How to Avoid Being Burned by Fake SEO “Experts”
How to spot Shady SEO Companies in Sacramento, Folsom, and El Dorado Hills
SEO is a crucial skill of our time in the web world. Every business that’s online at all is competing to show up on the coveted first page of Google for its chosen keywords. And as might be expected for something so high-demand, there is a whole army of so-called “experts” in SEO willing to get your site to the highest spot in the rankings for the low price of most of your company’s profits. Whether you are looking to hire a Folsom SEO company or an El Dorado Hills SEO expert, beware of the shady companies out there. They do exist.
Choose your SEO help unwisely and this “expert” will run off with your money after twiddling about on your site for a little bit, leaving you with no results and no recourse to get your money back.
Unscrupulous fraudsters are becoming a big problem within the SEO industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself. If you are located in the great city of Sacramento, Folsom or El Dorado Hills, keep in mind that you want to go shopping before hiring just any company.
Here are some of the biggest SEO scams going on and how to protect yourself from getting burned.
The SEO Company that Guarantees Rankings
This is the biggest sign if someone is trying to scam you out of your SEO budget. There is actually no way to guarantee a particular ranking on Google. There’s not even a way to guarantee front page placement.
Google itself says that it is not possible to guarantee a certain ranking, so if someone is trying to sell you SEO by guaranteeing that you’ll hit Google’s front page, they’re lying.
Alternatively, they might not be lying, but they might be using black hat techniques that would get you on the front page very briefly before you got banned altogether – which would be even worse.
Instead, choose an SEO consultant in Folsom, El Dorado Hills or the greater Sacramento area who guarantees specific deliverables that they do have control over, such as a certain amount of content, a certain number of high-quality backlinks, and a certain level of traffic or conversion.
The SEO guy who knows a guy
Nobody has a “special relationship” with Google, and “knowing someone” at Google won’t get you higher rankings. If an SEO provider is claiming this, run. It is a blatant lie. If we had a nickel for every time a client came in and said, “Well, they said they were a certified Google partner”.
First of all, being Google certified means that you are certified in Google Ad Words or PPC (Pay Per Click). This is very far from SEO and an overall SEO strategy. Don’t ever trust an SEO guy who says they are Google Certified or they know someone at Google. YIKES, run.
The SEO company that offers a free trial
In some industries, free trials are a great way to get to know if the provider is a good fit. In SEO, the amount of time it takes just to get started optimizing a site is so time intensive that no legitimate company will do it for free.
From the provider’s point of view, free trials include the risk that the customer won’t sign a contract for continued service after the trial is over. The only SEO companies who could afford to do this are making their money in some other way, probably by scamming you. Check out this post on SEO free trials which is a collection of people talking about free trial SEO campaigns. There is a good thread here that is a collection of SEO peolpe speaking on the topic.
And it should go without saying that you should never give any passwords or backend access to anyone with whom you have not signed a legal contract.
Instead, choose an SEO expert who offers a certain amount of content to be written, certain number of citation listings, and a certain number of backlinks. There are many more details that can go into this section as well.
Is your SEO company offering the following items:
- CRO Strategy (Conversion Rate Optimization)
- CTA Strategy (Call to Action)
- CTR Strategy (Click Through Rate)
- Inbound Marketing
- Content Writing
- Internal Linking Structure
- Outbound Linking Structure
- Building Backlinks in 2017
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
- CTA Buttons (Phone and Form)
- Well designed opt-in forms
- Building Citations
- The list is a mile long!
The ones who advertise submission to thousands of search engines
Remember Dogpile? Ever use it? Us either.
Everybody’s using Google these days. Those that aren’t using Google are using Bing. Yahoo comes up a distant third. Submitting to “thousands” of search engines gets you into the law of rapidly diminishing returns.
Real SEO experts know this. Real SEO experts also go ahead and submit you to a bunch of other search engines anyway because there will always be some people who want to plant a tree with every search or whatever their engine of choice offers.
There are hundreds of search engines out there and it is important to be in all of them, however, it is most rewarding to rank higher in Googles SERPS (Search Engine Result Page).
The SEO Company with top Secret Strategies
There is no magical spell that can get you on the front page. There’s no potion you can sprinkle over your website. There’s no meditation you can do in some secret temple in the jungle. In other words, there are no secrets.
