SEO Program Elements - Bay Area SEO Agency

SEO Marketing Scams to Avoid

With SEO Marketing, you get what you pay for. Grand promises with small price tags most often lead to disappointment.

SEO work is a grind that takes months to build up and dedication to keep it humming. It still yields great organic results, so is worth the investment. But any agency that promises miracles is likely a churn-and-burn shop with low performance and high turnover.

Avoid SEO Agencies Making Big Claims on Small Budgets

If you are looking for an SEO Agency, understand that grandiose claims like these nine rarely get cashed in by anyone but the agency:

1. “Your Website Isn’t Ranking for [pick a few random keywords]”

This is the scam that get our clients on the phone to us the fastest. They don’t really understand SEO in any great depth (that’s our job). So, if a less-than-scrupulous competitor of ours tells our client they “aren’t ranking for the right keywords,” clients get nervous.

The truth is, given the thousands of keyword combinations that closely align, there are always versions of our target terms that are close but not on our target list. Think “general contractor” vs. “custom home builder” for instance. This is why we spend so much time upfront forging agreement with the client on those critical terms to target in our SEO work.

2. Guaranteed Rankings (of No Value)

No agency can guarantee ranking results. But less-than-honest SEO agencies can work the system by focusing on keywords with low volume that seem closely related to your business. Low volume means low competition, so a bit of onsite SEO work could work wonders gaining you high rankings on low-value terms.

We take the opposite approach at KO. We work with the client to research those keyword terms most likely to generate good volume for them, then get to work building up the SEO focus on those critical terms. This is the slow, steady grind of real SEO work!

With the scammy SEO agency, your company ends up ranking fairly quickly (which looks like progress!) for a bunch of useless keywords, and you’re out a bunch of money.

3. “Your Google Business Listing is About to Expire…”

This is a straight-up scam. A random person calls claiming to be from Google with the alarming news that your “listings” on Google will soon expire. Google my Business profiles don’t expire. They can be suspended if the information in the profile is in violation of Google’s terms and conditions (PO Boxes used as storefronts, for instance) but they never expire.

They do need care and feeding, however, with regular posts, new photos and reviews, among other items. That keeps your profile sharp in Google’s eyes (and spiders have many eyes!)

4. Guest Posts

This can be useful, if done correctly. The guest writer must embed links that go to real publications that are, again, germane to your business, not the writer’s. Writers building their portfolios by guest-posting on other websites will do good work, as they are building their own reputation.

But, too many “guest posters” embed links to sites that offer no authority for you. And if the writer sells the link they embed, you are the website violating Google’s terms and conditions.

5. Link Swapping

A cheap offshoot of guest posting is link swapping. An agency or ‘writer’ will ask you to switch out an existing link on your site to link with their “newer” content with the promise it will help your SEO. The content may actually seem legit and, again, germane to what you sell. We got an e-mail request just last month to swap out a linked article in a three-year-old blog of ours.

Unfortunately, new links on old pages are still old news to search engines. The value is small these days, and not worth your time.

6. The Google Partner Stamp of Approval

This claim has a kernel of truth, but for SEO it is ridiculous. Google doesn’t have a partner program for SEO. They do have a certification program for Google Analytics and Google Ads, among others. KO is a Google-certified “partner” for those marketing skill sets. But we don’t tie those credentials to our SEO work.

7. Payment to Submit your Website to Search Engines

A company might offer to help with your search engine rankings by submitting your website to any number of search engines, including Google. This is wasted money in 2021. Google and most other popular search engines use their own “spiders” to crawl around the web, indexing new webpages as they find them. Google, Bing, Yahoo and others will find you when their spiders pass by. There is nothing you can do to hurry the process.

Side note: Blog posts are indexed far faster than new site pages, as they are considered more timely and less evergreen. And their impact fades faster, so you build pages and posts for different types of keyword tactics.

8. Building “Domain Authority”

This involves obtaining a link from another website purportedly with high “domain authority” to increase your website’s “Domain Authority.” Once upon a time, this meant something, but Google has moved on.

The actual metric Google uses for what we would now call page-level authority is PageRank. This is within the secret sauce of Google’s algorithm that they no longer share. Moz and other services make educated guesses about how it may work (admittedly better educated than anyone else’s). But with Google hiding their cards, it is all still guesswork.

If you really want to increase your domain authority, you will need to crank up the PR machine and dedicate hours pitching your content to publications germane to your business with lots of traffic from real people who actually take the time to read the content.

9. Absurdly Low Prices for SEO Marketing

Honestly, no SEO company can do more than barebones work (of limited value) for less than about $1,000 per month. The price you pay correlates directly to the number of hours the agency can dedicate to the SEO work your website needs.

For Best Long-Term SEO Results Work with a Seasoned Agency with Great Clients

So “you get what you pay for” applies in spades to SEO. As others have said, “why would you do business with a company that finds clients via spam emails?” Take the time to investigate your options in depth. Interview multiple candidates. Get to know them and their work. Talk to their happy clients.

Contracting for SEO is a long-term relationship. Take the time to search for an SEO agency that fits well with your business goals and philosophy!

Confused? Concerned? Contact us with all your questions!