straightforward rules of conduct. You can read them HERE.

What if I do Not see these icons of repute?
Well, Virginia, you'd best look elsewhere lest you become another victim to ignorance and foul practices.

Part 3: SEO No-No's

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