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Poor SEO Practices by High Ranking Denver SEO Firms

Earlier this year (May, 2016), I wrote an article to help businesses when choosing an SEO company. The article, How to Choose an SEO Company in Denver, provided a few tips on what to look for as well as what to avoid when selecting an SEO firm.

This article continues our discussion of Denver SEO agencies, particularly, it focuses on examples of poor SEO practices by top ranked sites in Google’s search results.  While these companies have practiced what are arguably black-hat SEO techniques (SEO tactics that are outside of Google’s SEO Guidelines for Webmasters), Google has not, yet, penalized these sites for activities like mirror websites, network of websites created to interlink and manipulate Google SERPS (search engine results pages).

First, we must understand, at least in part, what is outlined by Google in their Webmaster Guidelines document.

From Google:

“These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It’s not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn’t included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.”

“Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

Specific guidelines

Avoid the following techniques:

 

This Expose on Denver SEO Companies will focus primarily on one of the most abused areas of Google’s guidelines: backlinks and link schemes to manipulate rankings.  Quite frankly, for SEO professionals that practice white-hat SEO techniques (optimization tactics that are within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines), it is frustrating to see and report spam websites and see nothing happen to the rankings for these websites.

So, despite Google’s quality guidelines, many websites are not penalized by Google.  Which, I imagine, is why so many poor SEO companies and SEO practitioners continue to practice black-hat tactics.  These SEO firms apparently are working under the guise “it’s not a crime unless you get caught”.  They might be willing to take this risk with their own companies, however, I would not want to be one of their clients!

Why Do I Care About Poor SEO Companies?

So, why am I even wasting my time on exposing Denver SEO agencies practicing poor SEO tactics? Well, prior to becoming an SEO professional, my wife and I had a retail business with both online sales as well as brick and mortar retail locations.  In the early days of SEO, link spam and buying links was prevalent.

It was an easy way to take short-cuts to rank well in Google.  I fell victim to these short-cuts because I was a webmaster solely in charge of a website with over 15,000 products and 50,000 SKUs.  I had to find ways to save time and be effective.  Well, it’s true, one learns from their mistakes.  I will never practice this form of poor SEO ever again.

I experienced first-hand the warning messages received from Google and the subsequent impact of rankings falling.  We lost 70% of our online traffic, which crippled our business.  I was at a loss on how to bring our rankings back.  So, like a child punished while others doing the same thing were not punished, I’ve become sensitive to individuals and companies that get away with manipulating Google results via black-hat SEO.

Perhaps even more important, after burning out on SEO, I hired no less than 11 different SEO companies and spent over $250,000 during the course of 3 years with little improvement in rankings.  Even worse, because I was very knowledgeable about SEO, I knew where to look to confirm the SEO techniques being utilized by these companies. With the exception of one SEO firm, every other agency took my money while simultaneously further hurting my website with actions like 3,000+ comment spam backlinks (with the exact same comment, which was unrelated to the blog post).

When questioned about their poor SEO practices, the company outright lied to me saying they didn’t do it.  My ability to conduct SEO forensics revealed clearly that it was them.  So, please, please, please keep in mind, there are many sleazy SEO practitioners that either don’t know what they’re doing, or they do know what they’re doing and are okay accepting the risk of potentially crippling their client’s businesses.

 

The Reveal – Pulling the Curtain Back on Poor Denver SEO Companies

As explained, I take those getting away with poor SEO tactics personally.  I’ve been burned by these type of SEO “professionals”, experienced the pain of losing rankings and traffic and, quite frankly, all I care about at this stage of my life is helping other business owners.  I never want any business owner to experience the anxiety related to a failing business.  Rather, by helping my clients’ businesses succeed, I am helping their family and the families of all their employees.  By helping good businesses succeed, in a way, I am helping create better communities.  What could possibly be more fulfilling than that?

As a leading SEO professional in Denver, it is my responsibility to understand competitors and conduct SEO and rankings forensics.  In order to help my clients rank well and realize more online traffic, I must first understand their business, industry and competitors.  Two of the most basic starting points for competitive analysis is (1) the size of competitors’ websites (how many pages are indexed by Google) and (2) understanding their backlink profile (what is the quantity and quality of competitor’s backlinks).

These techniques are also used to better understand my competitors.  In order to improve my rankings and be found by potential clients, I must understand the state of Denver’s SEO industry, competitors and practitioners of search engine optimization.  It is in my best interest to identify those individuals and firms that are formidable competitors practicing above-board optimization tactics as well as those who cut-corners by practicing poor search engine optimization.

 

Top Denver SEO Companies Backlink Profile Analysis

When one searches for “Denver SEO”, Google returns top ranking SEO companies in Denver.  Much like other areas of life, these top ranking SEO companies did not necessarily get their by being boy scouts, that is, by being honest and fair. Rather, as is often the case for individuals and companies that rise to “power”, they cheated to get to the top.

How did these Denver SEO companies cheat their way to the top (and be in a position to potentially hurt their client’s businesses)?  Let’s take a look at the most common (and effective) form of poor SEO practice: backlinks.  By analyzing (SEO forensics) my competitors’ backlink profiles, I can begin to better understand the practices and even culture of other SEO companies in Denver.

Prior to continuing, my disclaimer is this, SEO agencies have employee turn-over like any other business.  Sometimes individuals are hired for search engine optimization because they interview well.  Yet, when it comes to practicing SEO, they may have little experience or the range of their “expertise” is limited to one or two tactics.

With this in mind, please understand that some of the SEO firms about to be discussed may have had, temporarily, a bad apple in the bunch.  To account for this, we’ll take a look at link acquisition for their own website’s over time.  For example, we may see a short period of time when spam links were acquired.  For other companies, we may see the same backlink spam techniques occurring since the business was established.

A Few Things We’ll be Looking for to Determine Questionable SEO Techniques

Perhaps it will be helpful to point out ahead of time some of the factors we will identify that indicate questionable SEO practices.

