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Is Selling SEO Unethical?

If you are still selling SEO to local businesses or online entrepreneurs, this is a great time to reevaluate that decision.  Stick with me and read this entire article about why SEO is unethical to sell now, and what SEO’ers can transition to next.

As 2016 gets off to a bang, it’s a time when many business owners begin looking over their online presence and marketing efforts.

My SEO agency used to close a lot of contracts in January…most of my year would be set by the end of the month.

However, what was once a certainty is now no longer so.

See if this story sounds familiar…

You sign up a new client for some SEO services. They are excited…you are excited. Everyone is happy.

After 30 days, you get a phone call from them.

They say something along the lines of, “We are thrilled with the work you are doing so far…haven’t seen any new customers from it yet, but we know it takes time.”

Fast forward another 30 days…

“Well…I can see that you got us ranking in Google like you said, but we still aren’t getting many customers from it. I really want this to work, but I’m going to have to start getting an ROI soon to keep paying you.”

Then, another 30 days later…

The phone starts ringing and you see it’s from that client.

Your stomach starts to turn.

You know what they are going to say…and it ain’t good.

You know because this has happened to you before. In fact, it happens almost all the time now.

In years past, small business owners paid us marketing consultants hundreds, thousands…even tens of thousands of dollars to put together SEO campaigns that helped their websites rank higher on Google.

Although, with changes to the algorithms and other technologies, it is downright unethical to charge for these services now because they simply doesn’t work like they did in the past.

I stopped offering it…and it might be time for you to stop too.

I want to go over the ethical reasons why we stopped offering it, and then what we did to make up for that lost revenue stream.

The 7 Reasons Why Charging for SEO is Unethical in 2016

1.) Google Isn’t the Only Game in Town 

For years, when the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization was used, it was referring to Google optimization.

However, today Bing is bigger than ever and with Siri, Cortana and Facebook search all taking a piece of the pie, ranking high on other search engines can be just as important as Google.

There is no way you can promise to get your clients to the top of all the charts, so charging for the service is a bit on the shady side.

2.) Keywords are on the Way Out

Keyword optimization was once the main way for an SEO’er to get a client’s site to the top of the search engine results pages.

This practice has been on its way out for awhile now. Semantic searching, which doesn’t look at keywords nearly as much as user intent is much more important. Semantic searching means that great content, not SEO content is what it is all about.

Charging big money for keyword-filled content is not exactly ethical in today’s marketing landscape.

3.) Desktop Optimization is Irrelevant 

Desktop optimization is the outdated practice of optimizing content so that it shows up well on desktop computers.

While no SEO firm does this on purpose, it is in contrast to creating content that shows up well on mobile devices.

As mobile becomes more and more popular (it has outpaced desktop browsing for awhile now), if you are promising results based on desktop searches, you are way behind the times.

4.) Written Content Isn’t Everything

Written content isn’t dead—not by any stretch of the imagination. However, most SEO firms still act as though that is all their clients need to get a big impact for their business.

Just utilizing written content is simply not going to work for 2016 and it’s unethical to charge a client for only written SEO work.

You also need video, audio, and some POW.

Get with the times by adding new forms of content for your website. You’ll find that the results are much more impactful.

5.) Bulk Link Building is Ineffective and Frowned Upon

In the past, getting links out there anywhere you could was a good thing. I even had a six-figure a month business that only built backlinks.

However, today if you are indiscriminate about where links are placed, you can see a negative reaction instead of a positive one.

Even if you build “good links” many businesses will be hesitant to use your service because of stern public warnings from Google.  And if you

If you are offering any type of link building service,  you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

6.) Infographic Link Baiting is Overdone

When infographics first became popular, you could put nearly anything in an infographic style, and it would get clicks. However, now there are so many of them out there that most of them are ignored.

If you are charging big bucks for a half-heartedly designed infographic, you are certainly on the unethical side of online marketing.

Only the truly exceptional infographics are worth putting on a client’s website and using to represent their brand. And it’s a lot of work (and money) involved to create something truly special.

7.) Average Content Isn’t Acceptable

Content isn’t just about filling space or impressing the search engines. Any company selling average content is not selling anything you need to buy.

Great content gets shared. Great content gets visits. Average content will get you nothing.

Selling average content is the premier reason most SEO services are useless at best and unethical at worst.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you charge someone to help with their search engine placement. Most SEO services are far from useful and may be a waste of money.

Charging for such services is doing no one any favors…including you.

Transition To This Instead (Perfect For SEO’ers)

taking-the-stageOver the last few years, we (those two goofy looking guys to the left) have perfected a new service to offer local businesses and entrepreneurs that they LOVE and you can deliver with 100% confidence every time..

This method has nothing to do with SEO at all.

It’s a specific method to make our clients “just a little bit famous.”

Now, I’m not talking about being a celebrity like Taylor Swift or Jimmy Fallon. They don’t have to be anywhere near that famous.

I mean making them a celebrity in their own teeny tiny corner of the world… the corner that gives them money.
If an entrepreneur in any way relies on knowledge, expertise or credibility, then this will give an advantage that instantly makes him/her superior to all competitors.

We call this advantage AUTHORITY POSITIONING…and we’ve discovered the easy way to create it, and sell it to small business owners and internet entrepreneurs.

And we’re making 5 to 6 figures a month doing it…and have been consistently for more than 2 years.

If you are interested in learning more about this offer, click here to get all the details.

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Brian Horn

Brian Ainsley Horn is considered to be the "pioneer of authority marketing", which has exploded in popularity recently. His unique methods have been talked about and covered on The Howard Stern Show, Wall Street Journal, ABC, Perez Hilton, CBS News , Forbes, Advertising Age and dozens of other media outlets. Brian is the co-founder of the consulting firm, Authority Alchemy, and also writes for Huffington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine about authority marketing and personal branding.
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