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Three Tips for Spotting an SEO Scammer

June 22, 2012  
As a relatively new discipline that explores new territory and aims for a moving target, SEO can feel like a ride through the Wild West. We even use lingo like "white hat" and "black hat" to describe the good guys and the bad guys—and like any modern western, the difference between the two isn't always immediately apparent.

So how do you spot an SEO outlaw before he holds up your stagecoach? In a post at Search Engine Watch, Garry Przyklenk discusses telltale scammer giveaways like these:

Your traffic is purchased, not organic. "Savvy coders might even rewrite the traffic coming from AdWords to make it appear as legitimate organic visitors in logs and Web analytics reporting," Przyklenk notes. Unless you take a close look at reports and logs, you might not realize your "organic" traffic is driven by a paid online marketing service.

You're being pushed into social media. Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook don't provide an automatic SEO boost. If you're not prepared to maintain a steady flow of new content and interactivity, a consultant's advice to enter social media might actually harm your rankings, he warns.


Your SEO provider is brand-new. According to Przyklenk, plenty of SEO shops disappear two months into a yearlong contract. The more established your consultant, the more certain you can be about dealing with someone who will see your contract through.

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  • by Dara Schulenberg Fri Jun 22, 2012 via web

    Any case studies to validate the claim that social may actually hurt SERPS? I agree social is not a holy grail and is time 'expensive' to optimize, but have never heard of its negative impact on SEO (irrespective of implementation approach). Please share!

  • by Shade Wilson Tue Jun 26, 2012 via web

    My favorite to watch out for is if your provider isn't willing to be completely transparent about the activities they're going to use. I've won business when the competition started talking about "secret sauce".

    Sorry, there's no secret sauce, just lots of hard work and careful analytics.

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