Why Some SEO Companies Give the Search Engine Optimization Industry a Bad Rep

Why do so many people believe SEO is a fraud and doesn’t work?  Well, that’s because SEO professionals who are bad and, at worst, fraudulent take people’s money without doing any work, or worse yet, they perform black-hat SEO tactics.

The problem with many SEO practitioners is that they make misleading statements or provide information that is inaccurate.  Many of these search engine optimization professionals should not be trusted.  If they feel it is okay to make misleading statements and, in some cases, outright lie, why would anyone looking for SEO services choose these individuals?  Well, because they don’t know better and don’t know how to perform thorough research. the SEO industry does not monitor itself and the individuals claiming to be good at SEO.

Examples of SEO Bad Apples Ruining the Bunch

Here is a another example of an SEO agencies who shows examples of poor SEO practices as well as misleading or false statements.

Example of Un-natural link building – josephstevenson.me

Here is a website, for example, that suddenly started appearing in Denver search results for SEO services.  I had never seen this result before, so decided to figure out why they are ranking.  What is it they’ve done to jump into the rankings.

Experience has revealed that when something like this happens, there is usually some backlink manipulation going on.  Typically, when we see a huge unnatural jump in backlinks, software is being used to automate the link building process. This is a huge no-no per Google’s Quality Guidelines for Webmasters.

The first step was to perform a backlink analysis to determine the quality of backlinks and the velocity in which they’ve been acquired. I was blown away by what I found.  Slow steady link building is a sign of natural backlink acquisition.  A spike from 292 backlinks to almost 50,000 in 2 months! HUGE RED FLAG!!!

Example of Backlink Manipulation


Next, we need to dig deeper and attempt to identify from where the backlinks were coming.  It only took about 5 minutes to sort through all backlinks and figure out where the links originated.  95,278 backlinks came from a website with the domain: careerfield.org.

Now that we know the domain providing so many backlinks, we’ll dig a bit further into this website.  The first step was to identify who owns the domain. With a bit of research, we are able to identify that the website providing these backlinks is owned by the same folks that own josephstenvenson.me.  This is a very clear example of backlink manipulation.

careerfield registration josephstevenson registration


Location, Locations, Locations… That Don’t Exist

The thing that interested me is the mis-leading reference to “Locations”, which is used to list physical office locations.  This website does not have any physical office and staff in any of these locations other than Las Vegas. So, why are they listing these other “locations”?  Well, there are two reasons why someone would present this type of inaccurate information.  First, they want to appear larger and more successful than they truly are.  Secondly, they are creating landing pages to rank well for each of these cities.


I reached out to the company to confirm the physical location of their offices.  As one might have guessed, I received no response.  Hmm, why not?  Well, why would someone admit to providing inaccurate information?  For many, this would be another reason why not to choose an SEO agency.

Google Quality Guidelines Basic Principals

The following is taken from Google’s quality guidelines for webmasters.

Basic principles

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

When one studies the content on each of the location pages, it becomes clear that there is little value for users because the information listed on each page is repetitive.  Rather, the pages were primarily created, one could argue, to manipulate Google by building pages primarily for the search engines, rather than for visitors.

Again, why would someone create these pages that provide little to no value to a visitor, particularly when they have no physical office anywhere other than Las Vegas?  The answer is they’ve created “doorway pages’ to rank well for SEO in those cities where they are not physically located.  Both misleading and manipulative.  Why would one want to hire an SEO company that goes against Google’s quality guidelines?  DO NOT SELECT AN SEO AGENCY THAT DISPLAYS POOR SEO PRACTICES LIKE DOORWAY PAGES, MANIPULATING BACKLINKS AND ANCHOR TEXT. 

Another part of the website I wanted to confirm for accuracy was the references to recognition, companies worked with and agencies worked with.




Information on the Webby Awards, which is a paid inclusion service.

webby awards


Information on Top 15 SEOs Upcity.  We could find no information on Upcity’s website that mentioned this company.

Upcity Search for Joseph Stevenson

Another reference under “Recognition”, listed to instill confidence for potential clients is from TOP SEOs, which has a bad reputation for fraud and was banned from Google.  Hmm, this just makes me feel warm and fuzzy about this SEO company when they’ve referenced for credibility multiple companies that are reported as fraudulent.

TOP SEOs Fraud

At this point, we’ve pretty well recognized that the listing of “Recognitions” is misleading and includes bad websites as points of reference for credibility.  Ouch!

SEOMastering, another listed award, is a Russian company.  How would they know anything about a local Las Vegas SEO company?

TopDesignFirms.com is another website for which one needs to pay for consideration/inclusion.  This is not an objective, accurate review of companies. Furthermore, why is our subject SEO company that does not build websites, listed in a directory of awarded design firms? Oh yeah, because they paid approximately $400 to be listed.

10seos.com is a website registered to Virtuous Reviews LLP, which is a company based in India.  Why are companies from Russia and India ranking SEO companies in the United States?  Oh yeah, because they are paid services, rather than truly objective and conducting thorough analysis on the practices of the SEO agencies they are “ranking”.

Virtuous Reviews

A search on Best Brands Worldwide had no page or reference to the subject SEO agency.

So, we’ve shown that the list of awards is sketchy at best and paid for at worst.  This SEO agency also provides mis-leading information about the “Companies Worked With” and “Agencies Worked With”.  At face value, a novice would think wow they’ve done work for the likes of Google, Wikipedia, Huffington Post and the Wall Street journal.

Similar to the misleading statements about “Locations” and “Recognition”, the verbiage used for “Companies Worked With” and “Agencies Worked With” are misleading.  They did not necessarily perform work for these companies, as implied, rather, these websites provide tools and avenues for conducting SEO.


When selecting an SEO company, please conduct thorough research to ensure you select an agency implementing SEO best practices and is truthful.  If you are unsure, please contact me to perform a competitive review and backlink analysis.