6 SEO Services You Shouldn't Waste Your Money On

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:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::


Organic SEO and local SEO are both loaded with service offers from very well-known companies. Unfortunately, the success many of these businesses have had in other related fields does not translate into successful SEO services. Here are some of the services from well-known companies that you shouldn’t waste your time or money on.

GoDaddy

For $2.99 per month, you can sign up for GoDaddy SEO services. They will submit your website to search engines and create a site map, plus give you some keywords. Unless you have the only gas station in the middle of Montana, this service isn’t going to do anything for you. Even worse, services like this lead uninformed business owners to believe paying $500 a month for local SEO is outrageous. Don’t waste your money on this service and do not think it is anywhere close to being a real SEO service. 

Here is what the GoDaddy plan includes:

 

Yellow Pages

SEO from a phone book company, seems legit; right? Just like GoDaddy, this service offers very little in terms of real SEO services. Yellow Pages has plans starting at $295 per month instead of $3 though so if you want to try one of the two, GoDaddy is a much cheaper place to waste your money.

Yelp

Yelp is a directory that lists businesses by location and allows users to leave reviews for them. This is primarily used to attract local searchers to your website and for the SEO purpose of building a citation to your website. The issue with Yelp is that they filter reviews and show only the worst ones. While they claim many reviews are filtered to ensure the trustworthiness of reviews on their site, the truth is, they show the worst reviews and offer a paid service which will allow the good reviews to appear. Sounds like extortion because it is, don’t get suckered into paying for Yelp.

(Below is a newspaper ad taken out by Brass and Glass in the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper, it sums up Yelp pretty well in my opinion.)

Dex Yellow Pages

As with the other big brands, you are going to pay a lot and receive a little in return. Dex is especially harmful to local SEO because they use call tracking numbers so they can track and show you how many calls you have received from their listings. As you may know, a key component of ranking locally is citations with consistent name, address and phone number (NAP) data. Between the call tracking numbers and listings that disappear after you are done with the service, Dex is one to steer clear of.

Yext

This service is geared toward local SEO and in case you don’t know, Yext is a service that allows you to submit your NAP data to 47 directory sites with one submission. The pricing for Yext is about $500 per year for these 47 listings. If you were to use a very reputable local SEO like Whitespark, you could get 125 manually built citations for the same price as the first year of Yext. Additionally, numerous consumers have reported losing listings, finding there listings locked, and finding the wrong NAP data on listings once they no longer subscribe to the service. Hire a company like Whitespark or BrightLocal instead of getting burned by Yext.

Rank Pay

The basic premise of this service is that you submit your keyword and then you pay a certain amount each month based on the keyword and where it ranks, if you are not in the top 30, you do not pay at all. Here is an example:

While this may sound like a great pricing structure, getting paid for rankings is a surefire way to encourage a company to cut corners to rank you faster and get paid sooner. Additionally, if you go on to read about how they will rank your site, the mention having connections with several publishers. This is a nice way of saying we are going to submit your links to a public blog network, which as you know get busted all the time. If you want public blog network links, go to Iwriter and you can get 500 of them for $20.

The six services listed above are only a few of the not-so-useful SEO companies and services that you should watch out for. When you are looking for someone to help with your SEO, ask for examples, credentials and references. You should also ask how they will rank your site and what methods they will be using. If they will not disclose how they plan to rank your site, you should look elsewhere as secrecy is usually for a reason.

Have you tried any services and found them to be particularly worthless? If so, I would love to hear about your experience below.

Any images and logos pictured above are property of their respective owners. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Website Magazine.


Author Bio: Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a search marketing and design agency located near St. Louis Mo. Travis loves researching and writing about SEO strategies and implementing innovative strategies for his clients. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.

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60 comments

RichardA 06-24-2014 2:04 PM

Bravo on this article. It's what we in this industry know to be true.