What there are, are sound strategies that work. And SEO experts talk about them all the time. We share tips with each other and we’re always looking for the newest, best way to beat the algorithm and jump to the top.
And real SEO experts will tell you what they’re planning on doing to your website. This is, after all, how we let you know that we’re better than all the other guys out there – we have a better plan.
The SEO Company who is using PPC (Pay Per Click)
Newsflash: you can buy ads for yourself. You don’t need to hire an SEO guy to take out ads for you.
SEO isn’t taking out ads. SEO is getting organic results – meaning results that rank well on Google in regular search results. The paid ads with the little yellow box on them do not count as being on the top of Google.
The SEO Company that doesn’t know about Google Guaranteed
Google Guaranteed is the method Google has introduced to protect customers from locksmith scams, plumber scams, and handyman scams. Basically, any business that is required to some sort of insurance and licensing can be verified on Google, so that customers can buy with confidence. You get Google Guaranteed by scanning in the documents from your license and insurance, and then when customers see your listing they see Google’s endorsement of you. When customers book services through Google Guaranteed, they are guaranteed that you will do the work satisfactorily according to your contract with the customer, or Google will give them their money back.
Guess what that means for you: more business and more customer confidence!
If an SEO specialist doesn’t know about Google Guaranteed, they can’t get you in on this major business-boosting method.
More importantly, if they don’t know about Google Guaranteed, what else don’t they know about?
The SEO Company that has the Lowest Prices
You get what you pay for, especially in custom services that require many hours of work. If someone is willing to spend hours of work for dirt cheap prices, they either don’t know what they’re doing or they’re not actually going to spend hours on your site.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Instead, pick someone who charges somewhere closer to the middle of the price bell curve. You can gauge the market value of the work you are asking for pretty accurately by looking at the most common price range you are quoted.
Flat prices and SEO just don’t mix. If your SEO company is pitching a certain dollar amount you might want to be skeptical. SEO is all about client budget and how aggressive you want to be. There are many hard costs associated with quality SEO services and if you are being sold a gold, silver or platinum package, you should get out as fast as you can.
There is no perfect package when it comes to SEO. Each package should be individually priced and tailored around a clients BUDGET. It drives us crazy when we see SEO companies with pre-packaged SEO deals. Every industry is different, every business is different and a marketing campaign should be approached accordingly.
The SEO Company that claims to “know the algorithm”
Nobody knows the algorithm. Google makes it that way deliberately, for a very good reason. The algorithm is incredibly complex, and it is always changing. They are always updating the algorithm to let high-quality sites through and weed out the junk. If they published a list of what they were looking for, people could just jump through all the hoops and rank well, even if their site has nothing of any actual value on it.
The way the algorithm actually works from an SEO expert’s viewpoint is that we know lots of individual elements of the algorithm, such as keywords, meta tags, link popularity, content quality, and visit length, and we keep track of changes so we can keep our clients’ websites on the current Google trend (lack of better words). But we’re not sitting there with a bullet pointed list of everything the algorithm looks for, nor do we have someone sitting in the back room who has managed to absorb an entire computer algorithm by osmosis and store it in his brain. People who make these claims are overblowing their knowledge, which probably means they have less
But we’re not sitting there with a bullet pointed list of everything the algorithm looks for, nor do we have someone sitting in the back room who has managed to absorb an entire computer algorithm by osmosis and store it in his brain. People who make these claims are overblowing their knowledge, which probably means they have less
People who make these claims are overblowing their knowledge, which probably means they have less knowledge to begin with than real SEO experts.
Besides, knowing what changes are being made to the algorithm and what elements the algorithm is looking for is the job of any SEO expert. Would you hire a plumber who claims to know “the pipes?”
If you want to see a good list of the top 200+ ranking factors, check out this well-respected SEO enthusiast; Brian Dean.
The SEO Company that wants to own your content
Read the fine print. Believe it or not, there are SEO companies out there that claim ownership of the content on your page. If you’ve paid for it, it’s yours, even if they wrote it. If they claim ownership, they can hold your page hostage. Worse, they could sell it to a competitor and get you penalized by having duplicate content up online.
If you paid for it, it should belong to you.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop them below or give us a call. : )