How To Avoid Bad SEO Companies

It’s not always easy to be an SEO. It’s an industry like lawyers and plastic surgeons. There are great ones, but there are so many bad ones that the entire industry has a bad name.

Today I was trying to answer a couple of questions in Google’s Webmaster Central when I saw a thread entitled “Can someone tell me how to qualify to be a Google SEO Qualified company?” I love looking into crazy threads like this because you never know where it’s going to lead you. This on was a guy asking a question because he saw a site that had what he assumed was a valid Google badge for SEO certification.

Fake Google SEO Certification

Fake Google SEO Certification

The part I hate most about this is, not only is IMS Advertising NOT a certified Google certified SEO company – BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH THING – but even their 100% faked badge looks like crap!

AdWords Certification Badge

Click to see IMS Advertising’s certification

So I start looking a bit more and I find out that they are also displaying a badge that says they are an AdWords qualified company. Usually when a company is certified and you click on their badge it takes you to the Google certification page, but theirs doesn’t. No big deal I thought, maybe their website person just overlooked linking it.

Ummm, no. The truth is that they are not listed as an AdWords Qualified Company either.

On their Facebook page  there’s an update from June 24th that says they “have a client that’s paying for 8 page 1 SEO rankings. ” That alone would be enough to worry me.

You should never have to do this kind of detective work to find out about your new SEO partner. The first thing you find out about your SEO consultant that is a straight up lie, you should walk away. I will admit that there are many shades of gray when it comes to SEO, but the trust you have in your agency or consultant should not be nuanced, it has to be 100% trust.



  1. This might sound really naive but I had no idea that there were people who were such bare faced scammers doing SEO. I assumed that if someone was a fraud it would become obvious and they would be stopped from practising.

  2. Nice catch :) There are so many scammers is SEO.

  3. I have a different take.

    Even the best, the most trusted, the most qualified SEO Practitioners had to start some place, we’ve all had a problem we couldn’t solve, we all had a problem customer that was a thorn in our sides, and while none of us will admit it publicly we are all mortal. Rightly or wrongly, we have all been portrayed at one time or another as a snake oil service provider by someone, somewhere, or somehow and regardless of the detauls that’s just how business works.

    The greatest truth I’ve learned in my 14 years as an SEO Consultant… “everybody lies”!

    Yes the SEO badge of honor is a sham but seriously this post isn’t really the solution either.

    Lack of due diligence is the #1 problem most customers (and even practicing SEOs) make when developing a new relationship. The lure of more money gets in the way people’s general sense of caution.

  4. fathom – the reason SEO’s are portrayed as snake oil salesmen is because of guys like this! I agree that SEO’s can be blowhards, but this is way beyond that.

  5. Meda Loewer says:

    Thanks alot for the seo information. it really helps.

    • Thank you so much for the insightful comment and links back to your company website with the anchor text around the word “seo”. Although I removed the link, and the link that was attached to your name on your comment, I thank you for proving the point of the post and all the douchebags doing seo work.

  6. Mark Moran says:

    Wow Fathom! All SEO sales people lie? How dismaying it is to me to know that you find comfort and refuge in that assertion. Wow! Anyone for a dose of truth? How can you tell an infinite number of law firms, who are all fishing for the same type of clients with the same type of legal case (ie. motor vehicle injury), that they can all be guaranteed first page placement on any search engines’ organic search results when there are only seven spots remaining on the first page that are not already bought and paid for? Your industry is very lucky that lawyers and other professionals don’t follow up on the math! I agree with Phil. I think the SEO industry is full of charlatans.

  7. Wow aren’t you tarty!

  8. Unfortunately I was scammed as well with a company stated Google Ceritifed BULL !!!! the company I dealt with is Local Lighthouse they make promises and do NOTHING


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