Why You Should Fire Your SEO Firm if They Don’t Do Content Marketing

by Marcus Sheridan

seo and content marketingOver the last decade, search engine optimization companies (SEOs) have reaped the benefit of a nascent industry saturated with businesses small and large dying to take the hill on Google (ie. Rank #1 for a keyword) as the digital and Internet search era exploded.

In order to get results, we’ve seen an unbelievable variety of black and white hat techniques being used by these SEO firms to get an edge.

Some of it has been disgraceful.

Some of it has been commendable.

The SEO Shift

But because the search engines and folks like Matt Cutts have made it their mission to get rid of the crap and demand more excellence from businesses and SEOs alike, we now find ourselves in an incredible transition.

“Gaming the system” has been replaced by “Embracing the system”— a system that is now built around content that talks, walks, and thinks like the consumer– and answers every possible question or need they have. (Content Marketing)

And it’s because of this new model so many SEO companies are in huge trouble. In fact, I’d venture to say that over half of the SEO companies that are around today will be gone within the next two years.

Frankly, some will deserve it. On the other hand, some will have been left behind by a new era of search engine optimization — one that is intricately connected to understanding the principles of content marketing.

But before I tackle the merging of SEO and content marketing, let me explain the big, fat problem of many SEO company business models.

The Problem with Old-School SEO Companies

Currently, almost every client we have here at TSL was using an SEO company when we started working together. And with the large majority, their relationship with said company had gone like this:

1. SEO company comes in and identifies keyword opportunities for client— much of which are location- based—as  those are the easiest (at least in the past) to identify and get immediate results for with respect to search engine rankings.

2. Over the next couple of months, the SEO company produces pages targeting said keywords. Often times, these pages are buried somewhere in the site, not so much to be “read” per se(from a quality, information-driven standpoint), but rather to rank for a keyword and get a visitor to the website.

3. After about 6 months, the SEO firm has now stopped producing content (because the location stuff has run dry) and so they are giving the client a report each month about how “they are staying on top of Google’s changes” and “adjusting content” and “staying ahead of the search engines” and blah, blah, blah.

4. After a few months of this, the client no longer has any idea what the heck they’re paying for.

Although these 4 steps may come as a surprise or exaggeration to some, I’ve seen them over and over and over again. In fact, the first question I always ask a prospect or client that is using an SEO company  is as follows:

How much content have they added to your site over the last 90 days?

As you might imagine, the most common answer is, “I’m really not sure.”

Some will take these statements as an attack on all SEO companies, but it’s not meant to be.

80% of SEO companies are not worth what they’re getting paid.

20% of SEO companies are worth every bit of their monthly retainer fees.

This being said, any SEO firm that cares about their clients and the future success of an organization is now starting to talk about and implement content marketing. They realize more is needed, and a content marketing culture is generally the one solution that makes the most sense for the long haul.

Should You Fire Your SEO Company?

Clearly, I can’t make a blanket statement to that end for every company and person reading this post, but I can say this if you’re wondering about the current value of your SEO firm:

1. If you have no idea what your SEO is doing each month, then you have a serious problem.

2. If all your SEO does is give you “keyword ranking reports” each month, then you have a problem.

3. If your SEO isn’t talking about content marketing and its need on your site, then you have a problem.

4. And if your SEO isn’t pushing for new, fresh, and informative content on your site each month, then you have a problem.

This is exactly why the future of SEO companies and their business models will look more like marketing agencies with many diverse services than simply hired guns that help companies rank for keywords.

In fact, my prediction is the acronym itself will change from “SEO” to “SCM”—search content marketers.

I could be wrong about the exact phraseology, but there is no question a major shift is in the air, as well it should be.

But as with all of this stuff, time will tell.

Your Turn:

How do you see the evolution of SEO companies? Do you feel content marketing will have to be a part of their service offerings?

Jump in folks, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Kyle Clouse January 28, 2013 at 10:40 am

Hey Marcus, your post is dead on! We talk about this all the time; that people who hire an SEO company has no idea what they are paying for and like you said, after a few months they no longer are no longer seeing anything new and have nothing tangible to show for their money.

We’ve taken content marketing to video where each month we’re producing optimized videos for our clients. They have something tangible that they can see and continues to give long after the campaign is over.


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 10:08 am

LOVE what you’re doing with clients Kyle. That’s a balanced approach that will withstand any Google update brother!

