The Top Things That Should Set off Alarm Bells When an SEO tells you:

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New businesses and those new to online marketing can be pulled into traps when they are looking for someone to conduct there SEO campaign. So if you are one of those that need help with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) then you could find yourself falling into the grubby hands of some “dodgy” SEOs. Just make sure that you avoid those that promise you these things:

SEO lies

“I promise to get your site to number 1 in 3 months”. This can mean anything, and usually it won’t benefit you. They could mean your brand name or some really long tail key term. Make sure that you find out exactly what terms they are “definitely” going to get to number 1 for you. Just be sure about what they are promising, if they say you will be number 1 for “click here” in 3 months, then hold them to it, but trust me it’s not likely.

“I will increase you traffic 100 fold in one week”. This could mean anything, there are companies that you can pay dedicated to increasing your traffic using Proxy and IP servers, appearing to have clicked on your site 1000’s of times. Traffic doesn’t mean anything without a conversion

“I am in need for a budget for Paid Links”. Frowned upon by most SEOs and Google, this is where an SEO will spend all their time and your money buying links on blogs and high PR sites. If you want to go down this route you can, but there is every chance your site will get a penalty, given out by Google.

Just remember though, that directory links are not “paid links” if an SEO wants your site to have Yahoo directory link, although expensive is beneficial and not frowned upon. Make sure that you find out where your SEO is planning on spending our budget. Blog links = bad. Directory links = good.

The other factor is that the link you paid for would be devalued as well, providing a lot less power to your site. The referring site may also incur a penalty, all recently admitted by Google in their last PageRank update

“We need more flash on your website”. Not likely that any SEO will suggest this, but if they do then run. Flash is one of the most pointless coding and design systems to have on your site, it has no benefit to your site. In fact the code involved can be detrimental to your site. It is messy and takes up a lot of room, not to mention that Google’s BOT can’t understand much of it.

“Google doesn’t pay too much attention to Meta Tags”. Leave the room or hang up the phone now! This is ridiculous but I actually heard someone say this once. Google puts heavy weight on your Title Tag, although the description tag isn’t quite so important as far as Google’s algorithm is concerned, it is for users, a good tool for conversion!

The Description and the Keyword Meta Tags are still used in other search engines. Yahoo and Bing both confirmed that they still use the content in the Description to help identify the reality of a website. Although the weight isn’t as great as it was, it is a factor for SEO in these search engines and conversion factor for Google!

“I can get your site to a Page Rank 9 by the next update!” Watch out with this one, unless you are getting a legitimate link from the BBC, Microsoft or Google, you could find yourself falling into a trap called “Cloaking”. This is where an SEO will 301 redirect your website to a more powerful one like Microsoft, Adobe, BBC or even Google, giving the impression that your site is actually the one you are redirecting too. This will boost your PR but it wont provide any benefit to your site.

In fact you could have issues ranking for anything in the future if you are caught, your site could be removed from the Google Index altogether.

“Have you ever used a Link Farm – They’re great!” Another “no no”, this is one of the easiest ways to identify “dodgy” links. Basically a host of sites all link together passing power between each other, with a more powerful site linking between them as well. Hence forth the power from the more powerful site is distributed among them.

If you receive one link from these sites, you probably won’t even get noticed. However if you pick up links from all of them, you could be identified as being a part of the Link Farm and your site being devalued as well as the others. Stay away from Link Farms they create a pattern that is very easy to spot.

“I want to target all 200 of your key terms to the home page!” This is actually something I have come across a few times. Some SEOs still build links all to the home page, because this is where the bulk of a sites power is. However it is in my opinion one of the worst practices. You can’t possibly hope to accommodate more than 10 terms to one page, it becomes extremely hard.

The advantage with having multiple pages is that you can optimize each one individually for each term. It also helps to improve conversion because people land right on the page they want. Although it may take a little longer it is much more beneficial, and also opens avenues for you to spread power across your site, gaining links to deeper individual pages, making the linking process look much more natural!

Hopefully you aren’t one of those with an SEO like this but hopefully you will know what to watch out for if you are new to this!

This is a guest post by Marcus, who works with Fresh Egg

Contact us if you want to guest post on this blog. Image Credit: Fanpop

Article by ZK

ZK has written 945 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andrew @ Blogging Guide May 30, 2010, 11:48 am

    Unfortunately many people fall victim of these type of scams – a bit like the ones which say ‘I can make your bank balance grow by $5000 overnight – here buy my $27 e-book”.

