It is a known fact that search engine optimization (SEO) is about the most effective, enduring and eventually cheapest means of getting targeted website traffic, hence the allure for most webmasters to have their webpages properly optimized for the search engines. Unfortunately however, this burning desire fuels the now rampant SEO scam.
What Is This SEO Scam?
It is fraudulent and/or mischievous approaches often in clear contravention of Google guidelines, employed by certain agents/seo services in a frantic bid to get top search engine rankings for their webmaster clients.
Ordinarily, if every webmaster was to be carrying out his own SEO, it is unlikely that most webmasters will be susceptible to SEO scams. But we know that for various reasons ranging from lack of time to inexperience in that respect, this is not always practicable. Along with this limitation comes the dreaded SEO scam.
Every webmaster is advised to be on red alert whenever he sees the tell tale signs of SEO scam as the implication of doing otherwise may be devastating. It may include “sand boxing” or even total elimination from Google Search Engine Result pages (SERPs) where Google detects any violation of its webmaster guidelines in the course of such SEO activities and in respect of which the webmaster becomes answerable for the actions of his agent.
What Really Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
In very simple terms search engine optimization (SEO) is all the steps taken by a webmaster either directly or through his agents to get his webpage(s) positioned at the top (as highly as possible) on the search engine results pages (SERPs). It is however expected that these steps would be in line with good practice and in compliance with Google Webmaster guidelines.
Indicators Of SEO Scam
Most webmasters who given their limitations choose to outsource their SEO activities ordinarily should not get caught in the SEO scam web as there usually are some warning signs. It is ignorance of these signs and sometimes awareness of these but not heeding the warning signs of SEO scam that ropes most webmasters into the SEO scam web.
* SEO Scam No. 1 – Mass Submission To Thousands Of Search Engines
Whenever any webmaster sights such pronunciations or writings, he should “take the opposite route”. Why? It should be known that you do not need submission to search engines to get your web pages indexed. All you need to do is get high authority sites to backlink to your content/web page and voila! your content will speedily get indexed.
In fact if your website has reasonable volume of high quality and quantity of backlinks already, you may not even need to do any further backlinking as a means of getting your content indexed once you update your content/blog posts regularly. The search engine spiders will automatically keep returning and indexing your web pages as a precursor to subsequently ranking it on the SERPs.
Even if nevertheless you choose to submit your site to any search engine, you can do this easily yourself. You can for example add your url to Google directly or submit a sitemap to Google.
Another reason why it is illogical to employ the services of any SEO company to submit your site to the search engines is the fact that Google accounts for about 65% of search volume while in between Yahoo and Bing, they again account for another 25%. It therefore implies that in between all the other search engines(thousands?), they do not account for more than 10% of the total search engines volume. Is there therefore any point worrying yourself about submitting and subsequently optimizing in these search engines? The answer should be obvious.
It should therefore be clear that any SEO service that promises mass submission to search engines as a precursor to gaining top search engine rankings should be immediately avoided.
* SEO Scam No. 2 – Assurance of No. 1 position in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
This can be looked at from two perspectives. First of all, it can amount to saying not much as one can easily get ranked no. 1 for many keywords or keywords phrases that do not get any reasonable search volume. There therefore must be a pre-specification of the keywords or keyword phrases to be optimized for and which the webmaster must research and confirm through keyword research tools, that they in fact command a reasonable search volume before going ahead to have any transaction with any SEO service.
The second perspective is that there must be a clear distinction between organic search engine listing and advertising e.g. Google Adwords, yahoo search marketing etc. A lot of deceitful seo services “front” with “top listing” but actually eventually present top search engine rankings via paid advertising which as is well known is not sustainable and requires constant direct investment which is often too huge and uneconomical to maintain.
* SEO Scam No. 3 – Unsolicited Email To Provide SEO Services.
This should place any webmaster on red alert. You may not believe it, but these unscrupulous elements spare no effort in doing this as they even inadvertently? Send such unsolicited emails to Google and I quote Google source,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”
* SEO Scam No. 4 – SEO Service Has No Track Record Of SEO Success Itself
This should immediately set any webmaster on red alert as an SEO service’s consistent good rating for a wide range of keywords or keyword phrases in the search engine results pages (SERPs) should be taken for granted.
Remedy For SEO Scam Victims
In the unfortunate circumstance that any webmaster however still falls prey of SEO scam, the following remedies exist.
Such unscrupulous SEO service can be reported to these channels.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: ftc.gov website and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C. 20580
If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at econsumer.gov website.
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