Good seeing you,



Jen Donald January 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

Great article, Marc. Interestingly, I get a LOT of email that pushes keyword rankings and how I can “improve” that. Amongst the fluff emails that do nothing to help me, I got this email newsletter from Site Pro News, which discusses keyword rankings:

I re-read this again just now, and noticed the glaring omission of giving one’s site visitors a REASON to come to the site, but the newsletter’s only solution to SEO is to find new ways to analyze traffic data.

Your post is spot on, as usual! (Btw, I’ll be writing my first X vs. X blog post and also a “why I am not everyone’s artist” blog. I can see the value in both!)

All the best,


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

Jen, it is so cool to me to see just how versed you’ve become with all of this stuff and your personal growth in general. Seriously, I’m so proud of you and am really crossing my fingers for your continued success!! :-)



Ryan Hanley January 28, 2013 at 11:08 am


Here’s my question:

Why do SEO company’s even exist?

SEO is not a stand-alone process, not even close. There is so much that goes into getting found online such as web design, content (as you stated), social media, traditional marketing, PR, offline marketing, internal client retention activities…

SEO on it’s own as single process handled by one company makes absolutely NO sense to me.

SEO should be a department inside a marketing agency, a very important department, but to “do SEO” on it’s own without these other activities is a waste of money in my opinion and 20% of good SEO firms you reference all know that… That’s why their the 20%.

Great topic (fired up),



steveplunkett January 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

SEO is a methodology that looks to influence queries of data sets.

Data sets to include business information, name, address, phone number.. etc..
Data sets to include brand mentions in social media and online
Data sets to include owned digital assets containing registered trademarked, copyrighted or patented digital intellectual property.

SEO is leading the horse to water… which ever path makes it there… SEO is about leaving sign for the horse to find.. wafting water vapor.. the sound of a running stream.. wherever.. whenever that horse is thirsty… SEO is about being there…. conversion optimization is getting the horse to drink…. PR is the owner of the land surrounding the water hole keeping the irrigation of the water hole happening.. social media is the horse using his mobile device to share directions, reviews on water quality, pictures or videos showing flora and fauna… i dont know that stand alone seo exists anymore… it’s part of the process…. but there is always seo to be done.. period.. so there is a need for SEO people.. where would they work besides an seo capable company?


Ryan Hanley January 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm


Awesome answer dude…

I guess my question is can SEO stand alone therefore warranting SEO only agencies?

My thought is that SEO should be part of the overall Marketing strategy of an organization…

Does that make sense?




steveplunkett January 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

SEO can no longer exist in a vacuum.

SEOs job is now to say no.. mostly..


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:37 am

Powerful statements Steve…How many do you think are able to actually say “no?”


steveplunkett January 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

just because i say no doesn’t mean we aren’t going to find someway to achieve the client’s goals.. we just won’t do it that way.. =)


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

My answer to this Ryan is that I think the definition of SEO as we know it is what’s going to change.


Jason Depp July 17, 2013 at 10:01 am

I have done some SEO jobs for a few people local to me. I don’t do it for a living but fairly knowledgeable in SEO best practices and have had success. I have to say, the people that I have helped were small businesses that simply needed direction. In most cases, the website content was not segmented enough to target a particular audience and instead was lacking in description and relevancy, and trying to compete with the big dogs. After determining what target phrases with decent volume would work best for them, then segmenting and building up the content accordingly, the traffic started flowing. I’m sure there is more I could do though. I do see there is a need for SEO only firms, more like internet marketing consulting, because not all businesses have a marketing department and some marketing departments do not fully understand the way of the web. Me personally, I think the way the SEO industry has been in the past just doesn’t work for the client anymore. Who would want to pay such a high rate for varying results? I think the whole way people pay for these services needs to change. They need to break down the cost of services on a pay per task basis so the client isn’t wasting money.


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:40 am

That was just about the coolest set of analogies I’ve ever seen Steve. Seriously man, that was awesome :)


Trevor Cherewka February 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Great visual Steve. I am totally going to use this.



Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

You know we’re cut from the exact same cloth my friend. Loved this comment :-)



Ryan Hanley January 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

Dude these are the topics that really burn me because the average small business trying to grow in the online space doesn’t understand this concept…

…and they pay for that naivete through the nose.

All the best my friend,



Rob Skidmore January 28, 2013 at 11:36 am


I have to say you are dead on. I work for an SEO company. Luckily there are a lot of things we do right and we are changing our methods to do better. But my boss is still stuck to the old ways of doing things.

