Not to be the bearer of bad news, but most of the online marketers that promise you number one search engine rankings are probably lying. I know that’s a strong statement and truly some of them may be honest, but I haven’t found one yet. I hear horror stories from potential clients about how they’ve spent thousands of dollars each month for several months only to learn that their SEO company had done very little.

They finally realize that their Website needs a redevelopment from the ground up and a clear online marketing strategy in order to gain higher rankings.
SEO and online marketing companies are springing up all over.  The reason why they’ve become so popular and successful isn’t because they have a bevy of happy customers.  It’s because their customers don’t realize exactly what the SEO company actually does. They don’t track the results from the SEO company and if they do try, it’s hard for them to understand exactly what the SEO company is doing.  They initially get sucked in to the fold by believing the too-good-to-be-true promises made by the SEO company.  Sucked in to a contract that they can’t get out of. Sucked in to believing the sales hype.  These online marketers aggressively pursue Website owners by telling them their search engine rankings are suffering and that if they hire them, they can guarantee them number one search engine rankings. Their mass emails go on to say that they’ve reviewed the person’s website and that they can get them higher rankings….guaranteed.  These emails come to people via mass email marketing.  The SEO company probably hasn’t even looked at the Website in question.  How do I know this?  Because high ranking Website owners get these emails all the time. Moreover, I’ve redesigned Websites that have previously used this type of SEO company with minimal results. Redesigning from the ground up helped them gain the search engine ranking they were seeking.
Once the online marketers lock you in to a contract, they keep you there by telling you if you stop paying them, your rankings will go down and that if you stay with them for another year, 6 months, 3 months…whatever, you will realize the high search engine rankings as promised. But it never happens. The goal is to keep you under contract, paying your monthly fee. These companies aren’t in it for the long haul. They know that eventually, you will jump ship, unhappy with their service. But it doesn’t matter to them, because there is another victim waiting to take your place. To them, it’s quantity of customers, not quality of service.
Most small business owners don’t bother learning about search engine optimization or online marketing. They leave it to the pros.  Which is good and bad. If you don’t know what the pros should be doing, you don’t know if they’re doing their job.
For instance, small business owner xyz company wanted better search engine results. They hired an SEO company to increase their search engine rankings.  They did basic social media setup, directory inclusions and posted a few articles. This was supposed to increase their Google ranking. After 6 months and tens of thousands of dollars later, it did not. Just setting up social media (Facebook and Twitter) accounts does not create traffic to your site.   Working social media does.  Just getting in to hundreds of online directories (link farms) does not get you higher rankings.  Getting in to popular directories and getting inbound links from popular Websites will increase your rankings. Posting one or two articles online doesn’t increase your search engine rankings.  Posting hundreds of articles and press releases on popular sites with links back to your Website does. But the SEO company failed at increasing the clients rankings and traffic.  After tens of thousands of dollars…failed. Most business owners think that if they throw enough money at a problem it should fix it.  So if a company is charging me tens of thousands of dollars, they should actually be doing their job.  That’s not necessarily true. A lot of these SEO businesses aren’t US based.  They sell in the US from US based offices with US personnel, but are owned and operated out-of-country where US laws don’t apply. This protects them from litigation because it’s more trouble than it’s worth to pursue a non-US company for monetary relief. The customer just goes away thinking they’ve been stupid for hiring the SEO company in the first place.
So buyer beware. Know what it takes to optimize your Website to gain valuable search engine ranking.  If you do hire an SEO firm, know what they’re supposed to be doing.  Don’t waste your money on fly-by-night companies in it for the short term quick cash. Do research on the company.  Get recommendations.  See how well their business does in the search engines before you hire them to help you. Do a Google search for “SEO firm” or “hire an SEO consultant” and see where they rank.  This usually stops most people.  If they’re selling search engine ranking, shouldn’t they be number one?  If they’re guaranteeing you number one results, shouldn’t their company be listed first? Read reviews on them or contact their clients for references. Do your research before you hire anyone.
As always, inspect what you expect.