SEO Scams: 5 Warning Signs You Need to Know

Dec 17, 2013 | Search Engine Optimization

SEO scams can range from unsolicited emails to guaranteed rankings. It is important that you understand that SEO is a complex, ongoing process and no company can guarantee you the number one spot on Google.

Top SEO Scams

As the New Year approaches, you will start to see more and more emails from companies seeking your business. Some of these emails will be legitimate, while others may be unsolicited, confusing, and downright scams. You are most vulnerable when you are actually seeking the service offered, however, the company offering it is not trustworthy. In order to help protect you from such scams, we are going to break down the top signs of search engine optimization (SEO) scams that you are likely to receive in 2014.

SEO scams can range from unsolicited emails to guaranteed rankings. It is important that you understand that SEO is a complex, ongoing process and no company can guarantee you the number one spot on Google. A company that truly cares about your interests will work with you, fully understand your company’s goals, and offer full disclosure to their process and potential outcomes.

1. Unsolicited SEO offers
Unsolicited SEO offers are very common in the business. However, this is a clear sign that the company is casting a wide net hoping to draw in a few unsuspecting customers using fear tactics. If you are receiving an email from a company you do not work with, offering SEO services, this is your first clue that they are not your best option. Professional, experienced, companies offering SEO services do not need to send unsolicited emails. They understand the benefits of collaboration over coercion.

2. Guaranteed Rankings
“We can get you to #1 on Google!” This claim is completely false and one of the tell-tale signs that the company reaching out to you is neither professional nor ethical. No respectable company can guarantee a first place ranking as long as they are using white hat tactics. If a company is using black hat tactics, you will risk destroying your credibility in search engines. Thus, companies making this claim are either lying or cheating.

3. Submit sites to hundreds of search engines
SEO companies that claim they are submitting your website to search engines are pitching you a useless service. There are only several search engines that the majority of people use and these hundreds of other search engines, if they even exist, are not worth your time or efforts to be on. A good SEO company will focus on your ranking in the top search engines, where the majority of users search.

4. Connections with Google
Companies claiming to have connections with Google are flat out lying. First of all, the chances of these SEO companies having “connections” with Google are slim, and even if they did know someone working at Google, it is highly unlikely that the person would risk losing their job to fraudulently increase your ranking.

5. Google Algorithm Experts
The Google Algorithm is so complex that no SEO professional could become an “expert”. The algorithm is always changing and Google does not disclose the details. Thus, an SEO professional can be an expert in SEO and capable of helping your SEO campaign, however, the only Google algorithm experts are Google employees themselves.

These are just a handful of the SEO scams that are out there and unfortunately, some are harder to spot than others. As a general rule, any company that you have not previously worked with that is pitching SEO services to you and claiming to know things about your site and rankings, is not a safe bet. Stick to the companies you trust and the SEO experts that are looking out for your best interests rather than coercing you into a sale.