I’m about halfway though Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. (I started it before your podcast) and I feel that we are like many of the misguided companies he talks about. We just keep slapping a patch onto the problem rather than fixing it, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole.

What’s frustrating is that I’m pretty much powerless to change it for a lot of reasons I won’t go into here. I feel like I’m shackled to a sinking ship, and that scares me.

Hopefully we can get things turned around. It is going to be difficult. There are a lot of SEO companies in my area. Most of them are worse off then we are and I agree many of them will probably go out of business in the next few years.

Anyway, as someone inside the SEO industry I just had to say that you are absolutely right.

Thanks for being awesome and telling it like it is.


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

Rob, this comment belongs in the post my friend, because it explains much better than I did the problem with SEO companies. And frankly, I think it’s pretty awesome that despite the fact you’re in the battle, you’re able to have a birds-eye view of what’s really going on.

And let me know what you think of the book brother :-)



Joey Giangola January 28, 2013 at 11:41 am

Hey Marcus,

I personally have never used a stand-alone SEO company, flirted with a few, but never could seal the deal.

It seems to me, at the most basic level, SEO kind of takes care of itself. That is if you are doing things the right way.

Of course you need to understand a few SEO basics, and there are plenty of tips and trick to get “better” results, but if you are producing helpful, relevant content you are doing the single most important SEO task.

Sure you can outsource any part of your website process, but at the end of the day you are the one responsible for doing “the work” and getting “the results.”

Always a pleasure,

Joey Giangola


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

Well said Joey. Assuming someone understands the principles of great titles, urls, and meta descriptions—then I think the rest is a conversation with the reader. With my clients, that’s all I try to do—teach them the basics and have them talk to a friend…and it usually works :-)

Good seeing you man,



Mark Bossert January 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hi Marcus,

I have told, advised, begged, cajoled clients for 4 years to produce content – please at least monthly. 1 did. One.

(they now dominate their local niche)

We’ve tried to write it for them, but as many are aware when you are not the subject matter expert… it’s tough to do and make money – there’s only so many days of ending at midnight for $5 an hour to keep a clients rank up left in these old bones!

You’d think writing was like slicing toes off. So not all seo’s have no juice or are stuck in the past… I’m slowly starting to fire clients who will not produce content.

So great we and our with it clients will be OK but the other small businesses?

How do we git er dun? The sea change is massive for small biz… Getting out of ideas on how to make it plain that they must (and me to) do this.



Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

Actually Mark, you’re a serious outlier and everything a good SEO should be. I’m not telling you this because you came by and commented, but if you’ve been pushing for content this long you GET it. And if you’ve fired clients for their laziness, then you should seriously be inducted into the SEO hall of fame. I’m not being sarcastic here man, this was really cool to read.

BTW, I’ve written a good bit about this “buy-in” with companies, and what I have found is a 3-6 hour workshop is generally what’s needed to help management and employees fulling understand the WHAT, HOW, and WHY of content marketing. If they get that, you’ll be off to the races :)



Mark Bossert January 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I humbly demure from any hall of fame… I’ll dig deep in here and start the process to add a “content strategy” session to our engagements. Thanks Marcus!


Gita Street January 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Love reading your posts, Marcus.

You are very well articulated and very clever :-)

I remember a Danish SEO-guru guy (Mikkel deMib) telling in a podcast, that they got 1 million DIFFERENT searches that led to Google search engine traffic to a successful Danish niche community site. We only have about 6 million people in Denmark, but worse than that, the target group is mostly pregnant women. This is where a lot of words come in handy, and I’m guessing most of the content is provided by themselves.

There are still a vast amount identifiable keyword searches that can lead to a lot of money.

I’m not certain if this will stop, depends on how well Google succeds in outsmarting the SEOs that started outsmarting Google when Google decided to make links king.

In 2012 they really succeded in spooking SEOs with on one hand having made links king – but on the other hand also making links potentially hazardous.

According to another Danish SEO guru (Thomas Rosenstand), links did become less significant in 2012, so in my perspective things did get better for the sake of quality content.

On the other hand, I do see a lot of search results having gone really bad. Now a low quality site with a lot of high quality links can dominate searches. In the food blogging area, some SEO-smart guys found a way to make food bloggers link to them, and make the food bloggers believe that this was a good idea. The problem is you have to know a bit about SEO to see that they are fooling the food bloggers. Now a lot of search results related to food is the result from this “scraper”, that got high quality links based on being smart, and knowing SEO while the food bloggers are oblivious to this.

