Today we’re going to talk about the bane of every quality SEO firm’s existence: lying SEOs, firms and fly-by-night con-artists that make the entire industry look bad.
You’ve probably seen them all over the place online. They’ve got paid Facebook ads, remarketing scams, ridiculous articles locked behind pay walls and other ways of peddling their garbage to the cheap, the dumb and those that just don’t know better.
These are the guys promising to make you ‘rank number one in Google overnight!’ and ‘Quadruple your traffic!’ and to give you ‘1000 quality backlinks for $10!’. The ones who have the ‘secret SEO formula for success!’ and, with the notable exception of one guy that I know is legit, can make sure you ‘make money while you sleep!’.
Somehow, people keep falling for this garbage so today let’s take a look at signs that let you know that you should immediately turn and run the other direction.
We’re going to start with the easiest and the ones people fall for the most: the ones who make the biggest “Guarantees”
These are the easiest to spot. These are the ones who have the horrible ads in the right hand sides of random websites, ads on Fiverr and other places guaranteeing that they will ‘Triple your traffic’, ‘skyrocket your rankings’, ‘Build you 10,000 backlinks in 24 hours’ and other complete and utter nonsense.
OK, look. Not knowing how SEO works is one thing but falling for stuff that sounds far too good to be true is another. There’s no excuse for people believing this stuff. Do you really think that you can get the same quality SEO service that people are charging hundreds and thousands of dollars for prices “Starting at $5”?
Let me ask you something, can you get a real Michael Kors or Coach bag for $5 at a flea market?
Same thing applies here.
You Mean I Don’t Have to Do Anything??
Now we have those that appeal to the lazy. These are the places that say “We do all the work! All you have to do is sit back and watch the traffic and the cash come in!”
Hate to tell you this, but that’s not how it works. You won’t see anything but your own tears come in if you don’t do the work.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t full service SEO firms out there that won’t go in and do the work for you, but if you hire some random place for ten bucks on Fiverr or even a great and otherwise legitimate SEO consultancy, if you don’t do what you’re told, don’t expect anything in return.
Also, I don’t care what anyone says, you can’t just ‘do SEO’ once and your site is set for life. It might have worked that way once but not anymore. Maybe you can get away with it if you’re a huge brand that everybody already knows but most likely, you reading this, are not.
You can get all your backlinks, write all your content and fix all your technical issues but since the world doesn’t exist in a bubble, your competitors are probably doing the same thing and if theyre doing it more frequently than you are, then all your work is going to fade.
Also, don’t forget that the Panda algorithm and the Google Spiders love fresh content so those pages you wrote like 2 years ago aren’t going to do much for you now. You need to keep doing the work, rewrite your content, do those technical audits and make sure everything is up to par at all times.
So I Can Rank on the First Page for my Keywords?
Amazingly, this seems to be some businesses’ definition of success. They don’t care if their own traffic is increasing, or if conversions are up, all they want to know is if they’re on the first page of Google for their keywords. Well, good news for them is that there are places willing to straight up lie to their faces and take their money to make this happen.
Again, we can see on places like Fiverr and Craigslist that there are tons of Services out there that will take your money and ‘Skyrocket’ your keyword ranking. Let me take a second and explain why this is a waste of time, money and effort for something that doesn’t matter and doesn’t exist.
Let’s clarify something now:
Organically speaking, with very few exceptions:
THERE IS NO PAGE ONE OF GOOGLE ANYMORE. ANYONE WHO SAYS THERE IS A PAGE ONE AND THEY CAN GET YOU THERE OVERNIGHT IS A DIRTY LIAR.
With the rise of local search, mobile search, personalization and other factors that Google takes into account to deliver each user their own personal search experience, there is not a ‘page one’ anymore. The closest you’re going to get is a ‘local’ page one or you can go do AdWords and bid on keywords to try and rank first there. Stop chasing that ghost of 2002…page one isn’t a thing anymore.
Ok, for the sake of argument, let’s stop and say there IS a Page one of Google (which there totally isn’t). Now I’ll tell you why it doesn’t matter if you’re on it for all your keywords are not. I can tell you why in one word: Relevancy.
