Sorry to bring this up again, since its been beaten to death. However, I wanted to add something to this. Let's take a step back and look at what SEM firms do.
SEM firms take Web sites that are not ranking well in search engines and help them rank well. How they do it and the ethics behind that is covered in those other topics in the previous entry. What about the Web design and development firms? Are they to blame for not building a search engine friendly site?
My firm does not charge for SEO services. When we take on a job, we make sure to get the job done right. One of the job requirements for any publicly available site is to ensure the pages of the site are search engine friendly. We then empower the client to target any desired term they wish. Of course for the more competitive terms, link building is required, but that would be included as well.
We do not like to build out e-commerce sites that do not have the following:
- clear navigation
- search engine friendly design
- self maintainable backend solution
- order management
- 3rd party integration (accounting, shipping, credit cards, etc.)
- customer relationship management
- and more...
My point is, the SEM firms clean up the mess. Some do it better then others. But a problem in our industry (the web design and development industry) is that people build and sell poorly designed sites.