12 More SEO Idiots (or Experts) to Avoid

A few months ago, I posted 7 SEO idiots and subsequently received myriad ideas for other SEO idiots. Below you’ll find 12 more SEO idiots with dialogue and oatmeal-like depictions. Thank you to everyone who submitted ideas. For those ideas I’ve used, I’ve given the comment author a link.

Poor Link Requester

Three years ago, I remember hearing that 3-way link exchanges would be the new wave of linkbuilding. Unfortunately, those who still request these types of link exchanges are behind the curve. Many SEO idiots who request these link exchanges, ask for a link from your main homepage and only offer you a pathetic link on their affiliate site’s links page.

Submitted by Jim Rudnick
As you are aware that 3 way link exchange is much more useful than reciprocal link exchange, so I request you to add our site at your blog roll. In reply we will add your link at another website we own, viagra for kitties

 

1997 SEO

These SEOs had their glory days in the late 90s. They were able to game even the best of search engines. However, getting SEO results in the late 90s has no bearing on the ability to achieve rankings today. Many of these SEOs focus on meta keywords and keyword stuffing. Stay away from these old-timers.

Submitted by Jill Kocher
For your campaign, we're going to focus on meta keywords and search engine submissions. I used to have hundreds of sites ranked at Excite and Infoseek. I've been in the industry since before search engines existed. Actually, it was I who coined the term, SEO.

 

Blackhatter Who Continuously Raises SE Flags

I’m not out to bash any particular SEO company here, especially in lieu of recent events. But, let’s be honest, blackhat or greyhat practices don’t just hurt the reputation of the offending SEO company–poor practices also hurt the entire SEO industry.

Submitted by Gary Young
Hmmmm... Not sure how you were deindexed. We do use a few paid link opportunities ... actually, we’ve bought a few million links pointing to your site ... Remember, one of our clients is JCPenney, so we do work for the big dogs.

 

Garage SEO with a Confidential Client List

If no client list exists, that can only mean 1 of 2 things. Either he/she signed a confidentiality agreement with his/her clients or he/she doesn’t have any clients worth mentioning. I’m going to guess it’s the latter. Lack of a company website should be a good red flag that the individual has no idea what he/she is doing.

Submitted by Eric Miltsch
Well, I can't really send you a client list or any case studies because all that information is confidential. Honestly, I don't have a website because I'm just way too busy servicing clients.

 

The “I won’t come to your office for less than $5000″ SEO

Evidently, there are some pompous individuals in the industry. More power to them. Even if an SEO can provide incredible results and charge high prices, that doesn’t give him permission to treat others with a “holier than thou” attitude.

Submitted by Warner Carter
You're wasting my time. Don't you realize that we're incorporated and we only work with 'big' clients? I'm amazed that you would even try to offer $4,000!

 

Backlink Buyer

Much like the Blackhatter above, the Backlink Buyer makes a living from buying and selling links. While this SEO may be good at staying ahead of Google’s spam net, his tactics will eventually be discovered.

Submitted by Bill Bolmeier
So if you want links, I'll buy em' up by the truckload. I keep a special list of great places to purchase links. That's why I'm charging you by the link, because it's all about getting those links.

 

Future SEO

These SEOs are thinkers but never doers. They’ll talk your ear off about new, innovative techniques and how they could pull off the “perfect” campaign. But when it comes to actually doing the work, they never perform.

Submitted by Jonas
Well, link building is great but there is just so much spam that I don't know if link building will stick around as a proven SEO practice. I really think Search Engines will have more social influence in the future but I'm not sure how.

 

Web Designer SEO

These yahoos are similar to the Conversion Expert who thinks that conversion optimization will somehow result in higher rankings. Admittedly, I used to be one of these SEOs. If someone is making design recommendations to improve SEO, this person is probably a web developer who has merely dabbled in SEO.

