At Plan left, we take pride in the work we do and the help we give clients. That’s why we get pretty angry when we learn of any individual or company taking advantage of unsuspecting business owners. One of the most popular scams out there deals with search engine optimization. It gets our blood boiling when we learn that an SEO “expert” took an innocent small-business owner for a ride.
Lack of understanding is what gets these business owners in trouble in the first place, but they can hardly be faulted for that. Isn’t that why they went looking for an “expert” to begin with? Marketing, when done correctly, is a noble business with the sole goal of growing others’ businesses. We want to be the expert you turn to so that you don’t have to do it all on your own. And that’s why we get so upset when fraudsters and scammers creep into our territory.
We can’t protect you all the time, but we can give you the tools you need to identify these scam artists. Here are 4 hints that the SEO “expert” you’re thinking of hiring is really a fraud.
Sorry, but no one can guarantee you a ranking on Google or any other search engine. If they do promise top billing and manage to deliver, you can be sure something shady went down in the background. Also, you can be sure that your ranking will plummet after Google figures out what your SEO “expert” did to scam the system. Your site will then be penalized. Recovering from this can take several months of cleanup and cost more than you paid in the first place.
Good, solid search engine optimization takes time and a lot of effort. If the company you hired gives you a trial period and shows results within that period, you can—again—be sure they were sketchy with their techniques. The type of SEO this promise requires is called “black hat,” and Google hates it. You’ll be knocked off your perch the moment those questionable techniques are discovered.
There is no secret to good SEO. All the information you need is out there already. Google webspam fighter Matt Cutts shares most of it himself on his blog. If your SEO “expert” tells you they use a secret process or refuses to share their techniques with you, they’re going to use those black hat tricks that will eventually get you smacked down.
Friends at Google
If someone ever tells you they have an “in” with Google, it’s a big, flashy neon sign that they’re scamming you. There are no shortcuts, not even of the “I know someone” kind. There is no way to schmooze your way to the top of the search rankings.
Now, be sure that you don’t get this confused with a Google Partner. There are several legitimate agencies and SEO specialists with this designation. Does that mean they can fast-track your SEO results? Nope. It just means they’ve taken all the tests set forth by Google regarding legitimate SEO techniques and passed. (Also, we have a Google Partner here on staff. It’s how we know all this stuff.)
What can you do if you think you’ve been scammed? Reach out to us right away. We’ll help you cut through the bull and get to the real heart of the promises made. If you have been scammed, you’ll need to cut ties as soon as possible. Don’t pay those frauds another cent. You already have a long road ahead undoing the damage that’s already been done.
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