Posted on January 10, 2014 · Posted in Search Engines

Anyone in business right now should be concerned with SEO. The internet is a great way to disseminate information, but if no one sees your content, it’s not doing you any good. For that reason, many of us spend our time worrying about Google rankings and keywords.

Many times, however, SEO appears to be too complicated. What worked yesterday doesn’t always work today, as Google is constantly changing its algorithms. Often times, the best way to get a good page ranking is by hiring an SEO expert or firm.

The problem with this is a lot of these experts are really just scammers. If you’re going to hire a third party to take care of your SEO needs, you need to watch out for a few common tricks.

Guaranteeing Top Ranking Keywords

Sometimes you’ll run into someone who claims that if you give them several keywords or phrases to choose from, they can get you a top ranking for one of them. They’re counting on your ignorance of popular keywords.

The hope is that you are too close to your industry. What this means is you’ll probably give them at least one word or phrase that is commonly used among those in your field – but not the general public.

For example, you might choose “legionellosis doctor” because that is what you specialize in treating.  However, only people suffering from legionellosis (a very select few!) will be looking for you.  Therefore, the scammer can easily get you a high ranking for the term – since there is very little competition.

On the other hand, “respiratory doctor” would be a more popular – and competitive – term.

Reselling AdWords

If anyone claims they can get you to the top of the page for a certain term, there’s a good chance they’re trying to pull one over on you. Most keywords and phrases already have established websites at the top of the organic results.

What they are doing is selling you AdWords. These put you into the sponsored results. It will get you to the top of the page, but there are a couple of issues. The first: these results aren’t as effective as organic search results. The second: you can get this spot cheaper on your own. You don’t need a third party to sell you AdWords. You can create your own account and buy it yourself, usually for a lot less than a third party will charge.

Taking Credit Where It’s Not Due

Sometimes your website is already doing most of the work. If you have a good amount of traffic and other prominent sites are linking to yours, then it doesn’t take much to get good Google page ranks.

Assuming the above mentioned requirements have met, Google will want your page to rank high. Other people are obviously finding value in your site, and that’s what Google wants. All a third party has to do is throw in some keywords in appropriate places and your page will move up.

Now, they will act like they’ve done a lot of “behind-the-scenes” work to get your high rank, but in reality, most of the work was already done for them. It’s an easy way for them to charge you much more than they deserve.

Use Healthy Skepticism

Not everyone who offers SEO solutions is trying to scam you, but it’s enough of a problem that you should keep your guard up. Make sure you’re aware of the scams that were listed in this article and do some research to find out more that are commonly used.

If you do stumble upon an SEO scammer, take action.  Report an internet scam (here’s how) and help keep other website owners safe.  Everyone frowns upon blatant Black Hat tactics; however, SEO scammers who take advantage of the less educated are a far worse villain.