5 Downright Lies From Organic SEO Firms Small Businesses Should Look Out For
Search Engine Optimization is one of the most frequently mentioned requirements for website content. Your site needs to be optimized to ensure the highest visibility on search engines, and therefore attract more visitors and customers.
But if you’re seeking expertise from SEO agencies, don’t be duped by unrealistic claims or caught out by questionable techniques—they could have devastating consequences for your businesses.
This post will highlight some of the lies that organic SEO companies will tell you—and what you should do instead.
1. “We Can Guarantee…”
You may not need an agency at all to improve the SEO on your website—good, organic SEO can be achieved through quality content and marketing methods. These can be done by anyone who knows the basics if you have the time and the inclination.
What you definitely don’t need is an agency that dishes out false promises and guarantees. The methods that search engines use to rank their results are constantly shifting, updating and improving and are always very secretive. Nothing can be guaranteed, so anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
2. “We Can Get You to the Number One Spot On Google!”
Promises of particular page rankings are both one of the most commonly used lines and one of the biggest red flags. Your ranking can change constantly depending on a number of factors, such as the popularity of your site and its relevance to the search query.
Nobody can deliver a certain ranking for your site. It is a dynamic process carried out by search engines and their algorithms, not something delivered by an SEO firm.
If you want to be number one, you need your website to be full of excellent, appealing content, which will stand out to potential customers searching for a business like yours and that other sites will want to link to. Their clicks and referrals will send you climbing up the ranks.
3. “You Will Be Listed Within One Week!”
Good, effective SEO is a process that takes time, experimenting with content and engaging with your audience. Old school SEO methods, such as cramming your page and its code full of thousands of keywords (both relevant and not) have been clamped down on by Google. While these methods could have boosted you up the rankings in the past, these days they will get your website blacklisted for trying to cheat the system.
Furthermore, Google’s ranking is done at fixed intervals and there is no way to speed this up. Spend time making your website excellent and it will get the search engine recognition that it deserves. Anyone who says they will get you high in the rankings within a week are simply not telling the truth.
4. “We Will Submit Your Site to Search Engines!”
Once upon a time, to get your site listed on search engines, you would need to submit it to the search engines for indexing.
Now, your site will be indexed almost immediately if it’s linked to from an existing site. You can do this yourself by posting a link on social media channels—it’s that easy. While you can still submit your site to Google, it really shouldn’t be a major selling point.
So not only is the promise of submitting to search engines a complete lie, it shows a lack of basic research and knowledge!
5. “We Can Get You Hundreds of Inbound Links!”
This is one lie that could actively damage your website’s presence.
Links and referrals from other sites will certainly be a big factor for your ranking on search engines. If lots of other pages link to your site as a useful source of information, the search engine algorithms will recognize the value and relevance that your site holds to its particular area and related search terms. As a result, your site will climb up the ranks.
Bad SEO companies claiming to provide hundreds or thousands of these inbound links will generally do so by phony methods using fake pages and ‘link farms’. Google’s robots easily pick up on these methods (particularly if there’s a sudden influx of them) and the corresponding websites will be blacklisted.
Even ‘swapping’ links with someone to mutually boost Google rankings can be picked up and flagged as breaking the rules.
The best way to optimize your site through inbound links is to get them through genuinely, through engagement and marketing. Use social media to find similar websites or companies who may be interested in your business, engage with them, get them interested and they will promote your services.
One reputable link is so much more valuable than a thousand bad ones.
(A bonus tip—linking within your website counts towards this, but don’t go overboard, and don’t use links that say ‘click here’.)
Bonus Lie: “We Have An Insider At Google!”
This can be one of the more tempting lies. Since search engine algorithms are so closely guarded, that inside knowledge would be the holy grail of SEO.
However, Google employees are locked into non-disclosure agreements, and if they gave away their secrets they would face being fired, fined or even put in prison. It’s highly unlikely that anyone has such a contact that would be happy to do this.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible to know what goes on behind the scenes. You can read a lot online about ‘white hat’ techniques—the ‘best practice’ guide for getting into Google’s SEO good books. You can also learn a lot by keeping up with the Google’s algorithms and general technology trends. For example, there has been a lot of talk recently about Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’—an algorithm that favors mobile-friendly websites when returning search results on a mobile device.
Other Red Flags to Look Out For
Aside from the above lies, there are so many more indicators of bad, ‘black hat’ SEO companies, including:
- Poor grasp of English/grammar
- Low, flat-rate fees
- No references
Be wary of agencies that demonstrate any of the above; you may end up on the wrong side of Google’s search engine algorithms.
Conclusion: Quantity vs Quality
Since SEO can be difficult and time consuming, scammers are quick to jump to the ‘rescue’ to make a fast buck, but the result can be that your website is blacklisted and won’t appear on search engines at all. By keeping the above frequent lies in mind, you’ll be much more savvy when looking for a reliable SEO company.
The best way to think about the distinction between good and bad SEO is this: quantity vs quality. Bad SEO works on quantity: high numbers and boosted stats that are ultimately hollow. Good SEO is all about quality: making the internet a better place for users, where the top content is more valuable. Only when you have great quality content and are drawing in an audience will you see the results on the search engines.
Have you ever been caught in an SEO company’s lies? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: MithrandirMage
Solomon Thimothy is the Co-founder of Clickx, a Chicago-based white label digital marketing platform. He has been in the agency space for over a decade and has helped 100s of entrepreneurs build 7 and 8 figure agencies. He helps agency owners on a 1:1 basis to scale sales and fulfillment. Follow him on twitter @sthimothy