Last week I was contacted by a business owner who was looking for SEO expert advice and maybe some search engine marketing also. I was shocked at what she told me. She had found me on page one of the search results for her query and for some reason she skipped over me and visited other sites that were on page one (for a coveted SEO phrase). She said that all three of the “SEO firms” she contacted wanted her to send $10,000 up front for their services just to get started. One company was even demanding $50,000 just for an SEO assessment of her site! Sorry friends, that you have to even deal with hearing that squat, but there are a lot of scammers out there who are just riding the coat tails of the industry and trying to squeeze all that they think they might be able to get out of uninformed business owners who just sincerely want to pay a legitimate fee for SEO help. WARNING!!! Unless you are a fortune 1000 company with a huge complex matrix on the Web, if someone asks for $10,000 or more up front for an SEO assessment, hide your wallet and turn them in to authorities as you are likely dealing with a rip off artist and are about to become their next victim.
Also, this fellow, Clay Butler has put together a great top ten list of SEO scams so he has earned a link from me as I agreee with what he points out.
Ongoing monthly fees should not be for SEO monitoring. SEO should be paid for and when it is completed the client should reap the benefits. If you are paying monthly fees it should only be for Pay Per Clicks like Google Adwords or Yahoo clicks, ongoing organic marketing and promotion efforts , or damn good cutting edge advice and coaching from a proven industry leader with quantified results and a track record that proves their worth! Just because someone states on their Website that they are an expert does not mean they really even know what they are doing. I especially laugh at companies that go one time to a certification program, get some good info, then have the audacity to put on their Website that they are “Certified SEO Experts” Ha! Certification programs in SEO do not certify expertise, they only certify completion of a curriculum. Expertise goes WAY beyond that and the true SEO experts are a rare find indeed. I’d venture to say that maybe 1/1000 of those claimants to the title “SEO expert,” actually can deliver expertise in our industry. So yes, beware of firms who use hyped up jargon too.
Mostly, just do your homework. Make sure you get to talk to the person who will be actually doing your SEO work! and stay away from companies who want you to empty your bank account just for an assesment!!!