How to Spot An SEO Phony

by GuestBlogStar on January 21, 2013

 …. and How to Avoid Being One

When you work in the SEO industry you tend to meet a lot of colorful characters. The allure of working from home and with technology is something that attracts a wide range of people, and the fact that it’s a solitary pursuit that anyone can learn and start using means that unfortunately not all of those people are completely upstanding or necessarily the kinds of people you would want to work with.

Unfortunately it seems that for every great SEO company out there, there’s an ‘SEO guru’ who in fact doesn’t know what they’re doing and have no real experience or credentials. And more often or not these gurus are very self-sure, great at selling themselves and potentially a danger to the success of your website and wider business. Here then we’ll look at how to spot these SEO phonies so that you can stick to working with the companies and individuals that actually get results.

Signs They Might be a Phoney

They Say ‘We’ When There’s Only One of Them: A lot of entrepreneurs seem to think that they need to lie about the size of their company and pretend that they have a huge team of workers when in fact there’s only one of them. Contrary to popular belief though this doesn’t make them look more professional – but rather just exposes them as being dishonest and having an inflated sense of importance. There are advantages to operating as an individual, so those that do should just come out and say it – the ones that don’t are probably out of their depth.
connecting search to social networks


Of course typos happen from time to time and are inevitable to a degree. But if you land on the homepage of some ‘SEO expert’ and they haven’t gone to the trouble to spell check their home page or learn basic grammar then this should set off alarm bells. Do you really want them representing you?

Out-of-Date/Nonsensical Strategies:

I once read the ‘About Me’ page on the website of an SEO ‘expert’ and found that they were constantly repeating their own name in an attempt to get their website to rank for that name. Of course this was a sure sign that they had no clue what they were doing as not only is keyword stuffing well known to be an outdated strategy (which you do not want them doing for your website), but in this particular case it didn’t even make any sense – why would they want to rank for their own name anyway? How many people would really search for that when they were a complete unknown? By looking at what they promise to do for your site, by reading their blog, and by looking at how they promote themselves; try to ascertain whether the company or individual actually knows what they’re doing and is up to date with the latest developments in SEO.

Vague Descriptions:

If the owner of a site claims to have huge wealth of successes under their belt then they should be able to say what those are and provide evidence to back up those claims. Likewise, they should also be able to tell you precisely what it is that they are going to do for your website and why they think it will work. Don’t trust services that are overly vague or that can’t be pinned down, because there’s probably no substance to what they’re saying.


Mike a well-known business blogger. He has listed the names of some of the most popular internet marketing and google seo firms on one of his blogs. He is an Internet Marketing Consultant  by profession.

Featured images: Creative Commons image source


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mjtaylor January 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I think the number indicator of an SEO phony is a claim to “100% guaranteed page one results.” There are some companies that will refund your money if they can’t produce, but too often this sort of claim should be a red flag.

I confess, I occasionally say “we” and I rationalize that since I do use sub-contractors for various projects, but I don’t have any full time staff.

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