Selling SEO Services Typically a Bad Business Model?

    April 20, 2007

John Andrews recently wrote an article about how consumer ignorance and carnival barkers lead to a market that is a self fulfilling prophecy:

There is so much so-called SEO out there, mostly outdated, baseless, or downright wrong, that the accessible information is more wrong than right. A Google or Yahoo! search on SEO topics is ridiculous, for many reasons. Often accurate SEO information is considered trade secret by knowledge consultants, and thus is not very accessible. What appears in front of the inquisitive SEO consumer is mostly junk. This puts the prospective SEO client at a distinct disadvantage, and provides an opportunity for the contract-seeking “snake oil SEO salesman” to close a deal at a good profit, often without realistic accountability or other consumer safeguards in place. But, as the 2001 Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof showed in his famous paper “A Market for Lemons”, asymmetrical information does much more than that. It actual can destroy the market for true, quality SEO.

Add to the above the following

  • introduction to SEO via spam emails or cold calls from providers who know nothing about the concept of search
  • spammy link exchange emails
  • low quality sites ranking because they are old and links flowed easier in the past
  • a rapidly changing marketplace
  • hosts that scam their customers for an extra $30 a year selling fake submission services
  • search engines that sell ads to the scam services and talk down the value of the high end services

Their is no reason to be surprised at how bad the service selling market is for many SEOs.

There are many other markets where the same type of market develops. In some cases it is even a sub-market of the whole that turns to trash. If your main keywords for your target market include discount / cheap / similar buzz words in your market then you might be selling to an audience that is not worth selling to, especially if your product is expensive or your service is time intensive.