Cliff Robbins 06-24-2014 2:04 PM

Travis this is a great article.  I have seen quite often the items mentioned above as 'sure fire things' that will move the needle which is not the case when it comes to a true digital strategy.

Cheers,

Cliff

JohnB 06-24-2014 2:14 PM

Right on with that. Very well written, and people should take heed to this information!

DebbieF 06-24-2014 2:20 PM

Thanks Travis, great article.  

BartL 06-24-2014 2:23 PM

Can somebody please tell me how to get Yelp to remove negative reviews?

BillE 06-24-2014 2:23 PM

Can I get an AMEN!

Forrest Musselman 06-24-2014 2:32 PM

Great article Travis, we try to convince our incoming clients of this all the time, so it is nice to have some outside article to refer to as well.

I second BillE...AMEN!

MattG 06-24-2014 2:36 PM

Thanks for the great article!  I actually had a client who turned down my SEO proposal, turned around and bought the GoDaddy SEO and rubbed it in my face acting like I was trying to screw him over.  Well, one year later guess where his website isn't, and guess who's struggling for new clients? LOL

AlexM 06-24-2014 2:43 PM

Great article. We should also mention Yodle. Stay away from them. Not only do they use call tracking but they also take control of your Google my business (Local page). They also do the biggest sin of all. They create a new site with duplicate content from your current website. Yodle creates a domain which they own. You cannot make changes yourself. If you stop paying for their services (I suggest you do) You then have to buy the domain and phones number from them. Or you could just let them keep it and once you stop using them people will call a number owned by Yodle.

JeremyR 06-24-2014 3:14 PM

@Bill E.

Yelp will remove negative reviews if you call them and negotiate a price with them.  The company I work for just did this.

TomS 06-24-2014 3:33 PM

Linknowmedia.com do not trust.

TomS 06-24-2014 3:33 PM

Linknowmedia.com do not trust.

FrankF 06-24-2014 3:44 PM

Well done. My experience agrees with your comments, especially YELP!

Michael Hartzell 06-24-2014 3:51 PM

Travis,

Thanks for telling it how it is.

Mike

MarciR 06-24-2014 3:53 PM

I like YEXT.com, as a reseller we can charge less per year and help manage the listings properly for our clients using ALL of the GREAT new features!

GiuliaG 06-24-2014 4:13 PM

Funny how clients are easily fooled by these companies. I had a company who hired me for SEO services and didn't see the results they wanted. I had explained how long it takes search engines to realize changes etc and they didn't believe me. I took then from being unexistent on Google, around page 165k to page 36 and then page 2. Really? They are complaining about that. They stopped using my services and now are slowly degrading down the line.

DuaneB 06-24-2014 4:20 PM

I used to work for a similar company to the above. I left once things turned from helping small business owners, to hurting them. Thank you for the article, I have been telling my clients the same for years, but now can share this as proof you need to steer away from these so called SEO's.

JeffB 06-24-2014 4:34 PM

Godaddy is no good for hosting either.  If you get too much traffic they will claim you did a chargeback and stop your account.  You have to prove there was no chargeback which is impossible to do since they make up the whole thing. (Credit card company will say, "Yeah you are correct, we have no record of a chargeback." but they have no process to give you a letter to prove it so you are sunk.  You have to scramble to relocate your site to a legitimate hosting company.)  This happened to me.

NoOneWithThatName 06-24-2014 4:39 PM

You provided a negative comment for both Yelp and Yellow Pages

--- I happen to agree with you... but

-------- after checking your website - i see:

Stellar SEO -> Local SEO -> How will you rank my site...

"We manually build citations on the top sites including Google Local, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Yellow Pages."

ValerieO 06-24-2014 4:41 PM

Great article!

SteveD 06-24-2014 4:58 PM

What do you think of Signpost Marketing Software? Is it a useful service for a brick and mortar small business?

ChuckR 06-24-2014 6:05 PM

Yelp.com sucks! Interesting that they actually own yelpsucks.com. I wonder if they knew in advance they were going to try and screw the little guy?

