Anytime there’s a knowledge gap between a consumer and service provider, there’s a possibility of deceit. Then there’s the service providers that don’t know much more than their clients, but act like they do, who spew a lot of “tech talk” that’s impossible the lay person to understand. When it comes to SEO, these fast talking “experts”, offer results that never quite match up with the promises they make. This is a good sign that your SEO is a scam artist.

You’d be amazed by the amount of ridiculous scams that are still being pulled out there. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t know any better. In an effort to shed some light on the subject, here are 10 warning signs that your SEO is a scam artist.

1. Guarantees First Page Search Positions
If an SEO “expert” guarantees first page search positions, chances are they’re SEO scam artists. Especially if they hint that it will happen in as little as 48 hours. Why? Because, even if they’re able to guarantee the results, how are you affected when a competitor wants to go after the same keyword? Who’s going to receive priority? Will it turn into a costly bidding war? What if you end up losing the bid? Will the SEO service provider delete your links once their program is over? Bottom line, guaranteed rankings isn’t something that can be legitimately promised and working with an SEO con artist can end up wiping out any results you may have experienced.

2. Insider Knowledge Boasts
There are a lot of SEO companies whose sales people claim to know someone that works at Google, or to have access to insider information concerning an unbeatable formula. Truth be told, most Google employees don’t have access to all of the exact details of Google’s algorithms, so it’s impossible for somebody on the outside to either. On top of that, in the real world, shortly after somebody “cracks” the algorithm, their information would be obsolete. The only knowledge and expertise that comes into play with SEO is ongoing experimentation and experience.

3. They State that They’re Going to Submit Your Site to Thousands of Search Engines
Who cares. Bottom line, this service is something you definitely would be wasting your money on, regardless of the amount. Your site won’t be relevant to the thousands of micro-market search engines and no one’s using them anyway. The truth is that a professionally build website that includes well thought out SEO tactics doesn’t need to be submitted to even the major search engines. As a matter of fact, search engine giants like, Google and Yahoo have said that over submitting your site to search engines can actually hurt your rankings.

4. Our SEO Strategies are Trade Secrets
If they say that their strategies are “hush hush” trade secrets, it’s time to get suspicious. That said, there are some things that are proprietary and it would be unfair to expect SEO providers to give up all of their techniques that they’ve more than likely spent years learning and refining. The minute you pay someone for an unclear list of services, you’re leaving the door open to deceit. While you shouldn’t expect SEO professionals to tell you everything about their methods and the tools they use, they should provide you with a blueprint of the strategies they plan on implementing, based on your specific requirements whether it’s AdWords, organic reach, keyword research, content marketing, etc.

5. Cheap SEO Services
As with most things, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Search engine optimization is hard work and when done right will take time and expertise to achieve real results. You’d be better off trying to learn how to do it yourself, rather than paying a so called “SEO expert” who boasts that they can do it for an unbelievably low price. In other words, you will definitely get what you pay for.

6. They Attempt to Extort You
This one is a no-brainer and you’d be surprised by how many cases of SEO providers attempting to extort their clients occur. Many even threaten to hurt either their client’s rankings or their online reputation if they don’t pay them a monthly stipend. This actually landed William Stanley, an SEO consultant, in federal prison for 37 months recently for attempting to extort money from a Dallas business. The court also ordered Stanley to pay $174,888 in restitution to several of his identified victims.

7. 500 Directory Links for 50 Bucks
Yes, link building is important, a practice that is actually one of the most effective ways to outrank your competition. That said, link building is really difficult and time consuming as well. What this means is that if somebody offers you 500 links for $50, you’re not going to achieve positive results and it may even end up negatively affecting your Google ranking.

8. Companies that Avoid Answering Your Questions
If an SEO expert you’re considering talks down to you or over your head, move on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Someone that only talks about what they can do for you instead of taking the time to review your website, find out more about your business and your expectations is just interested in your money.

9. Under Priced/Over Priced Services
Avoid freelance sites where people are desperately bidding for jobs. We’re not saying that you’ll never be able to find someone who has actually mastered SEO, we’re just saying that it’s unlikely, at least without spending countless hours combing through the bios. In addition, as mentioned above, a low quote is almost certainly going to buy you substandard quality work and if a price seems ridiculously high, it probably is and doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re doing. Take the time to find an SEO service provider that has a stellar reputation. You won’t find these professionals on a freelance site.

10. Free Trial Service
If you’ve been offered a free trial and all you need to do is give the service access to your website, don’t go for it. First, never, ever give your website’s access information to anybody who offers you a free trial. You might as well give them your ATM password too. A red flag should definitely go up whenever an SEO company makes certain promises or claims that just don’t seem right – listen to your inner voice!

SEO tactics and strategies change so rapidly that it’s hard for the majority of small business owners to keep up, not to mention trying to keep on top of all of the latest news and advice. This causes many to turn to SEO service provider and most have no idea how to tell if they happen to be an SEO scam artist – being aware of the 10 warning signs your SEO is a scam artist listed here will help.


FREE 10-Point Checklist to Boost Lead Generation