Google has declared SEO (Search Engine Optimization) its mortal enemy. Other Search Engines have followed suit. They claim that their search engine results are pure and that the best companies and providers organically make it to the top of their search listings… just that a lot of clever Search Engine Optimizers are still successfully biasing search results by getting their clients into top positions for keywords by purposefully link-building and using other SEO kung fu techniques. According to the Search Engines an SEO-free Internet = a fair world.
Google has tried to ban the SEO’s and created updates to its search algorithms which send their clients’ websites down the search results for months to where customers cannot find them. Google have definitely started to close the door on SEO. For example there has been the recent Penguin update which did for many SEO’s. Yet SEO’s are here and they seem a resilient bunch.
Biased Search Engine Results is apparently not the only reason to hate SEO’s.
For the last decade or so they have become associated with aggressive sales pitches and frankly scamming. Their marketing tends to dominate their fees. Whistle-blowers talk of five dollars in every hundred paid by clients actually going towards search engine optimization (link building, social media promotions, listings and keyword-rich content) while the rest goes to the expensive sales teams and is blown on Porsches and lunches.
This in turn has led to the technical teams working as parts of Search Engine Optimization businesses upping and leaving to set up their own businesses, where marketing is comprised of a spend on Adwords and a nice-looking website.
One such Search Engine Optimization agency is one of the biggest players in the field, now called Simple Steps SEO www.simplestepsseo.com , who binned their sales team in 2010 and never looked back. They get in new business through referrals and online through ads. Based in Hong Kong they have been able to expand their SEO team (purely technical) from 10% of staff to 100% in two years. Now Simple Steps SEO has an enviable client list and grows from strength to strength. A plan with them currently costs just $85 a month compared to the industry average of $250 a month.
Their CEO, American Patrick MacDougal believes search engines are happy as long as you follow their rules. “There are plenty of black hat (illegal) SEO’s out there,” Patrick reckons, “who are getting away with making money from unsuspecting clients in the current climate. However, I’m convinced the black hatters are going to be history soon. They tend to operate in local markets rather than having a global presence. We run a white hat (rule-following) operation and are successful at it across many countries and different versions of Google and other search engines. By dismissing our sales staff two years ago we have broken away from the only other ugly side of SEO – the marketing.”
Simple Steps does not even have a call-centre. They rely on a ticketing system to get clients’ problems solved.
“We felt that call centres only added to the sense of blagging and lying that clients out there associated with SEO because of all the mis-selling over the years. Clients need answers when sometimes answers are not possible and emails give both sides a chance to explain. So we rely on ticketing which is so much easier and better for the client since they have an email trail to work with.”
Patrick explains, “Unfortunately, our industry has attracted some bad people over the years. Here at Simple Steps we have an ethical, clean business with no contracts, so the client and their website are the 100% focus. Life has become far easier for us SEO nerds since we ditched the marketing guys! Read into that what you will but nowadays we get very few problems. SEO is a simple science and we do it properly.”
A quick Google Search for SEO’s shows there are plenty of cowboys still in the market. They may have changed their names but they are still there using their Eastern European or Indian link farms. They will get you quick results and they promise you Page 1 positions but can’t back up their promises with reality.
Let’s see how the Search Engines respond. How many years does the SEO business have to run? Only time will tell.