BryanM 06-24-2014 7:01 PM

Signpost is a scam. My SEO company took them for a test drive and they failed beyond hope. I have a full analysis on them and unfortunately at the moment I can't dig it up to post it but if anyone does want more feedback on Signpost feel free to let me know.

KellyS 06-24-2014 7:45 PM

So who would you recommend?

CindyB 06-24-2014 9:01 PM

Very enlightening! I'll be forwarding this to my most finicky customers. Great article and useful comments.

Travis B 06-24-2014 9:48 PM

@noonewiththatname,

Yes, I did mention them as a source of building citations and whether or not you add your site manually, they are likely to have it listed anyway. The point I made in this post is to not pay them for services because it is nothing more than an extortion scheme to get you to pay to have the good reviews to show up.

@ everyone else,

Thanks for the comments, greatly appreciated and maybe I will create a second list with some of the other companies you mentioned throughout the comments, plus some other money wasters!

Travis B 06-24-2014 9:49 PM

@KellyS

Who I would recommend really depends on what your project is and what you are looking to have done. Is it local SEO, organic, both...?

Webfloss 06-24-2014 10:20 PM

I disagree with not getting at least a free Yelp! account - it's well known that Google Plus for business uses Yelp! ( one of five sites of that kind ) as an authority to help anchor a businesses address thus helping to render the Google Plus page for that business in search results. 2c... - Amy Lynn McCarthy ( http://linkedin.com/in/webfloss - @webfloss )

Webfloss 06-24-2014 10:20 PM

I disagree with not getting at least a free Yelp! account - it's well known that Google Plus for business uses Yelp! ( one of five sites of that kind ) as an authority to help anchor a businesses address thus helping to render the Google Plus page for that business in search results. 2c... - Amy Lynn McCarthy ( http://linkedin.com/in/webfloss - @webfloss )

Webfloss 06-24-2014 10:20 PM

I disagree with not getting at least a free Yelp! account - it's well known that Google Plus for business uses Yelp! ( one of five sites of that kind ) as an authority to help anchor a businesses address thus helping to render the Google Plus page for that business in search results. 2c... - Amy Lynn McCarthy ( http://linkedin.com/in/webfloss - @webfloss )

Webfloss 06-24-2014 10:21 PM

I disagree with not getting at least a free Yelp! account - it's well known that Google Plus for business uses Yelp! ( one of five sites of that kind ) as an authority to help anchor a businesses address thus helping to render the Google Plus page for that business in search results. 2c... - Amy Lynn McCarthy ( http://linkedin.com/in/webfloss - @webfloss )

CynthiaL 06-24-2014 11:59 PM

Travis B, please share who you recommend or how to do it on your own?

Philip (SEOS) 06-25-2014 12:48 AM

I just happen to see the SEO offer on GoDaddy yesterday. Too bad SEO does not have a governing body.  If they did they could GoDaddy to take down their misleading offer.  It gives SEO specialists a bad name!

LaszloR 06-25-2014 1:09 AM

I must admit, you have some guts Travis. I hope you also have a good lawyer, some heavyweight friends, deep pockets, or nothing to lose, because I foresee lawsuits in your future. Have you noticed that while most comments agreed with your post, none named the big names as you have? But wait, good old USA is marred with similar business models as described above. Ignorance has been exploited for centuries in business, politics, religion, and personal relationships, because it is part of our human nature. Knowing this, what would be your defense strategy Travis?

I like Website Magazine, and I hope their disclaimer (or The First Amendment?) will suffice on their side.

From the depth of my heart I wish you "bon courage" my friend!

Travis B 06-25-2014 2:20 AM

@LaszloR

"A defamatory statement must be false -- otherwise it's not considered damaging. Even terribly mean or disparaging things are not defamatory if the shoe fits. Most opinions don't count as defamation because they can't be proved to be objectively false. For instance, when a reviewer says, "That was the worst book I've read all year," she's not defaming the author, because the statement can't be proven to be false."

