Search engine optimization is essential to improving your rankings on Google and other search engines. To be successful. SEO demands a multi-pronged, targeted approach, requiring skills and experience that are often beyond that of marketing employees. Many businesses choose to outsource their SEO and work with a professional that specializes in this field. However, the lucrative nature of this field motivates scammers to take advantage of small businesses. Those that rely on in-house marketing can be susceptible to these scams as well. Let’s go over the most common SEO scams and how to spot them.
SEO Scam #1
“Your Google Listing is About to Expire”
You receive an automated phone call meant to freak you out. These robocalls rely on reaching someone uninformed with how Google listings work. The scammer will want access to your Google My Business listing. Make sure you have claimed your business on Google through Google My Business, and ignore these scam calls. Your website/listing on Google cannot expire.
SEO Scam #2
You receive an invitation to write a guest post linking to your site, or have backlink featured on a site with high domain authority. The catch is that you must pay for this service. The biggest names in SEO tools, like Moz and Ubersuggest, include Domain Authority as a ranking factor for SEO. The problem is, Google does not actually view Domain Authority as a ranking signal. Regardless, paying for backlinks has become a popular method to try to improve rankings.
Backlinks should always be organic, and if Google finds out your website is paying for a large number of backlinks, Google may stop indexing your site completely! Manual penalties may occur as well. The best outcome from paid backlinks is Google ignoring them. If you want to use backlinks to improve your site’s SEO, read this blog with clever ways to increase your backlinks.
SEO Scam #3
Guaranteed #1 Rankings
An SEO “specialist” will reach out, promising to move your most important keywords to the top of Google. They may say they have proprietary software or methods to improve SEO. The specialist will perform some basic SEO work on your site, and after a few months, a few pages may reach the number one spot. What you will find though, is that those high-ranking pages are not ranking for keywords of actual value to your business. They will rank number one for niche keywords with very little traffic. Or, also likely, your site will not reach the number one spot for anything at all.
There are no guaranteed results when it comes to SEO. These specialists might use black-hat methods to rank your site for these low value keywords, in which case your site could get in trouble with Google. Avoid anyone promising specific rankings for specific keywords unless they have a money-back guarantee based on your goals.
SEO Scam #4
Just like the SEO scam above, there is no such thing as guaranteed traffic. At best, the increase in traffic will come from bots and there won’t be any increase in conversions. This SEO scam will distort your Google Analytics Data and make discerning what is actually helping your SEO a lot harder.
SEO Scam #5
An SEO company reaches out to you to improve your SEO. SEO companies worth your time and money do not advertise in this manner, their work speaks for itself, and businesses reach out to THEM. SEO spam emailers do little to no research on your site before reaching out, making vague promises and providing examples of work they have done that is totally unrelated to your business and goals.
Another spam email method involves sending an email that says your site is not ranking for, -insert important keyword here-. This method is often easy to spot and ignore because often the SEO scammer does not even bother to input a keyword relevant to your business. They send these emails in mass with filler keywords that could apply to many businesses. Train your employees to spot spam emails and delete them instead of opening them.
SEO Scam #6
“We Work with Google”
Note that Google does not have any partner programs for SEO. Companies that claim to be a Google Partner are scammers.
SEO Scam #7
Super Low Prices
If you chose to work with a company that charges much less than the industry average, don’t be surprised if they do shoddy work or no work at all- AKA take your money and run.
SEO Scam #8
“Let Us Takeover”
Never give any company ownership of your hosting, Google Analytics, socials, or site. They can then hold your properties and content for ransom either immediately, or after you decide to stop working with them.