Marketing fraudAll website owners are looking to boost their sales online and to increase their visibility.  What they are not looking for is to be ripped off.  Staying safe online can be a slippery slope for our clients in 2019. The amount of new “so-called” SEO companies offering wild claims for website success are daunting.  Not a day goes by that we don’t hear from one of our clients complaining about a bad online experience.  We have just recently read that over 20% of the SEO companies advertising online are fraudulent.

High-pressure sales tactics to avoid:

Although there are legitimate marketing companies, there are also those that practice high-pressure tactics to rip off those website clients who don’t realize their motives.  While you may operate your business with ethical standards, some of these marketing and SEO companies have none at all.  They talk big and offer big results while generating zero results and no revenue.

Many of our medical clients have been scammed this past year by fraudulent marketing companies. These folks added “black hat SEO techniques” to their websites.  These techniques were not allowed by top search engines.  They find out after signing with these companies, that they have no SEO expertise at all.  It pays to educate yourself about SEO techniques which are allowed and those not allowed by search engines.

Some of them ask to get into your website and re-do your meta tags within the source code of your site.  This is very dangerous because they can easily corrupt your website and can use your site to advertise their own services instead of improving your website.  We are cautioning you to “never” offer your website access codes to anyone other than your original webmaster.

Getting real resultsCheck their website for a list of clients (real references):

When you consider signing with a marketing and SEO company look at their website and make sure they have a “clients” page.  This is a page with a list of the clients already working with them.  If they don’t offer a client list, be afraid, be very afraid.  When you can’t ask a previous client if they got good results, this could be a fraudulent company.

Going further, we also suggest that you ask for the email or phone numbers of a few of these companies they have worked with.  If they do not offer these references to you then this should be a huge red flag.  Never do business with those companies without “real” references.

Optimizing for local search:

Ask the company you are considering if they optimize for local search.  We do this for our clients since they depend upon local search performance.  We target cities and counties they service and make suggestions for them to get involved in several networking events each year.  These community events bolster their chances to meet more of their target audience.

Ask these questions about real results?

  • Are you receiving forms driven by an organic search?
  • How many contact form results do you receive in a month?
  • Are you receiving phone calls about your product or service?
  • Have your SEO company added your site to a local search?

Is your SEO Company is being honest:

Online marketing scamAre you being promised a number one rank in Google?  Of course for all of us online, this is the golden grail.  But most of us don’t understand exactly how Google works.  Although it would be great to be on the first page of search at all times, this claim is a false claim.  Google’s search algorithm is very fluid and changes constantly.  These changes are also affecting the placement on search engine results pages.  It is impossible to know exactly when Google will make their changes, but they are many and are done daily.

You can achieve a high rank with the right strategy and the effort put in place.  But this is an ongoing effort and takes time to achieve.  Content is always king and the most recent and most useful content will always appear first in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages.)

Conclusion:

Make sure you check out any company contacting you with these claims.  Use the information above to stay safe online.  If you are receiving an advertisement online which is guaranteeing a number one rank by using their service you may be dealing with a fraudulent company.  If they are telling you they can help your site to outrank your competitor, your best move is to move on.  You could become a part of an SEO scam.