When you hear the words Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, you automatically think of improved traffic from the search engines, particularly Google. The process includes, site content, search words, relevancy, etc. Webmaster and companies are currently paying thousands of dollars to ensure their site has the highest ranking possible for their selected search words. There are also companies out there who offer their services to help these webmasters and companies in their efforts.
Sadly enough, there are also scammers out there who are only interested in separating the unsuspecting from their money. They prey on those who do not know enough about the search engines to know what to do or where to go for info. Currently, there are not as many of them out there as there are for other traffic scams, but it is still worth mentioning to help you stay alert for them.
One of the first flags to watch for is did they contact you first? Whether by e-mail or a telemarketer, it is best to very cautious when dealing with anyone, or any firm, soliciting their services. Another red flag to watch for is “guaranteed rankings”. If they tell you they can guarantee the ranking of your site or guarantee “the top ten in search results,” beware. The guarantee alone should be sufficient to warn you as no one can make that kind of guarantee. This is especially true if they tell that they can do it without making any changes to your site.
One thing you should do is check them out to verify their legitimacy and services. You can do this through forums such as The Warrior Forum and WHOIS. If they operate under multiple aliases, or have fake info in their WHOIS, it is best to walk away. You can look in other forums and articles related to the subject. If in the forums, ask questions and wait for the answers. A timely warning here can save you thousands down the road.
One tactic used by SEO scammers is the use of front pages and a demand that they control the URLs. Front pages are used to redirect traffic to your site using different search words and phrases. Controlling the doorway URLs simply means that they use their own domain in the doorway page URL. The promise is that these pages will get you a wider search result as they use more keywords relevant to your site.
This is a lie as individual pages are rarely relevant in keyword searches. Furthermore, these pages will often contain hidden links to other clients or the SEO firm itself. This tactic will diffuse the traffic that would otherwise come to your site and drain away your link popularity.
It is always important to understand exactly what the SEO firm is planning to do. Get specific information on how they plan to set up their service and where your money is going. If they won’t tell you, or use a sales pitch that sounds to good to be true, walk away. Beware the hard sell or high pressure sales tactics.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility what the firm does, or does not do. When choosing any advertising or SEO optimization firm, always protect yourself and check them out. Be thorough in your research. A wise choice will help you along in your search engine traffic while an unwise one can cost you dearly.