  • Is the website hiding the owner (registrant) of the domain? Why is this important?  If one is acting above board, they have nothing to hide.  If we see a trend of domains registered in “private’, the individual or company does not want to be identified.  This type of behavior is typically indicative of improper SEO tactics (such as registering many domains with the same keyword(s) and building websites that inter-link to manipulate Google results – this use to be common, now it is a big no-no.)  Avoid any SEO company practicing this technique.  What is the owner is trying to conceal from Google and other competitors.  A smart SEO professional, however, has ways of identifying these unscrupulous individuals.
  • Quality of backlinks is a clear identifier of good and bad SEO companies. A website’s backlinks are analogous to the type of folks they hang out with.  Natural link building will reveal a higher portion of related websites linking back.  For example, one would expect to find local Denver directories pointing to a Denver company’s website.  On the other hand, there is little reason to believe why websites in China, for example, would be linking to a small Denver company.
  • Anchor text of backlinks. Naturally acquired backlinks will typically have a number of different anchor text (the text that is clickable) variations, including obvious terms like the domain name, click here and the company name.  When we start seeing a lack of diversity and, in fact, a highly optimized backlink profile, one can safely ascertain that the backlinks are not natural.  Someone has manipulated the backlinks, which as we covered earlier, is against Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
  • Timing of backlinks. There is little reason why a local Denver SEO company would be naturally acquiring backlinks every day or even every week on a regular basis, unless someone is actively manipulating their backlink acquisition.  Similarly, if we see a spike in backlinks during a particular time frame, the company has likely paid someone to acquire links.  Google clearly watches the frequency and quantity of backlinks to one’s website.  Unfortunately, while Google’s guidelines are very clear about backlink manipulation, they cannot act on every occurrence or report of backlink spam.
  • Geographic location of websites linking back to one’s website. Common sense would indicate that a global business would likely have links from several different geographic locations, whereas a regional company would have links from their geographic region.  With a few exceptions, small regional businesses in Denver simply would not have an extensive number of backlinks outside of the United States.

 

Worst Backlink Profiles of Top Ranked Denver SEO Companies Revealed

One of the most mind-blowing backlink profiles I came across, I’ll avoid mentioning any of them by name, was an SEO company that is ranked on the first page of Google for “Denver SEO”.  My first step was to use ahrefs.com to pull this competitors backlinks.  This is a common, basic SEO first step.  We need to understand the quantity, quality and velocity of backlinks over time.

Not only has this company made misleading statements, they are not entirely accurate.  Here is a statement about the company, presumably approved by the company since it is in a press release about them.


Extracted from Press Release backlink: http://www.1888pressrelease.com/denver-seo-inc-brings-on-a-new-member-of-their-team-pr-316420.html

Dated July 7, 2011

Title: Denver Seo, Inc. Brings On A New Member Of Their Team

Founder and CEO Sean Hakes’ team at Denver SEO, Inc. prides themselves on the their ethical approach to Search Engine Optimization and Innovation, which has allowed the company to become one of the nation’s fastest growing internet marketing providers. Their central location in Denver, CO allows them to not only reach out to clients in the United States, but also to international client as well. Along with providing superior online marketing to their clients, Denver SEO, Inc. furnishes domain name hosting along with other webpage tools.


This particular press release backlink has clearly identified the company and individual. If one reads the press release, the quality of content and attention to detail, or the lack thereof, becomes obvious.  We find incomplete sentences and poor grammar, frequently seen when individuals from foreign companies are conducting SEO for American companies.

As one of their clients, would you want this type of poor quality search engine optimization?  Let’s continue on to other obvious problems with this company’s backlink profile.  We’ll also see how similar short-cuts and poor SEO tactics are used on another website owned by the same individual.

One might ask why I may be singling out one company or individual.  The answer is because the data and research reveals a consistently poor approach to SEO best practices. These SEO short-cuts may eventually lead to a client’s website receiving warnings and possibly penalties that can cripple their online business.  Please remember, this exact thing happened to me and I do not want anyone to experience the anxiety and depression when this happens.

Additionally, I came across a misleading article written by this individual that provides no data or objective comparison of SEO Companies.  Rather, it is an opinion piece written as if it is credible and properly researched review of local Denver SEO companies.  Rather, it is a piece written for the sole purpose of achieving a backlink and promoting their SEO services.

Here is the Misleading, Inaccurate, Subjective Review of Denver SEO Companies


Top 5 SEO Agencies in Denver


Let’s take a look at the domain registrants and owners of the above list SEO firms.  Before we do that, I wanted to see if there was a connection between the owners of the Top Denver SEO Companies listed by this individual.

I was a bit confused because the above article is from VelocityRadio.fm, wherein the author mentions that he owns the website, however, this foreign domain (fm suffix is for the Federated States of Micronesia) is registered by someone else on the list above.  So, there is some sort of relationship going on between the owners of the mentioned websites and the article author.

Velocity Radio fmBest SEO Companies in Denver

 

I wanted to see if there was any other information confirming a relationship between these two owners.  I found the following:

SEO Crash Course

 

Honest Review of Denver’s Top SEO Companies

Because the aforementioned article “Top 5 Denver SEO Companies” provides no data, no metrics and no meaningful information about the companies listed, I decided to conduct a thorough review of backlinks profiles for SEO agencies that are rankings very well in Google for “Denver SEO”.  Please note, just because a website ranks well, does not mean they use SEO best practices. Clearly they must be effective at SEO, however, that is so because of grey and black-hat SEO techniques.

As previously mentioned, would you want to be a client of an SEO firm that is practicing poor SEO techniques and taking short-cuts that may land your website into the Google abyss? I don’t like that kind of risk.  Particularly when my clients’ businesses are on the line.  Best SEO practices are the safe and appropriate way to achieve higher rankings, securely over the long-haul.  How would you feel investing thousands of dollars achieving improved rankings only to see your site begin losing traffic, as much as 70% or more, because of poor SEO practices by “SEO professionals”? It feels lousy.  I know.

