By Braden Walker
Web Director, TXAD Internet
It was a normal Tuesday morning when I came into the office, ate at my desk and drank some coffee while checking my email. All of a sudden, “PING” low and behold there it was, “Improve SEO Rankings TODAY!”
Well, who wouldn’t want to improve their SEO rankings TODAY? So I opened it and it read like this:
Hope you are well,
I was surfing through your website And realized that despite having a good design; it was not ranking on Competitive Keywords on search engines.
We can do higher search result on major search engines and serve 100% customer satisfaction services to our clients.
We are entitled to provide best Search Engine Optimization services at very affordable rates comparing the market.
Let me know if you are interested we will send you our company details if you find this information interesting to your business.
I look forward to your mail.
(Fake name deleted for privacy purposes)
This is the kind of email that comes in daily to nearly every business owner’s email. Aside from destruction of the English language, they are focusing on using certain keywords that they know a business owner wants to see, such as 100% customer satisfaction, best SEO, very affordable, etc.
There are a lot of (and I use this term loosely) “SEO companies” out there that would love to take your money and leave you worse off. I have worked with a ton of small business owners that have been taken advantage of by these so called SEO companies. They get an email or phone call and aren’t sure of the questions to ask and unfortunately they fall prey to these scams.
So you may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t want to be scammed, what do I need to be on the lookout for?” I’m glad you asked as here are six SEO scams to watch out for in 2015:
Getting your site ranked for keywords that no one searches for
It sounds great to say that I rank first for a specific keyword. I mean who wouldn’t want to rank first? It’s the top ranking that everyone is going to see, right? Not necessarily. Any SEO technician who is worth his or her weight in gold, will tell you that one of the first steps to optimizing your website, is to do keyword research and discovery and find out which keywords have the most monthly searches to benefit the client the most.
Just this week, a competitor of ours claimed to be ranking at the top for a specific keyword. But when looking at the Google monthly search volume, or how often that term is actually searched, it came up with a big fat goose egg. You can rank at the top for any keyword, but if it isn’t a good fit or doesn’t have anyone searching for it, then it is a complete waste of your money.
Phone Calls and Emails Claiming to be Google
This one has been going on for years. Certain companies are calling business owners and passing themselves off as Google and trying to convince you that your listing isn’t correct or that they can get you ranking higher in the search results.
There are only a few times Google will ever call you: To verify your business, confirm business details for Google Maps or if you have spoken to Google previously, your account manager may call you.
Google will never charge for inclusion in Google My Business or Google Search. They will never offer to improve your rankings or manage your business’s online profile and they will never ask you for your password or verification code. If the person calling you asks for any of those things, hang up.
Everyone wants a guarantee and while there are quite a few things that can be guaranteed in SEO, one of those is not where you rank. “SEO companies” that state that they will get you ranking 1st on Google for your keywords are simply lying.
There is no way to guarantee this because no one controls Google’s search results but Google. Any reputable SEO firm will tell you that they will work hard to get your site ranked at the top and that should be one of the goals for any SEO campaign, but to guarantee it would be a lie.
“Secret Sauce” Tactics
There are trade secrets in any industry. McDonalds has its secret sauce, and Bush’s Baked Beans will never give up the family recipe, unless you bribe their dog apparently. SEO firms and web developers have their trade secrets too but what should never be a secret is the work that is being performed on your website.
If an SEO technician is not willing to be completely forthright with you about the work being done, RUN. Whether you understand it or not, you need to know what work is being done to your website so that there can be accountability. If you are suspicious of some of the work, Google it and find out. There is a ton of information about SEO and what is legitimate and what isn’t.
Submitting your site to hundreds of search engines
This is one of those old tactics that looks really good, but amounts to fluff. Why wouldn’t you want your website in hundreds of search engines? The simplest answer, because only three search engines account for 99 percent of the search traffic in the United States today. This is the equivalent of buying additional rust proofing on a new car — an extra expense best spent elsewhere.
If someone is trying to sell this tactic, I would be cautious of the rest of their work and take a closer look at what they are selling you.
This is one of the biggest no-nos in the SEO industry and yet there are still people doing it. Let me break this down in a real world fashion. If I have a friend that is a great mechanic and reasonably priced, I know everyone I have contact with will eventually need a great mechanic. I am going to tell everyone I know about this guy and refer him to everyone I come across that needs his services. They will hopefully in turn do the same thing for him once they have experienced his great service.
This is known as word of mouth marketing. Building up your link portfolio is the same thing. Google wants you to link to reliable and beneficial partners if it makes sense to do so on your website. What they don’t want is for you to be associated with just anyone who will post a link to your website because you paid them to do so. Google hates this and will penalize for it and once you are on their list, it takes a lot of work to get off of it.
So to sum all this up, know who you are dealing with and make sure that whoever you chose to do your SEO is up to date with current standards and knows what they are talking about. If you have questions, reach out to industry experts and we will help guide you in the right direction.
TXAD Internet is an SEO consultant to the campground industry. The firm specializes in SEO, web design, and all things online marketing related. For more information or to get in contact with TXAD Internet, visit txadinternet.com or call 817.426.9395.