Hello and welcome to Dollar SEO. This site was created as a case study to test the value of cheap SEO services. If a human being who sold the services actually looks at this site after they take my money they will probably refund it.

Why Dollar SEO?

Scammy Telemarketers

One of the things that has held back the SEO industry is the perception the the field is filled with scamsters because some telemarketing fraud companies pose as SEOs. The ROI on that type of business model has been decreased ever since Internet Advancement was sued and Traffic Power was outed. Traffic Power's CEO going to jail put an exclamation point on that trend.

Hosts, Registrars, & Search Engines Selling Scams

Another thing that has held back the SEO industry is when large trusted companies bolt on SEO products that match old market needs, but have little or no real value in the current marketplace. For example, some shameless businesses charge you recurring monthly fees for search engine submission. If the big search engines want to index your site you only need to submit your site once or build quality links pointing at your site. So the companies providing a monthly submission service are at best ignorant and at worst fraudsters. Some of the most common perpetrators of these submission scams are domain registrars and hosting companies. Worse yet, this trend has only grown in recent years, especially as search ad networks like Google AdSense allow advertisers to market this form of fraud all over the web.

The Web Designer Who Learned SEO in 5 Minutes

More recently, as clients have asked web designers if the sites are optimized, some designers lie and call the site optimized without marketing the site, presuming valid code is all you need to rank. Some designers do learn and apply SEO best practices, but many offer...

  • do not line up the site structure with keywords & market research data (poor on site optimization)
  • put the same page title on every page (poor on site optimization)
  • do no active link building (poor off site optimization)

The End Result?

These 3 issues combine to create a market for lemons, where consumers pay too little for legitimate optimizers to want to work for them. And then everyone assumes the market is full of hype, fraud, and scams because that is all they ever experienced.

Valid CSS & XHTML is not enough

This template is CSS and XHTML valid according to the w3c. The benefits of this include;

  • The website rendering correctly in a wide range of browser platforms
  • Since CSS is used to maximize the aesthetics of the website the load times are extremely low making for an extremely accessible website.
  • Low use of images saves bandwidth and improves load times

For more information regarding this, and lots of other useful web design related stuff, follow this link.

In spite of the designer of this template claiming that the code was clean an optimized they used H1 for all the headings and subheadings, which is not an optimal format (so I changed the subheadings to more semantically sound H2 format).

Search engines do not care about code cleanliness as much as they care about who is talking about you and what they are saying about you. This site has 0 inbound links on the day of launch. This site was not marketed anywhere other than using the cheap SEO & search engine submission services, which got the site indexed, but did not get it any links.

It has public web stats. You can click this link to see if this site actually gets any traffic from search engines. It will only get REAL traffic if and when it gains trusted inbound links from trusted websites.

Why Link Building Is Expensive

There are some number of links that you can buy (the Yahoo! Directory and a few other directories make that short list), but search engineers at Google view most bought links as search spam.

The best links...the ones that search engineers want to count as votes that influence their search engines are editorial links from sites that many other trusted people reference. If you are new to the web and some of your competitors have been online they probably have many great references can take years to compete with.

Search engines follow people. To build links sustainable you need to invest in promotion, branding, and social networking. Buying links indirectly (through content creation) is a safe strategy, but it requires understanding the target market, and creating something so compelling that it influences people to make them want to reference it. Doing so may require learning your market well, which can take months of work. And success is not guaranteed on the first try. Even when you do succeed at it you often need to succeed many times to build enough links to compete with long established leading competitors.

About the Author

Hi there. My name is Aaron Wall. This site is a public service to prove that cheap SEO services provide no real traffic, and that many of the companies selling them are scamming consumers. You get what you pay for (and sometimes much less)!

