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SEO Scams

SEO scams on the Internet abound as anyone who has been on the receiving end can attest. SEO scams generally come in three types including scams towards customers, scams towards the search engines and scams towards other parties.

SEO Scams Towards Customers

In order to lure potential customers into buying their services, some SEO will use deceptive practices. For instance, there are some companies that proclaim "Get your website in the number 1 position in Google in 24 hours" and then lead the customer to believe this is some special SEO technique that will get them at the top of the organic listings rather than the AdWords pay-per-click listings.

Another SEO scam is luring customers into agreements by making "too good to be true" statements about top rankings and extremely short timeframes to see results in the organic listings. By creating sky high unrealistic expectations, the customer is destined to be sorely disappointed, time and again.

This is where an SEO Code of Ethics statement can be useful so that the potential client knows what the optimizer is willing to do and not do in order to achieve higher search engine rankings.

Some SEO's will also engage in risky linking behavior such as paid linking that may temporarily inflate a page in the SERPs, until the SEO has his money and then may quickly drop in the rankings. It must be noted that not all paid linking is risky or a scam, but customers should be informed when there is risk to the web pages at stake.

SEO Scams Towards Search Engines

In the SEO world, there are white hats, black hats and gray hats symbolizing good, bad and moderately underhanded. Black hats and gray hats, to varying degrees, will try to scam the search engines on behalf of their customers in order to achieve higher search engine rankings. White hats do not use underhanded methods.

The problem with black and gray hats is that they run the potential of getting their client's websites penalized or banned by search engines such as Google. So, this is not a victimless crime at all.

The non white hats may use techniques such as invisible text, cloaking, doorway pages and questionable redirects to artificially inflate a web page in the search engine results pages (SERPs). While some of these techniques may work for a while, eventually, the search engines catch more of these techniques and penalize or ban the website. The SEO scammer is most likely long gone by this point with the customer's money.

SEO Scams Towards Other Parties

Some SEO's will try to trick parties other than their own clients and the search engines for the benefit of their customers (temporarily). For instance, an SEO may engage in a reciprocal linking program on behalf of the client, then delete, orphan or use and underhanded redirect on the links page to keep this page from passing on Page Rank (PR) to the link partners, thus inflating the client's page in the rankings.

Clients and non-clients can also sometimes be tricked into participating in linking networks without clear knowledge of what is actually going on and the risks involve. Sometimes neither party will have any clue that anything is amiss until another SEO with FTP access logs in and looks at the files on the customer's website or another site.

These are just a few of the common SEO scams that have been floating around for years. There are of course always many new ones circulating. White hats (like our site) want to bring this information to the public's attention because we believe that black hats give the whole industry a black eye.

SEO scams mean potential customers come to us with a great deal of initial mistrust by either being burned by an SEO scam directly or fearing that they will be because they have heard about one of more scams floating around at the moment.

This isn't good for us or the industry as a whole. We hope that by exposing some of the SEO scams that people will know what to look out for when considering hiring a search engine optimizer for their website. And, the whole industry benefits by having well-informed customers.


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