How to Detect and Avoid SEO Scams

SEO scams come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes you’ll be dealing with an agency that’s intentionally trying to scam you and other times you’ll just be exposed to inaccurate marketing material. Both can result in a huge waste of money.

Scams from the inexperienced 

Not all SEO agencies have years of experience. Some are new to the game and have learned mostly through online content and guides. These agencies may seem harmless, but they can really offset your marketing campaign. Since they don’t know how to accurately gauge the costs of an SEO campaign, they usually underprice it to win businesses from competitors.

A recent Optimize Smart article talks about this dynamic in-depth. According to the article, what happens is that businesses often go with the lowest bid since they’re unaware of the agency’s history:

“The SEO noobs themselves don’t know the value of desired rankings and the amount of efforts and skill required. So they make any promise and place lowest bid onevery type of project, irrespective of the industry and competition. Whereas experienced SEOs know that getting the desired rankings will require lot of efforts and budget. So they place the actual bid for the project. Businesses being unaware of the real value of desired ranks opt for lowest bid.”

Most businesses choose SEO as an area to pinch pennies. Doing this can get you stuck with an agency that has no idea what it’s doing. When it comes to choosing an SEO agency, you get what you pay for, every time.

Scams from the experienced 

Then there are the scams that wear a different, more malicious disguise. These are from the agencies that promise you the top Google rankings overnight.

There are a few telltale signs that an agency is marketing black-hat SEO tactics. This Business 2 Community article shares a few keywords you should look out for:

“Some warning sign catchphrases you should watch out for: guarantees of being ranked immediately; free trial services or a free mockup of a new website; Google algorithm experts; a mention of errors but don’t explain what they are; ‘SEO trade secrets.'”

These agencies know what they’re doing is wrong and won’t face a guilty conscience after they take your money. They’ll bring you in with unreasonable promises and at the end of the day, you’ll be the one stuck with the site penalty from Google. Don’t think that all agencies are like this, but be aware that they exist.

How to avoid all SEO scams 

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to avoid both planned and unplanned SEO scams. Here are a few things you should do when choosing an agency:

  • Check the agency’s historyHow long have they been practicing for and how many clients have they had?
  • Check what they’re marketing: Are they using vague terms like “SEO secrets?” Are they promising you a one-way ticket to the top of Google’s search engine results?
  • Check the accuracy of their cost estimation: Is their bid an accurate estimation in regard to your SEO goals? Is it noticeably higher or lower than the bids of other SEO agencies?
  • Ask them about their SEO process: This isn’t the time for an agency to say: “Just trust us.” You have a right to know what their plan is since it’ll affect your website’s ranking.
  • Look for testimonials: Are there positive reviews of the agency? Are there negative ones? What do the negative ones say in regard to their results?

There’s no reason to go out and look for SEO scams, but after reading this article, you’ll probably notice more and more as you casually browse the Internet. To talk more about SEO scams, or anything else, contact us today.

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