1. Reports that your site is not listed by Google
“I visited your site and noticed that
you are not listed on Google.”
“Our records show that
you have not updated your free Google business listing.”
They may even use social pressure to get your attention.
“Several people you know have reported to us that
your site is not being found on Google.”
2. Affiliation with Google
“I’m calling from Google and we want to alert you that
your site has not been indexed by Google.”
“I need to speak to the business owner. Due to recent updates, you will need to confirm your Google business page or we will no longer be able to show it to Google users at the end of the coming month.”
Google does not do marketing cold calls! Anyone who presents themselves as calling from Google is a scammer. They might identify themselves as a Google Partner, as the Google Verification Department, or something similar. These people have gotten very devious to get your attention.
3. Threats if you don’t accept the offer
Some calls may sound threatening if you don’t take up their offer, where neither option is good. This is from a robocall we received a few days ago:
“Press 1 to get your site indexed by Google.
Press 2 to have your listing removed.”
Rest assured that a telemarketer cannot have your site removed from Google search results.
4. Guarantee of page 1 ranking
No one can guarantee page 1 ranking on any of the search engines. If SEO were that easy everybody would be doing it, and it’s only logical that everybody can’t be on page 1.
“Your business name on Google page 1 —
A fraudulent company might promise you a page 1 ranking for your business name, which you would typically already have anyway, and then claim credit for that.
Some companies will guarantee results within 48 hours: a ridiculous promise that can’t be fulfilled. It typically takes months of research and dedicated SEO work by an expert to get noticeable results.
“We have inside knowledge
about Google’s algorithm secrets!”
Google is the only expert on their algorithms, and they don’t reveal all of their secrets to anyone. Any vendor saying this could be doing nothing or could be using unethical methods that will get you banned from search results completely by breaking Google’s rules.
“Sign up for a free trial
and let us show you what we can do!”
SEO is hard work that builds over time, and no reputable company will work for free. The “free trial” offer frequently requires a credit card number and login passwords to your website or your hosting company, making you extremely vulnerable to a company you know nothing about. With this information they can lock you out of your own website and use this leverage to coerce you into paying more. NEVER give out this information to someone you don’t know
“Your money back
if you are not 100% thrilled with our service!”
This offer typically includes a large setup fee (around $1,000) followed by a monthly service fee. Typically they aren’t even working on your SEO at all, and the setup fee is not refundable.
8. Hundreds or thousands of links to your site
Think about it. Do you actually know hundreds of sites where you could have links to your website that would make sense?
“We can create hundreds of links to your site
Link building by scammers means that they are putting meaningless links on link farm pages, which are nonsense pages jammed full of unrelated links. You can get penalized and/or blacklisted by Google for this practice, and getting those links removed once you discover them is tedious work that can cost into the thousands.
“We will submit your content
to over 2,000 sites!”
If an SEO company promises to create and syndicate articles for you throughout the internet to get links back to your site, they are creating low quality content on low quality websites. While the promise of hundreds of articles linking back to your site sounds appealing, when mechanical article spinners are used to replicate content, you end up with duplicate content that will earn your site a penalty when it’s discovered. Even worse, article spinners often do this to increase their own ranking, not yours. They may claim ownership of the articles so that in the end you don’t own or control the junk articles floating out there linking back to your site and making you look bad.
10. SEO done without your input
SEO is thoughtful work that requires information from you. Optimizing starts with the SEO company’s intimate knowledge about your ideal customer, your industry, your niche in that industry, and what makes you unique. If you haven’t spent time in interviews or meetings to set the stage for a proper marketing effort, it’s likely that the company is doing absolutely nothing while collecting a monthly fee.
11. Guarantee of traffic numbers
“We can get you thousands of site visits
Increased traffic numbers are nice, but it’s visits by your target market that could lead to sales that you really want. An SEO company that guarantees a certain level of site visitors will likely be producing those hit statistics through computer programs pounding your website to make it look as if actual people are visiting.
12. Nothing specific promised in writing
Let’s say you are mesmerized by the promises you are given over the phone by an SEO telemarketer, and you sign up for services. Chances are that there will be no written agreement including the promises that were made verbally. You would be giving your credit card number to someone who is not obligated to do anything in return.
So you ignore the sleazy verbal sales pitch or the poor English in the email offer, because you are enticed by the promise of success, and give your credit card number to an offshore company. How accountable do you think that company will be, and how responsive, when they have nothing to lose in the business community? When you realize several months down the road that you are being charged and that they aren’t delivering anything, your only option is to shut down your bank account or credit card, because there is no international authority who can mediate. The likelihood of you getting your money back is slim.