At least once a month, a client sends me an email asking for me to add a badge and a link to their website. What does this badge say? Where does this link go? – It’s a badge that says “Rated a top 10 Kansas City cleaning company by USA House Cleaning” or “A top 25 Kansas City lawn care company, as rated by Pro Grass Cutter.”
This is a bad idea for website. This badge does not help your website or your business. As a business owner, you should not link back to these types of lists. They do absolutely no good for your business.
These lists are created by companies that are trying to outrank your business in the search results for the exact services you sell to customers and clients.
These companies sell the same services you sell, and they are moving into your city. Many times, these companies (or websites) do not have a physical office location in same the city (or even in the same country) as the list they’ve made. This “Top 11 (fill in the blank) in Kansas City” list is how they are entering the city – this list is helping them break into your city. Helping them be found via search results in your city.
Basically, the list links out to a bunch of reputable and established businesses. These outgoing links help confirm to search engines that the list-maker “knows what they’re talking about.” If the list is all about Kansas City roofers, and the list links to established Kansas City roofers’ websites, the search engines are more likely to believe the list-maker also provides roofing services in the Kansas City area.
If you have one of these links on your website, take a moment and think about it – how does this random website that you’ve never heard of know that you are one of the “13 best roofing companies in Kansas City.” They don’t. They can’t. They’ve never hired you. They haven’t hired dozens or hundreds of roofers in Kansas City. Have they even had a conversation with you? My guess – No.[bctt tweet=”Don’t add a ‘badge’ on your website to a ‘best of’ list. The list-maker is stealing your clients” username=”TravisPflanz”]
By linking back to these websites and lists, you are essentially telling the search engines that you agree – that company provides these services in your city, and they do it just as well as you do.
Now, that’s a bit of oversimplification and the business names I’ve listed above are fake, but the story is very real.
“Proof” that Search Centered is one of the Best Web Design Companies in Kansas City
If you do a quick Google search for best web designers in Kansas City, you’ll come a cross a bunch of lists similar to the ones I’ve described above. Let’s see if we can find Search Centered in any of these lists.
There we are. A top Kansas City web designer, according to UpCity.
UpCity is a company that sells SEO, social media, and online reputation management software to agencies and directly to businesses.
I don’t remember when this list first appeared (more than a year ago), but now they send me an email every few months to let me know that they’ve updated the list for the current quarter, and congratulate me on the fact that Search Centered is still in their list ranking as a top 25 Kansas City web design company. Of course, they also re-up their request for us to add a link back to the list, and they ask for me to promote the list across all of the Search Centered social media accounts.
In fact, it was an email from UpCity a few days ago that sparked me to write this post.
But wait, they’ve also included Search Centered in their “Top SEO Companies in Kansas City” list. The funny thing about that list – One of the companies isn’t even in Kansas City, and another is just a mailbox address for a national company. What a joke.
I’m not exactly sure what Expertise does, or why, but there we are again – and again the ranking came with an email asking for us to add a badge to the website. No thanks.
» Best Web Design Companies in Kansas City, MO 2016 – Thumbtack
Thumbtack allows users to submit a description of a job they need completed, then service professionals pay a fee ($10-15 for the services offered at Search Centered) to be able to submit a quote to the user.
You won’t find Search Centered on this list. We don’t use Thumbtack. We don’t pay them for “leads” (that’s a whole different conversation), so WebWorks is not on their list of best web design companies in Kansas City… but we used to be. When Thumbtack first broke into the Kansas City market, they did the exact same thing as mentioned above. They created “best in KC” lists for tons of services, then reached out to these service businesses asking businesses to share the list and asking for links back to the article from listees’ websites. They also offered “credits,” so listees could try their lead generation services.
If you look through the Thumbtack list, very few of the companies on this list are even in Kansas City. A few are even in Nepal, half way around the world. Thumbtack is a complete scam on service businesses.
» Top 10 Web Design Companies In Kansas City – Blogger Local
Search Centered isn’t on this list, but I’m going to have a little fun with this one. Blogger Local is actually a website that I built a few years ago for a client who is a serial entrepreneur. Shortly after launch, the project was abandoned and he sold it to a local SEO pro (for pennies on the dollar, I assume). Now, it appears to be nothing more than an experiment or a placeholder, buy hey – if you search for best web designers in Kansas City you’ll find the list, so it’s doing it’s job for somebody.
