I'll admit I like a good juicy story, especially one when crooked SEM companies are involved. They seem to have some of the most creative ways to bend the truth about search engines. There is a entertaining thread on SEW Forums about the ways that SEM companies bend the truth in order to get more business. First off, the main problem is the difference between experts and the average user. The experts are supposed to have the knowledge and information that will enable the average website owner a better chance in ranking in the search engines. When the supposed expert doesn't have this information, or has false information that he is selling, he becomes a liar and crook.
The members at SEW explore some of the "truths" that SEM companies could use to convince you of their capability.
1. With Yahoo and Google you can do Paid Inclusion and get higher ranking. We can get you in top 10 quickly.
2. Our engineers know what Google will do with their algorithm in the future.
3. Google Site Maps is a great thing to get better results in rankings.
4. Our expertise includes a SEO Knowledge Transfer session for your development team.
5. We have several Fortune 500 clients on our portfolio
6. That was the fault of an overzealous junior optimizer who is no longer with the company.
7. We have extensive connections within the SEO industry that are on hand for consultation.
8. We share a deep rapport with industry experts such as Danny Sullivan, Matt Cutts, Tim Mayer
I am sure you can think of some rebuttal for all of those. Some are really really bad representations of the truth that anyone worth their salt should be able to recognize as false. Yet some of the arguments are harder to root out the truth. Take the last one. How can you prove they don't know the celebrity ring of experts?
Interestingly enough, the fact remains that even though years have passed where these tactics were quickly identified, there are still plenty of SEO/SEM companies deceiving the public with tactics the schew the truth and disrupt the progress of those businesses on the web.
If you have opinions on the subject, continued discussion at: Search Engine Watch Forums