Data to Truly Show Denver’s Top SEO Companies (as well as some that aren’t the best)

We’ll start with two of the companies mentioned in the previous “Top 5 Denver SEO Companies”.  Our analysis will show which companies are using best practices for SEO as well as a few that are clearly taking short-cuts.

1. Backlink Profile Analysis ColoradoSEO.com

We’ve discussed earlier in this article the reasons why domain owners may choose to pay for the additional service of Private Registration (it’s not free). ColoradoSEO.com is registered privately.  Why hide your identity?

Colorado SEO Private Registration Who Is Data

If one is above board and performing exceptional work for their clients, you would want to be recognized for your hard efforts.  On the other hand, if you are not, perhaps not disclosing your name is better.  Particularly when you are operating several websites that are cross promoting one another with similar layouts and content (Once again, a short-cut to truly performing good SEO with original content. Google does not like duplicate content and especially complete duplicate websites with over-lapping content).

With a little digging online, it didn’t take too long to identify the owner of the domain.

If we visit the website, we are able to identify the founder and CEO.

Colorado SEO Founders Greg and Darcie Walthour

We find through a little more research that they also own PikesPeakSEO.com (also privately registered). By visiting this website we find the following:

Darcie Wlathour Pikes Peak

Telluride SEO Expert Pikes Peak SEOOther domains owned by these individual are:

BoulderSEO.com (privately registered), TellurideSEO.com (public registration because there is no website online), TellurideSEOExpert.com (privately registered).  An interesting note, this website promotes PikesPeakSEO.com in the footer.

Additional domains they own: dallasseo.com (public registration because there is no website online), denverseo.marketing (public registration because there is no website online), orlandoseo.com (public with website, however, no page about the owner or team members), seolabtests.org (public registration, however, redirects to seosatori.com, again, no team page), socialseo.com (public registration with Team page referencing founder/ceo), topseoquotes.com (public registration because there is no website online).

Using a Google search on the founder’s name, we also discover the following websites: charlestonseo.com (privately registered with website, no Team page).

Charleston SEO Greg Walthour


The funny thing about the charlestonseo.com website is that it has a testimonial referencing PikesPeakSEO.com.  Ooops!


Charleston SEO Pikes Peak Testimonial

After a few hours, I had to stop.  There simply are too many websites, several with similar design (another short-cut).  How one person can own and successfully operate so many different websites, teams and businesses is beyond me?  Perhaps this is why its backlink profile for our initial subject site ColoradoSEO.com is poor.

The aforementioned lays a little background about ColoradoSEO.com.  Now, let’s take a look at their backlink profile analysis and see how it compares to the averages of other top Denver SEO firms.

One of the very first things that stands-out is the average number of backlinks per page of the website (total backlinks / # of website pages).  The average number of links per page across the SEO companies studied (excluding ColoradoSEO’s anomaly) is 18.  ColoradoSEO has 94.  Really, 18 vs 94, above the “normal” by 422%.  Clearly, this is not via natural link building.

Furthermore, it becomes clear with additional analysis that the anchor text of their backlinks is highly optimized with little diversity.  Best SEO practices dictate the use of different anchor text because Google has recognized when one is optimizing and manipulating their backlinks.  Naturally acquired backlinks will have a range of anchor text.

The average backlink diversity across the other companies is 1.7% (number different anchor texts / number of total backlinks). ColoradoSEO has a backlink diversity of 0.4%, which means there is little diversity and the anchor text has been manipulated extensively.

Another metric we’ll consider is the quality of backlinks.  The best SEO companies in Denver have an average backlink domain rating of 27.5. This means they have good quality, respected websites linking to them.  The average across all domains analyzed is 17.  For ColoradoSEO, the quality of their backlinks comes in at 10, which is 275% below the better SEO companies in Denver.

Finally, let’s take a look at the number of links coming from foreign domains.  Remember, we are analyzing local Denver SEO companies.  There is little reason one would expect a foreign site to link to a local Denver business. The average number of foreign backlinks across all sites in this study (excluding ColoradoSEO) is 16.8% of total backlink count. For the best SEO companies in Denver (the same two companies indicated in the preceding paragraph) the average is 0.1%.  For ColoradoSEO, their foreign/spam backlinks amount to almost 8,600, or 32.6%.  Twice that of the average and ridiculously beyond (32,500%) that of companies practicing sound, quality SEO.

Clearly we’ve shown that SEO best practices are not being used.  In fact, with this study the metrics indicate clear manipulation of backlinks.  This is the number 1 no-no for Google.  If someone were to point this out to Google, they may very well receive a warning or, worse, being black-listed from Google.  That is a heck of a risk to take and short sighted. I would not want to be one of their clients when one considers the type of SEO they implement.

Backlink Profile Analysis AltitudeSEO.com

One of the other sites the author claims is one of the Top 5 Best Denver SEO companies is AltitudeSEO.com, the author’s own website.  With the following analysis, you will see why we can state that the article is misleading.  I certainly would not choose someone who is not entirely accurate and, one might say misleading, to be in charge of my online business.

Similar to ColoradoSEO, the owner of AltitudeSEO owns many domains with similar names. At least this individual is not trying to hide what’s going on by paying for Private Registration.  Among the many sites owned by this individual are: annarborseo.com, casperseo.com, coloradosearchenginemarketing.com, coloradoseocompany.com, craftbreweryseo.com, denverseobestcompany.com, denverseobroker.com, denverseoinc.com, hartfordseo.com, laseo.com, newarkseo.com, orlandoseo.com, seocastlerock.com, velocityradionetwork.com and wordpressseo.com.

Despite Google indicating that having keywords in one’s domain doesn’t really matter, it does. Clearly the owner of all these domains understand that and is attempting to take advantage of that by owning dozens of domains.

