SEO Scam – Find Out How to Avoid Dishonest or Bad SEO Companies

May 10, 2016 by admin

As many companies have witnessed, SEO can be a very effective marketing strategy that can be instrumental in helping a business to reach more people increasing turnover and profits.

But while high quality SEO is money well spent, the unfortunate reality is that there are also a lot of bad SEO companies in the market trying to cheat. That is to say that there are a lot of unscrupulous SEO companies that aren’t interested in providing value for their customers and often times don’t really know what they’re doing. This has resulted in the SEO industry to be tarnished and some business owners conclude that all or most SEO companies are scams. This is unfortunate, because there are also lots of honest and credible SEO companies that do deliver great value and results.

The question is:

how can you spot these dishonest and incapable SEO companies before you waste your time and money and potentially damage your website’s reputation and ranking? Read on and we’ll look at some of the tell-tale signs of a dishonest or incompetent SEO company.

You Get Little or No Value Back

There are various types of dishonest SEO companies and they come in different shapes and sizes. One category of SEO companies will take the quick route. These are the companies that will try and find the fastest way to build thousands of links for their clients using submission software in order to present apparent value. This is despite the fact that we now know Google doesn’t rate sites with a large volume of links – rather it favors sites that have lots of high quality links. In fact, building lots of spammy links can end up damaging your ranking to the point where you’ll have to spend much more money just getting back to square one!

Other SEO companies spend their time doing… nothing much. These companies may tell you that they’re doing link building or optimizing but are very opaque about what that actually entails or how they’re offering you value for money. Other signs are if they are slow to respond to your e-mails or phone calls. Many times, they will not take care of the basic elements such as set-up Google Analytics, Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), write proper and targeted title and description tags etc.

Dishonest SEO Companies Make Bold Promises but Deliver Nothing

Very often when you look at adverts of bad SEO services, you will see them promising a top position in Google for your given keyword or at least page one. ‘We guarantee number one ranking positions in Google’. In reality though, this is actually impossible for anyone to promise as there are over 200 factors involved in Google’s ranking algorithms.  Their main focus is just to sound exactly what many business owners want to hear. Sadly, the reality is very different once on board. These unethical companies usually use spammy e-mail practices or aggressive telemarketing phone calls. However, not all telemarketer companies selling SEO services are a scam, but telemarketing is definitely the main method to bring in more clients. If the SEO company is using high pressure sales talk, it’s a red flag.

The English is Broken

This isn’t always an issue but if the SEO company offers to write guest posts then you should consider it a real warning sign if they can’t write in coherent English. Do you really want spelling and grammar mistakes in an article that is linking to your site? This is bad news for your Google ranking and for your reputation with visitors.

Even if the company only offers link building services, you should still be wary if their English isn’t good. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing, but if they don’t have the resources or the inclination to hire a writer for their own adverts, what kind of care and attention can you expect in the service they’re offering you?

SEO Scams Aren’t Very Transparent

Look for SEO companies that explain precisely what you’re going to get for your money and that include detailed reports as part of their service to track the progress of the results. It’s very important to make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting for your money! You should expect a monthly or bi-monthly report which lists all the work that has been done for the entire period. Dishonest/bad SEO companies will not be transparent with their practices by saying it’s their trade secret. An honest company will always state what will get done and why do they do things.

They Take Shortcuts and Use Outdated Methods

In the early days of SEO, it was very easy to get to the top of Google. Back then, all you had to do was to build lots of links on content farms like EzineArticles and include lots of keywords in your content (keyword stuffing). There have been many SEO tools in the past that used to work but are today downright dangerous or not effective. For example, submissions to hundreds of social bookmarking and directory websites may have worked in the past but are now ineffective SEO practices. Today Google is much smarter and knows how to spot good quality articles and websites. If your SEO company is trying to cheat Google by using private blog networks, spun content or keyword stuffing then STAY AWAY. Good SEO these days means that you’re getting a well-written article posted on a well-known website. Make sure you are paying for quality and not volume and you will be much more successful.

SEO Scams Don’t List Their Contact Information on Their Website (make a heading)

If you are going to hire an SEO company that does not even have their address and phone number on it, stay far away. Some SEO scams go by many different names and once that domain name gets lots of bad reviews, they will shut it down and move to the next. If you check out it will tell you how long the website has been around for.  Check out BBB (Better Business Bureau) to see if they got many complaints. Another website to check is Rip Off Report ( and search for the company name.


Unfortunately, just like any other service, you can never be 100% sure you have hired a dishonest SEO company until you actually work with them. By making sure to take the necessary precautions and doing your due diligence, such as reading reviews, asking for samples of work and doing a bit of research yourself will come a long way to decipher between an SEO scam vs a company that offers value for your money. Finally, stay up-to-date on the industry by reading Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal to name some of the more reputable ones in the industry…

And once you find a great company that is getting you results… stick with them!


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