How many times have you received emails or phone calls involving the following offers?
- “We can get you to the top page of Google!”
- “from Google” or “working with Google”
- “1st Page on Google.!!”
Everyday my email inbox and SPAM folder is swamped with offers like these and I bet yours is too.
These companies are not reputable, and you should treat these emails the same way you would from some foreign prince wanting to give you money.
Even Google gets these e-mails! Google says you should, “Be wary of SEO (search engine optimize) firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue. Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.”
How to Spot An SEO Scammer
One clear flag is the fact they use a free email address from Gmail.com, Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, or Yahoo.com to hide their true identity (or lack of). Reputable firms would have their domain name in their address, along with a phone number and website. Their website should also list their physical address as well.
Even if the firm has all this information, you should still do your due diligence and check them out.
Warning Flags to Look Out For
- Claiming to be Google or working on behalf of Google
This is actually a violation of Google’s policy. Google has posted about these false and misleading claims in a post you can read here: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6086777?hl=en.
- Misrepresenting their Google Partnership
Being in the Google Partners Program or displaying a Partners badge does not mean that they have any special working relationship with Google. Also, Google does not certify people in SEO.
- Guaranteed rankings or guaranteeing you are on page one of Google
Nobody can guarantee rankings because so many factors figure into organic search rankings. If you spend enough money, you could possibly get a spot on page one through paid ad placements. Again, this is not 100% guaranteed as other factors also figure into paid ad placement through Google.
Also, you need to consider the return on your investment. Is paying a lot of money for a short-term ad the best way to spend your money?
How to Evaluate an SEO Firm
If you are thinking about hiring an SEO firm or other marketer, be prepared to do some research and ask questions. Google has some questions you can ask any potential SEO you are thinking about hiring.