Personal SEO ~ Website Marketing and Content Writing: Black-Listed Industry - SEO is the Bane of Banks

Black-Listed Industry - SEO is the Bane of Banks

I have learned over the 10+ years we have done this business that SEO companies are not that well-respected. I kind of thought they were like used car salesmen but I didn't realize how many have screwed over the general population. Not until this last week. Banks not approve SEO companies

We've used Paypal for years and while it works, some people don't prefer to have an account or even go through Paypal. Most of those customers will pay by check, which is fine too. But we wanted to see if we could save ourselves a little money and open a merchant account with a bank instead of the fees of Paypal. This would make it easier for customers to pay online with a credit card and the money would just go to our business account. After doing some research and consultation with a credit card processing client we have had on and off over the years, it turns out no bank in the country will do business with an SEO company! 


Apparently, SEO companies are so awful that they would take the client's money, not do anything, and refuse to return money  to the client so the banks would lose out. So much so, that they will no longer do business with a company identified as and SEO company. 


I was speechless. In 10 years I have only had to return $130 for work that was paid but never completed due to client changes and inability to perform the tasks requested from extenuating circumstances. I have never been asked for a refund or return due to work not completed.  I just couldn't believe there were so many swindlers out there in this one business that large corporations refused to work with them.

I can see why many people may feel very wary about using an SEO company; I would too if I knew this statistic! SHEESH! 

But just like used car salesmen, lawyers, heck... real estate agents! (HA) - there are good ones and bad ones. There are people in just about any business that will lie, cheat, swindle and connive to take money and perform zero work. 

We have had several clients come back to us after trying another service saying the company did nothing but take their money. We might sell but we don't push. We are reasonable and strive to do the work requested above and beyond client expectations. 

It appears this business just got harder, but we love it, do well with it and we want to be the exception in the SEO industry.


ActiveRain and SEOTammy Emineth is an expert in custom content and original articles for blogs, website, press releases and more. Contact me anytime and feel free to subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on my latest blogs and informative information. Email me or contact me for Real Estate Website Marketing and SEO Content Writing.

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Comment balloon 51 commentsTammy Emineth • January 18 2016 03:19PM


Wow, how ironic that they ruined the country financially & you're blacklisted? I didn't think the Paypal fees were that high but then I haven't paid attention in quite some time.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 3 years ago

Tammy Emineth There will always be a 'bad apple' in the bushel. As the consumer becomes better informed, those bad apples will discover other 'easy' opportunities and those like you who deliver value will survive and thrive.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National & Geneva Financial, Llc.) about 3 years ago

Wow, that's crazy!  I can't imagine banks doing that.  Did you try with your local bank?  Sometimes having that personal relationship helps.  When I went to open a business account with Chase, they didn't even care what the business was!  Check with your main bank to see if they'll let you open a business account, if they don't there are plenty of alternatives to accomplish the same goal.  Especially if your name is in the company name.


Posted by Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA, Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties ( about 3 years ago

Tammy, this is just crazy! I must say, I had to cancel my debit card twice within the past 45 days because of companies charging me without my authorization. Those "two week free trial" ads are just scam. I'm certain there are some SEO companies that do the same. If they only knew how great and trustworthy you are!

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) about 3 years ago

That is terrible.  At least you can continue to use paypal.

Posted by Linda Guess, Branson area real estate sales. (Keller Williams Tri-Lakes Branson, MO) about 3 years ago

uh putting us in with car salesmen? hmm we do not know which came first the realtor or the car salesman after all...

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) about 3 years ago

It always comes down to having an asset that can be seen and to go after in the event of issues like fraud.  

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 3 years ago

Wow, I didn't realize that you could get blacklisted like that.  

Posted by Joan Dickie, Keller Williams Premier Realty (Keller Williams Premier Realty) about 3 years ago

Tammy, Unfortunately there's enough bad apples out there.  My personal pet peeve that I get several times a week is SEO companies emailing me with RE: in the subject line like they're replying to something I sent them.  Starting off with deception isn't the way to even get me to consider doing business with them.  You on the other hand have contributed enough great info to this community that I'd be comfortable trusting you if I needed your help.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 about 3 years ago

I'd think Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA has a suggestion worthy of consideration.  A local bank who has ties to your community will be able to do some background work on you and come to understand soon enough that you are a risk they should take.

Let us know how this evolves over the next few months.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) about 3 years ago

Majority of us have no clue what they do. Backend links, trying to beat latest ranking....  No fee for xx weeks until you get some results or hit data....

I don't know how much they spent on by the hour. If you explain a bit what is really involved we have a better appreciation what SEO is doing.

I like also SEO contractor shows us their credit info so I know whom I am dealing with.  Thanks for your post. 


Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) about 3 years ago

I have heard of banks doing this with certain companies with high-level of customer complaints. Didn't know about SEO companies. When it comes to business v. personal accounts I think banks are a little more picky about the business accounts. There is so much online and offline banking fraud these days, can't blame them really. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) about 3 years ago

Tammy - now you know how the good real estate agents feel when they are lumped into the pool of oft-despised practitioners of the trade.

My advice would be to work with a smaller local or regional bank, where you have an established relationship. They probably have similar systems in place and would be more willing to accommodate based on knowing you and how YOU run your business.

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) about 3 years ago

That is surprising. But, it may also be the classification of "online."  We have a credit card processing fee and I remember them explaining how different methods of swiping vs. keying in, etc had different rates and esp how it related to online business.

I would consider going to your local bank to at least give it a shot.  or, just stick w/ paypal.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 3 years ago

I was surprised to find there was such an attitude toward SEO companies and also disappointed to know there were companies that didn't have any ethics.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 3 years ago

Nothing really surprises me much anymore.

Posted by David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor, Your local Expert (Keller Williams Realty Phoenix) about 3 years ago

Do you have an iPhone - isn't there Apple Pay or something?  The photographer that I use scans my credit card with a little thingamajig that is in his phone.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) about 3 years ago

I prefer using PayPal. PayPal is easy, convenient, and I've never had any issues with them. I am surprised about the bank not even giving you a chance. What if you told them you're a marketing company and not mention the SEO part?

Posted by Sandra Graves, Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) about 3 years ago

Hi Tammy Sandra Graves has a good point and I will expand on it. I used a SEO company for a couple of years and they had CC service. The company name was Captxxx Marketing-there was no SEO in the title but thats what they did very successfully.

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) about 3 years ago

Sorry to hear about what you are going through Tammy Emineth !

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 3 years ago


SEO companies are so awful that they would take the client's money, not do anything, and refuse to return money  to the client so the banks would lose out. So much so, that they will no longer do business with a company identified as and SEO company. 


Posted by Sham Reddy, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) about 3 years ago

Wow, that's crazy that the bank would blacklist an entire industry!

I do get a lot of emails from obvious SEO duds (if the entire email is misspelled, they can't be good). That shouldn't mean everyone in that industry should be lumped together.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, about 3 years ago

Sounds like you're making cider despite the bad apples. Keep it up! :0)

Posted by Becca Rasmussen (HomeSmart Cherry Creek) about 3 years ago

I've been contacted so many times about my website these SEO buffoons found online but somehow, didn't rank very well.  So how did they find me? 


Posted by David Barr (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty) about 3 years ago

Just like there are good Realtors and not so good ones, the SEO world has the same caliber of businesses.  I am always amazed when I get calls from an SEO company that tells me I am not ranking and they can help.  They want money up front with no guarantee of any increase in my business.  A sales pitch with no proof of results.  There are excellent companies, but it is difficult sometimes to tell the apart!

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) about 3 years ago

They call me all the time, telling me that they can assure me I will be on top of the google listings. Great news buddy. I already am. My market is very small and no one else even tries to be a presence online. I keep pushing so they never will bother. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 3 years ago

Morning Tammy!  My VA uses a company/sofware called "Fresh Book" for her accounting/invoicing.  Not sure about the backend, but I receive and pay her invoices online, similar to PayPal but she says it's less expensive.


Posted by Ron Tissier, Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles. (Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069) about 3 years ago

When there are too many rules & regs ...the eyebrows ascend...Richfuscious

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 3 years ago

I can't believe your bank would blackball all SEO companies!!  But there are a bazillion companies that do credit card charging services.  I have an ecommerce website for my mothers online linen store and after tons of research I like a company based out of NYC,

Ive been using them for over a year now and am happy with function , their tech support and low fee's, and Ive used several credit card charging service providers.  Banks usually charge the most fees, and most cancelation fees.

Posted by Annette Thor, Residential & Commercial Real Estate Broker in CT (Connecticut Homes and Commercial Fairfield Cty,CT about 3 years ago

Sorry to hear about that Tammy. Like some have already said, it's kind of how the good agents feel when we hear a homeowner talk about a bad experience they had with another real estate agent. It almost makes you embarrassed for a minute being in the same industry as them. 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty (Zion Realty) about 3 years ago

Not really surprised that online service companies get a bad rap. I guess the merchant companies ended up losing too much money. Thanks goodness for Paypal but your clients don't have to open an account, they can just pay without, I've done that many times.

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Barrington Realty Company) about 3 years ago

Tammy, I am not at all surprised about this.  Not. At. All.

I've encountered my fair share of the "SEO gurus" right here in ActiveRain. Of all the folks I've hired in the AR community you and Tim are the nicest, most honest, sincere and dedicated.

