Let's Fix the SEO Industry – you with me?

Warning, unedited post forthcoming:

You know after seeing SEO just get crapped on by Amex, and reading this SEOMOZ post, This SEOMOZ list, the recent work by SEM compare & hearing the number of people mention how often they get phone calls from crappy SEO companies almost weekly, combined with the spam that even I get.   I am going to do whatever I can to pitch in and help.

It is pretty obvious that I've always tried to do what I could to clean up the space in my own little way, whether it is the conversation I had last week with a prospect who didn't fit SEER's model, but I told - Hey, call me before you pick someone I'll make sure you don't get hosed to posts & I try to write about the issues that plague our industry when time allows.

But today I am asking for help, this idea is totally off the cuff, from the gut but help me round it out.

I was thinking, can we as SEO/SEM professionals do unbiased audits on companies?   NOT because we want the business ourselves, but because we want to clean up the industry?   I was thinking could we have a group of SEO professionals who fit the following criteria:

  • Has 4+ years experience
  • Is in-house or works for a company that does little to NO advertising
    • If you are asking why to little/no advertising,   I think SEO companies who advertise HEAVILY are needy for new clients, if so I think that adds to the likelihood that they'll "pitch" people they should be doing unbiased audits for
  • Can devote 2 hours per month to review proposals submitted for review (proposals would have to be over 25k for now)
  • Has an existing track record of trying to provide unbiased information and help the industry along

So far that is all I got, but remember I am writing this from the gut.

I can tear apart a proposal from an SEO company in 30 minutes, which means if I devote 2 hours a month I can hopefully help up to 4 people   do one of two things:

  • Feel more confident about whom they selected
  • Realize some more questions they should ask before moving forward (or leaving the company altogether)

So the problems I see:

  • People pitching instead of helping
  • Confidential proposals shared with outsiders would be problematic (see below)
  • Companies wanting to sue instead of fixing the problems that cause them to not cut it (Looks like iCrossing filed a suit against marketingsherpa)
  • Involvement / time commitment - many of the people I would hope would come along to help are BUSY, but either way I'll go this alone if I have to and find a way to tip toe around the landmines.

In theory if we could get 50 SEO's each able to do 4 reviews a month that is 200 companies reviewed, and maybe privately we can rate the companies so that going forward we'd not have to waste our time.   I know this is hairy, but I just am sick of the complaints about SEO, but they are warranted, SEO companies are shady and I for one want to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

Any idea on how to keep myself out of the courtroom before I start taking requests?



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Wil Reynolds
Wil Reynolds
CEO & Vice President