Many organizations, especially small businesses, outsource their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, as they do not have a marketing professional on their team. Unfortunately, we’ve seen an influx of scammers taking advantage of this niche market by claiming to be SEO experts. They promise their clients outlandish results that are unpredictable and even unachievable. If you’re seeking a marketing agency to partner with, look out for the following red flags to avoid any SEO scams.
SEO Scam Alert: 4 Red Flags to Avoid
As a small business owner, you probably don’t have time to manage your own digital marketing strategies, so you have to rely on an SEO professional. Don’t enlist the help of a service that makes any of the following claims.
“Guaranteed First-Page Rankings”
Organic search engine results cannot be predicted nor guaranteed; in fact, Google itself says so. Over time, SEO efforts will deliver positive change, but no marketer can promise first-page rankings, nor a time frame in which their client can expect to see results. Plus, search engine optimization is a long-term strategy, not a “get rich quick” gimmick. Be wary of any SEO service that claims they can catapult you to the top in just a few days. Unless you’re running a PPC campaign, it’s impossible to put a deadline on your SEO goals.
“Special Relationship with Google”
Google also urges you to avoid any SEO company that alleges to have special ties to its organization. Scammers often advertise having a “priority submit” to Google, but the search engine asserts such a feature does not exist. The only way to submit a page to Google is through its Add URL feature or by submitting a sitemap. Don’t confuse this with legitimate agencies, who have earned their Google Partner status. This accreditation shows the SEO service is certified and has an up-to-date knowledge of Google AdWords.
“We Know Google’s Algorithm”
Google’s algorithm is ever-changing and highly complex. So complex, that it actually isn’t limited to just one algorithm, but rather a series that hyper-analyze a search query to match it with relevant pages. Don’t trust any SEO company that claims to know the exact ranking factors Google uses to project these results. Marketing agencies should know the more important features – link building, keyword research, load speed, page usability – but these components are just few of many.
“Secret SEO Strategies”
Avoid any company that isn’t willing to disclose how they plan to execute their SEO strategy, especially as it regards to collecting backlinks. SEO scammers tend to mask black-hat, or unethical, search engine strategies, claiming to have some “secret formula” for immediate rankings. These tactics are in direct violation of Google, Bing, and other search engines’ policies, which means your rankings will ultimately suffer.
Maintaining search engine results requires the work of a true professional, not a scam artist. As with all things in life, don’t trust any service that appears too good to be true. Long-term rankings require a consistent effort; there’s no fast and easy route to achieving top results.
Front Porch Solutions is a digital marketing agency offering a full range of white-hat SEO services. Contact us for a free marketing audit to learn more about your website’s current ranking and how we can help you improve.