Web SEO chart on blackboard

Search engine optimization companies are a dying breed. After Google Panda and Penguin, many SEO companies took a serious hit. Their techniques and tactics were no longer effective, and some of them were even harmful to their clients.

Many of the small SEO firms shut down completely, while the larger ones have been forced to retool themselves, abandoning the techniques that made them a lot of money. They’ve become “content companies.” Beware of quality issues here.

Most most SEO companies are data-driven, which is good, but they tend to have a very dim understanding of the more irrational, emotional side of marketing and storytelling – not to mention a dim understanding of what it takes to produce quality content from a technical perspective.

To be sure, there are still successful SEO companies out there, but there is no such thing as a “white hat” SEO company.

At the end of the day, if they are intentionally gaming the Google algorithm in order to generate higher rank, they are technically breaking Google’s best practices, and thus a “black hat” operation. At the very least, a gray hat.

They’re not all bad. The best companies not only survived Panda and Penguin, but were doing all of the right things in the first place that they didn’t even see a drop in their results after both algorithm changes were rolled out.

Be very cautious when working with an SEO company. While they can help you with keyword optimization, and can do some on-site optimization, which is still important, they need to be kept on a very short leash, especially when it comes to back linking strategies. Much of the work a SEO company would have done in the past would, if used today, potentially damage your brand and cost you millions of dollars.