    I like the saying, we have all heard before, ‘”if it’s too good to be true – it normally is”.

    Andrew
    .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Need Some Blogging Help? =-.

  • Udegbunam Chukwudi | Make Money Online May 30, 2010, 12:21 pm

    I couldn’t help but laugh @ all these tips especially “I can get your site to a Page Rank 9 by the next update!”. The guy talking most probably doesn’t even have any site up to PR 3
    .-= Udegbunam Chukwudi | Make Money Online´s last blog ..Make Your Blog 10x Faster With W3 Total Cache Plug-in =-.

  • Mitch May 30, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I know a guy who used to promise everyone he’d have them at the top of Google for their keywords. Then he’d pick the most obscure keywords to make good on his promise, stuff no one would ever look for. Gotta watch out for those guys as well.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..Sunday Question – Do You Have Someone Special To Think About On Memorial Day? =-.

  • Hesham May 30, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Nice article ZK, people should be a ware of this! I have been contacted a lot recently by some guys who claims SEO services!

    I actually don’t believe those people that easy especially when what they say doesn’t make sense to me!
    .-= Hesham´s last blog ..How to Keyword Stuffing Without Stuffing Keywords =-.

  • Nasrul Hanis May 30, 2010, 7:25 pm

    I received offers sound like these and they’re from the people I’ve never know. I hope the tell the truth and logic promises after this – or their reputation will be on the line. Forever.

  • Julius May 30, 2010, 11:28 pm

    I think working on your own site’s SEO is still the best way to go. It will take a longer time, but you’ll learn lots of things along the way.
    .-= Julius´s last blog ..Sign Language Used in Technology =-.

  • ZK May 31, 2010, 5:34 am

    I would recommend asking them for client references and ranking details for the SEO work done..speaking to their clients will give you an overall perspective if the agency is able to pull rankings for competitive keywords.

  • Silly Bandz May 31, 2010, 7:22 am

    I have also heard some that would say that they would submit 1 article to 150 directories. I am not sure they realized that Google is against dupe contents.
    .-= Silly Bandz´s last blog ..Where To Buy Silly Bandz Online =-.

    • ZK June 1, 2010, 2:49 am

      Here is a good post on the Google Duplicate Content myth and how to handle duplicate content

      http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/09/16/google-busts-the-duplicate-content-myth

      • David June 3, 2010, 3:13 pm

        Hmm ZK. You’re forcing your readers to go somewhere else to learn about duplicate content penalty myths?!?

        You should have a post on-site to deal with that!

        If you don’t feel like writing it, I’ll do it 😉

        • ZK June 4, 2010, 11:55 pm

          If its a good post and relates to content I don’t mind sharing 🙂

  • limo hire Gold Coast June 1, 2010, 2:41 am

    This is likely to resurrect the question of whether there should be a governing body – although the blackhats and spammers would thrive in an environment where other SEOs were regulated by a central code of practice.

  • custom-web-design June 1, 2010, 5:55 am

    It is important to build a strategy. Get to know your requirements. What’s in you budget? What’s your primary focus? If you don’t have a strategy, there is definite chance you may be one of the victims of scams.

  • Colleen June 1, 2010, 6:42 am

    What kills me is when the anonymous SEO sales call tells me I can rank #1 for such and such keyphrase, when we already rank #1 for that phrase. They never bothered to check!
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..Memorial Day Events Around the Mid Columbia =-.

  • Laptop Cases June 1, 2010, 4:29 pm

    I have also received a ton of generic SEO offer e-mails lately. It seems that they have avoided the false promises, but who would hire some generic company who happened to spam your website contact form?

    Regardless of what a SEO company promises, always be sure to look up reviews on that company (on multiple websites). There are far too many SEO companies who try to swindle their clients out of thousands of dollars each month only to drag their feet to extend the project as long as possible.

  • David June 3, 2010, 3:09 pm

    If a guy told me that meta tags aren’t very important, it’s hardly cause to run out of the room or hang up the phone. You need to clarify what he means by ‘important’ before you run away. Important for SEO or important for conversions?

    Maybe in 2003, when the interwebz were a super duper new thing and Google had just been launched, meta keywords were the way to go for SEO. This just encouraged meta keyword-stuffing, however, and Google removed meta-keywords’ importance from its algorithm a long time ago. Since Google still has around 70% of the search market, an SEO telling you that meta-tags aren’t very important is actually perfectly OK. Yahoo has 10% of the search market and falling, and Bing’s algorithm is based on way too many other things for meta keywords to be very important.