High quality content can lead to high quality links, but getting to that level is a huge challenge to most of us, and impossible to a lot too.

Plus equally important, the difficulty getting links varies depending on the nature of the content. Even if the content is high.

Another part of SEO is that the search pattern can vary from very unpredictable to very rigid. You can’t do a keyword analysis predicting the future, but when there are a lot of specific searches which are still gold mines.

BTW.: The personal site that gets most Search Engine traffic is the one where I write the most. You must be getting a lot of that traffic – but a lot of people are ambitious but can’t write like you can :-)


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

Gita, I love what you’ve added to the discussion here. Really, it’s obvious you’ve got some serious experience in this realm and you are going about it the right way as well. Thanks so much for dropping in and adding your thoughts :-)



Gita Street January 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I forgot…

And this part, I find very crucial to SEO.

I’m personally mostly interested in technical SEO.

One of my last clients has very high quality links, but content-wise not so good. Had to rewrite most of the text on his site, because it was copy/pasted to “everywhere”. I got that site to improve its rankings on their most desired search keyword by more than 200 spots. Just by internal SEO brush-up of the site itself.

Likewise I had a guy who was on page 50 on his most desired search. By the time I had corrected most of his on site SEO-problems he was on page 3.

So let that be my comment to the comment saying SEO is not needed :-)


steveplunkett January 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

fixing stuff is 100% of the first part of every seo project for fortune 500..


Gita Street January 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Hi Steve,

I haven’t worked on that scale, but I have worked as a web developer for well known companies in Denmark. I mostly get small time entrepreneurs who can only afford a few hours, and for them it’s also a lot about “fixing stuff”. They could use more hours of guidance of how to write articles and get good relevant links themselves.


Laura Click January 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Totally agree, Marcus. When you combine SEO with content marketing, it’s super powerful. I’m partnering with an SEO colleague of mine on a client project and it’s incredibly useful. I’m in charge of the content, but he looks at everything we’re doing from a search perspective. He’s able to suggest some places and types of content to help us from the search front, and I’m able to look at it from my content marketing perpective. The two practices have to work hand-in-hand. Sure, you can do one without the other, but it’s not going to be nearly as effective.


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

Love this example of collaboration Laura– that’s what it’s all about!

And I’m sure it’s one of many more to come for you :-)

Thanks so much for swinging by,



Nathan January 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Content marketing isn’t a radically new idea and it shouldn’t be viewed as the answer to all your online marketing needs. It’s another small part of a bigger picture which people are still failing to grasp. The aim of any successful SEO strategy should be maximum target market reach through web visibility. This should leverage multiple online channels NOT just your website. A successful and engaging brand doesn’t have to have a blog and often times it’s a waste of resources. Each business is unique so their SEO strategy needs to be as well. It should never be about keyword rankings but about making as many connections with your target market as possible.


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi Nathan, and thanks for adding your thoughts here.

Although I do think connections is incredibly important, keyword rankings is often what enables those connections in the first place. For example, my swimming pool company gets 80% of its traffic from keywords, and many of those visitors end up becoming leads and ultimately customers. If I hadn’t paid attention to keyword rankings and SEO, many of those people, and sales, never happen.

But you may be saying this in your comment as well. Ultimately, every business is different and needs to use the best approach for them.

Thanks again for dropping by Nathan,



Beth Jackson January 29, 2013 at 9:06 am

Another great read. I love your articles because they tell the truth – whats going on RIGHT NOW and action that needs to be taken. Content Marketing is very powerful — Content was and always will be “king” — especially in the world of SEO. A website with keywords is great, but the best way to rank your site is by providing useful, quality information.


Marcus Sheridan January 29, 2013 at 9:19 am

Appreciate the kind words Beth.You’re right, I want to call the marketing world as I see it, and keep it real the whole conversation. This industry is changing big time, and I think we all have to take notice.

Thanks so much for adding your thoughts,



Doug January 29, 2013 at 9:40 am


I always enjoy your posts, good work. Yes, you are correct in this analysis and I hope that the quality performance of good SEO companies (or SCM, etc) continues to weed out the weaker companies trying to cram services to a McD’s level.
In my experience, someone (of quality) has to be doing the work..period. There is no magic, if the product delivered is what search (human element) is looking for the rewards will be displayed in effective analytics. I agree with Steveplunket, data set do lead to data sets.
Do the work, test the results, improve, add value, be transparent to your client (good and bad).



