SEO & Digital Marketing

Most SEO Companies Are Con Artists


The Truth About SEO and the Digital Marketing Industry

Most SEO Companies Are Con Artists

The Truth About SEO and the Digital Marketing Industry

Many Digital Marketing companies are con artists… In fact, I would go as far as saying that most SEO companies are con artists. That doesn’t sound like a great way to start an article, considering that we own and operate a marketing agency in Dover, NH, and have been offering traditional marketing and digital marketing services since 1994... However, as someone that works with customers that have been burned by using bad SEO companies, and as someone that has worked with many other marketing agencies; I have seen quite a bit of fraud in my industry.

For one, many SEO companies don’t know how to actually perform SEO, or they don’t get the results they want as quickly as they want them, so they use all of these backhanded “black hat” SEO methods to get ahead. They have very little skills to actually count on, and don’t have what it takes to follow legitimate tactics that offer long term results, so instead, they use these temporary results to get the customers slightly higher, enough that they can promote more expensive plans later; locking them in to these ridiculously expensive long term contracts. This is one of the main reasons we offer SEO without a contract, and offer several options to our clients. We would rather you get to see the proof, before committing to a long term working relationship.

We are high impact Grow With Google Partners; and have achieved the highest level of partnership with Google that can be achieved. Most competitors are only partners through Google’s ad program, which provides partnerships to people who can effectively manage ads. Don’t get me wrong, managing ads are necessary. It’s much better to have a digital marketing agency managing your Google Ads and pay per click campaigns, as you are likely to get better results. However, since partners in that program are based solely off ads (how much money they generate in ad revenue), it doesn’t actually mean they follow any rules when it comes to SEO, nor does it mean they have your best interest in mind.

Their tactics always, and I do mean this sincerely, ALWAYS only offer temporary, short term, fleeting results. Results that will mean constantly struggling to get ahead. These companies do the bare minimal amount of work, and get by using outsourced companies from other countries. I’m not saying that’s wrong. I have worked with developers of website plugins on occasion from some other countries, and there are some great developers. However, these local SEO companies present themselves as if the work is done in-house, and in my experience, nine times out of ten, it is not. If they were up front about it, most business owners may not care. But I hear it a few times a week… A customer comes to me, complains that the person they are working with takes weeks (or longer) to do a simple task, and is looking for someone who is more reliable. This is just with web design and graphic design. So, if they offer such low quality slow service for designing things, do you really think they are going to do a consistently good job with your SEO, or marketing in general? Perhaps they are just busy? Well, let me explain further...

When it comes to website maintenance, for example, what happens is, a client will make a simple request, such as change the phone number on their website, and weeks will go by without it being done. That’s because it’s being passed along to a project manager in another country with an army of low paid designers, and is often placed on the low priority list for them, because they are too busy handling all the other requests from all the other digital marketing companies. See, there might be one company in another country doing the same service for many of my local competitors, and my local competitors are just cunning salespersons, and not actually web designers. That’s the way my industry works, and I’m being honest here, it’s a majority of them out there. In fact, I get requests to sign up with these bulk wholesale digital marketing companies all the time who say specifically they are managing the work for several of my competitors, and how they can do the same for me… So, you are often paying for a salesperson to manage the same handful of foreign companies. That’s the truth they don’t ever tell you.

There are another type of company as well, which is even worse. These are national chains, who buy out local digital marketing companies, and either rebrand, or keep the name, but ultimately, they buy the portfolio of clients from that small business, manage them (deposit the clients checks), and turn over the work to people in another country. The problem with these companies is that they use fake addresses. Check it out on the map, you will find they use shared workspaces, because they don’t have a full office of their own.

Many of them use their home address, or even worse, a post office box. The problem is, as a small business owner, you may think they are just a small company you are supporting, but they are actually exploiting a hole in Google’s system, which is soon to be plugged. They create thousands of fake company names, using various websites, etc. so they can grow their Google rank. They get a Google My Business verified listing, and con their clients into thinking they are a real company, when in fact, they are just sales people who are using a loophole. What’s worse is, they are often doing it for a large chain, or, sometimes the large chain just pays for individuals to use their contact info, but when you call, the number forwards over to another state. It’s a scam that has been going on for years.

Don’t get me wrong, legitimate businesses sometimes do work out of their home. But I check listings every day for Google, and 9/10 of the listings I find meet the criteria I mentioned above, and often get away with their deceit because of a loophole, or because they verified their address and Google does not yet know it’s a shared workspace, or a phoney address, or a company using these tactics. The good news is, they are catching on, and like the backlink scams of a few years ago, and the massive amount of phoney links on pages from about 8 years ago, this too shall pass, and what will be standing are those of us with real skills and the ability to actually do marketing for our clients.

The problem is (beyond going off on a tangent), is that in most cases, our client’s had this happen to them by the company they were using previously, and their bad experience creates a general distrust for digital marketing companies. This hurts my industry, and hurts my business. So, to be totally honest here… I’m tired of the bs from people in my industry who don’t actually know what they are doing. I’m sick of companies that utilize negative tricks to hurt other small businesses, rather than learning new skills and being better at what they do. I like real competition, unfortunately, most of the SEO companies I have had dealings with are either scammers and con artists, using very limited understanding of lingo to sell work done by low paid workers in foreign countries. There are a few that use local SEO professionals, and though they act as salespeople and project managers, are actually good people who surround themselves with quality professionals and third party companies (like mine), so I would gladly refer clients to them if I found working with the client to be a conflict of interest. But this is only a small fraction of digital marketing companies I have found, whether it was my decades living in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, or my time here in Southern, New Hampshire..

Our customers will tell you, when they send us a request, we do it within 2 days, and depending on the changes being done and our workload, we often get it done within an hour or so. That’s because we do almost everything in-house. We are real website designers with real web design skills, with real names, in a real US city (Dover, NH). We don’t use gimmicks, we are upfront and honest to all of our clients, which is why we have grown year after year, after starting our business over from scratch in 2015. Keep in mind, our company has been around since 1994, however, when we left California in 2015, we gave up our entire portfolio to a competitor, and started our business over on the other side of the country.

In less than a year, our business was a success, and each year it grows. Last October (2018), we were featured on FOX Business, and we have the honor of being one of the few digital marketing companies in the nation to be ranked as a “High Impact Partner” by Google. So, we are proud of our accomplishments, and what we are even more proud of, is the fact that we continue to grow, while having an extremely high rate of customer satisfaction. In fact, we have a very high retaining rate, and our customers usually stick with us for years.

So, if you get anything from this article, it’s not that you should hire us simply because we say so. Do the research, check Google, and whether you hire us or another digital marketing or SEO company, make sure you are working with actual professionals who have your best interest in mind, and last, but not least… DON’T GET SCAMMED BY CON ARTISTS!


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Make it Active, LLC is a full service Marketing Agency located in Dover, NH, just minutes from Portsmouth.

We offer digital marketing services, including SEO, Website Design, Marketing, and graphic design.

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