This week, a thread was started at Reddit which reaches out to SEO service providers and all sort of people who have used an SEO company for their own site. It apparently seeks to get a full account of the worst practices within that industry, either so past clients can commiserate or so they can warn one another about what a person might face from and SEO company.

By calling attention to this thread, it probably sounds like we’re talking bad about our own industry. But really, we recognize that SEO service is not always a walk in the park, and part of this blog’s purpose is to help people avoid common mistakes and frustrations. Toward that end, we want our readers to hear about the difficulties a person might have with an SEO company. We’re confident that that information won’t have anything to do with One Brick Tech.

Quite the contrary, it should steer you away from bad SEO professionals and toward us.

It’s worth mentioning that the conversation about this topic continued on Twitter, with various SEO service providers and other web marketing professionals adding their own two cents, in 140 characters. Search Engine Roundtable summarized some of the major themes them came up in both venues, as well as including three select tweets.

For the sake of keeping the conversation going, we will look at each of those tweets.

Understanding Guidelines

In the first place, user @BermanHale raised the issue of some SEO service providers recommending tactics that don’t follow standard industry guidelines. As she points out, this is a risky proposition, since violating those guidelines can raise flags about your SEO practices and actually lead to your exclusion or demotion by major search engines.

But another user, @daveminchala, responded directly to the above points by emphasizing that it is also problematic when an SEO company hews to closely to those guidelines. After all, they are specifically described as “guidelines” and not “requirements”, or “laws”. And this seems to be just what the first tweet was getting at, since it criticized SEO companies not for simply skirting the guidelines but specifically for doing so without disclosing the risk.

Client Communication

We believe you can conclude from both these observations that the key point is one about transparency and communication. There are different strategies that any given SEO company might pursue, but they exhibit a different balance of risks and rewards. And the failure of an SEO to acknowledge this fact probably puts them in some of the other categories mentioned by Reddit, including SEO service providers who use dirty practices, promote unrealistic expectations, and swear that they will provide the best results, full stop.

The reality is that SEO is a highly nuanced thing, and an SEO company that doesn’t recognize that fact – or can’t communicate the nuance to you – is one that you probably shouldn’t be working with. But if you can communicate effectively with your contractor about the types of information that have been presented this week on Reddit and Twitter, you and your SEO company will likely be able to develop a strategy that will serve your unique needs, and uniquely well.