Thinning budgets and a slow economy have lead to budget cutbacks at many small to medium sized business. This, in turn, can justify the rationale to shop for the cheapest search engine optimization company available. The hook is set, for many web-based business owners, when they get a low-ball search engine optimization bid that makes the same promises as other bidders for the work, at a fraction of their prices. Feeling great about steal they got on their SEO campaign, these owners sign with the low-ball bidder and start anticipating their front page ranking on Google, which should be done within forty eight hours. The first sign of trouble usually shows itself at about the same time when there is no sign of the website on the front pages of any of the search engines and the hired company isnt returning calls. Where this company might succeed in getting something close to the front pages is with a long keyphrase which has no chance of driving traffic. The good news is that avoiding these unfortunate circumstances is relatively simple process when one knows what to do and what to look for. Here are five ways to tell when you might be dealing with one of the bad guys in search engine optimization:1) Take a look at the page rank of the SEO company that is bidding for your business. While search engine optimization companies exist in a very competitive space, the company that wins your business should rank in front pages of the search engines. Unethical SEO companies simply wont be found when searched for by potential clients.2) Watch for a company that promises or guarantees front page results. The only guarantee here is that they will not be able to back up their claims. The algorithms used by search engines to rank website pages are known by very few people, even at the search engines themselves. For that reason, a company that guarantees rankings is just telling a prospect what they want to hear in order to separate them from their money.3) Initial contact comes in the form of an unsolicited email or from a call center. A relationship which starts with a spammed email is doomed to failure, as is one that starts with someone reading a sales script at a call center. The attention, skill, and experience required for successful search engine optimization will simply not exist at a company which initiates contact in either of these manners.4) Watch for ridiculously low bids, especially when the deliverables are similar to a group of much higher bids. A front page ranking requires time and effort which costs money. A company which claims they can get a front page ranking for a low one-time fee or for a couple hundred dollars per month is either not doing the work or employing unethical or black hat practices. The ramifications here range from a waste of money to being de-listed by the search the search engines, which effectively puts a site out of business whether they knew about the practices or not.5) Be wary if the company does not list a street address. The lack of a street address either means that the operation is either too small or doesnt want to be found by their clients, probably for good reason. Run away as fast as possible.A legitimate search engine optimization company will have years of experience, a list of satisfied clients, and proven search engine results. Additionally, a legitimate SEO company will not hesitate to tell the truth in terms of how much a successful campaign will cost.
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