Search Engine Marketing Firms: Good, Bad & Ugly
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Choosing a Search Engine Marketing Firm

how to choose search engine marketing firms

A Beginner's Guide

Is there any difference between the many search engine marketing firms? Yes! A very big difference.

This page will explain the difference and provide some guidance on choosing a good firm.

The promise of a "Top 10 ranking"

You may see a search engine marketing firm guaranteeing that they will give you a "top 10 ranking". This may sound impressive, but in fact it is so easy that anyone can do it, and it may not be worth anything to you.

If you want to see how this is done, see our page
on the search engine ranking trick.

The main goal of a search engine marketing firm should be to generate as much relevant traffic to your website as possible. That is, you want:

In trying to reach those goals, there are three types of search engine marketing firm: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

Good search engine marketing firms will spend time on niche marketing. This involves:

Good search engine marketing firms will also:

The Bad

Bad search engine marketing firms can produce websites, but don't really understand how to get relevant visitors to your site. They might make mistakes such as:

The Ugly

Some search engine marketing firms employ 'dirty tactics' to try and get traffic to your site. These tactics often include:

These tricks may enable them to get visitors temporarily to your website, so they can argue that they have done their job, but most often those visitors are not relevant. And in the long run you are likely to get penalised by the search engines as they become better at recognising when a website has used dirty tricks. You may even find your website is dropped by your hosting company if they receive complaints about copyright theft.


There are three types of search engine marketing firms: the good, the bad and the ugly. The best way to find out the difference is to ask the firm for references and relevant keywords, and then you can look in the search engines to see where those sites appear.

Also, ask them to describe in detail how they go about their search engine optimisation, and assess which of the above approaches (the good, the bad and the ugly) they are closest to.

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