This article is my "opinion" of the aforementioned services Laszlo.

TommyG 06-25-2014 8:24 AM

I concur!

BartL 06-25-2014 9:31 AM

Yelp advertises that they do not remove bad reviews for a fee. Therefore, if they remove bad reviews for a fee, they can be sued. Certainly, lawsuits have been attempted. Anybody know one which has succeeded? Certainly, it wouldn't take much effort to record the employee offering to remove bad reviews for a fee. Where are those recordings?

HughR 06-25-2014 9:51 AM

TravisB - what are your thoughts on the Localeze service?

RaymondL 06-25-2014 10:26 AM

I actually used RankPay before and had pretty decent results. Granted, the types of links they were creating were from not-high-quality blogs, but the rankings have been good and hasn't seen a dip even with Google's latest updates.

LaszloR 06-25-2014 12:26 PM

Travis, I did my "share", sharing your article on Image Factory's Facebook page.

AaronV 06-25-2014 2:14 PM

DEX Knows is such a scam! It actually get worse than what this article goes into. Read the DEX Knows scam here.  www.underperformingwebsite.com/.../pay-per-click

YEXT, Yellow Pages are all CRAP too. I'd say the only one I like is YELP!!! I'd take them off... Free is good. I don't know anything about the pay stuff with yelp.

ShaneP 06-25-2014 3:20 PM

Great article. I had not come across Whitespark. Thoughts on Moz Local?

ClicksCrazy 06-26-2014 8:45 AM

I also believe a free yelp! account is important. Though Yext is bit of a scam, it does offer some nice features and can be great for reputation management, allowing you to be notified of reviews posted to various listings. This is a valuable service to small business clients.  Also, the ability to change/optimize information easily across all your listings.

SteveG 06-26-2014 1:13 PM

I really must say, been using Rankpay for several years... never got busted, never got penalized, and my sites have gone from 100+ rank to top 6 and have stayed there for years.

Ken Glick (EEI) 06-27-2014 10:00 AM

I would like to nominate the company 'Network Solutions' to be included on this list, particularly in regards to new websites.

Isn't it funny how these pseudo-seo services cater to startups who are more likely not to have the slightest clue as to what internet marketing tactics work and which ones don't.

JerryJ 06-27-2014 1:55 PM

What no one has said yet is how to get your site ranked high without resorting to scams. As a web designer and consultant, it's my opinion that SEO should be baked into the design process, since everything from page titles to content will affect how Google (the only player worth worrying about) will rank you. My sites rank consistently high in organic listings because they were built from the ground up with SEO in mind. The takeaway: don't start thinking about SEO after the site is published, but before you ever start building it, and every step along the way.

JeffJ 06-27-2014 2:22 PM

I am not sure how this can be an unbiased article when the author sells SEO services. Of course he is not going to promote his competitors. This is not to say there is no validity as a common user, as I have heard similar with Yelp, but I would expect more from this website. If they choose to utilize industry experts to openly discuss best practices or to promote industry standards, that is one thing. However, this article is a form of defamation. Shame on you website magazine.

KimS 06-27-2014 3:41 PM

One thing you have to be really careful if you are planning to use Yellow Pages is you need to sure it is the real Yellow Pages.

There are many out there like for example Yellow Local Directory( major spammer). Just because it has Yellow Pages in the URL that doesn't mean they are the real Yellow Pages.

I am talking from personal experience I made the mistake of placing for a ad on Yellow Local Directory that even paid off (I had proof) they just changed their name and started calling me etc. It took over 4 years to stop the calls etc I had to hunt them down and cause them issues to get them to stop. Anyone can use the image of the fingers we all know as part of the logo for the real Yellow Pages. So you really need to be careful.

Besides the only businesses that would need it is a local business and it would be probably better they advertize in Yellow Pages Book not Yellow Pages online.

