For the past several years I’ve provided consulting services specific to search engine optimization through a local website design and marketing company here in Jacksonville. As such, I’ve heard every SEO horror story you can imagine. Until a few months ago, though, I’d never had the pleasure of having my attention turned to a company providing search engine optimization IN Jacksonville that I would really classify as a scam. All of that changed recently.
This company touted their ability to rank well for search engine optimization jacksonville as proof of their SEO prowess. A little research into that term would clue anyone in to the fact that it’s A) not all that competitive and not really something to brag about; and B) not a term that generates a great deal of search volume. Those facts alone were enough to tip me off that something wasn’t quite adding up. Further investigation into the sites they build, both for themselves and for their clients, provided me with every shred of proof that I needed to come to the conclusion that they knew very little about SEO, and a great deal about spamming.
SEO Mistakes vs. Malicious Intent by Jacksonville SEO Scammers
To target search engine optimization jacksonville isn’t enough to label someone a charlatan. It might not make a great deal of business sense, but it certainly doesn’t mean a company is offering snake oil services under the premise of providing SEO. So, I decided to dig in a little deeper and pick through the on-site SEO – not only of their company site – but the sites they’ve built for their clients and proudly tout as SEO clients on their ill-conceived, poorly designed, usability nightmare of a corporate website. As I picked apart the on-site SEO – and believe me, I hesitate to even refer to it as that – all I could say was “WOW!”
These were perhaps some of the most poorly optimized sites I had come across during my years in the industry. While this company bragged about their own site’s rankings for terms like “search engine optimization jacksonville“, I’ve seen do-it-yourselfers build more search engine friendly sites. While there are certainly no on-site SEO “rules” regarding title and description length, number of keywords targeted by a page, etc., there ARE universally accepted best practices that have been followed by industry experts for quite some time now.
These best practices are the foundation of a solid SEO strategy. This company’s tactics, on the other hand, were simply outdated, asinine and completely ineffective in the long term, to say the least. The issues that I uncovered included:
- Keyword spamming within title tags
- Excessively long title tags
- Keyword cannibalization
- Ridiculously long descriptions
- Heavily spammed keywords META tags that included in excess of 30 terms
- Very poor page content to META tag relevancy
- Extremely high keyword density
- Poorly written and keyword spammed text content
- Heavy use of tables
- Improper use of headings
- Lack of optimization of ALT attributes
- Unresolved canonical URL issues
- Massive duplicate content across multiple pages and multiple URLs
As you can see, literally everything that can be done wrong from an on-site SEO standpoint, they were clearly and obviously doing wrong. While they may have been able to achieve a strong ranking for “search engine optimization jacksonville“, that certainly isn’t the feather in their cap they’d like to believe. It was almost inconceivable to me that this company claimed to know anything about SEO, let alone charged untold amounts of money to their clients for search engine optimization services.
As a small business website owner you may have no idea what the list of issues above refer to, so let me sum it up for you in one easy to understand sentence: ANYONE claiming to know anything about SEO would never build a site with such a lack of attention to the details of on-site SEO. That’s pretty cut & dry, don’t you think?
Jacksonville Small Business Owners – BEWARE!
While there may be VERY few searches done for “search engine optimization jacksonville“, that doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t be looking out for the small business owners who may find an SEO charlatan by doing that search. If this post can keep just one person from making a bad decision, it’s worth the effort.
So, if you contact a company that ranks well for “search engine optimization jacksonville” and they brag about that as if it’s some kind of challenge, here are a few reasons you should run:
- There are only 157,000 results for “search engine optimization jacksonville” at the time this post was written
- There are only 2,100 allintitle: results for “search engine optimization jacksonville” at the time this post was written
- There are only 89,000 allinanchor: results for “search engine optimization jacksonville” at the time this post was written
For the purposes of comparison, this site ranks in the #19 position for “small business search engine optimization”. And here are the stats on the competition for that term:
- 4,140,000 results for “small business search engine optimization” at the time this post was written
- 16,600 allintitle: results for “small business search engine optimization” at the time this post was written
- 2,670,000 allinanchor: results for “small business search engine optimization” at the time this post was written
If you don’t know what “allintitle:” and “allinanchor:” means (and I’d be shocked if you do), all you need to know is that the higher those numbers, the greater the competition for those terms, particularly the allinanchor: results. Many small businesses opt for a hometown firm to provide search engine optimization because they believe they’re less likely to “get had”. I think I’ve just shattered that myth.
Don’t fall victim to a scam by typing “search engine optimization jacksonville” in to Google, throwing a dart at the first page of search results and going with whatever company the dart hits within the first page of results. Trust me when I tell you that ranking well for that term is not a considerable challenge.
The fact is that Google is very good at recognizing and eliminating spammers from their index, but they’re not perfect. There are tactics that can be used to manipulate algorithms in the short term – like paying for inbound links – that have disastrous results over time. By disastrous, I mean having your domain banned from the search engines indefinitely – yes, Google takes paying for links THAT seriously.
As many know, I’ve also spent the better part of a year on this blog trying to help small business owners avoid being scammed by SEO charlatans. Most small business owners that fall victim to scammers aren’t stupid, they simply don’t know how to go about checking out an SEO firm before hiring them. That said, here’s a tip. Use Website Grader to assess a company’s site BEFORE you even consider contacting them to discuss optimizing your website.
While the information provided by Website Grader is extremely basic, it does give those outside the search marketing industry some very valuable information – like whether or not the company incorporates basic on-site best practices into the optimization of their own site. I can tell you with a great deal of confidence that if an SEO firm doesn’t know enough about the basics to incorporate them into the optimization of their own site, you should not even consider having them optimize yours!
I'm Alysson (a.k.a. "SEOAly") and I've been an active part of the search marketing industry since 2006. I offer affordable small business website design and search engine optimization services. My primary area of expertise is on-site SEO, helping small business owners build more search engine friendly and usable websites. I'm also a contributing author at popular search marketing publications like Search Engine Journal, Search Engine People, Viral Conversations and Directory Journal. In my spare time (spare time... what is this "spare time" of which you speak?!?), I volunteer my geek skills to help charitable causes I support - like the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation and Donate Life Day.