Let’s face it, the SEO reseller marketplace is wide open. Anybody can set up shop, there aren’t any professional organizations to certify a company or product, and anyone can build a website and become an instant “pro.” Without standards or professional sanctioning choosing a quality, reliable and professional reseller program can be tough.

A while back I wrote about some of the ways that buyers can compare and judge if a reseller has a quality product, I want to add to that by offering a few warning signs about reseller products you probably want to avoid. There is also discussion of this topic in our reseller forum.

What to Look For

1) Does the reseller program have an appropriate SEO philosophy? Is the reseller completely aboveboard about their techniques? Is there any suggestion that they might be involved in buying links or employ “black box” tactics that could trigger a shut-down by Google?

2) Is the reseller completely clear about what you get? When you ask questions do you receive clear, precise replies? Can you see exactly will be done for you? Does the reseller advocate and promote transparency or are they evasive about their methods?

3) Can you make money? SEO is a service so there is a broad spectrum of providers and pricing. Compare costs with product packages. Understand what is included, not included, how information is communicated, how support works and the tools the reseller provides that will help you communicate with your customer/employer.

4) Are you comparing apples to oranges? Although new opportunities are always evolving, the essential operations that SEO requires are fairly fixed: Page optimization, link building, etc. are the basics that everyone sells. However, there is a world of variation in the methods and quality of how these are accomplished. Make sure you compare the details and methods of each reseller’s techniques.

5) Does it work? Ask for some references; review case studies; look at each company’s own rankings- does their product work for them?

Warning Signs

So what is the other side of the coin, what should trigger a red flag when interviewing prospective resellers? Here are a few:

1. Lack of confidence: Professional, experienced and successful resellers know the answers backwards and forwards. Are their replies direct, confident and thorough? Does the company covey a sense of expertise and permanence? Are you satisfied that they have made every effort to provide a complete answer? Without trying to trick them, do they hesitate or become flustered when challenged?

2. Beware of anything that is radically different from other reseller products. This is a competitive business and people will try to offer better packages and advantages than their competitors. But beware of the oddball—unusual pricing packages such as optimizing by the page; unfamiliar buzz words, terms and tactics that seem to be outside the mainstream of SEO practices; Magic. Successful SEO takes time, professionalism and quality tools. Avoid the voodoo.

3. Lack of tools and services. A quality, professional reseller will have all the tools and services you’ll need. Beware of packages that don’t include white label, email, a Web Grader and clear analysis tools. You will always have to justify your budget, so make sure that the reseller has all the elements you’ll need and that they are provided as part of the base package.

4. Avoid questionable techniques. In the open market there will always be people who cheat and cut corners. You don’t want to do business with them. Google considers some tactics to be “illegal” and if you’re caught using them Google reserves the right to drop you, your company not the reseller, right off the search engine! Some of these tactics are buying links, cloaking to deceive users or search engines, stealing content from others, and so on. If a reseller offers you fast results in exchange for risky tactics just move on.

5. Restrictive contracts. You’re not getting a free phone so when get locked into an onerous, long term contract? Business conditions change or you might want to work with another company so don’t get stuck. A reseller that pushes you toward a long term contract or an “out’ of more than 30 days is probably one to avoid.

Finding a quality SEO reseller who provides you with all the best tools and tactics can be hard to find. Why not begin looking with Semify, we think you’ll be staring at the top.