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



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.

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.


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.

Denver SEO Company Webolutions Shares Keyword Selection Tips

SEO web design and full-service marketing agency Webolutions in Denver, Colorado has received multiple website design and SEO accolades and has proven for more than 20 years we are among the best SEO companies in Denver.

In this article, our SEO experts share with you tips on how to select appropriate keywords. Search engine optimization is both an art and a science that starts with keyword research, prioritization and selection. Once keywords are selected, we begin the process of mapping out a website’s optimal navigation and page structure consisting of champion pages and supporting pages with internal links optimized to help these champion pages rank well.

How to Choose the Right Keywords

When I started my SEO career almost 20 years ago, I made many mistakes, which I hope to help you avoid. Among the most common mistakes those new to search engine optimization make is not performing keyword research correctly. When I was new to SEO, I simply identified and selected those terms with the most search volume. This approach was bad for me, but it’s good for you since you can learn from my experience.

Since the purpose of site search optimization is to rank well and achieve more visitors to your website, it is understandable that one might think the best strategy would be to select those keywords that can generate the most traffic. The terms that can generate the most new visitors are those keywords with the most searches per month, right? It would reason, on the surface, that one should optimize their website for keywords with the greatest search volume. This is the way I approached my website’s SEO; however, it is not the correct way to conduct keyword research and selection.

Why Simply Selecting Keywords with the Most Search Volume is Wrong

Why is the selection of key terms based upon the greatest number of monthly searches wrong? The competition to rank well for highly searched, usually more generic, terms is very difficult. SEO newbies simply do not understand how difficult it is to rank for highly searched, competitive keywords. As such, they experience significant frustration because of their lack of SEO success.

I wish to help you avoid frustration and achieve success with your search optimization efforts quickly. To this end, here are the top SEO tips for selecting the right keywords.

SEO Tips for Optimal Keyword Selection and Success

Step 1 – Competitor Analysis

Start with industry and competitive analysis in order to understand the keywords typically used for your products and services. This is critically important for those who do not have extensive experience and familiarization with the vernacular commonly used for one’s industry. For those who do have experience in their industry and know the words used, competitive analysis is still critical.

Research of one’s industry and competitors helps to not only identify potential keywords, it also provides an idea of how frequently those terms are mentioned, which helps to prioritize terms. The thought being that one would select those terms used more frequently. Typically, terms which are commonly used will also be those searched for the most.

Step 2 – Collecting Keyword Metrics

The next step in the process of keyword research is to collect keyword metrics to help prioritize terms. What are keyword metrics? In order to select the right keywords for which one’s website will likely rank well, we need to understand not only the number of searches per month, but also the competition for each term. These are two basic keyword research metrics; search volume and keyword competition.

5 Best SEO Keyword Research Tools

There are many fine SEO tools to collect basic keyword metrics like search volume and competitiveness. Here are five of the best keyword research tools for search engine optimization.

Keyword Tool

Step 3 – Prioritize and Select Keywords

The next step in keyword research is to prioritize your keywords based on a number of factors including:

  1. Search term volume: how many searches per month
  2. Competitiveness: how many other websites are competing for a given term (this is where competitor research will provide insights into how large one’s website many need to be as well as how many backlinks and the quality of those backlinks)
  3. Purpose and goal of website: An organization’s business goals and strategy need to be understood in order to select and focus on those terms that fit an organization’s objectives. For example, let’s say your client sells almonds and oranges. Almonds are available year-round with steady demand. Oranges, on the other hand, may have more search volume in summer months. Our keyword prioritization must understand the nuances in one’s business in order to ultimately select the right keywords. In the above example, we might take a look at total year search volume to determine which has more annual searches and select that term over the other.

Prioritization and selection of keywords is where the science and art of keyword research converge based on factual metrics, nuances of one’s business and the experience of the individual conducting the research.

Step 4 – Develop Champion Pages

The final step after selecting your keywords is to create pages that will target specific similar key terms. These target pages are known as champion pages and should utilize white-hat SEO techniques to optimize the page. There are several good articles on basic SEO for beginners.

Here are Excellent SEO Articles to Learn Search Engine Optimization

  1. MOZ – The Beginners Guide to SEO
  2. Advanced Guide to SEO by Neil Patel
  3. Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
  4. SearchEngineJournal’s SEO 101

How to Use This Information

Webolutions is among the top SEO companies in Denver. When you need support for your SEO efforts, our SEO experts are available to help you build a successful search optimization strategy. Please give us a call at 303-300-2640.