One other company owned is Jemsu.com.  We’ve analyzed this website as well and it is, by far, the worst offender of poor SEO practices.  In fact, SEMrush indicates over 1,000 toxic (yes, that’s “toxic” as in very bad) backlinks to Jemsu.com.  The next closest count in our study had 1.  All the others, had absolutely no toxic backlinks.  Again, why would someone want a company with over 1,000 toxic backlinks conducting SEO for their website?  Particularly when it is simple to remove (disavow) these links.

(Jemsu, you are welcome.  I’ve provided you a Free backlink analysis and helped you by identifying the SEO short-comings for your website.)

Similar to ColoradoSEO, AltitudeSEO relies on a plethora of foreign backlinks.  In fact, they were the 3rd largest offender of foreign spam links (Jemsu was #1 with 12,885, ColoradoSEO #2 with 8,592). As a percentage of backlinks, AltitudeSEO was the top offender of unnatural foreign links at 43.3%, almost half of all their links are questionable.

The second half of the Top 5 Denver SEO Companies article states that the author looked at the “Client Link Portfolio (we look for really spammy violations of Google Webmaster Guidelines)”.

Really?  Wow, either the individual doesn’t know how to perform a backlink analysis or it was faulty and inaccurate. Or, no analysis was done at all as stated.  There was no data provided.  No analysis findings or observations were shared. More likely, it was a very brief article (another short-cut) simply written to promote his own company and those of a colleague.

Furthermore, the article states “Over the years, I’ve found a handful of SEO companies that I personally trust.”  Well, I don’t believe the article is accurate or that any real in-depth analysis was conducted. Perhaps he trusts these handful of companies because they include his own website and two sites from a colleague.  I wouldn’t trust this person with my SEO.  There are simply too many foreign spam backlinks and questionable statements.

Finally, the anchor text diversity of backlinks is poor and clearly manipulated.  As part of my analysis, I pulled all anchor text that includes either “SEO” or “search engine optimization” with the intent of identifying un-natural keyword focus.

The average percentage of keywords with SEO terms is 45.5% for all other SEO firms studied.  If we remove ColoradoSEO (with an SEO occurrence of 96%, yes, 96%!), the average falls to 37%.  AltitudeSEO has a backlink profile that averages 91% SEO focus.

Well, yes, I considered the fact that these companies both have “SEO” in their domain name.  That certainly would influence this metric, however, another company analyzed with SEO in their domain name, averaged only 28% SEO related anchor text.  The top performing SEO company, has an SEO anchor text focus average of only 7% (SEO is not in their domain name).  Clearly AltitudeSEO has manipulated its backlink profile with over optimized SEO terms averaging 91%.

I think the analysis has shown that while a company may rank well in Google, it is often through black-hat SEO or other questionable SEO tactics, it does not mean that they are a good SEO company.  One must conduct their own research, or contact me to do the research for you, in order to truly identify exceptional SEO agencies from questionable agencies.  A top rank in Google does not mean the company uses best practices for SEO.

 

Backlink Profile Analysis JEMSU.com

The Jemsu domain registration does not list the owner’s name, however, the company is listed as Denver SEO LLC.  With a little research, the owner of this domain was identified and is the same as AltitudeSEO.

Jemsu Founder Image

The backlink profile for Jemsu is the worst by far.  As mentioned earlier, the site has 1,084 toxic backlinks. Not good. In fact, awful. Backlinks from foreign sites totaled 12,885 (31%), the highest number of foreign links in our study by far.  Another very clear (and poor) SEO tactic that is used by JEMSU is comment spam. It is an easy (wrong) way of building backlinks.  It’s a short-cut to proper link building.

I’m sure most of you have come across comment spam.  You can recognize it because the comment has nothing to do with the post and may be so generic that it mentions nothing about the post and, therefore, can be used by black-hat automated link building programs.  Jemsu has over 5,000 spam comment backlinks.  The next highest company was the owner’s other company AltitudeSEO, with 450 spam links.  It makes sense because the owner found something that is quick and easy at manipulating the quantity of backlinks with little human intervention.  This is not white-hat SEO nor in the best interest of SEO clients.  I would not want to be a client of either of these SEO companies.  It is clear that they take short-cuts and practice poor search engine optimization.

 

Three of the Best Denver SEO Companies (Truly, with data and analysis to support findings)

While there are several SEO companies and SEO “Experts” in and around Denver, of the top Google ranked websites for “Denver SEO” that were included in our study, we identified for you the best SEO companies in Denver.  These search engine optimization companies consistently use SEO best practices.

#1 Top Denver SEO Company: Webolutions, https://www.webolutions.com/

I know first-hand that Webolutions performs SEO best practices that achieve exceptional results for their clients.  Slow, steady link building, fresh content and white-hat SEO techniques within Google’s Quality Guidelines.  Their SEO experts do not take short-cuts and do not utilize automated link building systems, which typically target blogs that allow comments without review.  If you need help with your Google Rankings, Webolutions’ SEO services will help improve your rankings, traffic and website conversions.

The metrics for Webolutions’ backlink profile reveal no toxic backlinks, less than 0.1% foreign backlinks (approximately 35 in total) and the greatest number of pages linked to (known as deep-linking).  Their MOZ spam score is zero and the average quality (domain rating) of backlinks is 53, well above the study average.

We noticed that their anchor text diversity was a bit lower than average, however, this is because they are a top Denver web design company.  The footer credit for the website design uses the same (appropriate) anchor text using the company’s name (Webolutions, Webolutions Inc and webolutions.com). When we remove these terms, their anchor text diversity is well above average.

The reason we’ve ranked Webolutions as the best SEO company in Denver is because they offer a critical element that other SEO agencies do not.  An SEO agency does not design and build websites, therefore, they cannot build SEO best practices into the website’s design.

