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.

Duplicate Content

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.

Bad Examples: http://www.first-page-seo.com/ and http://www.outrider.com/


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/


Robots.txt Uploaded

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.

Bad Example: http://www.arteworks.biz/ and http://www.first-page-seo.com/


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:


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.