I originally wanted to write a post showing examples of really bad SEO and highlighting some of the worst offenders. However, I decided it wasn’t fair to single out websites and criticize their SEO. After all, not everybody claims to do this for a living.
But what about those who do?
In my opinion, if you claim to do SEO, you better have your house in order. I decided to look for examples of SEO companies who have done a poor job implementing even the simplest SEO techniques. I used only sites from the TopSEOs 50 “Best” SEO Company Rankings, since these companies are claiming to be experts in the industry.
Below are 6 simple optimization techniques with examples of SEO companies NOT using them.
One of the first things I do when I check out a website is make sure that the www version or non-www version is redirecting to the other. Failure to do so could potentially split your links and leave some links unclaimed.
Optimized Title Tags
Using Title tags effectively is one of the simplest and most important ways to tell Google what a page is about. They are also the first thing a prospective visitor to a website sees. Some good optimization tips include keeping it under 70 characters, using keywords and placing important keywords toward the front. Titles should also be individually optimized for every page.
Bad Example (no keywords): http://www.thinkbigsites.com/
Bad Example (same Title on every page): http://www.first-page-seo.com/
Every website should have a Robots.txt file. Even if there is nothing you want to block the search engines from indexing, it is still an SEO best practice and a way to link to your xml sitemap.
Google Analytics Installed
Every website needs some form of analytics. You could pay more for some other analytics, but Google Analytics is in most cases better and in all cases free. I can’t imagine a reason why a website, especially an SEO company, would not be taking advantage of this incredibly powerful tool.
Bad Examples: http://www.first-page-seo.com/
Additionally, I found some SEO companies were still using the old code for Google Analytics, which has a lot less functionality.
Good Quality Blog
I hesitate pointing this out, since many of us have struggled to come up with fresh content on a regular basis. But if you claim to be a leader in the industry, you better have the content to back it up – and no, that doesn’t mean one post from last year.
Bad Example: http://www.directhitsolutions.com/index.php/our-blog
SEO Best Practices
OK, so this last point strikes a nerve with me. Going through the list, I came across http://www.peakpositions.com/, which had a pretty well optimized link portfolio. Unfortunately, after running it through Open Site Explorer I saw that it was anything but natural. This company has hidden links in their clients’ websites pointing back to their own website, with perfectly optimized anchor text for terms like “search engine optimization.” I can’t determine whether this was done with or without their clients’ knowledge, but one thing is certain; it is definitely not an SEO best practice. Google is not stupid; they can tell when a link is hidden.
Just some of the hidden links back to this SEO firm can be found by going into the source code of the following pages:
- http://www.tobefast.com/ – organic seo
- http://www.cruisebrothers.com/ – search engine optimization
- http://www.swiftsystems.com/ – search engine optimization seo
- http://www.ferris.edu/associates-degree-architectural-technology.htm – search engine optimization
Potential clients searching for SEO services need to be smart about which company they hire, Never trust a single source like TopSEOs, which may have ulterior motives in their rankings (i.e. money). In fact, judging from some of the low prices for the companies I mentioned above, I would say you get what you pay for.
nice article, you are explaining about basic seo techniques which are not using by the seo companies.they are making mistakes in optimization. The result is clear. they got failed. This is more important for client that check the details of company before hiring.
Nicely spotted - everyone makes mistakes :-) A little off-topic, but I would like to specify that DC is not just www vs non-www - especially blogs should be careful about categori-pages listing entire articles and that sort of thing.
Your last point's first example does not contain a hidden link (tobefast.com). I spotted it just before the footer (as I know most SEO'ers put their stuff in the footer.) Have a look again. It's not hidden from the eye at all. It's there and you can read 'Search Engine Optimisation' without having to go into the source code. If it doesn't look like a link but you can still see it, then it's surely not a hidden link. Hidden content is when it's blended in with the background. Correct me if I'm wrong but I see no fault within the first example. The second example, however does indeed contain a hidden link. (cruisebrothers.com)
When I started reading this I thought, great, another guy talking about h1 tags and I already know and practice this. Then as I kept reading I realized it was a different post. You're right about SEO companies putting their links in clients' websites. This happened to one of my clients. Her website was a mess. The only links that worked led to her SEO company's website, even links that were supposed to be for interior pages led to the SEO company. I was shocked but after reading this I see it is a common practice. Hmmmm..... My recent post Facebook Video Chat How to Chat on Facebook
Very nice article, What do you think of google panda? Our site Vab Media which does seo, web dseign and social media just got ranked from a pr3 up to a pr5. Some say pagerank deosn't matter for serp, i agree conversion rates, bounce rates and loading speed are important factors as well. i wanted to know your thoughts. Also i liked that point about title tags being under 70 characters. One of our seo competitors in Santa Cruz that claims to be a seo guru has a home page title of 109 characters. thanks for the post Greg. Question for you is it characters with spaces or with out? My recent post Google is always changing and evolving, are you?
Christian, you're very good at putting out the edgy stuff. Have you submitted these sites to the SEO Fail blog? http://www.seofailblog.com/
Bruce, it definitely doesn't help. lol Looks like I was hacked this morning, I have a lot of work to do tonight.
David, no I didn't, I actually forgot about that blog while writing this post. To be honest I mainly just feel bad for these companies (with the exception of the last). I hope their websites are just under construction and these changes will be made soon. My main beef is with a website like TopSEOs which claims to rank SEO companies. A lot of small business trust a website like this and have no idea those ranking are paid for. It can hurt these business financially and gives our industry a bad name.