If you want search engine submission you can submit your site to the major search engines at the following locations, but I would avoid the paid search engine submission systems, as most of them have negative value (filling your inbox with spam)

History Log

Here is a list of this domain's progress

  • January 3, 2008: Dollar SEO.com domain registered
  • January 4, 2008: site published on Dreamhost web server
  • January 4, 2008: Filled out lead generation form on ____'s website without mentioning this URL. Used wife's name so they would not associate it with me. Still waiting on call back.
  • January 5, 2008: Bought $29.99 _______ SEO service from a second shady SEO service provider.
    • After entering keywords that I came up with, _______'s meta tag generator came up with the following meta tags for me
      <title>dollar seo search engine optimization services inc.</title>
      <meta name="description" content="No information was found">
      <meta name="keywords" content="No information was found">
      which prompted me to use my meta tag generator, which offers real useful advice on how to generate a good page title and good meta tags.
    • Submissions are done manually or semi-manually. They list the big 3 engines, Alexa, DMOZ, Librarian's Internet Index, and the Yahoo! Directory.
    • I submitted to the engines, but did not submit to the major directories because I doubt they would list this site there, and did not want to risk them removing some of my other sites because they were angry I submitted this one. The Yahoo! Directory may have listed this site if I paid their fee, which is $299 a year. Paying that extra $299 fee removes DollarSEO from its roots though ($299 for one link sure takes the $30 SEO project out of the $30 category), and again, I did not want to risk them removing my other sites from their directory.
    • Beyond that they list something like 200 more directories and search engines. Since many of these directories are free, their business model is hidden on the back end. You will find that they send you no traffic, but do spam the crap out of your email inbox for submitting to them.
      • Some of these emails say click here to confirm, and then if you click through and submit your email address and website details they offer a Paypal button for you to spend $20 on the submission, even though it is to a search engine with poor relevancy that nobody uses. Even if you do not pay you can bet they will email you.
      • Some try to upsell you on more "submit your site to thousands of additional search engines" programs.
      • Ask yourself why so many of them need to validate and revalidate your email address to take your listing. It is because they want to pound the crap out of your inbox with spammy offers. I remember being on the receiving end of this crap when I started out on the web about 5 years ago.
    • Some of the listings have errors.
      • Skaffe (the directory) was listed as a search engine.
      • The additional search engines category includes AltaVista and Alltheweb, which are powered by Yahoo Search.
      • The first additional search engine link I clicked on (alles4u.de) was in German, had no actual submission form that I could see, and included a huge AdSense ad block in the content area.
  • January 5, 2008: Microsoft Live indexes this site.
    • site ranks #1 for dollarseo
    • site is not in top 150 for dollar seo
  • January 7, 2008: Google indexes the Mint stats page from this site.
  • January 10, 2008: Yahoo indexes the Mint stats page from this site. T
    • This site is the only return for dollarseo, but is nowhere to be found for dollar seo.
  • January 10, 2008: Google indexes the homepage from this site.
    • Site ranks #1 for dollarseo
    • Site ranks #3 for dollar seo (behind a double listing for 100dollarseo.com. Funnily enough, I know the guy who owns that site and he is a good guy. :)
    • Site ranks #38 for seo dollar
    • Site ranks #1 for dollar seo professional
    • Site ranks #63 for dollar seo professional search engine optimization services
    • Site is not in top 1,000 for searches like
      • professional search engine optimization services
    • without building legitimate link equity the site is not likely to rank well for any competitive terms or terms outside of navigational or brand related queries
  • January 20, 2008: ______ SEO update
    • _______ still has not sent me an email, or it ended up in my email spam bin.
    • But a friend sent me a link to a PDF document associated with the offer.
    • Instead of a minimum price of $25 (as advertized on their site), the actual cost is $500 per month with a 6 month minimum contract, and a $199 set up fee.
  • January 20, 2008: Still 0 search referrals other than site searches I did.
  • July 25, 2008: site mentioned publicly, but nobody linked at it!
  • September 1, 2009: site has been indexed for over 1.5 years in Google, but the only keywords that have EVER sent it any search traffic so far...
    • have sent a grand total of 22 searchers to this site
    • are keywords related to the domain name (dollarseo.com, dollar seo, seo dollar, dollarSEO) + were searches people did to find this site after it was mentioned this site on a popular SEO blog


  • with valid code a site will still get ~ 0 search engine traffic UNLESS it is linked at from other trusted websites
    • building these links and relationships can be an expensive process
    • in big money markets competitors in your marketplace and the shape of your market set the required costs far above the price of many cheap SEO solutions
  • websites that use invalid code often rank well in leading search engines like Google (especially as over 90% of web pages use invalid code)
  • web designers who sell valid code claiming it is a full on SEO package are charlatans scamming their customers