    Meta keywords aside, the only other important meta item is the meta description, and Google does NOT use it in its ranking. Find out what the SEO is referring to when he says “meta tags aren’t very important to Google” and then you can differentiate between a savvy internet marketer and a doofus.

    • Laptop Cases June 11, 2010, 3:30 pm

      Yes the whole meta tags thing is debatable. Personally I’d rather cover all my bases and get as much traffic as possible from anywhere. Sure Google doesn’t use them now and they are the main source of traffic for most sites, but it’s important to diversify. It just creates more stable traffic & site income. That way you always have something to fall back upon if something happens to one traffic source.

  • Web Yazılım Tasarım June 4, 2010, 12:31 pm

    Damn ZK you’re so right! First, I’ve seen sooo many SEO’s targeting the landing page for all of their keywords… I mean come to think of it, if you review the page as a person and it includes 30-40 different topics at the same time, that page definitely loses credibility. It’s the same for Search Engines. Like you said, the beauty of having other pages optimized for each different type of keywords, creates a clearer website context.

  • Komodo Dragon June 5, 2010, 7:57 pm

    All in all a good article, What I am confused about though is why are “Blog links” bad?

    Here’s something I will add to this… I did get fooled once by an Indian SEO company… they told me they would get “x” ranking by 6 months, and if they did not they would return the money. They did work on the website, but the positions they promised never were reached, and when asked for a refund, I never got one. What advice can you get from that? Never trust a “refund” statement, especially from someone outside of the USA as its almost impossible to get your money back if something goes wrong.

    • Laptop Cases June 11, 2010, 3:40 pm

      Sorry to hear that you got scammed. Unfortunately the shady internet marketers usually do have pretty good promises up front. That’s where it pays off to do some research about that company. If they’ve scammed other people you are sure to find other complaints online. It also pays to assign people smaller projects to start to test their work. Then keep an eye on what they are doing each week.

      I think when he said blog links are bad is that they don’t carry as much authority. Mostly blogs are newer domains, while decent directories are at least 5 years old. There are a lot of lousy directories that are worse than blog links though.

  • david June 5, 2010, 9:21 pm

    I like deep link building but on google’s youtube channel they recommend only linking to the front page. Link juice will transfer to the other pages anyways.

    • David June 7, 2010, 7:20 am

      Well, I think the problem with that is that your front page isn’t always your landing page, or your money page. Sometimes you have multiple money pages too.

      For example, we work with a client that sells ink cartridges, and we need to build links to several different landing pages on the website. The landing page is appropriate to build links for keywords like ‘cheap ink cartridges’, you know, generic keywords. For brand specific keywords like ‘Epson ink cartridges’ or ‘Canon ink cartridges’, we have to build links to the specific brand pages, which are, of course, deep links.

      It really depends on what kind of e-commerce site you have and how it’s set up.

  • halloween costumes June 5, 2010, 10:27 pm

    Only few SEOs are great and that they are sincere with their jobs.

  • Episode June 7, 2010, 9:19 am

    I love when they have a set price for ranking any keyword. Like $400 for one keyword to be ranked in top 3 within 2 weeks. This is pretty impossible to guarantee.

  • Tasarım June 8, 2010, 1:11 pm

    Most of this post is unfortunately true ZK. If most of the SEO’s could actually accomplish what they promise for, world would be a better place 🙂 Although if all of them delivered results, SERP’s would be more shaky than ever 😛

    • Laptop Cases June 11, 2010, 3:46 pm

      Lol, good point. I guess anyone who does internet marketing should be somewhat thankful that many SEO companies are leading people astray. SEO would be extremely competitive if every website/company is hiring someone competent. Imagine if every niche was as competitive as things like gambling and finance. That would sure keep the small guys out of the game.

  • samsung printer cartridges July 13, 2010, 12:05 am

    How can i select best SEO company for my online business? I have been trying out many companies.

  • Puerto Banus November 15, 2010, 9:39 am

    The best way to pick an SEO company is by finding somebody locally who has good testimonials. Although DO NOT just go by written testimonials, find out clients of the company and phone them and ask them if they were happy with the SEO services. Did the SEO make a difference to their website? Don’t fully rely on SEO companies, if they say they you will see results in 6 months then only pay them when your website moves up the ranks. Set the company targets and if they meet those targets pay them in installments. DO NOT pay full amount in advanced because you need to provide them with an incentive to better your website.