It’s no secret that search engine optimization (SEO) is a highly competitive industry. However, with the right tools and knowledge, you can stay ahead of the competition and achieve your marketing goals. Along with hiring an experienced SEO agency or consultant, it’s important to recognize when someone is trying to pull a fast one on you.
Scams are everywhere, and they’re often hard to spot. But some scams are more obvious than others—and when it comes to SEO, there are a few things you should watch out for.
In this post, we’ll discuss what an SEO scam looks like and how to avoid it.
What is a SEO scam?
A scam is any scheme that attempts to take advantage of an unsuspecting consumer who doesn’t know any better—and unfortunately, this includes many people looking for ways to improve their business’s online presence.
An SEO scam is any service or product that promises to improve your site’s ranking on Google but ends up doing more harm than good. The goal of these scammers is usually to take your money and run—but sometimes they’ll also compromise your site’s security or steal data from customers who visit it.
You might have heard stories about people getting scammed by fake SEO companies—and while those stories are true, there are many other ways scammers can sneak their way into your company, without you even realizing it until it’s too late.
There are many types of SEO scams, and they can be divided into three general categories:
Those offering an unrealistic service (e.g., “I can get your website to #1”). These people typically claim to know some secret trick or hack that will miraculously make your website rank #1 on Google within 24 hours! These sellers offer no evidence that their method works, and even if it did, getting your site to rank at the top of Google would take a lot longer than 24 hours—more like months!
Those selling low-quality services for high prices (e.g., “I’ll do your backlink building for only $300”). When it comes to link building, less expensive options are usually best, because they’re less susceptible to being penalized by Google’s algorithm updates than more expensive ones.
Those offering SEO services that don’t work and won’t give you results. You should always be skeptical of anyone who offers to do SEO for you, but doesn’t provide any evidence that they’ve gotten results before (such as case studies). If someone is offering to do SEO for you, ask them how many other websites they’ve worked on and what their ranking was before and after working with them.
So how do you know if someone is trying to scam you? How do you avoid falling victim? The best way is to educate yourself about what a scam looks like, and how to recognize it when you see it.
How To Recognize an SEO Scam
When looking for an SEO company, it’s important to do your research. You should know that there are many types of SEO scams out there. The best way to avoid scams is to be aware of the red flags that indicate a company is not legitimate. SEO scams are becoming more common, and it’s important to know how to spot them.
There are many companies that offer SEO services that aren’t necessarily illegal, but they’re still unethical. They’ll promise you results, but they won’t deliver them. You’ll end up with an empty wallet and nothing to show for it.
Here are 5 common red flags to watch out for:
1. They don’t answer questions.
If a company is legitimate, they should be happy to answer your questions. It can be frustrating to ask a question and then not receive an answer, but it should never be the norm. If they don’t respond to your questions, it may mean they’re trying to hide something or are just not interested in helping you out. If they don’t respond or give vague answers, then you should be wary.
2. They promise unrealistic results.
If someone promises they’ll get your website on the first page of Google in a week or two, they’re probably lying. There are no guarantees in search engine optimization, it takes time and effort to rank high in search results. If someone promises you results overnight, it’s probably a scam.
It’s impossible for any SEO company to guarantee results, because there are too many variables involved in ranking a website—including competition and Google’s algorithm.
3. They refuse to show you their work
They refuse to show you their work or give specific details about what they plan to do with your site when asked about them by email or phone calls. An SEO scammer doesn’t want you looking over their shoulder at what they’re doing on your behalf, because then you’ll see nothing is happening!
4. They don’t have testimonials.
If an SEO company is legitimate, they should have plenty of testimonials from previous clients. If not, this is a huge red flag that you’re about to be scammed by someone who doesn’t have the experience or knowledge needed to do their job.
5. They claim they can rank websites without links or content changes.
It’s impossible for any website to rank well without links from other sites or content changes. A website needs both of these things to rank, so if an SEO company tells you otherwise, they are lying and trying to scam you out of your money.
How To Avoid SEO Scammers
You’re looking for a new SEO company. You’ve heard about the dangers of SEO scammers, and you’re ready to avoid them. But how?
Here are some tips for making sure your new SEO company is ethical, reliable, and trustworthy:
1. Do Your Research
Before hiring an SEO company, do your research and make sure you’re getting the best deal. You can get free information on a company’s reputation and work history from sites like Google or Yelp. You can also use tools like Moz’s “mozbar” or Ahrefs’ “backlink checker” to see how many links they’ve built for other clients and how good those links are (i.e., do they have page authority and domain authority?).
2. Ensure Payment Terms are Clearly Outlined
It is not uncommon for an SEO Agency to ask for payment as work is getting started due to the upfront costs and nature of the engagement but make sure that payment terms, and other payment information is clearly stated as part of their agreement/Statement of Work. If you are unclear on payment terms and how to pay this can be a sign that they are trying to scam you.
3. Ask About The Long Term Goals Of The Project
A good SEO company will be able to tell you exactly what it will take to move your site up in the search rankings over time—and make sure those goals are realistic! If the goal is unrealistic or too expensive, then it might not be worth pursuing at all.
4. Ask for a Detailed Proposal
A detailed proposal should include an overview of the process they’ll use, what they’ll need from you, and how much it will cost over time (monthly). If you don’t get a detailed proposal, it means they don’t have a clear plan for how they will help your site.
5. Ask About Any Testimonials or Case Studies
If they don’t have any clients willing to publicly vouch for their services, then it might be worth looking elsewhere. You can also look for reviews on sites like Google My Business and Yelp. If they have bad reviews, then that means they might not be the best fit for your company.
Hopefully, we’ve covered enough basics to help you avoid most SEO scams. Just remember there is no magical button that will get your site ranked, and these fraudsters will do everything they can to get their hands on your money. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Always do your due diligence when researching potential services and make sure you have a firm understanding of what they offer before signing up with any company or individual offering such services—especially if they ask for payment upfront.
Enlist the Help from True SEO Experts
If you’re looking for a new SEO expert, look no further: We’ve got you covered with all our services and expertise.
We are CadenceSEO—a team of SEO experts dedicated to helping business owners succeed online. We understand that SEO is more than just getting more traffic from Google. It’s about building a relationship with your customers, so that they become repeat visitors and loyal brand ambassadors. That’s why we employ a holistic approach that focuses on the customer experience from start to finish. We’ll work with you to create a custom strategy that helps you achieve your goals, whether that means increasing sales or improving your brand image.
When we talk about our expertise, we don’t just mean technical knowledge; we also have an extensive background in content creation and audience development. Our team can create effective copywriting for any type of website or platform, as well as optimize it for search engines so it ranks high in organic results. And if there’s one thing we know how to do well, it’s build engaging content that keeps people coming back again and again!
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level online, contact us for a free SEO Audit and consultation.