Beware of “Snake Oil” SEO Gurus

Sep 7, 2018

Google punishes scammer tactics, so beware of false promises, and protect your business with these tips to recognize and sidestep so-called SEO gurus.

Has this ever happened to you? You purchase a DVD at a flea market for a movie that just arrived in theaters last week. It was only five bucks, though! And the sweet little old lady that sold it to you reminded you of your grandma.

It’s only when you get home to kick back with the remote and a bucket of popcorn that you discover Spider-Man is speaking French for some reason, and his costume features a snail emblem instead of a spider. And he just, like, walks everywhere.

You can fill in the blank: If a deal looks too good to be true, ______________.

SEO can be a lot like a knockoff Spider-Man.

There’s no regulatory commission overseeing the Search Engine Optimization industry – no certification to acquire, and no SEO boot camp that entrepreneurs have to endure.

Any salesman with a slick attitude can pull some basic information together and spin it into a lucrative little scam. Unfortunately, many business owners are completely unfamiliar with the complicated concepts behind SEO.

If this describes you, don’t be in a hurry to get results. Those who give in to haste often let their guard down. Instead, do your research, interview prospective candidates, and get referrals from business associates who have had online success.

Protect your business with these 5 tips to recognize and sidestep Snake Oil SEO gurus.

Remember, Google punishes scammer tactics – such as keyword stuffing, so beware of false promises from shady SEO “gurus.”

1. No one can guarantee a #1 position on Google.

Not even Mark Zuckerberg – or Yoda. Google is pretty clear about this.

2. Google doesn’t play favorites.

SEO gurus claiming they have access to “special” considerations or “priority submits” are liars, plain and simple.

Also, don’t respond to out-of-the-blue emails from so called “SEO specialists.” Reputable professionals will never send you a cold email expecting you to disclose your credit card information. You didn’t hand over your hard-earned money to that Nigerian prince who kept pestering you on email, right? Same principle. (I mean, you didn’t, did you?)

3. Bundled SEO solutions are – best case scenario – ineffective.

Back in the mid-90s, blasting links to your site to countless prospects would have yielded some results. But in the 21st century, it’s just not feasible. Such tactics don’t generate qualified leads; whatever results you received would be temporary; and Google could even blacklist you for trying.

4. Free trials are fabrications.

Avoid them, particularly if you are asked for personal or sensitive information, such as username and password combos. Keep in mind, SEO is a process. Sometimes an arduous one. It can take weeks to months to begin to see real results. It’s all about playing the long game. To that end, anyone offering a “lowest price” guarantee should send up a red flag no matter what you’re buying. These claims typically signify a fly-by-night ne’er do wells. In short, proper SEO is not fast and it’s not cheap. But it can work if you are willing to invest the time and effort.

And perhaps the most important tip:

5. Don’t let anyone – anyone – take control of your content. Ever.

Regardless of who penned the copy – if you’ve paid for something, make certain it is yours, no strings attached. Scour contracts with a fine-toothed comb and question any verbiage that doesn’t sit right. Handing over ownership could land content that you worked so hard to cultivate in the hands of a competitor. And if you decide to move to a new, reputable SEO company, your site could even be held hostage for outlandish fees.

One huge concern with SEO gurus is the creation of shadow domains. These supplementary websites are used to redirect traffic to the main target website and boost its rankings. Unfortunately, they are often owned by the SEO guru. If and when a relationship between SEO and client terminates, unscrupulous scammers could point these domains to a different site entirely – even a competitor’s.

Remember – specificity is the key.

If self-professed SEO gurus say they have a secret recipe, its main ingredients are likely B and S. Don’t fall for the promise that your site will be submitted to thousands of search engines. You can count on one hand the search engines that matter to you and just about everyone else.

Most importantly, if your spider-sense is tingling, trust it. Your instincts have served you well thus far.

IMPACT Marketing & PR does SEO the right way, and we have a pretty good track record getting results for clients from every walk of life. Interested in learning more? Give us a call.

IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations, LLC

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