Submitted by NatC
Let's talk style and code. Your site is, well, extremely ugly and Google doesn't like ugly. If we just do a quick redesign and recode the entire site you'll see a stellar improvement in Search rankings.

 

Moon on a Stick SEO

These SEOs are great. They can make huge ranking promises with unbelievable guarantees or warranties. However, their contracts’ fine print usually mentions that they’ll only get rankings for long-tail or obscure keyphrases.

Submitted by theWebalyst
We guarantee to get you on page one of Google ... lowers voice and whispers into his hand for any keyword that only you or I will ever type into a search box. 'Organic kitty chow for me and my kitty today'

 

Off Page Only SEO

Contrasting the Sparkling, White Hat SEO, this SEO prefers to do off-page SEO only. In fact, this SEO probably has no clue how to perform on-page optimization. Good luck trying to get him to do keyword research and on-page SEO.

Submitted by Afzal Khan
So your site has no credible content? No worries, link building will always do the trick. We can even do SEO if you don’t have a website yet. We will link build till the cows come home.

 

Packaging SEO

Because SEO is one of those things that can be compartmentalized into specific packages (NOT), this SEO has taken the packaging syndrome to a whole new level. He makes it easy on you by allowing you to choose from an internet marketing menu of sorts. Don’t get me wrong, many SEO ‘tasks’ can be packaged, but SEO as a whole, is too complex and constantly changing to be easily segmented into basic packages.

Submitted by Daniel Dessinger
For the small monthly fee of $500/month, you're going to get our Bronze package 300 directory links and 100 article submissions. Or you could upgrade to our Silver package for $1000/month and get twice the directory links and the article submissions! No one can beat this offer!

 

PPC Guy

The PPC Guy SEO has never learned what the word, “organic,” means. Hey, PPC is basically the same as SEO, right? At least that what he thinks. He believes his expert PPC skills fully qualify him as an SEO expert as well.

Submitted by Rasmus Himmelstrup
SEO is getting you listed on the first page of Google. I spend most of my time keeping ad bids low and boosting your quality score. No, PPC and SEO are basically the same things. When I get your ads listed on google I'm basically 'optimizing' them for search engines.

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49 Comments

  1. Syed says

    LOL This was an AMAZING post! The biggest lesson I have learned after being in the SEO industry for quiet some time now is the fact that there IS no real “SEO expert” out there. You can find individuals and companies who may have tons of experience and know how to handle certain situations – however with the changing nature of the internet and search engines themselves, the expertise deteriorates and can only be sustained with research. A review of the various internet marketing and SEO services that you should incorporate are briefed here and can be read through: http://www.9thsphere.com/services_marketing.html (reputation management is something many companies overlook). Of course one must not just be bogged down by “SEO” only and should leverage all other aspects of internet marketing as well.

    I just hate how companies that have been working for so many years now, can still come up and promote their services as a “GUARANTEED” rankings. How on earth can you guarantee rankings when the place where you want your clients to get ranked doesn’t even BELONG to you! Google can screw you up ANY DAY at ANY TIME! LOL @ Viagara-for-kitties

  2. Riaan Aggenbag says

    I love the ‘Packaging SEO’ (not)

    but seriously, how would you best price your work or intended work?

    We know that time = money and the more time an SEO have to work on a site the better the results can be… how then do you approach a new client?

    Your input here is much appreciated,

    • says

      Having specific packages is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when the package includes ambiguous services like “1000 directory links,” then it becomes more of a scam. Packages force companies and clients to focus on what’s included in the package rather than what they really want: higher rankings.

      If you can figure out a way to create packages that truly provide results for clients, then, by all means, go for it!

      Rand Fishkin, of SEOMoz.org, sheds some light on SEO pricing: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seo-pricing-costs-what-should-you-charge-how-much-should-you-pay

      • KMP says

        “Having specific packages is not necessarily a bad thing.”

