How to Recognize SEO Scams
Tips on Hiring a Good SEO Company
Learn how to find a reputable SEO service and avoid scams
Published on by: James Hobson
Originally published on 12-27-2012 on Blogger
Every day numerous innocent business owners are duped by online SEO scams, greedy advertising companies, and people who are simply using the lure of cheap SEO services to hustle cash. As this year draws to a close we thought this would be a good subject to discuss to help people avoid some common SEO ripoffs and negative ROI situations.
Greedy Advertising Companies
In terms of dollars hauled in, this is what we consider to the biggest SEO ripoff. The advertising business has traditionally been a massive revenue generator for print publishers. As the use of print advertising such as yellow pages has all but died, these advertising dinosaurs recreated their image as being internet gurus. The transition was relatively easy. It required simply reworking the print sales pitch to an internet sales pitch, building out a directory style website, and then converting the print advertisers over to the online advertising.
During this transition many yellow pages executives abandoned ship to start join or start other advertising companies . . . all using the same basic sales model. The costs for these one-size-fits-all programs are ridiculous and the sales pitches are usually very misleading. A true internet marketing company will dramatically out perform any online directory company in terms of cost control, results generated and overall customer satisfaction.
There are some business owners who are happy with their directory advertising, and there are some ad companies operate with good intentions. Our experience is that they send trained salespeople to meet business owners for the sole purpose of closing sales, and they don’t send knowledgeable SEO and business consultants to meet and learn exactly what your business needs and develop custom solutions.
Low Skilled Web Designers
Because the market is there, most website design companies include SEO in their service offerings. It’s important to note that very few of these web design companies have been successful in getting their own website ranked for web design, SEO or other terms that are important for their business. For this reason, you have to ask yourself how you can realistically expect them to do for you what they can’t do for themselves. If a company can’t get their own site ranked well it’s a huge red flag signaling really poor search engine optimization skills.
The Craigslist Hustler
Sites such as Craigslist, Backpage and often paid advertising such as Google Adwords entices business owners to sign up for “guaranteed first page results” and it always includes the amazing benefits of super low prices and near immediate results. Of course the other sales option is to get a LOT of people to sign up for $100 a month and tell them it’s going to take a while. This assures them of a nice revenue stream while they ignore your site.
How does the SEO hustler work? One way is to charge you a low monthly fee and outsource the work to India, Philippines or other low wage areas. This gives them an 80-90% profit margin and an excel spreadsheet of links to show you. Another way is to use black-hat SEO software to rewrite plagiarized articles, post the articles and build a few back-links to your site. They may do this work themselves or outsource it overseas. A third way is to simply pocket your money and do nothing – just let you keep paying until you scream, then they ignore your calls, or argue with you and quickly disappear.
The SEO hustler does not truly understand, or care to do, professional, ethical search engine optimization. Their objective is to simply get more people to send them money.
The Robo Caller or Serial E-Mailer
This SEO scam plays the numbers game at the lowest level because it’s only mass spam contacts without any personal touch. These services are quite often overseas boiler rooms that invest more in billing software than in hiring SEO professionals, computers and equipment, essential SEO software and third party information services.
Signs of SEO Scams
There are several ways to identify SEO scammers and people who are most probably not going to deliver what you are expecting in terms of ranking or lead generation. Some of the prime indicators of a SEO scam or SEO rip off are someone with:
- no office, business license, EIN or business bank account.
- no business website with well developed organic rankings.
- no employees, only a laptop for equipment and no verifiable references.
- an inability to show numerous live examples of stellar organic rankings.
- a need to find customers on free listing sites like Craigslist.
- a need to promote their business by piggy-backing on another company.
- more interest in a contract and deposit than in learning about your business.
Why do people fall for SEO scams? People that fall for any type of scam rarely fact check what they are told, are infatuated with the idea of big gains with no risk or work, and are naive enough to think they have found a magic secret that true industry professionals and sharp business owners are missing.
Search engine optimization is a professional service but because it is not licensed or regulated the internet marketing industry is littered with unscrupulous and unskilled people trying to make easy money. The best way to avoid SEO scams and SEO rip offs is to take time to qualify your potential SEO company, expect to pay a reasonable fee for professional services and don’t trust anyone who promises the moon and the stars for $100.00 per month.