Search Engine Marketing Scams

I am always amazed by how often experts, or people who claim to be experts, will use their knowledge to take advantage of a situation when dealing with clients or potential clients. This is especially true in the IT industry. 

I suspect I may not be making friends after that statement, but I became a Certified Programmer Analyst in 2000 specifically for that reason. I got tired of bringing quality Internet based solutions to business owners or managers only to have the “resident expert” start rattling off in IT jargon about how they could offer a better solution than my company in a language that the manager and I could not understand nor question.

I have been involved in sales and marketing for over 35 years. I always believed it was my job to find people with problems and provide them with solutions to those problems at an affordable price. Ultimately they would get the results they were looking for and I would get paid and possibly a referral or testimonial to boot.  Many salespeople in the SEO industry don’t seem to get that.

I encountered two situations today that inspired me to write this post.

The first one involves an email I received from one of my recently acquired clients who is struggling right now with a poorly designed website. It is not performing well on the search engines.  While he does have some access to update his content, he has no access to the navigation, meta-data or  page titles on his site and that can greatly impact its performance. I am mentoring him on SEO and he is realizing his choice of website developer, web host and domain name provider (he paid an “expert” to do all these things for him) was not the best.

He contacted a professional SEO company to get a second opinion about what I was telling him.  The “expert” in this organization suggested he get another web development company, one that he recommended, to build him another industry based website. After that he suggested my client hire him for $400 to $1000 per month to optimize the site promising to have him on page one of Google in about 4 months.  So why am I upset? Because every SEO company I encounter uses this technique to take a drowning man out of the water, and then throw him right back in after emptying his pockets.

What should an SEO company do in this case?

  1. Help the client determine what keywords will be most effective in getting qualified visitors to the website through in depth research.
  2. Make certain that the client is getting a website that is designed to be SEO friendly.
  3. Suggest a web developer who builds Content  Managed Systems (CMS)  that allow the client to modify the site including adding new pages with effective page titles, meta tags, navigation and content development instead of templates designed for only one industry.
  4. Assist the client in researching competitor sites that perform well in the search engines in selected key word searches.
  5. Assist the client developing search engine friendly content.

Situation two was similar but it involved an “expert” SEM company whose focus was Pay Per Click ( sponsored) website marketing. I spoke directly with their representative who contacted me via spam. He claimed his company had a special affiliation with Google and Yahoo and that they could guarantee their clients the first 3 positions in the sponsored ads for Google, Yahoo and MSN.

When I asked him the price for this he said it would depend on the keywords I wanted to be searched and that prices would be set by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Hmmm…isn’t that what happens when you register for a Pay Per Click program? Only this company wanted to set a monthly rate …say $1000 to $2000 per month to keep me in the top spot.

Seems to me if I just bid higher than all my competition, I could get into the number one spot, and if nobody clicked on my ads, I could stay there for free. Of course that isn’t the goal but you get my point.

You see, it isn’t about guarantees and set fees. It about trial and error, test and measure, educate yourself and learn the game.

These guys are not treating the people who are baffled by all the internet and IT jargon like good customers who deserve the best service possible. They are treating them like suckers that need to be taken advantage of.

Leave a Reply