        I agree! If you have packaged based around actual services I think it’s perfectly acceptable and also easier to pitch to clients. For instance, you could have a package with just basic on-page SEO and another more advanced package that has both on-page and off-page SEO. Or one package could include writing for and managing the client’s blog, whereas a smaller plan would leave that task up to the client.

        I also think it works well to have blended service packages- one package is just SEO, one package is SEO and PPC, and one package is SEO and PPC and shopping feeds. Since these things all work together anyways, why not create “packages” to encourage clients to have a well rounded marketing approach?

  3. Riaan Aggenbag says

    Ah thanks David,

    I one read that article by Rand and thought it was brilliant!

    As for more experience with clients, they love buying packaged ‘deals’ but I hear exactly what you’re saying. Value should be added that really increases rank >> traffic and ROI.

    Appreciate your time,

  4. David Mihalek says

    The #13 on this list could be “I am going to sell you X and throw in a website and SEO for a nominal fee.”

    X being a premium listing on a directory such as Yellow Pages or Thomasnet.

    We have all seen countless websites that are “designed” and “optimized” by these two companies and their efforts are shameful and actually hurt the reputations of true SEO and Web Design Companies.

  5. Rebecca Gill says

    David that was a great read with my coffee and an excellent way to start the day. A good SEO joke is good for the marketer’s soul!

  6. Jacob Stoops says

    I’d add the “conspiracy theory” SEO who are they SEOs that undercut the strategy of others (no matter how good) in order to make a sale. They usually send a generic email with a claim that “we’ve noticed your SEO didn’t submit you to this (insert low-quality) directory…”, which usually leads the current SEOs client questioning their strategy – even if it’s top-notch!?!

    I get trying to steal clients and make sales. I understand that SEOs eat their young and are always trying to poke holes in the SEO strategies of others, but jeez…

  7. brandon patton says

    Is $600 a month a high SEO budget for a Realtor web page? I contacted this site and a diffrent SEO company contacted me. I set up an account with BoostAbility and have started with them. I am know just going back and checking up on the intial process of finding an SEO company and trying to determin if I choose a good company? Any feedback would be appreciated.

  8. Sam says

    I believe Web Designer Guy is kind of right. Cleaning up code can improve your site loading time and site loading is a Google ranking factor.

  9. Abhijit V. Chaore says

    excellently written and cleverly presented article. It is indeed a joy to read such stuff as it gives information as well as fun. Thanks for sharing.

  10. John says

    Lol, I still get some contrived spam emails asking us if we want “1997” type SEO. The best part is we are an SEO company ourselves so I always love getting those emails.

  11. Stas says

    Thanks David – I HOPE that every SEO expert that will read this post, will relate with some of the characters, at least one of them.

    If someone will say that they can’t relate to any of them, even just a bit- they are lying! :)

    ( I found myself twice, in some little way ) Guess which one :)

    By the way – exellent images! Thanks for great post

  12. Steve Hughes says

    Great article…I’m in search for a strong SEO provider, and it’s turning out to be quite the challenge. It’s turned into a 2nd job. Thanks for info.

  13. says

    There’s also something to be said for having no “proof”. Do they have any personal sites that they do SEO for? What about the SEO company’s rankings? If the answer to these questions is “no”, you may want to ask why.

  14. Amelia says

    @Andrew Johnson, I agree with you, but having worked for a large UK SEO / Web design company (ahem, ‘factory’) which has some very enviable and impressive listings in Google.co.uk, and knowing that they are:
    a) Very good at looking after their own backyard
    but that,
    b) They practice a ‘one size fits all’ approach to SEO,
    c) They let their sales team choose keywords,
    d) They have a ‘link network’ of all their clients…

    So, although on the surface, they know SEO, and it works (until Google detects their ‘link network’) the argument that if ‘they can do it for themselves, then they can do it for their clients’ is true in THEORY, and it’s a sound theory (and a great sales tactic, one should add)it doesn’t necessarily ring true. The company I worked for can do it for themselves, but for the majority of their clients they miss the point at the initial stages, by letting inexperienced and inaccurate salespeople choose the keywords based on ‘fuzzy logic’. The internal SEO is carried out, exceptionally well, by the web designers, so all their ‘SEO Consultants’ actually do is build links using their network of clients…

