What Are SEO Scams & How Do You Spot Them?

Search engine optimization is an important element of any website, but how do you know if the consultant you’re thinking about hiring can do the work?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be complicated. It can be a full time job if you are hoping to be at the top of search engine result pages. This is why many website owners are looking outside their own companies for a little help in the SEO department.
Increasing organic traffic through your SEO efforts can increase sales, leads and your bottom line if done correctly, meaning that SEO should be a major focus in your marketing strategies. If your potential customers cannot find you on the web, they cannot purchase your products and services, and your website will gather dust as it waits for clicks. Sounds like a nightmare, right?
All website administrators are looking for as many eyes to view their pages as possible, and it’s all the better if this traffic can be found for free. Search engine optimization is now an entire industry, with “SEO experts” galore promising you the coveted Google top spot. According to a recent report, in 2016 businesses of all sizes will spend an estimated $613 billion on digital marketing services around the globe. This equates to three times as much as was spent in 2008.
The problem with this scenario lies in many digital marketing amateurs claiming to be the best and the brightest, with little knowledge of how to measure their accomplishments. Many “experts” will make big promises to get in the door, but will fall short when it’s time to review. How do you know if the expert you are thinking of recruiting is going to pay out in traffic in the end?
Before you respond to the hundreds of emails that promise you the number one spot in search engine result pages, take a look below at a few tips and tricks to be sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck when hiring an SEO team to get your website on the Google map:
Look for realistic promises: If the individual or team you are looking at are promising to take you to the top spot on Google for a small fee, they are most likely scamming you. SEO takes time and effort, there is no quick fix and whoever you hire will most likely have a slow and steady success rate to the top. Anyone who is looking to romanticize search engine optimization is most likely blowing smoke. A great rule of thumb is: if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
Remember that no one knows the Google algorithm secrets: Many SEO scammers claim to know the innermost secrets of the Google algorithm. They will promise you that they know exactly how it works and how to take advantage of this information to help your website. This can be classified as false immediately. Why? Because nobody knows how the Google algorithm works. Even most Google employees only know a small portion of the algorithm, not the entire machine. It is a constantly evolving entity and the reason it works so well is because it is a secret. Feel free to dismiss any SEO expert who claims to be a wizard behind the curtain, because they’re not.
Do your homework: Be very careful when taking anyone at face value. When considering hiring help for your SEO efforts, make sure you do your research and find anything you can about this individual or agency. PowerPoints and fancy business cards are not enough to seal the deal. Instead, look for third party reviews and for any bad press on social media. Take anything negative you can find as a warning that this SEO expert might not be as great as they would like you to believe.
Create an open-door policy: Any SEO agency or so-called expert will have no problem showing you all of their methods and practices while making sure that you understand how and why these methods are necessary. It is worth your time to read up on SEO basics, and ask your agency as many questions as you need to understand their efforts. You have a right to full disclosure of how and where their time and your money is being spent. If this is not an option, they might not be the experts for you.
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