Webolutions, on the other hand, is a full-service digital marketing agency that plans, strategizes and implements search engine optimization elements into the web design.  Including SEO in one’s website design saves the client money and provides better rankings improvement.  Webolutions has an average Google Review rating of 4.9.

For the best SEO web design services, we highly recommend Webolutions in Centennial, Colorado.  Phone: 303-300-2640

 

#2 Top Denver SEO Company: FireStarter.com, http://www.firestarterseo.com/

The backlink profile analysis for top ranked Denver SEO firms revealed a sound approach to SEO by Fire Starter SEO, located in Littleton, Colorado. They are also a top Denver SEO agency practicing optimization best practices including, very good anchor text diversity with a deep-linking to different pages on their website score of 68%, well above the average of 37%.  We did notice that their domain authority score is lower tha average, however, this is because they have a small website and a lower quantity of backlinks relative to others agencies in the study.  They have an average Google Review rating of 4.7.

Fire Starter SEO is another very good Denver SEO firm that is highly recommended. Phone: 303-909-6698

 

#3 Top Denver SEO Company: Volume Nine SEO, https://www.v9seo.com/

Our final recommendation for a Denver SEO Company is Volume Nine. Our backlink analysis revealed that this agency uses SEO best practices.  The quality of their backlinks is good with an average rating of 51.

Their anchor text diversity was better than most, however, we did notice a number of foreign backlinks (836), which is the fourth most in our study. As mentioned earlier, though they have “SEO” in their domain name, they have not over-optimized for SEO related terms (only 28%) like others we’ve identified in this study.

Volume Nine is another company we would recommend for website search engine optimization.  They have excellent customer reviews, averaging 5.0 with Google.  One other issue we’ve heard about with this company is the lack of in-depth metrics and reviews of performance.  If you’re looking for a good SEO agency in Denver, we recommend Volume Nine.  Phone: 303-955-5228

 

Summary:

There are many SEO companies in Denver, Colorado.  Our in-depth analysis of backlink profiles for several of the top Google ranked SEO firms reveals some of the best and worst SEO companies, as it relates to SEO best practices.  Just because a company ranks well in Google, does not mean they are utilizing best practices for site optimization. Three companies are recommended for top SEO services in Denver, including: #1 Webolutions, #2 Fire Starter SEO and #3 Volume Nine.

Featured

Denver SEO Companies – How to Choose an SEO Company in Denver

The Yellow Pages lists 236 Denver SEO companies in the Denver metro area. Manta shows 152 listings in Denver for SEO and another 110 for search engine optimization services. With so many Denver Metro website optimization companies, how does one choose a reputable SEO partner? Unfortunately, many individuals simply go online and conduct a Google search and choose one of the first companies listed.

Today, many of these Denver area SEO companies use questionable techniques to be at the top of the list. One cannot simply trust that a top-ranked firm uses SEO best practices. Word of mouth is also a common means for finding an SEO specialist. This method is a bit better, however, unless the person recommending search optimization services knows what they’re talking about, you have no idea whether the company being recommended is using proper white-hat SEO techniques.

Tips for Choosing a Search Optimization Company

When selecting a Denver SEO company for your website, there are a few tell-tale signs as well as other subtle signs indicating whether a search optimization firm is trustworthy and effective. As an experienced SEO professional, I know where to look. I’d like to teach you a few tricks when researching to find the best SEO companies in Denver. I can tell you from experience, that Webolutions Digital Marketing Agency is a leader and awarded web optimization company using best practices to improve client rankings and traffic.

Research Tips for Selecting an SEO Agency

  1. Online Reviews – One of the most obvious starting points is to spend some time reading customer reviews of the optimization firms you may be considering. PLEASE NOTE: who might be the best at writing and masking customer reviews than an experienced optimization company that understands how important reviews are to site optimization, ranking well and converting potential customers to clients?

When it comes to online reviews for any organization, take them with a grain of salt. As you should know, not all reviews are real. Many parties with a vested interest write fake reviews for various reasons, including business owners and paid agents who may write fake or exaggerated reviews in favor of the business, while competitors (and their agents) may write false negative reviews.

So, how does one gleen whether a review is true? It requires a bit of investigation into the profile of who wrote the review. Within our industry, for example, I’ve conducted competitive analysis on other SEO agencies throughout the Denver metro area. One agency in particular had several reviews (more than average, which was the first red flag), all for 5 stars (this was the second red flag).

Further research into their Google reviews showed that almost half of the reviews were received in the same two-month period about a year ago. I researched every review and found that most of the people’s profiles had no other activity, other than the one positive review for this agency. There was no completed profile (other than name), no “About” information, no associated YouTube channel and similar missing items that would indicate only one abnormal entry favoring the agency. Avoid any agency that appears to have fake reviews.

  1. WhoIs Research – Go to http://www.whois.com/whois/ and type in the domain of the agencies you may be considering for your website’s optimization services. If the registrant information shows as “Private,” this is a huge red flag. A legitimate agency owner will likely have the domain registered in their name or the company’s name. When you see a private registration, there is clearly something to hide.

What are they hiding? More often than not, they are attempting to hide that they have created several related websites and are inter-linking these websites, creating a network of interlinking domains to boost rankings through shady tactics. My research found several local Denver SEO agencies that were practicing domain interlinking. This is a no-no and goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Any optimization tactics that attempt to trick Google or fake a website’s popularity can land a website into trouble, including a Google penalty or complete removal from Google’s search engine. Avoid any SEO agency whose registration information is private.

  1. Backlink Profile – This research technique is a bit more complex, however, it reveals much about the company you may be considering to hire. Though it is a bit more difficult, if one is preparing to invest thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, backlink research should be performed.

Why is researching a firm’s backlinks important? Well, it provides two insights. First, it provides a clear indication of whether the company knows what it’s doing. Ideally, backlinks should be from topically related websites and should not be spammy. There are two very good tools to check backlinks, these are ahrefs.com and MOZ.com (open site explorer).

