On September 16, 2015 Google filed suit against a SEO company based in Tustin California named “Local Lighthouse.” The lawsuit involved the company’s practice of solicitation for business that included robocalling and emails that referred to the company’s salespeople as “Google Local Listing representatives.” Sales agents also appear to have made statements including “We’re a Google subcontractor,” “we’re working for Google,” and “the $100 fee goes to Google.” Additionally, the company promises customer webpages “will show up multiple times on the front page and achieve ‘Front Page Domination.’” Google has filed it’s suit due to the fact that these claims are completely false, and the company (like all SEO companies) actually has no association with Google which would provide an advantage to a business who uses their services over a different SEO company. The article referencing this action can be found here: http://searchengineland.com/google-files-suit-against-seo-firm-accused-of-robocalling-launches-complaint-center-for-users-230796
This is one of the unfortunate aspects of the SEO business, and one which legitimate SEO companies like ours have been dealing with for years. Due to the fact that there is no way to verify the legitimacy of the business aside from your own research, combined with the fact that business owners have little to no knowledge of the SEO process which produces actual results, potential customers will fall for sales pitches promising results that are probably un-achievable in most cases. The belief that SEO in 2015 is the same process as ten years ago, and that first page results can be achieved through a quick process that games the Google algorithm by building masses of links to a website, leads businesses to make the mistake of hiring the companies like the one referenced above the ones promising the results that seem so much better than the other’s promises, and for far less expense. In reality, these companies have no intention of achieving results for your company. Their business is to sign you into a short contract and provide a specific set of work tactics that produced better rankings years ago. This process is nearly entirely automated, and have very little actual work associated with it. The process will also rarely produce any results in 2015, but the company does not care about this due to the fact that they are in the business of selling a service that “will take a minimum of three months before you see results.” While this is true for SEO in the modern age, and results do take time, what they have actually achieved is a contract that lasts three to six months with no ability to have their performance judged during, basically allowing for them to provide the service that they specified without being judged on the performance of that system while they are under contract. If the system works and results are achieved, you will continue with them. If results are not achieved, they got you for a few months and the salesman is on to the next client. The problem is that the actual tactics that are used are not understood by the masses, and will only produce results in areas of very thin competition. These tactics will not produce results if you are in a competitive space, and the only way to achieve better rankings than your competition is to provide better and more relevant information on that subject through your website. That means that a real human being is going to have to research and create unique content on your website that is better than everyone else’s, and do it regularly over time. This takes work and man hours, and someone is going to have to be paid to do it. Simply building links through automated systems no longer works, and if you want to achieve rankings success over time the companies that provide quick fixes or cheap prices are not going to outrank those providing quality Quality costs money, there is no way around that.
When SEO companies like the one referred to above use solicitation tactics like the ones being discussed, the general method is to scan Google results for companies that have their websites ranked for a certain search within a certain geographical area, then to fire off robocalls or emails to all of the listings in a way that personalizes the contact. This is usually some form of scripted message that fills in the name of the business or the website address through a computer program. The message sounds scary, and will involve discussion about your business “not being ranked for important terms” or some other way of stating that you are not being presented on Google. In reality, the salesperson that you reach when you click through the email or respond t the call has never seen your website, nor has anyone ever done any real research on your rankings. You simply came up in a list to solicit, and unless you are in the number one position you are a target for these salespeople who will promise results and improvements if their company can provide the work. What they fail to disclose is that the process of SEO is individual based upon your website and content vs your competition’s website and content. Outranking your competition is based upon providing better information on your subject, and there is no template of the process that can be applied that will suddenly push your rankings over theirs. To claim that they have a better process than other SEO companies based upon some “inside information” is false, and as of now Google is taking action. If you fall for the sales pitch based upon pricing or simply being contacted by someone who sounds like they know about SEO, then that is partially your fault for not researching what you are buying. For the time being, however, blatantly lying about being connected directly to Google and thus providing a system that is better than another SEO company is going to get you sued. Buyer beware.