How to Choose an Ethical SEO Firm?

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Don’t Have Time to Do SEO Yourself? Then Follow the Advice Before Choosing the Ethical SEO Company

Search engine optimization is a very time consuming task. If you want to rank high on search engines, then you must do a lot of work. Doing a thorough keyword research, link building, adding content and so on. Sometimes it’s next to impossible for one man to do the SEO process all by herself. In such case, hiring a SEO firm can be a good decision.

However, you have to be careful. Hiring a SEO firm can be risky. There are many shady SEO companies out there that use unethical optimization techniques, which don’t help you much (to say the least). After working with such firms you might find yourself being banned from all major search engines. Not to mention lost thousands of dollars. And that’s without exaggeration. There are many examples of that kind of SEO firms.

So, before choosing a SEO company, you should do a little research if you don’t want to crash and burn. Read a few tips below that should help you to choose an ethical SEO company.

Response Time

If you contact the company and they don’t respond to you within a reasonable period of time, then you should be aware of such firm. Some companies do not respond to your phone calls even after 3 or 4 times. Not to mention emails. It can take them more than 5 days to answer your email. That’s a danger sign. You want a firm that you can reach anytime, whenever you need to.

SEO Price

The price might vary from firm to firm, however, the rule of thumb is that if it looks cheap, then it’s probably not worth doing business with. Usually by choosing a more pricy SEO company, you get what you pay for.

Another thing to consider is, whether it’s one time fee or a monthly fee. You can always try to negotiate the price and the paying method. You should also keep in mind that some SEO firms ask for 50% or more of the initial fee for the work. The price for a search engine optimization will vary. It depends on many factors. Few of them are:

  • The keywords you want to target. If, for example, you want to optimize your website for very competitive keyphrase (that has 50 to 200 million competing pages on Google), then the price can be very high. It also depends on how many keywords you want to target.
  • The number of pages you want to target. If your site has more than 1000 pages and you ask the firm to optimize each and every page on the website, then the price will increase. You should of course discuss the number of keywords and pages you want SEOs to optimize. In some cases, big companies can pay $85,000 or more on a big SEO project.


If a SEO firm promises to put your site high on the SERPs within a period of 90 days (or any other period of time), then that’s a red flag. A company is not reliable in such case. No company or search engine optimization expert can guarantee the period of time. No one knows how much time it will take to put your site to top of search engines. SEO is unpredictable. It might take 3 months for small niche websites, or it might take 2 or more years for very competitive site to rank high. So whenever someone is telling you to put you on the top of SERPs, don’t fall for that. You should discuss how much time it will take approximately for a SEO firm to do the job, but be patient. SEO is a long and ongoing process.


This is the most important part. You should pay attention to this when you choose a SEO firm. Some companies these days offer #1 or #3 spots on major search engines. That’s the main sign of a scammy SEO firm. Nobody can guarantee you top rankings on any search engine. No one knows for sure what search engines are planning to do tomorrow. They constantly update their ranking algorithm, so no one, even top SEOs, can say that they’ve got a formula for top rankings. Don’t believe in such guarantees.

However, if a firm promises to work with you until you get top rankings or 100% money back guarantee, then you should further discuss the details of the deal, cause this sounds realistic.

The Package

Find out what a SEO firm is offering you. Analyze the package. Many times companies have different services to offer. It might be only optimizing your pages (on page, HTML optimization service). There might be additional services offered, like: link building, creating mininets, paid directory submissions, etc.

So find out what is in the package. Companies can charge you extra for additional services. However, such services, like link building should not be extra charged. Link building is #1 SEO technique. So if a SEO firm offers you a normal package that does not include link building, then they might be ripping you off.

Following the tips above can help you to avoid SEO firms that use unethical (black hat) SEO techniques. But there is more information you should know before choosing an ethical SEO firm.

Ethical SEO Firm Rankings

You might think that all professional SEO companies should be found on the first results of major search engines, right? Well, this might be true. However, there are some firms, like the notorious “Traffic-Power”, that use unethical SEO techniques for rankings. They still rank high on search engines, but it’s a matter of time when they’ll be removed from the index. So, even if a company ranks on the top, it doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy.

It’s the same with companies that are not in the top 10. These SEO firms can be busy working with their clients, or maybe a new company with well respected optimization experts has just started a work and wasn’t able to build popularity fast. You shouldn’t ignore such companies either. The point is doing a research before you choose a SEO company.

Researching Before Hiring a SEO Firm

Find out little bit more about the company and its clients. If they publish their clients they had worked with, contact those clients and ask about the SEO firm. You can go to search engines and see if their clients rank highly by selected keywords or keyphrases.

If a company doesn’t provide any client list, you can ask in forums and message boards about a SEO firm. Maybe some clients will show up and advice you about it.

Another way to check if a firm is worthy is to see who links to them. Go to Google and type in:



In MSN and type in:

Look at 20 pages at least. If you see that links are from blog comments, link farm, FFA pages, there are hundreds of links from non related website linking to them, then there’s a red flag. Various related pages or client sites linking back are a good sign.


There are lots of scammy firms. They can promise you very attractive and, at the first glance, cheap deals. But be careful though. A wrong SEO firm can make a lot of harm to you. From your reputation to lost thousands of dollars.

Ethical SEO firms can be hard to find. So do a little research before choosing one. Follow the tips above and always discuss the details with the company. Hiring an ethical SEO firm might be expensive, but you can always try to negotiate a better price.

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