Ahrefs provides several link metrics to evaluate a website. Ideally, the anchor text (those words that are used to link to the website) should not be overly optimized for one or two terms that state the services offered, such as SEO or search engine optimization. There may be a few of these types of anchor text, however, most backlinks should use a variety of terms related to the brand name, website URL or other generic terms like “website” or “click here.” Google expects to see natural link building. If an agency you are considering has irregular link gains (or losses) as well as irregular anchor text, their link building efforts may be shady. Avoid this type of agency.

Moz provides a great metric called Spam Score, which essentially rates the quality of backlinks. If you see any sort of spam score, particularly above 3, the agency’s back link techniques should be questioned. Avoid any agency who has a Spam Score higher than 6.

One additional metric that may indicate a website is using questionable backlink tactics is to perform a simple calculation and compare to approximately five competitors (in order to establish a baseline or average). Simply divide the total number of backlinks (I like to use ahrefs backlink count as it is a bit more thorough) by the total number of website pages indexed by Google. Find the total number of indexed pages by going to Google and entering “site:domain.com” (replace domain.com with the domain name you are researching).

Here is an example of one competitive analysis. Can you tell which competitor’s links per page is way out of whack? Most every site has backlinks per page around 1 or under, however, one agency has an average of 241 back links per page. Hmm…. I’d avoid this agency.

SEO Competitor Analysis

  1. Get professional help. If your desire is to hire a local SEO company in Denver, then why not invest a little money to have a SEO agency outside of your local area conduct a competitive analysis on agencies you may be considering. A one-time fee prior to investing tens of thousands of dollars is money well spent. A search engine optimization outside of your local area has no vested interest and, if they know what they’re doing, should be able to help provide insight into who they believe are trustworthy.

Conclusion

There are many, many search optimization companies in Denver, Colorado and across the United States. Because SEO is a long-term investment, one needs to conduct research in order to avoid wasting money. This article has provided a few key tips for selecting an SEO agency, including online reviews, WhoIs research, back-link profile analysis as well as seeking professional help. Following these tips should help improve return on investment (ROI) and achieve higher rankings.

So, Troy Aikman kind of looks like Jay Z

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Allow Troy Aikman to introduce himself.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned Fox Sports analyst is known throughout the sports world as one of the best football players in his time. However, it was not Aikman’s keen eye of football that had everyone talking last night.

 A photo of the sports analyst during the NFC Championship Game went viral on Twitter when a user noticed that he looked eerily similar to the rapper Jay Z.

 

😂😂😂 at Aikman looking like white Jay-Z pic.twitter.com/ZvyXDiCn5Y

— Turd Ferguson (@moskev) January 22, 2017 Read more…

More about Jay Z, Nfl, Football, and Watercooler

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Allow Troy Aikman to introduce himself.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned Fox Sports analyst is known throughout the sports world as one of the best football players in his time. However, it was not Aikman’s keen eye of football that had everyone talking last night.

 A photo of the sports analyst during the NFC Championship Game went viral on Twitter when a user noticed that he looked eerily similar to the rapper Jay Z.

 

😂😂😂 at Aikman looking like white Jay-Z pic.twitter.com/ZvyXDiCn5Y

— Turd Ferguson (@moskev) January 22, 2017 Read more…

More about Jay Z, Nfl, Football, and Watercooler

Twitter proves Adidas Superstars still dominate fashionable footwear

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Twitter became mildly obsessed with shoes over the weekend. One shoe in particular.

Meredith Faust started the discussion about a particular Adidas shoe when she posted this photo on Twitter. Apparently, she happened upon a place where six people standing next to each other were wearing the same shoeSix.

What a trend pic.twitter.com/Vp78zN8nfL

— meredith faust (@mere_faust) January 21, 2017

If you’re asking yourself “what are thoooose?”, those are Adidas Superstars. If you’re asking yourself why this picture even matters, it’s because Adidas seemed to already had had its moment in the crazy trend spotlight. People, and teens in particular, were obsessed with Adidas Superstars in the late 90s and early 2000s. They were the only shoe to wear. Trust us. Read more…

More about Twitter, Trends, Fashion, Shoes, and Conversations

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Twitter became mildly obsessed with shoes over the weekend. One shoe in particular.

Meredith Faust started the discussion about a particular Adidas shoe when she posted this photo on Twitter. Apparently, she happened upon a place where six people standing next to each other were wearing the same shoeSix.

What a trend pic.twitter.com/Vp78zN8nfL

— meredith faust (@mere_faust) January 21, 2017

If you’re asking yourself “what are thoooose?”, those are Adidas Superstars. If you’re asking yourself why this picture even matters, it’s because Adidas seemed to already had had its moment in the crazy trend spotlight. People, and teens in particular, were obsessed with Adidas Superstars in the late 90s and early 2000s. They were the only shoe to wear. Trust us. Read more…

More about Twitter, Trends, Fashion, Shoes, and Conversations

If you love cold brew, this kitchen gadget is for you

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With ‘Arctic’, you can control the how strong you want your coffee and enjoy the smooth taste of cold brew. Just add cold filtered water to your coffee grounds and refrigerate.  Read more…

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With ‘Arctic’, you can control the how strong you want your coffee and enjoy the smooth taste of cold brew. Just add cold filtered water to your coffee grounds and refrigerate.  Read more…

More about Homemade Coffee, Homemade, Homemade Cold Brew, How To Make Coffee At Home, and Strong Coffee

After the Marches, What Happens Next?

Many attendees of the Women’s March viewed the demonstrations as a jumping-off point; others saw them as the continuation of decades of work. Here, some of them share their stories.

The morning after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, two very different groups of Americans crossed paths in Washington, D.C.—supporters of the new administration who’d attended the inaugural events on Friday, and those who were arriving in droves to protest it at the Women’s March on Saturday.

