As a business owner, you know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important. Without it, your website will languish in anonymity. It can be very easy to get obsessed with getting higher rankings and more traffic, something that everyone wants. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people out there who prey on those desires to make your website the best that it can be and they set up scams to trap unsuspecting website owners.
It’s easy to be lured by a site that offers extra traffic or better SEO and while there are certainly plenty of legit operations out there. Here are five scams that you should be aware of.
1. Submitting to thousands of search engines.
This is a scam that has been around for quite some time. You pay a sum of money (usually astonishingly low for the service) and your URL will be submitted to not 10, not 50, but hundreds or even thousands of search engines. It sounds great because you figure that you’ll be covered no matter where people are searching, right?
Wrong. Most of the sites your website is submitted to are actually spam sites that may even pay the scammer for your site. You’ll be getting hundreds of spam emails from them which are a waste of time and energy and certainly not worth paying someone for.
2. Your URL submitted to 500 directories.
We all know that getting backlinks is very important and can raise our value in the eyes of the search engines, but just how smart is it to submit to 500 directories? Not very. The reason for this is because first of all, there aren’t that many good directories. The vast majority are link farms (yes, they still exist) which can actually lower the value of your URL. Google in particular notes when your URL shows up in “bad neighborhoods”. The second reason this is a bad idea is that Google gets suspicious when a brand new site abruptly gains 500 backlinks within 24 hours. You could end up in the sandbox or otherwise penalized for your “SEO” techniques.
3. An insider.
You’ll actually find that some SEO companies claim to have someone inside Google. This can be pretty appealing for several reasons, but it is 99.9% unlikely to be true. Even if someone were spilling the secrets of the search engine giant, it is an every changing algorithm, meaning that it would be virtually impossible to keep up with the changes. The algorithm is also far more complex than most people imagine, making it virtually impossible to crack completely and actually implement everything.
That being said, having someone on the inside could be useful in making sure your site is in the top results for your chosen keyword, but what happens when the mole is discovered, as they always are? Play it safe and stick to real SEO tactics.
4. Guaranteed top spots in Google.
Every website owner dreams of seeing his or her site in the top results for their chosen keywords, but the truth is that this is just not always possible. It’s quite ridiculous for anyone to promise it, since they can’t actually guarantee anything when it comes to Google. Even the masters move up and down in the rankings on a consistent basis and that is totally normal . . . but unpredictable.
Something else to look out for is which phrases they are guaranteeing top ranking for. Often these will be long tail keyword phrases that no one is actually looking for. You could easily rank for these on your own with minimal effort, but what’s the point?
5. Trade Secrets
Run away from anyone who claims it's too complicated to understand and they fail to fully disclose and explain everything that is being done to your site. They tell you these are trade secrets; they can't discuss their proprietary technology, or speak in quasi-mystical jargon and non-specific terms.
Real SEO experts have a true interest in their field and enjoy educating their clients about the details. They don’t hold anything back and more than willing to share the whole process with you.
What other SEO scams have you heard of?