Scammer Tactics, & How To Avoid Them:
Over the past few decades, internet marketing has transformed the way we do business. More and more companies are turning towards selling their products and services online – but many of them don’t know where to start.
The majority of these companies will tend to do a quick search for “internet marketing services”, choose the cheapest option and hope for the best. Unfortunately, there are many scammers across the internet that are actively trying to take advantage of businesses with limited or no experience in online marketing.
This article will guide you through researching SEO companies, and deciding on whether they’re going to work for you, or work for themselves.
What’s this “black hat” you speak of?
A little trivia for you here:
The term black hat originates from old western films, where the protagonist would traditionally be found wearing a white hat – and the antagonist would usually be found wearing a black hat.
These techniques are usually automated, aggressive strategies that only cater to pleasing the search engines – rather than the user experience. I personally class this type of advertising as a scam, most people who buy into these tricks don’t exactly know what they’re buying or how it’s going to affect their digital marketing future.
The truth with black hat techniques is that sometimes, yes they will work – and I know there are lots of black hatters that are currently seeing great results from these techniques. However, if you are a black hatter just know that Google will find you, and Google will shut you down.
Have you ever seen that tax fraud advertisement – the one that says “it’s not if we catch you, it’s when”? In the SEO world, that is Google.
How do I avoid them?
Honestly – this is not going to be easy as a beginner, there are hundreds of black hat tactics that companies can use. However the best method of searching for black hat activity is to analyse their backlink profile.
I’d honestly recommend some tools here, but most of the decent tools are quite expensive and are catered towards SEO experts. If you would like us to perform a FREE audit on a website, please use the audit tool in the menu at the top. I’ll be more than happy to help.
If you would prefer to analyse yourself, there are some free (however basic) backlink tools available if you do a quick search on Google. Just type in the companies URL and it should give you a basic list of links that are pointing towards their site.
The Snatch and Run
If you have done your research on SEO, you will understand that it is not an easy, overnight process. Many scammers use this excuse to just take your money and run. Unfortunately, this gives the entire industry a bad name and decreases the reputation of the industry on a whole.
But how can you avoid this happening to you?
The answer to this one is simple: Communication.
There is no reason for your SEO Company not to be transparent regarding their work.
Be sure to keep the lines of communication between you and your consultants wide open. A legitimate company will always be more than willing to discuss their work, and educate their clients. Remember, just because Search Engine Optimisation can take months before you see results, it doesn’t mean that it can take months for the consultants to start their work! Don’t be afraid to ask for evidence/reports of any link building, on-page optimisation, etc.
Now – I’m not saying that every SEO company that decides to keep information to their selves are shysters. Some may be worried about clients trying to “DIY SEO” which in turn could disrupt the rankings and slow down or even sabotage the progress of a campaign. However, if a company is not willing to share anything at all, I would find it highly suspicious, especially if you don’t see any results.
Some other pointers to take into account:
- Page Rank (PR) has been dead for years. Do not trust companies that still use this useless metric.
- Companies which offer thousands of backlinks in a small space of time are using black hat methods.
- Be careful of Private Blog Networks, they are surrounded by low quality, spun content and will eventually be penalised
- Ask your company for monthly: Traffic, Ranking, Link Building Reports – along with an overview of their work.