In a gift shop a few blocks from the White House, 11-year-old Ava East from Mississippi was twirling commemorative keychains around her fingers. It was her first time in D.C., she told me; she’d come with her grandparents and her cousin to see Trump sworn in to the highest office in the land. The shop was full of browsers considering buttons, bubble gum with Trump’s face on it, and red porcelain solo cups bearing the new President’s campaign catchphrase. East settled on a more somber tchotchke: a matte silver keychain imprinted with the façade of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


The Women’s March wasn’t slated to start for a few hours, but the early arrivals were already assembling. Outside, I trailed a few dozen people ambling past threadbare bleachers draped with flags, and the Washington Monument, cloaked with fog. They were largely quiet as they strolled toward the National Mall, signs swinging near their ankles.

Vanessa Roberts was already pumped up. “This has been a great week,” said the 57-year-old, who had made the trip from Columbus, Georgia, on Wednesday. She’d spent the previous weekend back home, at celebrations commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; there was a prayer breakfast; her daughter performed in a skit. Since landing in D.C., she had attended the inauguration, toured the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture, and paid a visit to her representative’s office. Roberts said the march was just one component of her civic engagement. Her overarching mission is “to know what’s going on, and be a part of it,” she told me. “I can’t do it if I’m not informed.”

As we approached the Mall, Roberts peeled off toward a stage set up for speakers. On the corner, a National Park Service ranger passed out maps.

By noon or so, maps would be unnecessary: Crowds choked the streets surrounding the mall. For hours, the blocks were so densely packed that people near me, close to the Freer Gallery, began nervously tittering that maybe no one would be able to walk anywhere at all. The crowd did eventually surge forward, and kept at it for hours. The protest route was hard to miss: Chants were audible from blocks away; now, signs were aloft, popping against the gray sky.

“The throngs of marchers were going to bat for a litany of causes, championing reproductive rights, intersectional feminism, climate protections, and more. Many celebrated peaceful protest and long-unfolding civic engagement as a hallmark of democracy itself. (“PUBLIC CERVIX ANNOUNCEMENT,” one sign declared. “ACTIVISM IS NOT TEMPORARY.”)

Like East, many demonstrators were looking for something to bring home. Not necessarily t-shirts or buttons—though those were in ample supply. Many were looking for souvenirs that couldn’t be bagged at a gift shop: action items to add to a to-do list. The sheer size of Saturday demonstrations, both in D.C. and in the sister marches that flooded streets in 500 cities across the country, crackled with an energy that could be hard to bottle or funnel toward specific action. And, as other observers have noted, popular protests do not always bring on the change their participants desire.

“It will be years before it is clear whether Saturday’s demonstrations were the start of a paradigm-shifting political movement or the equivalent of a mass therapy session,” wrote Mark Z. Barabak in the Los Angeles Times. At the D.C. rally, some speakers touched on this question about what comes next; organizers issued a new guide to civic actions people can take to voice concerns to their representatives.

In a speech frequently interrupted by cheers, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore called on attendees to run for office. No one was off the hook. “Shy people, run for precinct delegate,” he shouted. “You only have to go to the county convention once a year!” He bellowed the number to call to connect with federal representatives; chants of “202-225-3121” washed back for blocks.

Over the past week, CityLab spoke with scores of people who headed to D.C. for the march. We wanted to know whether this call to civic engagement had resonated—and what they envisioned doing in their home communities when they returned. Click on the map below to read their stories.

You can add your voice to the conversation, too. If this weekend’s marches spurred you to action, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at jhester@theatlantic.com.

Krutika Pathi and Laura Bliss contributed reporting to this story.

Relatable cat is not at all shy about wanting a snack

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Finally, an animal that we can relate to.

YouTuber i iz cat has noticed that every time he asks his cat Minnie if she is hungry, she responds quickly and excitedly. Even when she is just staring into space, doing her own thing, Minnie will immediately perk up when she hears the question.

We hope her owner feeds her soon.

More about Hungry, Food, Cat, Watercooler, and Video

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Finally, an animal that we can relate to.

YouTuber i iz cat has noticed that every time he asks his cat Minnie if she is hungry, she responds quickly and excitedly. Even when she is just staring into space, doing her own thing, Minnie will immediately perk up when she hears the question.

We hope her owner feeds her soon.

More about Hungry, Food, Cat, Watercooler, and Video

Group FaceTime video calls could arrive with iOS 11

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One of the marquee features of iOS 11 could be group FaceTime calls.

According to Israeli website The Verifier, Apple is reportedly working on an update to FaceTime, which will allow up to five people to simultaneously video chat with each other.

Users will also be able to start group FaceTime calls directly through group chats in iMessage, the report says. 

Group video chats would be a welcome addition to FaceTime, thought iOS 11 will certainly not arrive until the fall when the iPhone 8 (or “iPhone X”) is expected to make its debut. Read more…

More about Video Chat, Group Video Chat, Facetime, Apple, and Ios 11

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One of the marquee features of iOS 11 could be group FaceTime calls.

According to Israeli website The Verifier, Apple is reportedly working on an update to FaceTime, which will allow up to five people to simultaneously video chat with each other.

Users will also be able to start group FaceTime calls directly through group chats in iMessage, the report says. 

Group video chats would be a welcome addition to FaceTime, thought iOS 11 will certainly not arrive until the fall when the iPhone 8 (or “iPhone X”) is expected to make its debut. Read more…

More about Video Chat, Group Video Chat, Facetime, Apple, and Ios 11

Keep your texts private in Trump’s America (and everywhere else, too)

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So, here we are: With a new president comes new concerns over surveillance powers that could so forcefully bite us in the ass.

The public has good reason to believe that President Donald Trump would love to expand data-collection programs in his administration. He’s said, repeatedly, that he’d like to surveil mosques. Rep. Mike Pompeo—Trump’s pick for CIA director who’s likely to be confirmed in the next few days—has also advocated for expanded spy efforts. All signs point to lots of little electronic eyeballs, watching us always.

