Beware of Google SEO Scams

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 22, 2010

I just read this post on one of my favorite forums…

Poster’s Comment:
“I have a problem with an SEO service I ordered and I’m not sure what to do. Last month, I hired a guy from XXXXXXXX for SEO on a site I have. He guaranteed he could bring my site to Google 1st page in 60 days, even for a fairly competitive keyword.

I know, it seemed too good to be true, but the guy had 36 reviews at XXXXXXXX and most were 10 out of 10. He seemed like a top notch pro.

So I hired him, but I made the mistake of paying him through his website and not through XXXXXXXX-per his direction. I trusted him, cause nothing indicated that he was scamming me.

This month, I asked him for an update, and his response was that this was not a standard link building campaign, and that his group knows how to manipulate Google’s algorithms and that they are updated every 60 days, so I would just need to wait till March 10 or thereabouts and my site would be 1st page.

This really made me nervous, cause I thought this was a conventional SEO campaign. Now, I don’t know what to do. This guy claims that his group has the ability to put sites in Google top 10 and/or get them banned. He’s very confident and seems to know what he’s talking about.

Now, I have only a few days before my ability to file a Paypal dispute expires, and I paid him $750, so it’s not chump change. However, I don’t want this guy messing up my site either. He doesn’t have any of my login info so he can’t do anything on page.”
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End Poster’s Comment

There are several things wrong with what happened to this unfortunate chap. I’ve been performing SEO services and consulting (one of many services) to clients for somewhere around 13 years, so let’s take a look so that you don’t find yourself in a similar place.

1. Who He Hired – There are plenty of people in the SEO business. You should never have to hire someone that you were not referred to by someone else you know who has had that person do work directly for them.

2. What He Promised – There are no guarantees with Google. If someone guarantees you anything about SEO or SERP positions, run the other way as fast as you can.

3. How He Reinforced – Be careful of reviews and testimonials. Anyone who uses testimonials that are real will want to promote that person in thanks for offering a testimonial by at least giving a url for their website. Visit the websites and test for your own findings.

4. What He Charged – $750 to guarantee your ownership on organic search of a primary, competitive keyword, is just crazy. If I was to guarantee anyone a #1 position on Google for a single keyword or even a 2-word keyword phrase, I’d want $50,000 a month! And, it would probably take that amount of labor time to get you there.

5. What He Didn’t Know – The site owner just simply didn’t know that there’s nothing that takes Google 2 full MONTHS to do. Well, maybe if you’re on a severe Google black list, it might take you a while to get removed and then re-posted. But, when it comes to having your site display and for site links to start having an impact, no way, 2 months? Just no way will it take Google that long to show changes in positioning.

Just as I reported before that there seems to be some kind of wave of webmasters bringing pain to their clients, this proves true on the services end for SEO scams out there as well. Be extremely cautious and skeptical when someone approaches you with some kind of plan that they will “guarantee” your positions on Google. And, ask yourself why they’re willing to perform all that magic for you for so little. Beware of the Google SEO scams. They are apparently everywhere.

Question: Have you been scammed by a Google SEO’er? Tell us about it and what to watch out for.

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