    So now, whilst I may not have page 1 listings for my company’s website (yet!), I do very well for my clients. I spend time choosing converting keywords. I do not have a link network (which I missed in the first few weeks of not having, because it’s p!$$ easy to get a page 1 listing with a huge network of over 3000 clients and growing to use for linking…) I actually spend more time guest blogging than anything else these days. My clients have good listings, and receive traffic directly from the links I build. As far as I’m concerned, when I worked for my previous employer who still has great listings for some very enviable and impressive keywords I wasn’t really practicing SEO.

    I guess all I’m saying is, yes the SEO company should have good listings, but it’s better to find out if their clients make more money after employing their services. That’s the nub of the matter.

    • Andrew says

      I have to agree with Amelia on this one – the quality of some of the large SEO co's is terrible. I recently outsourced some work to a company that will also remain unnamed. A couple of weeks later the site went from having around 30 pages on page one of the G SERPs to all pages sitting on page 5. The clown, sorry, 'SEO expert' spend about an hour trying to convince me that this wasn't a penalty as, "none of their other customers had experienced this issue". That said, the 'expert' wouldn't give me the URLs because of client confidentiality.
       
      @ David Scoville – (I know this tip came from Eric Miltsch, but…) what's wrong with not having a portfolio? Doesn't everyone have to start somewhere? Can you honestly say that the interns SEO companies emply get paid nothing for 6 months – one year (or until they prove themselves)? Your comment is similar to one made by a very large, very well known SEO company that said, [sic] "Don't trust one man band SEO's, only trust large companies" – look where that got one of the sites I manage!. If the comment is a generalisation then you couldn't be any wider of the mark. We all need to start somewhere even if it is only on a trial basis. If, instead, you're talking about high value, competitive niches then I do agree with you (somewhat).

  15. Saidul Hassan says

    Ref: Packaging SEO by @Daniel Dessinger

    We provide SEO services also in packages using the same terms you mentioned here!! I almost agree with your argument but would like to point some other sides of the issue: SEO services can’t be standardised ever and submitting to 100 SE, 200 directories, 300 articles etc. are totally crap and personally I think its an SEO scam. So, what we offer in our SEO packages? well, we define the extent of work in different level. For example, in expensive packages, we offer to write and promote client’s blogs, maintain social media accounts etc. while we do not offer such service in the cheaper one.

    Now question may arise how we rank them if we work on contract basis rather than necessary basis?!! Well, we are always transparent with our clients and we spend significant amount of time educating our client’s on SEO. We speak with them in the first place about their need, expectations, possible outcomes etc. And a business secret, “sometimes we go extra mileage for clients SEO work; after all end of the month they will evaluate our work by comparing the improved sales, traffic and ranking, right?”

    Yep, what you are wondering is the same question I’m asked by my search team: “If we work the extra things, why the heck we didn’t sell them the appropriate package?” The answer is obvious and it also answers the question of the need for SEO service as package! Client’s like to pick one while buying like they always do at shopping mall! They see, touch, read and pick one. We want to give such customer segment a choice! Besides, who sales directly to SMB owners, sometimes they look for the cheaper options. We try to keep them onshore.

  16. Roy Olders says

    I agree with you that there are a lot of fary tales about seo and just like in the ‘real’ world, you’ve got to work hard to improve your search engine rankings.

    Regards,

    Roy Olders

  17. Don says

    So what should a SEO guy do to earn his living? I am talking about normal guys who don’t have the god gifted luck of getting hired by Google, IBM, Dell, Lexmark etc etc just after they complete graduation.

  18. TC says

    I hope it’s not too late to add on as I’ve got another suggestion for “experts” to avoid. I recently had the displeasure of dealing second-hand with a firm that gave a client a lengthy “report” on his website SEO that was obviously created by a program (even though they said they went through the site manually.)