Rob January 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

Marcus, I don’t think they can? You need to personally create that content otherwise it will come across as artificial sales page type content. Back end, yes. Code, yes. SEO/Content – no. Besides, it will cost too much because of the time they would have to put in


Rob Skidmore January 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Hey Rob,

I have to agree with you to a certain extent. It is possible for an SEO to create pretty good content that doesn’t sound like a sales page. I know, I’ve done it.

That being said, I agree that it would have taken less time and money and likely have been of higher quality if the client had created it themselves.

But they didn’t want to and so they paid me. In an ideal world the client would create all of the content. But we don’t live in that world.

People with money are always going to pay other people to do things they don’t want to do. And if they are willing to pay enough they can still get pretty good content.


Sven Hålling January 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

Very interesting indeed. Onpage optimization and content makes great sense as a baseline, but I am struggling with decision to spend money with SEO-company for offpage activities (ie inlinks) vs on AdWords. Does paying for inlinks make sense at all then? And if it does, how the heck do I evaluate different suppliers and their offers on this..??


Kathleen Booth January 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

Yes! The biggest problem with SEO is that while it can drive traffic to your website, it does nothing to help keep people on the site or to convert them. Only great content can do that. And because great content (when well optimized) is also a very effective SEO tool, I see no reason to pour money into SEO when content can do double duty.


Gunjan Pandya January 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hi Marcus,

This is really very interesting post about SEO company..

And client has rights to ask for the reports. But most of the clients when comes at that time most of the client want service at low rate around 200 USD per month and they want quick result. Yes we can tell them clearly that SEO has not quick button.

So what do you suggest if client is not ready to pay enough amount then shall we provide services limited to ranking? or shall we provide them regularly updates about SEO, work process, future strategy, content optimizing and new ideas to generate more sales.


Matthew Stock January 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Don’t even get me started! My two former SEO companies tried convincing me that 5-10% annual growth in traffic was impressive. After I fired them and started producing content my traffic is up 800%. Fool me once….


Lisa Gerber January 30, 2013 at 12:15 am

I was just having a conversation with Brent Carnduff last week on a similar topic. I said SEO has a bad rap but it’s what we do! Basically, what I do is help clients get found online, right? Do I call myself an SEO consultant? No.

The precursor to the discussion was I had a call with a prospect who asked me to review a proposal from an SEO firm he’d like to hire, whom I’d manage. It put me in a difficult position because I didn’t want to seem self-serving and say, we don’t need these guys!!! (In the end, I found a way to do that diplomatically, but still!)
The problem is SEO guys are approaching this in a cookie cutter fashion, and not stategically.


Rajkumar Jonnala January 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

Yes surely with current updates in Google algorithm indicating that only content and traffic can rank a page higher than any SEO techniques. So they should content services too.


Christopher Skliros January 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Another excellent piece of content. It’s easy to just pay for SEO and watch your analytics tell you about your newfound popularity, but on the other hand see no proportional increase to sales and actual quality impressions.

Thanks again, keep it up!

Christopher Skliros


Eilidh MacRae January 31, 2013 at 5:35 am

Anyone practicing SEO and not producing quality content for link building isn’t really practicing SEO at all. After all content is king and we must stand by this! SEO professionals know the way forward is to create quality content that is unique.


Timothy Reeves February 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Its all about balance. You need both SEO and great content!


Michael Higashi February 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm


Great stuff, as always. You’re my mentor when it comes to HubSpot and content marketing…

This is such a burning hot topic right now – I love it. But I think “content marketing” companies may need to get fired, too – if they’re doing it the
“old school” way!

Did you see the very cool “Whiteboard Friday” video by SEOMoz’ (@MoxHQ) Rand Fishkin explaining “SEO Practices Changed Forever with Google Panda“? It’s 11 minutes of great stuff. I really recommend watching if you haven’t. It takes the SEO changes from a “philisophical” viewpoint – very cool.

The same week I found the SEOMoz video, the cool Slideshare “Crap – the single biggest threat to content marketing is…’content marketing’”.