PatrickM 06-27-2014 3:56 PM

Yep, Rankpay got us booted from top 20 Google organic to oblivion after Google penalized us.

KO Websites 06-27-2014 4:43 PM

Now if we can just get the masses to read this too.

NormD 06-27-2014 7:32 PM

Awesome Article

LindaF 06-28-2014 1:10 AM

Travis, what would you do for a local only company that provides licensed service in the real estate market? They have no products to sell online but must provide the service for the buyer at a specific physical location. Thanks for the info about Go Daddy.

JerryJ 06-28-2014 11:51 AM

@LindaF: Use Google Adwords to promote your website locally. You can target amazingly small geographic areas where you want your ads to appear, so you won't be running ads in California if your business is in Florida. Also, your site should be optimized accordingly, with local information baked in, so that if I look up "licensed real estate brokers in Florida" you'll come up in an organic listing — in Florida. Better yet, if you're in Tampa, Florida, then a well-optimzed site (and Adwords campaign) makes it even easier to find you if I look up "licensed real estate brokers in Tampa, Florida." Ironically, the more "local" your business is, the easier it is to optimize and advertise, because you're not competing with similar companies all over the country, just in your immediate area.

RachaelleL 06-28-2014 5:21 PM

While I agree with the principle of the article, which is that there are lots of SEO offerings that are a total ripoff, I disagree with the inclusion of Yext and Dex on the list. It's important to keep in mind that what works for SEO has drastically changed over the past five years; SEO solutions that have been around for a while seem to bear the brunt of being viewed as obsolete, when in fact many of them are making changes all the time to survive and thrive.  

I'm a certified partner with Yext and I did my due diligence before signing up. The article at www.yext.com/.../theres-no-such-thing-as-a-permanent-local-data-record explains why they are a recurring service and how their close relationships with publishers lock in information so that you don't need to have to resubmit to each site.

Their service updates in real time for 95% of the sites in their system. If someone is manually submitting for you:

- They own your login and password information

- They have no control over the actual information

- It could take weeks or months for your information to go live on the publisher's site

My reason for opposing the inclusion of Dex on the list is that their SEO manager is a colleague of mine whom I personally know to have only best practices in mind when it comes to SEO, both architecturally and content-wise.

In general, I think it's more helpful to post articles about best practices, what to look for, and what to avoid than to slam companies that have been in the business for a few years and are evolving their SEO practices as the industry changes.

@JerryJ - great information for @LindaF, and your strategy has the added benefit of keeping the CPC down.

NeilG 09-12-2014 6:39 PM

Great article! As a local SEO agency owner, I deal with clients every day that have been burned by unscrupulous companies that take advantage of small business owners who just don't know any better and are trying to build their online presence. It's time consuming and expensive to clean up someone else's mess, and leaves the small business owner untrusting and wary of the legitimate agencies who are genuinely trying to help them. It's good to see a trusted brand like Website Magazine carrying the torch on this! Thanks!

ManmeetS 09-14-2014 6:25 AM

thanks Travis for sharing article. I was thinking buying godaddy seo services so reviewing internet about people reviews and landed on this article.

Can you guide us some good directories where we can buy some links or seo activities at reasonable cost.

Namita 11-08-2014 1:13 AM

Nice article. The article discusses some of the SEO  services which are a useless. This article is really going to be beneficial. Thanks for posting...

KhairulF 01-18-2015 7:46 AM

Thanks for posting dude. some people still have the mindset of "do it yourself" and "learn everything from youtube". When they cannot see the value, price will always be the only deciding factor, when it comes to buying services like seo.

Mo 03-01-2015 3:10 AM

Thank you, this is very helpful. I could tell from looking at service like godaddy would be a waste of money but I wasn't sure about rankpay. I was looking into their service earlier and they seemed to be a good option for the first glance.

Mathew belden 07-20-2015 2:13 AM

Wow! thanks for sharing money saving tips for SEO services.

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