January 8, 2016

How To Tell If Your SEO Company Is Ethical

Uncovering the Dirty Secrets of the SEO Industry Mini Series


You’re on the phone, speaking to a guy that claims his company can help you get on the first page of Google. As a discerning business owner you need to know what sort of company you are dealing with so you ask them – how do you do it? How do you get my company on the first page of Google?

“It’s a secret, we can’t tell you how we get you there”
“I have secret connections within Google headquarters”
“I am an SEO Wizard and when I wave my magic wand, you will be on the first page of Google”

If an SEO company speaks in gibberish when you ask them how they will get your business long-term results on Google, end the conversation immediately.

Sound familiar? If this answer sounds like the sort of answers you’ve been given, then this “SEO company” is giving you wrong information.

The first thing you should do on a call like this is say ‘thanks but no thanks’ and hang up. Any person that tries to speak to you about SEO or online marketing and cannot answer this simple question should not be trusted. If someone claims to be able to help you get on the first page of Google and the first thing they say that it’s a secret,  or they speak so much mumbo-jumbo that you can’t make out what their plan actually is, end the conversation immediately. It will save you and your company much heartache.

An ethical SEO company should be transparent in terms the timeframes it will take your SEO campaign to see tangible results, what results they will be seeking and legitimate tactics that they will use to help you see results.

So what are the things that an ethical SEO company would be saying and asking for?


Quality content is important for SEO. Backlinks are important for SEO. However, the best content in the world and the best online endorsements in the world won’t get you new business through search engines if the underlying structure of your website isn’t setup correctly.

An important check you can make right now is to check if your website is mobile-friendly. You can do this by going to the following link:


Enter your website address and check to see if your website has a mobile-friendly design. This is important because search engines like Google prioritize mobile searches for sites that are optimized for smartphones.

Another important check you can use is Browse SEO: http://www.browseo.net/

Enter your website address and have a look at the right hand column in the Head section. What you are looking for is a well written title and description. Alarm bells should be ringing if you see the keywords tag appear as this is an out-dated tag. Also if the robots tag says “noindex, follow” this means that your web company is not allowing Google to display your website on search results.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, make it universally acceptable and to make it useful. That is their raison d’être. It is the reason Google exists. As a business owner, rather than play games with Google and try to trick them into giving you a first page position on their search engine, it would make more sense to speak in the language of Google.

An ethical SEO company will take time to explain to you the importance of quality content with unique value. An ethical SEO company will take time to assess the content on your website to determine if there are any issue that Google may have in interpreting the information you provide on your site. An ethical company will analyse your site for duplicate and recycled content.

If your website has duplicate content, either accidentally or by design, an ethical SEO company is duty-bound to let you know and will provide information on how this issue can be addressed.


Simply put, an inbound link or backlink is a link from another website to yours. If you have engaged the services of unethical SEO companies in the past, it is possible that your site may have what is known in the industry as toxic links.


Don’t let your website get caught out with shady connections on the internet!

Your website may have links to the “mafia of the internet world” and a million quality pages on your site will not make one difference because Google does not trust your site.

An ethical SEO company will take time at the outset of the campaign to analyse what sites your website is connected with and whether there are any toxic links associated with your site.

Would consider rewriting to “without telling you how,”

I would swap the clauses around in this sentence to something like:

However, if the underlying structure of your website isn’t setup correctly, not even the best content in the world nor the best online endorsements in the world will bring you new business through search engines.