SEO Scams & How To Avoid Them
The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry is huge and there are no shortages of “experts” out there who will sell you their services. But can they deliver or are they selling you an SEO scam? How can you tell if the service you are getting is actually benefitting your website?
The SEO Scam Basics
It would be great if you could find an SEO company, hire them and forget about it knowing that what they are doing for you is great. Unfortunately the reality is that there are a lot of SEO scammers out there who prey upon website clients who don’t know any better.
The most basic trick they pull, and the main thing to watch out for, is that they will promise you “top 10 listing on Google” very fast. The reason this trick works is because they are in fact doing just that for you, getting your site into some top 10 Google search results. But what they are not pointing out is that the search terms, or “keywords,” that they have targeted to get you listed on, are not highly used terms.
How Such SEO Scams Work
What they do is research and find some search terms, loosely related to your site, that have very little competition. This means other websites are not targeting the terms very much, not competing with you. The usual problem with such terms, which is what the SEO scammer won’t tell you, is that though there is low competition, it is because the terms have equally low usage (people actually typing the terms into Google to search).
Let’s say you have a website for your coffee shop. What the SEO scammer will show you is how they got you to #1 ranked for “verified coffee bean reviews” very fast. What they won’t tell you is that statistics show that absolutely no one is using those exact search terms. If no one searches for it, what use is it to be listed there?
Be A Part of the SEO Process
What I suggest is that you be a part of the SEO process, working with whoever you hire. I don’t mean you micro manage them or take on tasks that you wouldn’t know how to do. All that I am suggesting is that you find out and discuss the search terms that your SEO pro will be targeting, and use logic and your own knowledge of your customers to discern the best choices to go with.
To clarify, ideally what you want in a good set of search terms are:
- High Usage. The search terms are used by a lot by people.
- Low Competition. The search terms are not targeted by many other websites.
Your SEO pro will be able to find this information out, and a good one will work with you to select the terms to target that have good usage, low competition and a reasonable sense that your customers would think to use them.
Questions About SEO?
I am always happy to chat about SEO and other web design project.
Other Elements of SEO to be Aware of
In addition to the above search term process, there are a few other elements you want to make sure your SEO pro addresses. SEO is about your entire Internet presence for your business, so a pro will need to address a full spectrum of interrelated aspects.
- Site Design. Every aspect of a website’s design and layout needs to be considered for how well it both serves your visitors and is communicating with the search engines that index it.
- Social Media. A huge and growing factor of the complete SEO picture is how your social media will effect your results.
- Backlinks. These are links to your site from other sites. You want to make sure these other sites are legitimate and related. Avoid an SEO expert who wants to list your site in a bunch of site indexes.
One final resource. Here is a blog about bad SEO companies. It may be helpful in your selection process.