The Good, the Bad, and the SEO Ugly

photo of clint eastwood to highlight article about SEO Scam artists

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the good from the bad from the ugly.   In case you forget, Clint Eastwood was the good guy (never mind the black hat)

Our marketing director Matt Rutherford recently started a discussion on LinkedIn titled Have you been scammed by an SEO Firm or Company? (click here to link through to the discussion on Linkedin)

A lot of good comments were posted, and the whole discussion reminded me of an email that one of my clients actually received some time ago soliciting them for SEO services.  Here is the actual text of the email, and I promise I have not edited anything:

“I did a report some time back on your website and it showed your site is dormant…It needs to have the meta tags redone and submitted to as many search engines as possible. The more search engines your site is submitted to the more backend links that are going to be created. The submissions to the search engines also tells the spiders to come to your page and read the meta tags. It drives your rankings up. I am submitting to 1.2 million search engines 2 to 3 times a month. If your website goes more than 30 days without submission the rankings fall out of sight. Your website company probably promised good rankings but it hasn’t happened. Without my service you will miss out on the 80% of buyers and sellers searching online.”

In this case the recipient of the email was not one of my SEO consulting clients or students, instead they were just a garden-variety website customer.  And yes, their website was online and visible and search engine “friendly.”  However the client was very fearful about what this guy was telling them.

For a while I would show this email during my SEO workshops and ask the audience to identify the statements in the email that were false.  Then, I would reveal the false statements by showing them in red. Let’s also highlight the questionable and useless information in orange.  Here’s what we get:

I did a report some time back on your website and it showed your site is dormantIt needs to have the meta tags redone and submitted to as many search engines as possible. The more search engines your site is submitted to the more backend links that are going to be created. The submissions to the search engines also tells the spiders to come to your page and read the meta tags. It drives your rankings up. I am submitting to 1.2 million search engines 2 to 3 times a month. If your website goes more than 30 days without submission the rankings fall out of sight. Your website company probably promised good rankings but it hasn’t happened. Without my service you will miss out on the 80% of buyers and sellers searching online.”

Just a little reminder of what we all know to be true: on the Internet anyone can say anything.  So make sure you always check out any pitch (even mine), through reputable sources.  There are plenty of SEO scam artists out there, but there are also plenty of ethical, competent SEO professionals.  Just as you would be cautious getting your car fixed (and using some of the same strategies, such as referrals, checking reviews, company history, maybe even picking up the phone and having a — gasp — conversation), you need to be cautious about picking the right SEO consultant.  In fact I often recommend our “SEO essentials” workshop to business owners just so that they can figure out the Good, the Bad, and the SEO Ugly.

 

Ross Barefoot

Ross Barefoot is an SEO consultant. He is also a Certified Search Engine Optimization Trainer for the Search Engine Academy.

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