5 Common SEO Scams to Watch Out For

By December 16, 2014General
SEO Scams to Watch For

We all know the internet is full of scams. In the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) field there is no exception and you will see lots of attractive claims that are simply false and end in pain for business owners. Of course the scammers are able to continue offering all sorts of wonderful deals because the Internet allows them access to millions of small businesses from around the world. And then time-poor business owners keen to get the edge over their competitors often jump at these false promises without proper due diligence. Over the years, SEO experts have found some known scams that are used again and again.

We’ve put together a brief list of the main culprits, false promises to watch out for:

Guaranteed Top 10 Ranking in Google

This is the first promise that SEO scammers make to their clients. It is simply not possible to guarantee highest ranking in Google search page results. The search engines already rank well established web pages according to specific keywords, phrases and about 200-odd other metrics. Your web pages will be ranked differently every time depending on the type of keywords and search terms used by different users. The only way a web page can guarantee a top ranking in Google is by using AdWords but this is a paid advertisement option that has nothing to do with the SEO.

Immediate High Search Rankings

First page, or even no.1 position! Of course any website owner wants such a result. The only problem is that for the majority of search terms in 2014 it is simply not possible to get high rankings so quickly. It needs to be understood that it takes a few weeks or even months for a website to gradually inch upwards to higher ranking. It does not happen within hours or a few days. Any improvement in ranking will happen only when your website has been designed and developed according to SEO guidelines – which takes work. The written content of your web pages must be of high quality, relevance and comply with SEO guidelines.

Free Trial Service

Any SEO campaign involves lots of research and consumes hours of work. No firm or professional is going to work for free. SEO cannot be done using automated systems (they are out there too). Even these dubious free services are not offered completely free. You will be asked to commit some money before you can avail youself of the free trial service. Always be suspicious of free offers as bait to sell some unnecessary products and services. Never give access to your website for SEO purpose. An SEO analysis requires only browsing of your website to determine if your website and its webpage contents are SEO compliant and what works may actually be required to assist you.

Submitting Your Website in Hundreds of Search Engines

You do not ever have to worry about hundred of search engines. It is only the few top search engines that really matter. According to usage surveys the clear majority of people prefer Google (In Australia usage is at 92%). The rest of online search traffic is distributed among a few other search engines (the next biggest are Yahoo and Bing taking up the next 7% combined). Many search engines are nothing but a directory on a particular industry or subject. You need to target only top three to five search engines when planning your SEO campaign. It goes without saying that any smart business person should plan a campaign mainly for Google (and usually Bing & Yahoo follow). If your website complies with Google’s SEO guidelines then your site will be picked up by other search engines as well.

The Backlinking Nightmare from Hell

Sorry for the dramatic title, but we deal with this on a regular basis. Business owner’s come to us after going to so-called Indian, International, even local SEO ‘experts’ because their SEO rankings haven’t gotten better, they’ve only gotten worse!

The problem is there is no industry accreditation, no checks, and in many cases these people are one man bands who have no skill and have Googled what SEO is about and gotten old results and tips. Google is penalising many tactics that were used to Optimise a website even only a year or two ago.

One big one is Backlinks, or other websites that link to you. To keep this simple Google is now saying even a few links from your niche industry will benefit you greatly. In the past you could get a whole pile of links from seedy directories, that pet store in Romania, the adult shop in Brazil, who cares they were all links. Even as recently as earlier this week we had to assist a client to try and remove these damaging links a “SEO EXPERT” created for them (using automated software – so they had no skill). Easy to add, very, very expensive in this case ($5,000) to remove and get rid of those damaging links.

These are some well-known SEO scams to watch out for when trying to get your website ranking better. There is no trade secret in this field and no one has cracked the algorithms of Google so do not fall for such glitzy claims… Look for a genuine company that will work hard to improve your ranking in search engine results without promising any guaranteed result.

SEO can work to improve your rankings, but please check first as to what actually is being promised.

About Andrew K

Andrew Kilkenny is director at natiive. He has 20 years of Information Technology experience in eCommerce and Robotic Process Automation systems in the corporate environment and has a passion for helping businesses grow their online web presence. He gets a kick out of helping people maximise their web presences and getting their websites really working for them.