After a day or so a lightbulb went off and I just had to write a post about these 2 driving forces – both the Slideshare and an embedded version of the SEOMoz video is there, if you’ve got 11 minutes to spare:



Marcus Sheridan February 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

Michael, tremendous stuff and thoughts. Yes, I saw that presentation from Rand and loved it. Heck, I’ve loved every Google update because ultimately, I think they reward content marketers doing it the RIGHT way.

Thanks so much for stopping by,



niklas lohmann February 3, 2013 at 9:04 am

Great post! and hat tip to Aidan O’Leary @hubspot for sharing at linked in. Often you pay 3k / month and what do you get from the SEO company?

Enter content marketing: A video with real content driving the B2B buying cycle will land you the nr 1 (!) position on Google (at least it does in Sweden at the moment) AND have an image displaying your video. That piece of content will then continue to drive SEO ranking for the months ahead, and it will support support your sales team. Also, one video will only consume half of your monthly SEO-retainer budget…


Marcus Sheridan February 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

Niklas, so glad you liked this and added your thoughts…indeed it’s a new age of marketing!



WOW SEO Solutions February 12, 2013 at 6:08 am

Website ranking is important of SEO. SEO helps to improve our website ranking.


Nyssa February 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Totally agree Marcus! My services are now focused around content and education marketing and looking for clients who have the ‘heart of a teacher’ – wanting to provide real value for their prospects and customers instead of just trying to game Google to get random visitors! Love the work you do – thank you!


Sarasota SEO company February 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Increase your traffic results using good keyword phrases and article marketing. When you write content for your blog or website, you work in good keyword phrases, so your page will get found in the searches. Well, it’s not that hard to dash off just one more article or post and send it to one of the high profile sites, such as Ezine Articles. Using your keywords, useful content that’s relevant to yor site or blog, and a link, can make a nice addition to your traffic numbers. Sarasota SEO company


Colin @ Simple Vision Media April 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

hey, glad I found this. My experience has been basically the same…I’ve literally never had a good experience w/an “SEO company”. Liars, cheats, con-men…

They make those bogus city landing pages, then it let’s them say – “hey, you’re no. 1 for “pool repair winchestertonville, VA”….what they don’t tell you is that page has literally never had a visitor. but of course, they probably wouldn’t know that, because they’re too lazy/incompetent to analyze the data.

Or they dont’ want YOU (they’re paying customer) to see the data, or are afraid you’ll hire someone else who’ll show you what’s really going on.



Marcus Sheridan April 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Amen to that Colin ;-)


Paul G April 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

Great post Marcus! We are using the Premeire SEO company in Toronto and while the are working hard for us – they have made costly (to us) mistakes. ADwords Keywords changed without approval, incorrect links not given to them put up without double checking that they got them right – and then forcing us to set up redirects – need I go on?
But my big question is about content – If we write our own, as we do – what ARE we paying them for?
Is this the way SEO companies treat clients at the low end of their monthly budgets after saying “we usually don’t take on clients at this low a rate” THEY ACTUALLY SAID THIS.
But I digress – we do feel that if we are going to pay someone for “vauled” backlinks and managing our Adwords compainges we might as well pay the best in town….I hope we are. If it works out I’ll use them for my site listed above – cheers!


Marcus Sheridan April 26, 2013 at 11:32 am

Crazy story Paul. All I can do is shake my head…

Good luck!!



Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing June 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

I couldn’t agree with you more. Content has always been a piece of the puzzle, but now it’s most definitely the biggest piece. Without it, an SEO campaign will fail. And not just any content, but quality content that target audience members will want to read and link to and share. Here’s an article we wrote on the topic: http://www.brickmarketing.com/blog/content-link-building.htm


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the Word – Press blog to make it optimized for Google.


Qqueen January 2, 2014 at 4:35 am

I started out as a newbie in both SEO and content writing. I agree that it was a major challenge trying to deliver especially within the timelines we promised clients but one thing that worked for us best is our writing company, which we formed alongside the SEO firm. I cannot understand how an SEO firm can work without doing content marketing.


SEO Expert January 31, 2014 at 12:53 am

Hi, my suggest also that Quality contents will not give fruitful result unless and until it is published and spread over the web properly. And it can be done in many ways.


David Lin May 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm

I really like your article, which made sense to me because for the last 8 months I have been paying to my SEO not knowing what the heck they were doing. Just recently I demanded a report which they are going to present to me next week. I won a local acupuncture clinic, was hoping to get more local search exposure. Do you think I even need a SEO at all?


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