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Why We Don't Do SEO For You

Published October 20, 2009

Image credit: Nautical on flickr

Not all the phone calls I get are as enjoyable as listening to new ideas. As you know, we get tons of calls from places like India to outsource of web development to them - we don't do it. But I also get a nice amount of calls from people looking for us to do SEO services for them.

The thing is, we really don't offer typical SEO services. If we build your site, from the ground up - we will make sure the site is incredibly search engine friendly. But we do not offer all the other SEO services, such as link building, those really important (being sarcastic) ranking reports, content development and so on. What we do is build out a very search engine friendly and custom CMS that grows with your business. But we will not write your content or get you those links that are so important in convincing Google (and those other search engines) that your site should rank number one for [enter keyword phrase here].

But I get a nice amount of calls about SEO services and I turn 99.999% of them away to SEO vendors I trust.

Why don't we offer SEO services? I have been asked this question time and time again. It is not like I don't know a thing or two about the topic. Hint: Read my bio. So why don't we offer typical SEO services? A few reasons...


  • Bias: I am fairly well-known in the SEO space for my writing on the topic. I do sometimes get information from search engines which can result in a conflict of interest between writing and performing SEO services. Not offering typical SEO services removes that bias and let's me have fun writing, without worrying about search engine representatives withholding information from me on that basis.
  • Messy: Fixing an old site to make it search engine friendly is just messy. It is kind of like finding out you have mold in your house and as you look into the issues, the issues becomes bigger and bigger and ends up costing you almost as much as building a new web site. Digging around in old code can get messy, fixing the code can be incredibly time consuming and then explaining all that to a customer can be even worse. We want no part of it. Either you bulldoze your house and let us start from scratch or you find someone willing to fix the mess.
  • Control: With programming, we can make almost anything happen. A client asks us to do something, we say sure. We get it done, show it to them, they pay us - we are all happy. With SEO, it is hard to charge someone when you do not control the exact outcome. Sure, I can try my best to get a number 2 ranking for a specific keyword, but who is to stop Google for changing something or a competitor doing something to hurt my success? I do not have full control and I have a hard time charging for something when I do not control the outcome. I am not saying it is unethical to charge for things like this, I just personally have a hard time doing so.


Those are just some of the reasons we do not offer standard SEO services. On occasion, I will consult and give advice at a really hefty hourly rate. If the client wants to implement that advice, that is up to them.

In summary, our sites are incredibly search engine friendly, using 'best practices' (yes, I said it) to build out the site's features. If you are not willing to start over, then we are not willing to clean up your mess. For other "SEO" services, such as link building and content development - we don't do that because of the potential bias.

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

This article is under General Business, Search Engine Optimization

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