    I should say a faulty program. It reported that the site didn’t have a relevant 404 page, which it did; didn’t have any sitemaps, which it did, both xml and for visitors. It also claimed that none of the images had alt tags…which they did. These were among the most egregious errors, but there were a lot more. In fact, about 75% of the report was incorrect, thus, total garbage.

    I guess the best name for this type of SEO idiot is: The “Yeah, I examined your site thoroughly for holes…using some crappy software” SEO guy.

  19. David says

    I am still researching the aspect of diectories and started one up to see for myself how it works out. who knows!

  20. James Hawkins says

    This article is really interesting and humorous, because it exposes the reality on the internet, nowadays there are tons of SEO companies emerging, and making a million promises, this article is for all those, who speak loud and the result is often undesirable.

  21. Ken Jansen says

    This is pretty darn funny. I feel a little sheltered as I have only come across a few of those in real life. They sound like a lot of ads I have read though. Very funny. I like the drawings too.

  22. David Brown says

    Great lists (first 7 and these too) – I unfortunately have come across every single one of these characters a time or two. And now I feel bad as we just launched 3 packages (after 10 yrs of not having them).

    We still focus on custom solutions, as every client has different needs and goals…. .02

  23. Kelsey says

    Good ones, I really identify with the futuristic SEO expert because I come across a lot of those when trying to sell actual services that I can do right now.

  24. Joe Yocaro says

    Yes, meet a lot of so called SEO Experts around. I’ve been everywhere.. You can mainly find them on blackhat forums sites and facebook groups, Quora too. As much as I’d like to correct their thinking about such foolishness or BS, I end up pitying them for the lack of knowledge and experience. I myself as an SEO Professional, I provide services to a different client around the world. They come with different interest and goals. I have a correction on the PACKAGING SEO person tho. I myself and surely tons of SEO companies/firm provides the same thing(packages), but I guess you didn’t know about the “CUSTOMED PACKAGE”.. And that is based on the client’s needs..Yes its not one size fits all that’s why there’s CUSTOMED PACKAGE. It depends on the kind of business he/she have..  coz there’s different ways to market their site.. Know everything about his/her business would give you the idea what campaign you’re going to provide him/her. Its not about throwing millions of backlinks to your clients its about building quality contents and links. Quality comes from natural link building or the whitehat way. It may take some time rank well on SERPS but surely will not get penalized or worst deindexed.

     Tho 90% of Us SEOs have websites, but I myself been an seo for just 5 years(yes Im new) and til now don’t have a site of my own. but that doesn’t mean I’m a bogus, you see having clients(5 sometimes more), you have to tackle everything, from keyword research,competitive analysis, conversion optimization, down to whole campaign  evaluation(then back to cycle 1), and lastly do some experimentation. Running campaigns with 5 to more clients by myself or sometimes with a team,would require much focus and a LOT of effort.. Good thing there’s a tool. Not Blackhat stuff, just tools such as MarketSamurai, OSE, etc.. but overall, this post is great and funny:) funny and 90% true!

  25. Kristian - SEOTEXT says

    I love this article. 

    And after the Penguin then these are having a hard time, dont u think? :)

  26. FP Marcil says

    This is fun :)

    I think there is a few new types of SEOs I would avoid.

    1) The “Never Competed” SEO, always worked with fist-class clients with some SEO knowledge and a great product. Until he get that first client in a competitive field….

    2) The “everything is a penalty” SEO, is always very prompt at sending alarming emails to anybody and everybody about his “theory” that there is a penalty when in fact there is none. This vastly increased with Penguins and Panda.

    3) The “anti-social” SEO, just don’t like to talk to anyone, he fails most of the time.

  27. Karen H says

    Awesome follow up post to your the original. I think I have encountered at least 4 of these. Meta-Tags FTW!!!

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