Scammers have been around forever. They always will be. So it should be no surprise that they exist within the SEO arena. And unfortunately, it often takes a skilled eye to recognize scams camouflaged as legitimate SEO services.
Scamming in the SEO world is partially facilitated by the fact that SEO isn’t just one thing. It is a collection of tools and strategies implemented to improve a website’s search engine performance. Because the web is always evolving, so are SEO tactics.
This gives scammers plenty of opportunity to come up with new scams, milk them for all they are worth, and then shut them down before moving on to the next one. The good folks at Webtek Digital Marketing in Salt Lake City, Utah say that it pays to keep an eye on things so that you are not scammed.
In light of that, here are fourcommonly pitched SEO services that are really scams:
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Have you ever heard of the bait-and-switch scam in traditional marketing? Scammers do something similar in SEO by trying to convince you to purchase links. You might be working on a link-building program when one of the websites you contact informs you that your competitors have already purchased links with them. They offer to switch those links to your site for a fee.
This sort of thing is a scam for two reasons. First, Google and its competitors hate paid links. They hate them so much that they punish sites that rely too heavily on them. Second, no reasonable website owner would convert existing links from another customer. They would simply create new content for your links.
You may have an SEO expert contact you and guarantee that, after just a short while, your site will outperform the competition on search engine results pages (SERPs). The operative word here is ‘guarantee’. There is no such thing in the legit SEO world.
Achieving strong search engine performance takes time. If the so-called expert does some work for you and shows you a report a couple of weeks later proving that your website has risen to the top of the search engines, they probably managed it by focusing on keywords that don’t matter. No website goes from page 20 to page 1 in a few days.
Search Engine Submissions
Beware of any company that contacts you and offers to submit your website to the search engines for a fee. First of all, they are not doing anything you cannot do yourself. You can submit your website to Google through its Search Console.
Second, manual search engine submission isn’t necessary. All of the major search engines employ web crawlers that constantly search and index the web 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The crawlers know your website exists already.
Last but not least are scams that involve contacting website owners and telling them their listings are about to expire. If you ever receive such a phone call or email, ignore it. Search engines do not operate on listings with expiration dates. They crawl the web, index websites, and rank them according to their algorithms. There is nothing to expire.
Unfortunately, SEO has become so convoluted over the last 20 years that few people truly understand it. Scammers are fully aware of the general ignorance among website owners, and they prey on it.
What can you do? Do not respond to unsolicited contacts involving SEO services. If you are interested in such services, go out and find digital marketing firms on your own.