Scam and spam have tended to dog the SEO world more than most industries and if you’ve ever been conned or duped by a wrong-un then you’ll know that the true costs are pretty hard to quantify in finance alone.

One of the key elements of any scam is the client’s lack of knowledge and by simply nodding, smiling and agreeing to jargon, that they don’t want to admit to not understanding; therein lies the crux of the problem.

The fact is that many new-starters have no idea about even the most basic principles of SEO and wouldn’t know a key word from a SERP even if a spider-bot came up and crawled all over their interface. In an attempt to enlighten such SEO virgins as to the unscrupulous practises that are still taking place to this day, you’ll find the top five unscrupulous claims listed below.

And, remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get you, so ask questions and check and double check everything prior to signing on the dotted line.

Great rankings guaranteed!

This sort of statement is sadly missing the point as rankings are a. pretty much useless if nobody is visiting and converting to a sale and b. ranking for keywords for your site is kind of easy (e.g. a phrase featuring your brand name) so the great rankings promise is as empty as Richard Branson’s bucket list. Make sure you question exactly what keywords you’ll be ranking for and how you can create content and a social presence to help this to happen.

Loads of links for X amount of cash!

Quick fixes almost never work and if you’re ever tempted to get lots of links to your site almost immediately then just consider what a search engine would make of such an obvious ploy. Getting links needs to be a well-thought out consequence of an on-going SEO strategy and in so doing search engines will recognise their true value and reward as opposed to seeing obvious link-building scams and penalise. Think quality rather than quantity.

Our SEO techniques are unique and need to be kept secret – shhhh!

If you’re using an agency which isn’t transparent and can’t take the time to explain exactly what they’re doing then you may want to sound the ‘something’s shady’ siren. Of course, there are plenty of tools and techniques that a search engine optimisation provider will want to keep under their hat however, if they’re not telling you anything then you can pretty much guess the colour of the hat that they’re storing their secrets.

Link directories are the way forward 😉

No they’re not! If you’ve come into contact with an ‘SEO expert’ who claims that by fitting a link directory to your website you’ll have cracked the holy grail of link-building then make sure you’re on your hands and knees and ready to say your prayers. This method of link-building basically works on an exchange programme that has been proven to be at best: ineffective and at worst: highly damaging.

We can boost your page rank in an instant!

If an agency is claiming that the way forward for your website is to have a high PR then you might just want to question their judgement. Yes, having a good page rank will invariably result from having great back links, however, it will have little reflection of your standings in the SERPS. Getting your site seen is vital, but ranking just for the sake of statistics is as profitable as having a sales force that is twiddling their thumbs while they wait for the phone to ring.

If you want to improve search engine ranking then you need a strategy that revolves around: research, implementation, analysis and repeat in order to maintain a sustainable website that will attract and convert the right users. This strategy doesn’t belong to a quick fix scheme and the chances are that if such a scheme looks to be too good to be true then it probably isn’t.