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I like the discussion, having first starting learning about SEO in 2003.
I paid SEO service providers initially with mixed results. Then I did what I recommend every business owner do, learn what SEO is.

Like you [USER=105019]@Hassle Free Website[/USER] I’ve heard of dozens and dozens of clients who have paid for SEO services and been ripped off severely.

I decided to do something about it, and put together a training course on my 15 years of testing SEO principles to see what works and what doesn’t – before I launched the training course.

The No.1 reason why business owners get ripped off is ignorance and that is extremely hard to prevent, just by asking a bunch of questions. Sorry, but that’s my experience.

Dodgy SEO service providers, of which I believe are the majority have lots of sneaky ways of selling their services, starting with “Its changing all the time, so you can’t do it yourself” – poppycock! You can, very successfully.

Before putting a training course together, I took screen shots of where my own web pages ranked for certain phrases, then applied principles (such as changing TITLES, getting my business listed in free directories) and then took screen shots afterwards of rank to prove the principles worked.

I’ve saved business owners many thousands of dollars by giving them a basic education on digital marketing, including SEO. I feel that’s the best thing to do and recommend to business owners. I focus a LOT on factual evidence of SEO and educate people on free to use tools that generate facts for website owners to see and make their own decisions, with or without an SEO service provider.

My digital training course [Mod Edit To Remove Overly Promotional Links] is hundreds of dollars (its low because I want to empower business owners). Compare that to the $1,000/month for lock-in 12 month contracts of SEO.

Other things I recommend, for anyone who is interested to learn about SEO, is to look for people with integrity in the SEO industry, to learn from. It doesn’t take months or weeks to get a basic education, just hours, perhaps 20 or so with some practical application/experience.

Matt Diggity I highly regard, as do hundreds of people in his Facebook groups seen in all the comments. He has a fantastic book on ‘On-page SEO‘ that everyone who owns a website should read.

Neither of these I have paid for services from, but I receive their emails and apply their proven strategies and can verify they all work.

Grab the pdf of “Backlinks” from Brian Deane’s backlinko.com site if you want to know more, or want to help your clients as I love to do.

Its a tough world without a lot of integrity when it comes to marketing these days, so education is the real solution as ignorance is the danger.

Happy to answer questions or reply to comments.