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article imageOp-Ed: Signs of an SEO Scam

By Jenna Cyprus     Sep 8, 2014 in Internet
When you’re shopping for search engine optimization (SEO) services, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices.
However, picking an SEO company or contractor isn’t like choosing a bar of chocolate—it’s not going to be pleasing no matter which one stands out. For example, too much pre-packaging simply isn’t going to work for the vast majority of businesses. It was viable in the earlier years when blasting links that led to websites was a real solution.
“Blasting” is still on the table with many companies and in some situations it can give your SEO a mini boost. However, when you’re only getting temporary results and no qualified leads, Google might blacklist your website as a punishment. This means you won’t show up at all when people query your keywords. You may as well not exist.
When researching SEO agencies, you need to find one that’s worked in your market (really worked) and get references. A reputable company will happily provide them.
“Strategies” to Avoid
If an SEO agency guarantees you’ll show up on the first page of Google results, run. Nobody can guarantee this—especially if you have a lot of big competition. If you’re in a niche market, you stand a better chance since you’re keywords aren’t as popular, but there are still no promises. Instead, a technical website audit should be offered that includes reviewing on-page factors, searching for duplicate content and competing pages, and checking out the competition.
Likewise, be wary of paid advertising sales which some companies cloak as “SEO services.” Some shoddy “professionals” might say paid advertising sales impacts organic rankings, but it doesn’t. Paid advertising sales can be legit and something an SEO agency offers, but paid advertising and SEO are two very different things. If it sounds too good to be true and very much like a sales pitch, it’s likely both.
Watch Your Step
If an SEO agency claims they have “insider knowledge,” such as a connection at Google, start looking elsewhere. Even if they do know someone at Google, even Google workers don’t know every piece to the algorithm—in other words, that “connection” is probably useless. Instead, gauge how knowledgeable an agency is by getting case studies and referrals (then actually follow these up).
Finally, steer clear of manual submissions. “Submission services” are part of getting your website published to directories, search engines, etc. SEO and social media are now common bed buddies, so it’s important that SEO agencies have proven marketing and business strategies in place. This means quality content (not link spamming), such as including a blog with your site or optimizing your authority.
Make sure the reputation of the SEO agency is top notch, and don’t shy away from asking blunt questions. Asking about their ranking methods, if the content is totally original and how it’s created, and their stance on black vs. white hat tactics should all be welcome. Plus, if you show an agency that you’ve done your homework, that sets the foundation for a transparent, honest working relationship.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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