These are just a few examples of the types of “Best in Kansas City” lists you’ll come across. Change up the search terms involving Kansas City and “web design,” you’re guaranteed to find even more of “the best” web designers. Search for “the best” along with your city and profession. You’re bound to find a handful of lists that contain your business.
Now, you may be saying, “but Travis, you DID link back to their lists. I see it, right there.” The links that I’ve used above include a rel=”nofollow” attribute, essentially telling the search engines “Don’t follow this link. I don’t vouch for it as quality content.”
Need to hire a SEO Consultant?
The Best SEO Consultants in Kansas City
I don’t want you to get upset with me. I don’t want to do the ‘ol bait-and-switch – even though I told you what to expect in the title – So, here is a list of “The Best SEO Consultants in Kansas City.”
NO! Don’t fall for it again! There’s no way I (nor any individual) can objectively know who “the best is,” but here is a list of KC SEO pros who I know and trust (and I know I’m not listing them all, sorry).
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am making a list, right here, similar to the ones I described above – with the intentions of ranking this list for search terms like “Best SEO Consultants in Kansas City.” Let me know in the comments below if you found this list via search, and let me know which search term(s) you used. That will be a fun little experiment.
The differences with my list:
- I already sell SEO consulting services in Kansas City, and I’m good
- I am not trying to trick anyone
- I am not going to ask any of the guys listed below to link back to this article with a badge
- I have actually met these guys and had real conversations about SEO with them
- I know these guys are competent in the profession of search engine optimization
- I admit that I have no idea if these guys are truly “The Best SEO Consultants in Kansas City”
The Best SEO Consultants in Kansas City (in no particular order):
- Michael Black, SEOMike Consulting – I first met Mike at a presentation he was giving for the Kansas City Search Marketing Association. Since then, Mike has presented at and sat on a panel at WordCamp Kansas City (a WordPress-centric conference that I organize) and he has been a panelist at monthly WordPress KC meetups.
- Josh McCoy, Vizion Interactive – Josh is an of the organizer of Kansas City Search Marketing Association. As well, Josh is the organizer of SEMPO Cities Kansas City 2016 and he was a presenter in 2015.
- Phil Singleton, kcseopro.com – Phil and I both did work for the same client a few years ago. I have attended Phil’s presentations at Enterprise Center in Johnson County. I also own a signed copy of his book The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Local Lead Generation, and he convinced me to purchase the monstrosity of a book that is The Art of SEO.
- Breht Burri, InfoDeli – Breht is also an organizer of Kansas City Search Marketing Association, an organizer of Kansas City Web Analytics & Marketing Metrics, and has been a speaker and panel member at WordCamp Kansas City and WordPress KC.
- Travis Pflanz, Search Centered Digital Marketing – What kind of fool would leave himself off of his own list of “Best SEO Consultants in Kansas City?” As you can see from the Search Centered Digital Marketing website, I am an SEO professional, I am based in Kansas City, and I am involved with multiple local professionals’ organizations and conferences.
Are there other good SEO consultants in Kansas City? Yes. Absolutely – But, if you need a SEO consultant in the Kansas City area, consider hiring one of these guys (preferbly me).
In closing – Hey, would you mind linking to this list and sharing it with your clients?
Remember to always research the company and website that has added you to their “best of” list. Ask yourself – How do they know me? What are they asking of me? Is it possible this company could take away revenue from my business?
When I’m asked for a link back to one of the types of lists we discussed at the beginning of this post, I always tell the list-maker that my fee is $1000 per page of my website where they would like the link to appear – they usually ask for the link in the footer of the website, so it’s on every page. Nobody has ever taken my offer (obviously), but I figure that’s a good price for me. Hell, I would just write a blog post every day. $1000 return on each post isn’t too shabby at all!
Not all “best of” lists are bad, so take a close look on a case by case basis. Appearing on a “Best BBQ Joints in Kansas City” list by a local news station or foodie website can be amazing for business. But, before you add a link from your website to any “best of” list, ask the list-writer lots of questions. Be assertive in asking the questions. Don’t give them a link unless they answer your questions honestly and until you’re satisfied they’re not trying to take customers from your business.
Do you have any experiences with a list anointing you one of the best in your city?
Tell us about your experiences in the comments section. Which websites have linked to you?