Search engine optimization (SEO) is a hot commodity at the moment and will be for quite some time. Unfortunately,there are many companies and services available in the market today that may actually hurt you in the long run.
This article outlines 10 of the most popular SEO scams that can be found in the market today. Avoid these common scams when deciding on whether or not to purchase a SEO service. These scams make SEO sound too good to be true.
Guaranteed Rankings/Ranked in 48 Hours
This is one of the main hooks SEO companies today give. They guarantee you a first page ranking or you will get your money back. Most people do not realize that, unless you are enrolled in pay-per-click advertising, there is no way to guarantee results. Google has an entire section of their website dedicated to educating business owners on this fact; read more about Googles SEO Facts.
Secondly, SEO takes time. Manual submission to local search engines, the building of quality content, and research; none of this can be done in 48 hours, let alone done, indexed, and reflected in rankings in 48 hours.
Money Back Guarantee
The most popular money back guarantee scams revolves around a medium to large setup fee (usually around $1000). Once this fee has been paid, the service starts. Most money back guarantees follow the ranking guarantee; in the event the guaranteed ranking is not met, the monthly fee is refunded. The way this scam works is that the company continues to refund the money fee (typically they are not actively even working on your SEO); however, in the fine print, you'll notice that the setup fee is non-refundable.
Free SEO Trial
True SEO is a very tedious and time consuming task, no company can afford to offer free services or free trials unless they use a software to complete their SEO services. Most of the time, when free trials are offered, the company then asks for FTP access. Not to say that EVERY company is not legitimate, but I would never give out FTP or website access to a company you are not 100% trusting of.
** It should be noted that SEO tasks completed by software (not manually done) are subject to huge penalties by Google and other major search engines. **
Submission of Website to Thousands of Search Engines
This service is majorly an Add-on from many web hosting companies or the most basic package at other SEO companies. The truth is, Google, Yahoo, & Bing account for around 90% of all search engine searches on the internet; having your website submitted for indexing to thousands of other search engines is not a big deal unless they are local profiles.
You can sign up for Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster and submit your website on your own to get indexed in Google, Yahoo, & Bing; this would take under 1 hour.
We are with Google/We are Google Partners
Although it is possible to become a Google Partner, it has nothing to do with SEO and everything to do with Pay-Per-Click Advertising. Google does not endorse SEO or any company performing SEO. Therefore, if a company tells you they are with Google or are a Google Partner, they are not being truthful.
We have Special Insight into Google's Algorithm
The truth is, Google directly shares very little of how its algorithm works and only offers hints to a few ranking factors. This means there is no special insight to be had by one SEO company over another.
In fact, Google puts the searcher at the height of its priority list; so giving insight on how to exploit their algorithm would be the last thing they would do as it would skew search results in favor of companies and not searcher.
Companies that Take Ownership
Be especially wary of companies that want to take ownership of web properties, domain names, social media profiles, etc. These companies often ransom these properties in the event you try to cancel your services.