To be fair, Trump didn’t build this machine. It was President Barack Obama who extended the Patriot Act during his tenure, and defended the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs after Edward Snowden brought them to light.  Read more…

More about Messaging Apps, Trump Administration, Online Safety, Online Security, and Encryption

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So, here we are: With a new president comes new concerns over surveillance powers that could so forcefully bite us in the ass.

The public has good reason to believe that President Donald Trump would love to expand data-collection programs in his administration. He’s said, repeatedly, that he’d like to surveil mosques. Rep. Mike Pompeo—Trump’s pick for CIA director who’s likely to be confirmed in the next few days—has also advocated for expanded spy efforts. All signs point to lots of little electronic eyeballs, watching us always.

To be fair, Trump didn’t build this machine. It was President Barack Obama who extended the Patriot Act during his tenure, and defended the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs after Edward Snowden brought them to light.  Read more…

More about Messaging Apps, Trump Administration, Online Safety, Online Security, and Encryption

Prominent Harvard researcher issues second retraction, again citing duplication

The former president of the Joslin Diabetes Center has withdrawn a second article within a month of his first, and issued extensive corrections to another paper in the same journal, all due to figure errors. In November, we reported that Carl Ronald Kahn — also affiliated with Harvard Medical School — had pulled a highly cited 2005 […]

The post Prominent Harvard researcher issues second retraction, again citing duplication appeared first on Retraction Watch.

The former president of the Joslin Diabetes Center has withdrawn a second article within a month of his first, and issued extensive corrections to another paper in the same journal, all due to figure errors. In November, we reported that Carl Ronald Kahn — also affiliated with Harvard Medical School — had pulled a highly cited 2005 […]

The post Prominent Harvard researcher issues second retraction, again citing duplication appeared first on Retraction Watch.

Press secretary Sean Spicer had some real problems with ‘Daft Funk’ back in 2014

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Trump’s new administration seems to have a long-standing vendetta against music-making robots. 

Daft Punk, have long hid under the guise of shiny robotic helmets. It’s their schtick and it’s worked for years, earning them multiple awards and chart-topping songs—but according to Donald Trump’s press secretary, they ‘need to grow up.’

Sean Spicer—the man who has fought Dippin’ Dots and inauguration crowds—gladly made his opinions knows to the French hit-makers back in 2014.

Despite him claiming to be a fan, they’re slightly embarrassing.

More about Conversations, Twitter, Watercooler, Daft Punk, and Sean Spicer

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Trump’s new administration seems to have a long-standing vendetta against music-making robots. 

Daft Punk, have long hid under the guise of shiny robotic helmets. It’s their schtick and it’s worked for years, earning them multiple awards and chart-topping songs—but according to Donald Trump’s press secretary, they ‘need to grow up.’

Sean Spicer—the man who has fought Dippin’ Dots and inauguration crowds—gladly made his opinions knows to the French hit-makers back in 2014.

Despite him claiming to be a fan, they’re slightly embarrassing.

More about Conversations, Twitter, Watercooler, Daft Punk, and Sean Spicer

Support Grows for a City-Wide Bike-Share Expansion in New York

A survey shows locals want more bike sharing and protected lanes, and most city council members are on board, too.

In Manhattan, getting on a bike-share bike is often as easy as walking to the end of the block. But in farther-off reaches of the city, you might as well hope to ride a flame-spitting unicorn, as stations are few and far between, if they even exist.

New Yorkers would like to see that change, to believe a recent survey commissioned by Transportation Alternatives. The activist group, whose mission admittedly is “to reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile and to promote bicycling, walking, public transit,” had the Penn Schoen Berland research group ask 880 likely New York voters if they’d support expanding Citi Bike to all five boroughs. Seventy-one percent replied they’d “strongly” or “somewhat” like to see the bike-sharing program in neighborhoods across the city—not just Manhattan, Jersey City, and the western parts of Brooklyn and Queens.


Existing Citi Bike stations. (Citi Bike)

The vast majority of the survey respondents said they’d never used Citi Bike, which might explain their interest in it. For what it’s worth, 69 percent of the survey-takers also said they’d want protected lanes with any new Citi Bike infrastructure.

So how realistic is it that Citi Bike could cover all New York? Well, it’s lately been in a process of expansion and is scheduled to grow to a fleet of 12,000 cycles later this year. But despite a majority of city council members last week throwing their support behind taxpayer funding of the private program, covering the five boroughs would require an investment of as many as 80,000 bikes, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. At a per-bike price of $6,000, that surge would cost a whopping $408 million, according to Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike. The company argues that it likely wouldn’t be able to cover the costs of expanding into lower-density, often lower-income areas without funding from the city.

And some locals are wondering how Citi Bike would fare in neighborhoods that aren’t as dense and walkable as, say, Midtown Manhattan. There, “parking is an issue and losing those spots [to a bike-share station] is something to consider,” writes one Redditor. Another gives these arguments:

When you get to the more spread out parts, people tend to have longer commutes. No one is riding a [Citi Bike] from Jackson Heights to Garden City. Better public transportation needs to come first and [then] city bike should supplement it….

Even if the issue is just getting to the nearest mass transit station, many people are just not healthy enough to [do] it via bike. We’re going to tell 65-year-old women that we took their parking spot and now they have to bike ten miles to work? My only argument is that we should not be taking away a lot of parking spots without adding in more alternate transit than just Citi Bikes. I think the “screw people who need parking, they need to get with the times” approach is likely to turn people against [Citi Bikes] in the long term.

That conflict has certainly played out in just about every phase of Citi Bike’s expansion. Still, ridership numbers are impressive: nearly 14 million bike-share trips were taken in 2016, setting a record for the third year in a row. On 23 days last year, the system saw more than 60,000 trips, and set an all-time record on October 19, with nearly 70,000 trips, according to the mayor’s office.