With the emergence of the Internet and Internet based services, lots of new jobs were created, including search engine optimization analysts and experts, who are people who have knowledge about how search engines rank websites and pages. With the increased competition on the internet and the skyrocketing pace at which online startups took off, the need for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increased exponentially. While there are genuine experts who can help improve your website ranking stats or help your website be eligible for high ranking, there are multiple fraudulent services who falsely claim guaranteed #1 Rank or high ranks when real experts know such guarantees are not possible.
How the SEO Fraud works
Companies claiming to be SEO experts will approach you, often via spam emails or will be having a website containing the suspicious criteria discussed in the next section. Their website will contain badges or certificates but don’t let that fool you. A lot of these certificates can be purchased easily online. Many of these companies will not have an actual SEO expert that you can talk to as they outsource the work to countries like India and China where they perform very low-quality work or mass black hat techniques that could get your site banned, demonetized or penalized as well as harm your SEO ranking even worse than what you began with. Many fraudsters knowingly offer and perform old and outdated SEO techniques that might have worked years ago but doesn’t anymore due to the search engines’ continual update of the ranking strategy.
Losing your money with no actual work done at the minimum. Depending on the deal, you might lose ownership to your content or your website. Depending on the procedure performed, search engines might demonetize you, penalize you, downgrade your website rank or ban you.
When to suspect SEO Fraud
The following are claims, when heard; you should run, run far away because you are about to hand your account information to a fraudster.
- The Google Claims
- Claiming to have contacts with Google, whether as being an employee or a third party affiliate or claiming to know Google’s algorithm or promise guaranteed #1 rank is an absolute fraud. Firstly, Google reported not having affiliations with third-party SEO companies and no Google employee will sacrifice their career to partner with SEO companies. Moreover, Google’s algorithm is one hell of an algorithm that no single one person knows about. Instead, it is the cumulative work of several huge teams that all pool in together lengthy, numerous codes. These codes are updated frequently as well and Google’s ranking strategy changes often, which is why Google reported that no one can guarantee a #1 Rank. Any company that claims so is being unreal.
- The Wizardly and Witchcraft
- Claiming to have the secret magic recipe and miracle work that will raise your rank is quite suspicious. Respectable and honest SEO specialists offer a detailed execution plan and tell you which aspects are they going to target and what exactly are they going to do.
- The Too Good to be true
- Promises that are too good to be true such as improved rank in 24 hours, free trials or very low prices. Real SEO work is a lot of hard work. Free trials are often suspicious, and very low prices or time-bound results are often unrealistic. The only actual guarantee is the PPC (Pay per click). Offering to promote you to 100s of search engines is another tell-tale as real SEO experts realize that 99.9% of the activity of the internet occurs on less than a dozen of well-known search engines.
Watch Out For
Companies that require a non-monetary form of payment, for example, ownership of the content on the website or the website itself. Nobody should take away your hard work; you should only pay for the hours spent working on the SEO project. There should be no extra reward for being your middleman.
Stay Safe By
- Avoid spam email coming from “A Leading SEO Specialist Company”. Usually, the name of the company will not match the name in the email address. Look out for spelling mistakes and other suspicious indications such as trying to convince you that they are not spam. Don’t respond to spam mail.
- If you are on an SEO’s company’s website and you unsure about hiring them, don’t forget to screen them for the above criteria. Ask them for previous clients that you could contact for reference. If they are unable to provide testimonials, then there are red flags flashing everywhere as for how come this “successful” company doesn’t have previous clients you could refer to?
- Check the company on RipOffReport.com or search for them on Google along with the word “scam”, “Fraud” or “Reviews”
- Make sure you talk to the person who will perform the SEO himself, ask him to explain you the procedure he will perform and avoid black hat techniques.
Check out Google’s Article “Do You Need SEO?” for further guidance:
Category: Internet Fraud. SEO/SMM.
Known As: SEO “Fake” Specialists/Experts
Hunting Grounds: The Internet, Spam E-mail. Focuses on new, startups, and small businesses. They follow new domain registrations as primary “leads”. Fraudsters see zero threat potential when the victims discover they have been subject to a fraud.