The biggest frustration, I believe, for every true professional website designer/ developer/ consultant is how easily people with little or no experience can claim to be experts in their chosen fields. Project after project is lost to low-quoting teenagers, amateurs and straight-out scam artists.
Here is a perfect example of a SEO firm that proves they are clueless when it comes to SEO. The following article was written by Jason Bland, VP of Adviatech,
Apart from the misspellings and grammar errors in the article, Jason claims, "Some problem languages for shopping carts include .cfm (Cold Fusion) and .mvc (Miva Merchant). Both file types are not easily indexed by the search engines so this should be considered before starting your shopping cart project." This is completely false. All you have to do is search in Google for "mm5/merchant.mvc" to see 939,000 results just for Miva Merchant version 5.5.
Google is not stupid. To claim they have trouble indexing any widespread "language" shows SEO ignorance.
How else do you tell the scammers and amateurs? Promises of "number 1 in Google," they require you to link to their site or any other site, they talk about "link farms," or they hard-sell you. Also look for testimonials with names like, "Bob P.," "Alice J.," etc. If someone gives a testimonial, they will stand by it by name, and you should check them out.
By the way, if you want to learn SEO techniques yourself, check out John Limbocker's SEO Dominators Club. Use coupon code MIVA for 50% off.