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    23 January 2012

    SEO ScamMany marketing companies (those you find online and those who call you unsolicited) claim that they can do search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. The fact that they can do something that sounds so complicated is already enticing. Before paying someone for SEO services, keep this in mind…

    Overpriced Services

    At its core, search engine optimization is obtaining links so that keyword optimized content can rank higher, giving your site targeted traffic. SEO also involves hundreds of other things, which are complicated by the fact that nobody knows exactly what Google does to rank certain sites higher than others. This leaves the door open for ambiguity and confusion, which many “SEO” companies takes advantage of, scamming website owners in the process. The mysteriousness of SEO allows scammers to sell their services with minimal effort to unsuspecting business owners.

    Get quotes from many SEO firms before accepting a bid from one. That way, you guarantee yourself that you are getting a fair price.

    Pay Only For Results

    Does the SEO expert have a history of providing results for his or her clients? If they do, you can be more comfortable about paying them upfront. If, however, they have a spotty record, arrange for payment only when they give you results in the form of increased traffic or higher rankings for your keyword.

    Be sure, however, that that traffic and/or higher ranking brings in targeted leads…

    SEO Firms Can Provide “Results” That Are Worthless

    Be warned that some SEO firms will guarantee you top placement of keywords because they know that ranking those keywords will take minimal effort. For example, they may charge you $500 once they get you your #1 ranking for “San Francisco dental practice”, which ends up giving you no traffic. Top Google rankings only have value when they generate targeted traffic to your website.

    An SEO service may have a long list of keywords that they’ve helped a previous client rank for, but those keywords mean nothing if they don’t bring in converting targeted traffic. Firms like these know that many people are impressed with “#1 rankings” and use that to dupe people into paying for their “services”.

    Before paying someone to increase your keyword rankings, you have to be sure that those increased rankings will result in increased converting traffic. Check your Google Analytics and see which keywords have converted well for you in the past.

    Rankings Can’t Be Guaranteed

    No matter how good someone is in search engine optimization, nobody can guarantee you results within a predetermined time period because that is out of the control of anyone. Search engine optimization can influence results, but in no way can it promise to do something because results are determined by a Google’s secret algorithm.

    Don’t Be Fooled By Guaranteed Services

    1,000 .edu links! 1000 blog comment links! Guaranteed page rank! SEO services which provide guaranteed links may make you think that results will also be guaranteed because in the SEO world, more links and higher PR generally means more traffic. Before buying into such services, know what kind of links you’ll be getting. 1,000 or 500 of anything may sound like a great deal, until you consider the fact that those hundreds of links are likely of subpar quality and may actually hurt your rankings in the long run.  Increased page rank happens over a long period of time and cannot be guaranteed.

    Avoid One Size Fits All Services

    Companies that give the same flat monthly fee to each and every one of their clients don’t do their homework. Before giving you their prices, an SEO firm has to research your website, competitors, and what type of keywords your site has the potential to rank for.

    Nickolay Lamm is an internet marketing specialist at InventHelp who manages InventHelp Scam.

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    15 Responses to How to not be Scammed by an SEO Firm

    1. Keith January 23, 2012 at 7:13 am #

      First of all, I require payment up front. Period. I don’t care who you are or what you are asking for. SEO’s get screwed all the time too, and some things you do for a client in SEO are irreversible. I can show you results, I can give you references, I can give you testimonials.

      Also, I never promise X number of links. I actually put less emphasis on links with most of my clients and start on page which is where immediate results can be had usually.

      Generally, my clients pay an initial fee for research and analysis. Then a monthly fee for a minimum of 5-6mos. Good SEO takes time, anyone that tells you otherwise is using questionable tactics.

      Also, SEO is about search rankings, conversion rates has nothing to do with SEO. I can get you to the top for a term, but if your copy or design sucks, thats a different service.

    2. Jamie Northrup January 23, 2012 at 9:06 am #

      Often times if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Ask the person selling you SEO services for a price and then tell him why he’s charging you that price.

      Like you mention there is no one size fits all in SEO, if he says that’s the price for any website to get on page 1, then you know it’s scam. The price should vary for each keyword and page you are looking to rank for.

    3. Dan January 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Why pay someone to do your SEO when you can find all the info to do it free on the web. There are a lot of programs that will give you free SEO. This day in age the best thing to do for SEO is to make your site social friendly, this will spread the word faster then a site buried in the search engines. Or you could join a community where you get the support and tips you need.

    4. Anika Davis January 24, 2012 at 2:17 am #

      One more thing you can do is to ask for proof of successful campaigns that they have worked on such as comparison data from before the campaign and after the campaign. All that you have mentioned above are really very important in choosing a SEO services provider.

    5. DTrevino January 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      It never ceases to amaze me that hundreds of SEO companies guarantee their clients first page placement when there are only 20 or so spots on page one. Some companies can do it, though. I have watched SEO companies move their clients to page one with a competitive key word.

    6. Dennis January 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      I suggest being careful on sites like Odesk and Fiverr where individuals will do the seo work for you. All most of the cheeper ones do is use automated software that sends out thousands of spam comments that don’t’ really do any good.

      I think I got scammed by someone on odesk. I paid for SEO and they used Senuk or something like that. Just sitting there and pressing a button. I ended up getting a lot of traffic but truthfully I don’t know where it came from..

      It was one of those sites where I just didn’t’ care in the end… Felt like I wasted time and money…

      Great post

    7. Smashious January 27, 2012 at 5:08 am #

      great tips! thanks

    8. Mary January 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      I think one of the best ways someone can make sure they get their money’s worth is to educate themselves a little bit on what SEO is and what it can mean for their business. Without at least a basic understanding, it’s easy to get taken advantage of.

      As for refusing to pay up front, I would say this is negotiable. If you have done due diligence about SEO and about the company, paying up front should not be that much of an issue, though it should be discussed openly.

    9. LAwrence January 31, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Hi. thanks for the great posts. As a webmaster myself, I’ve experienced getting myself very badly cheated of my money. Once i signed up for a seo package of 1000 links but all they did was post my links on unrelated directories and i got my site rejected on more than half the directories they posted. If only i had known more and read this article before i actually go on outsourcing for people who do SEO.

    10. Jimmy Hovey February 15, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Before I knew anything about SEO, I spent $7500 in search services for 3 different areas. While I was at the top of search results in all 3, I never got 1 lead. I now average 40-50 leads per month using content strategies. The best part about organic vs ppc is that blog articles I created over a year ago are still generating leads and traffic. That wont happen if you stop paying for ppc. Analyze your results. Good article.

    11. Liz February 27, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Content and proper backlinking are not quick rememdies for SEO. It takes time and 5-6 months as mentioned above is even probably conservative.

    12. Scott May 14, 2012 at 4:50 am #

      Hi, I think good back links are beneficial for your site.

    13. Nathan June 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      Hi, Enjoyed the article, some good points mentioned in regards to what to be aware of, Like most things our common sense usually warns us but the lure of instant reward takes over sometimes.


    14. Lola October 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Google is beginning to change the way it chooses the right websites to be placed on its first pages. No one can guarantee that you will achieve first page rankings and if they do it wouldn’t last for a long time and it would just be a waste of money. So I would advice to do it yourself and be patient in getting the results you want. Seo is all about blogging, building quality links within your niche, social networking, on and off seo and the list goes on and on.

    15. Mugshot law April 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it ;) I will revisit yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

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