You are right ... people who take money and do not perform, or perform well, are in every industry ... yes, even real estate agents (HA). 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 3 years ago

Aww, man!  It's too bad the banks feel they have to react that way and too bad you found out that way as well.  Glad we all have alternatives!  Good SEO companies are so valuable!

Posted by Marie Haydock, Simplifying Real Estate (Evergreen Global Real Estate | RSVP Real Estate) about 3 years ago

As you know, every fashionable trend in Internet traffic kind of has a bell curve

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 3 years ago

To be clear, I'm always feeling it has value to combine quality content with SEO. After all, you have to be be able to draw people to quality content.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 3 years ago

Hi Tammy - It's a shame that you're having to pay the price for some bad actors in your field. I've had little experience with other companies, but I know first hand that you do quality work and stand behind it, and I will continue to recommend you enthusiastically.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) about 3 years ago

Hmm... I stick with Pay Pal because it's cheaper for me than having a merchant account and the ability to accept credit cards myself. I don't think customers have to have a Pay Pal account to pay with a credit card as long as I send a payment request. 

I could be wrong, of course. 

It is too bad there are so many bad apples in your industry - kind of puts you in a category with health clubs! I read once that a collection from a health club didn't do much harm to a person's credit - simply because so many of those claims were unwarranted. 

You are absolutely right that every industry has its stinkers. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 3 years ago

Tammy - Working in real estate, I can somewhat understand the reputation your SEO industry has, because ours is not much better. That is a big hurdle to overcome when seeking new business, but you wanting to be the industry exception says a lot about who you are. 

Posted by Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Good Company Real Estate about 3 years ago

Unfortunately, SEO frauds found an easy way to make money. I've probably had 500 cold calls from SEO "experts" so I get it. It sure sucks for the "real deal" like you though.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA about 3 years ago

Wow, I never knew SEO companies had that kind of reputation! One bad apple can spoil the whole lot. 

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) about 3 years ago

I guess I'm not surprised, but sorry that you aren't able to take advantage of this option. 

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) about 3 years ago

Dear Tammy,

Bummer! Can you set up a different company for processing your payments? Can you get a bunch of references from your clients? Is there really no way? Always some rotten apples spoiling life for the rest of us, no?

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 3 years ago

Hey Tammy, If you are already a quickbooks user why not get their credit card system called go payment. they will provide a free card reader which you can use to manually imput the card info and it goes directly to your existing account. Its also very affordable and easy. I have been using it a couple years for another service business I have and it always works great

Posted by Mark Trask, Professional real estate services buyer and seller (M. L. Trask Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Very interesting that the banks have such strong feelings.  Maybe they should also refuse to work with banks...haha.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 3 years ago

Remember when we were in school and the whole class would get punished because of the actions of a few kids that misbehaved?  

What you're describing is the grown-up version of that, Tammy Emineth ... and it's still very frustrating!   


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 3 years ago

Tammy Emineth can you give me more information on what is that you do . We are thinking of more seo options thank you for letting me know. 

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) about 3 years ago

Interesting read.  I was screwed out of $3,000 by one SEO website designer, whom I met in person locally.  I thought I was being so good in doing that.  Nope.  Got robbed with no recourse.  And my Paypal account was hacked twice, so I don't go that route either.  

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 3 years ago

I have used PayPal for my small business for many years and it works fine for me.  Students who attend my training classes can pay online with a credit card, processed by PayPal. In the checkout process, it gives two choices: to click here if you have a PayPal account, or click here if you do not have a PayPal account.  If someone does not want to use my PayPal checkout, they can pay by cash, check or money order.

I have looked at a few merchant accounts, but the fees were higher than I pay with PayPal.  And, I would prefer not to ever see or have someone's credit card number, so there are no data security issues with hacked or stolen credit card numbers. 

If you accept credit cards, you have to learn and follow the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) and your state laws regarding a data breach if credit card numbers are compromised. Ask your business insurance agent about the risk.

Posted by Jerry Lucas, Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training (ABC Legal Docs LLC) about 3 years ago

Tammy you are the shining exception in the SEO world and I would recommend you in a heartbeat.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 3 years ago

I did not realize SEO companies had a bad name. Although, come to think of it, I have had bad experiences. I tried one company that sold themselves as SEO, but just collected a fee for setting up Google Ads. The keywords weren't even effective enough to get me on the 1st page of Google. The next company kept passing me off to another, more aggressive salesperson until the last one started calling me names and I hung up. Why not just provide an honest service? Sounds like you are going about it in the right way.

Posted by Eren Millam, Certified Negotiation Expert (Realty World Cosser & Associates, Inc.) about 3 years ago

I have had two clients that were "Be number one on Google" SEO companies. Both were flakes. They were nothing more than telemarketing companies.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 3 years ago

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