The Days of “Tricking” Search Engines Ended Years Ago

Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time defending clients from unsolicited SEO pitches – many of which depend on “FUD”  (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to cause less aware staff to question the necessity of our “white hat” methods for SEO, while offering a shortcut through the slog.  Client education is key, and we make every attempt to keep our clients aware of the state of the art so they’re able to discern these scams when they see them.

When clients have questions, we hope to hear them.  We can always defend our approach with facts, though it is unfortunate how much client time often goes into this instead of actual work.

Beware of “Guaranteed SEO” (Without Defining What Exactly is Guaranteed.)

  • “We’ll do your SEO for $199 per month”  (What does “DO SEO” mean?)
  • “We guarantee top 5 listings….”  (for WHICH phrases?)
  • “We can send you 5,000 visitors next week” (from WHERE and HOW engaged?)
  • “Your site is not listed on the search engines”   (WHICH Search engines? – only 2-3 matter)
  • “ has you beat.” (for WHICH phrases, with WHAT search history?)

Unsolicited SEO Offers Are a Red Flag

We don’t know of one legitimately good SEO firm using unsolicited offers to pitch themselves.

If it comes over email, and you didn’t ask for it or subscribe to it, chances are it is at best worthless, and at worse a scam. Always seek out your own services, never be tempted by those emailed to you. If the service is really that good, it will not need to use SPAM to promote itself.

“Why Not Try It?  It’s Not That Expensive”

The problem is the real cost is in the damage you can do, and the opportunity costs of not doing things well to start with.

To that, we say:

1. If any of these services use prohibited methods of improving your ratings, the search engines may penalize YOUR SITE. Sometimes you’ll get a warning, but usually not and you may not even know how it’s penalized – for which phrases, etc. The appeal process sometimes works, but you can easily sink days into getting removed from a blacklist – and then you must start your promotion from ground floor.

2. The traffic or links many of these services send you is fake. It may show up as visits on your website, but the way these are generated is by using spyware/adware and/or automated click systems. In other words, the visitor may get a glimpse of your site (counting as a visit)… many of the links you get that impact rank temporarily might be artificially boosted just long enough to give you hope.

3.  Google may count you as a part of the “neighborhood” of sites that use questionable/prohibited techniques to promote your site. While they might not ban you, you will never be able to achieve a solid presence on their search engine due to the impact on your page rank. There is no appeal process for this, nor anyone who can help you get out of this trap.

4. If you can’t resist trying the company out, first at least do a Google search for the firm and look for their mention in forums, discussion groups, and scam sites. Google will allow you to search for sites that “include the term _____”… allowing you to review all mentions of this company on-line. People who have been scammed will often post their experiences and Google can find them.