Let’s say you sell cell phones and you want to be number one for all cell phone related words and phrases. Great. Rankbrain’s relevancy algorithm is going to eat you alive.
What do I mean? Well, it’s simple. Google never wanted to be a ‘keyword match’ search engine, they always wanted to be a relevancy search engine and now with their machine learning AI, they can.
If you are ranking for a bunch of garbage terms that are sorta, kinda related to what you do, people click on the result, realize that this is a waste of time and bounce off and go somewhere else, Rankbrain is going to see that and go ‘this page is a waste of time’ and demote you for that search going forward. Keep on sending signals like that to Rankbrain and see what that gets you. While Google doesn’t rank entire sites (it ranks individual pages) you just keep on sending all these low quality page signals to Google and just you wait and see what happens to your site overall. Doesn’t take a wizard to figure it out.
Also, basically, Google is smart enough to figure out searcher and content intentions, so really, there’s no need to keep writing that keyword stuffed drivel that makes people question your business ethics, anyway.
On top of this, if you go to one of these scam agencies for this service, YES they will increase your keyword report rankings (which are also basically worthless) so it can be done…for about three weeks or so until your check clears and they’re long gone and the next thing you know you’ve crashed hard and are left in a worse position than you started.
Because they probably used black hat techniques like buying links and overseas click farming like we’re going to discuss in a moment.
A Thousand Backlinks for Ten Bucks?! Can’t Beat That!
That’s all I’m going to say about this. If someone is still dumb enough to buy backlinks in 2017, I won’t stop you.
Double my Clickthrough rates? Increase My Traffic? Yes, Please!
This, like the keyword positioning thing, can totally happen with one of these fly by night operations so if you pay for this, you will see results that they tell you you’ll see.
What they don’t tell you is that most likely this traffic will never convert, is completely unqualified, they paid a click farm for these clicks and more often than not its junk overseas traffic from places like India, Russia and China that are doing your site literally no good whatsoever.
Congratulations! You just paid a service for completely useless traffic.
How it works is basically you pay them a fee, the scammer turns around and gives a cut of that fee to some operation overseas that does nothing but either
- Send out click bots to your site to drive up traffic
- Pay people to keep going to your sites to drive up traffic and clicks.
Either way, you just paid for literally nothing.
Also, all that traffic is probably going to be bouncing off the page, sending good ol’ ‘irrelevant to the query’ signals to Rankbrain so you also probably just hurt yourself as well.
My Cousin Works At Google and Our Secret Techniques Will Make You Number One!
This one gets the Ed Lover ‘Come On, son’ award.
If a guy literally anywhere else tried to run this line on you, would you believe it? No, right? So why do so many people believe this garbage? This is a blatant lie. There are no ‘algorithm experts’ out there with secret formulas and techniques and anyone who says they have a ‘trick’ to making you rank is flat out lying to you.
How do I know there are no experts like that out there? Because EVEN GOOGLE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THEIR ALGORITHM DOES.
If Google, the people who made the thing, don’t fully understand the algorithm, how does some random freelancer?
SEO Companies use standards. We use best practices that we’ve seen get results and sometimes even those don’t work. There are no secret sauces, there are no special tricks (that won’t eventually get your site penalized and worse off than when you started)
The second someone starts trying to ‘talk over you’ with a bunch of jargon (“we’re going to 301 your canonicals to the index where the bots will spider your meta descriptions and…”, etc) and can’t break down into layman’s terms exactly what that means in a way you can understand it, they’re probably lying. If they say that they have a ‘secret’, they’re lying. If they say they are ‘experts’ in the algorithm, they’re filthy liars.
The Bottom Line
In SEO, no one can guarantee you anything. Well, except one thing: if you get your SEO services from a place that ‘guarantees’ you something, you just got scammed.
If you really want to optimize your page, avoid the Fiverr and Craigslist con artists, fly by night companies offering to make you ‘rank real high’ or get you ‘500 quality backlinks for ten bucks!’ and just buckle down and do the work it takes to have a quality site.
Sure, it’s not easy, it takes a lot of trial and error and it might be expensive to get everything in order but you’ll be in a far better position than if you went with a scammer.